UPDATE: On Tuesday, the largest healthcare company in the world, UnitedHealthcare announced it will also waive patient cost-sharing for COVID-19 treatment through May 31, 2020.
RICHMOND, Va. -- Health insurance giant Cigna is waiving patient costs related to COVID-19 treatment.
Nearly all insurance plans are offering to cover the cost of testing but Cigna joins Aetna, Humana and UnitedHealthcare in guaranteeing policyholders are not liable for care related to the pandemic.
The announcement helps close a potential gap in coverage for Central Virginia. VCU Health and Bon Secours are not billing patients for COVID-19 treatment but the area’s other major health system, HCA, has not made the same promise. Cigna policyholders are directed to HCA facilities for in-network insurance coverage.
A report from FAIR Health, a consumer advocacy group, estimates the average cost of in-patient treatment for COVID-19 to be more than $73,000.
The health insurance industry says efforts to help policy holders during the outbreak are more extensive than simply covering the cost of testing or treatment.
“What healthcare plans have done is put a series of actions in place to try to make it easier for the consumer to avoid healthcare whenever possible but at the same time, get the healthcare they need where they are,” Doug Gray, the Executive Director of Virginia Association of Health Plans tells the Problem Solvers.
Gray says helping Virginians avoid places they could potentially pick up the virus, such as a doctor’s office or emergency room, is an important effort. To that end, insurance companies are beefing up access to tele-medicine and making it easier to fill routine prescriptions.
“The idea here is make it simple, make it easy, make sure there are no barriers to care,” said Gray.
The Virginia Association of Health Plans has a list of each insurance company’s COVID coverage on its website.
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