Insurers will no longer waive all costs associated with COVID-19 treatments

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The majority of private health insurance companies have stopped waiving patient fees associated with COVID-19 treatment, as most had done since the early days of the pandemic, according to a new study.

According to an analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF), 72% of US insurers who previously waived cost-sharing or fully covered treatment costs have stopped doing so and an additional 10% will phase out such waivers by the end of October. .

In a previous study carried out at the start of the pandemic, KFF found that 88% of fully insured COVID-19 patients would have had all of their hospital charges waived by their insurer. The group noted that insurance companies made higher profits during times of foreclosure and uncertainty as many people suspended examinations and elective procedures.

COVID hospital healthcare workers during an intubation procedure to a COVID patient (iStock)

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But since vaccines became widely available in the United States and Americans started returning to doctors, insurers have gradually started removing waivers.

The cost of treating a person hospitalized with COVID-19 can reach tens of thousands of dollars or more. Michigan’s Blue Cross Blue Shield told WXYZ-TV that since the start of the pandemic, the company has paid out $ 750 million and about 250,000 of its members have paid nothing out of pocket for treatments.

“No charge,” said BCBSM Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer Dr James Grant. “If you were on a ventilator you could have been there a month, two months, three months, it’s expensive. Sometimes seven-figure care. We waived all charges.”

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The BCBSM will no longer waive the costs of COVID-19 treatment as of October 1, but vaccinations will continue to be free for members, as this is seen as a major preventative measure to keep patients alive and reduce costs. A study published by the CDC found that unvaccinated coronavirus patients were 29 times more likely to be hospitalized than vaccinated people who caught breakthrough infections.

“95, 96, 97 percent of those who are in the hospital are the ones who are not vaccinated,” Grant continued. “So if we can really reach out to the unvaccinated, make them understand the importance and safety of the vaccine, that’s how we’re going to beat it.”

Meanwhile, not all insurers have withdrawn support for coronavirus treatments.

“Regarding COVID-19 treatment, for the 2021 plan year, Humana will cover the reimbursable costs of COVID-19 treatment for all members of the Humana Medicare Advantage medical plan,” Human Mark spokesperson said. Mathis to FOX Business, explaining: “COVID- Treatment 19 is a benefit that is part of Humana’s Medicare Advantage 2021 plans; it is not a ‘waiver of costs’.”

Mathis went on to note, “There are differences for other lines of business.”


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