Trump Administration Mulls Using Disaster Relief Funds As Concerns Over Coronavirus Medical Bills Mount
In a country with a health insurance system “designed to make you think twice to seek care every time you get a runny nose, fever and cough,” many are worried about the costs of getting tested, despite the fact that it's crucial to containing the outbreak. The federal government and states are trying to figure out ways to ease that burden.
The New York Times:
Waive Fees For Coronavirus Tests And Treatment, Health Experts Urge
New York is among the first states in the country to waive some fees and expenses for people who undergo testing for the coronavirus, as public health officials are increasingly worried that medical bills will discourage the poor and uninsured from getting medical care. The federal government is also considering paying for care for those affected, possibly based on funds available through federal disaster relief programs. There are “initial conversations,” Dr. Robert Kadlec, a senior official at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, told Congress on Wednesday. (Abelson and Kliff, 3/3)
New York Governor To Force Insurers To Limit Patient Coronavirus Testing Costs
The New York State Department of Financial Services will issue an emergency regulation to waive cost-sharing requirements. An initial emergency filing generally expires in 90 days, and the measure can be re-adopted for an additional 60 days. The department did not respond to an inquiry about the effective dates of the emergency regulation. (Cohrs, 3/3)
The Wall Street Journal:
U.S. Weighs Paying Hospitals For Treating Uninsured Coronavirus Patients
The Trump administration is considering using a national disaster program to pay hospitals and doctors for their care of uninsured people infected with the new coronavirus as concerns rise over costs of treating some of the 27 million Americans without health coverage, a person familiar with the conversations said. In natural disasters such as hurricanes, hospitals and medical facilities can be reimbursed under a federal program that pays them about 110% of Medicare rates for treating patients such as those evacuated from hard-hit areas. (Armour, 3/3)
The Wall Street Journal:
Coronavirus Costs: Who’s Paying For All This?
For those who are sick and thinking of getting tested, one question quickly emerges: How much will I be billed? For now, most people with health insurance will likely have the cost of coronavirus testing covered in the way that any other type of care is covered—- including whatever they may owe in co-pays, co-insurance or under a deductible. According to the public-health lab laboratories group, “there is no cost to patients for Covid-19 testing performed by public health laboratories.” (Carpenter and Wilde Mathews, 3/4)
Trump Administration Considering Paying For Uninsured Coronavirus Patients' Medical Care: Report
The number of people who had no insurance at any point during the year rose in 2018 to 8.5 percent, or 27.5 million, up from 2017 when it was 25.6 million, or 7.9 percent. Hospitals provided more than $38 billion in uncompensated care in 2017, according to the Journal, citing the American Hospital Association (AHA). “We encourage the department to look at using a national disaster program as an option because no one should think twice about seeking screening or treatment due to costs,” AHA executive vice president Tom Nickels, told the newspaper. “We also urge them to cover both patients who have coronavirus and those who are under investigation for coronavirus.” (Budryk, 3/3)