Insurance Must Cover Covid Tests Even For Asymptomatic Patients, CMS Says
There should be no additional cost sharing for diagnostic covid-19 testing even if a person has no symptoms or was not exposed, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said in new guidance to group health plans.
CMS: Group Health Plans Must Cover COVID-19 Diagnostic Testing
The Biden administration on Friday made clear that private group health plans and issuers cannot deny coverage or impose cost-sharing for COVID-19 diagnostic testing, regardless of whether the patient is experiencing symptoms or has been exposed to the virus. According to CMS, the new guidance should make it easier for people to access COVID-19 diagnostic testing. For instance, the agency said people can get tested for COVID-19 before visiting a family member and pay no additional out-of-pocket costs. The guidance also instructs providers on how to get reimbursed for diagnostic testing or administering COVID-19 vaccines to people without health coverage. (Brady, 2/26)
Becker's Hospital Review:
Health Insurers Have To Cover COVID-19 Tests For Asymptomatic People, CMS Says
CMS issued a guidance Feb. 26 that requires group health plans to waive cost-sharing for COVID-19 testing even if a person doesn't have symptoms or a suspected exposure, among other requirements. ... The guidance clarifies that private group health plans generally can't use medical screening criteria to deny coverage for COVID-19 tests for asymptomatic members or those without a known exposure. (Haefner, 2/26)
In other news about Medicare and Medicaid —
Social Security And Medicare May Experience Their Own COVID-19 Side Effects, Experts Say
Over the last year, COVID-19 has been especially devastating for people of retirement age. As of mid-February, those 65 and over accounted for 81% of the pandemic’s deaths in the United States. More than 373,000 older adults succumbed to the new virus, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Counterintuitive as it might seem, however, the pandemic could actually put even more pressure on Social Security and Medicare — the two giant, financially challenged federal programs that provide retirement and medical benefits to older and disabled Americans. Workers contribute to these programs through payroll taxes, then draw on their benefits in later life. If thousands die early, shouldn’t that relieve the stress on Medicare’s and Social Security’s budgets? (Burling, 2/27)
Becerra Has Long Backed Single-Payer. That Doesn’t Mean It Will Happen If He’s HHS Secretary.
A digital ad running in Georgia and New Hampshire says Xavier Becerra, President Joe Biden’s nominee for Health and Human Services secretary, supports “Medicare for All.” “Becerra supports Bernie’s government takeover of your health care, eliminating your employer-provided coverage,” the narrator says. The ad, funded by the campaign PAC of Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), is part of a blitz from conservative groups against Becerra’s confirmation. It first aired last week and will continue until the Senate’s confirmation vote. The gritty, foreboding ad includes a range of other attacks, including criticisms of California’s covid-19 response and Becerra’s role in legal cases on reproductive rights. (Knight, 3/1)