Meanwhile, states and Congress are trying to make it easier for Americans who lose health coverage because their job has been affected by the outbreak to get insurance. And CMS withdrew its proposed rule to crackdown on state Medicaid eligibility.
Modern Healthcare: COVID-19 Hospital Charges May Exceed $1.4 Trillion
The total charges to treat COVID-19 within hospital settings are projected to range from at least $362 billion to as high as $1.45 trillion, according to a new analysis. The findings, published Wednesday by not-for-profit Fair Health, are based on historical charges from influenza and pneumonia ICD-10 codes as well as estimates from public health experts regarding how much of the U.S. population is expected to be hospitalized from the virus. (Castellucci, 3/25)
NBC News: Uninsured On The Front Lines: America's Working Poor Face A Pandemic Without Any Aid
Every six months Penny Wingard’s doctor in Charlotte, North Carolina, checks her white blood cell count even though she can’t afford the tests. After a brutal round of chemotherapy for stage 2 breast cancer in 2014 left her with chemical burns, Wingard has a compromised immune system and no health insurance. When she lost that coverage, more medical issues followed: She had a brain aneurysm and then the chemo caused Wingard, 56, to go temporarily blind before she underwent cornea surgery. Her medical debt through all this has ballooned to more than $25,000 — an amount she has no hope of ever paying off as a part-time Lyft driver. (McCausland, 3/26)
The New York Times: How To Get Health Insurance If Worried About Coronavirus Or Unemployment
Most working-age Americans get their health insurance through their employer. Which means a job loss during the coronavirus pandemic could mean losing your health insurance. In past economic crises, options for buying affordable health insurance were limited. But provisions in the Affordable Care Act, along with actions taken recently by Congress and some states, mean more opportunities for getting coverage. Here’s a guide to the options, which differ depending on your circumstances. (Sanger-Katz and Abelson, 3/25)
Modern Healthcare: Aetna Waiving Cost Sharing For Coronavirus Hospital Admissions
CVS Health said Wednesday it is waiving cost-sharing for certain Aetna plan members who are admitted to the hospital for COVID-19 treatment or health complications associated with the disease.The pledge will likely make it easier for patients to access and afford care during the worsening pandemic should they need it. It applies to Aetna's commercially insured members when they seek treatment at in-network hospitals. Aetna covers 3.6 million fully insured commercial members and serves 14.2 million people in self-insured employer plans. Self-insured plan sponsors will be able to opt out of the policy, a CVS spokesman said. (Livingston, 3/25)
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Ascension Wisconsin Will Cover Uninsured Coronavirus Tests, Treatments
At least one health care provider in the state — Ascension Wisconsin — will not bill people without health insurance for testing or treatment of COVID-19. The nonprofit also announced Wednesday that patients who are insured will not be billed for out-of-pocket expenses or co-pays related to coronavirus testing or treatment. (Spicuzza and Boulton, 3/25)
ProPublica: Medicaid Abruptly Canceled Her Health Insurance. Then Came The Coronavirus.
Every day during what seems like an endless quarantine, Judith Persutti assigns herself a chore. So far she’s washed the curtains and dusted the miniblinds in the little country house where she is sheltering in place with her oldest granddaughter. Stop to rest when the fatigue sets in. Lie down when the pain becomes too much. And, of course, check the mail. (Johnson, 3/25)
Modern Healthcare: CMS Withdraws Rule To Crack Down On Medicaid Eligibility
The CMS on Tuesday withdrew its proposed rule to crackdown on state Medicaid eligibility determinations from the Office of Management and Budget's regulatory review process."This proposed rule would strengthen the integrity of the Medicaid eligibility determination process including verification, changes in circumstance, and redetermination," the agency said in its description of the rule. The proposed rule was supposed to be published in April. (Brady, 3/25)