Insurers’ Offers, Set to Expire, Should Instead be Extended Through End of Pandemic
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Seven major private health insurers’ offers to waive copays and deductibles for coronavirus care are set to end in one week, but all health care insurers should extend the fee waivers until the end of the pandemic, Public Citizen said today.
In response to the coronavirus pandemic, many major insurers announced they were waiving some or all fees for coronavirus treatment. In a report issued in May, Public Citizen found that, while 23 of the 25 insurers said they will waive some or all fees for coronavirus treatment, most had set end dates for such waivers – long before the pandemic can reasonably be expected to end. Public Citizen also issued an update highlighting that seven insurers were previously scheduled to end assistance by June 1, but all subsequently extended their waivers due to pressure from journalists and groups. However, Public Citizen urges that insurers go further and extend these offers until the end of the pandemic.
The current list of insurers with offers set to expire for patients at the end of June include Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Montana, Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Mexico, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Oklahoma, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas, Centene and Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey.
“As we are seeing ongoing high levels of COVID-19 as well as spikes in many states, it would be a particularly cruel time to end these cost waivers for necessary care,” said Eagan Kemp, health care policy advocate for Public Citizen. “The Trump administration’s failed response to this historic pandemic means that more Americans will get sick and face huge medical costs if they are lucky enough to survive. The least that insurers can do at a time of record health insurer profits is help their customers to get the COVID-19 care they need.”