Published April 2, 2020
Follow our Medicare Coronavirus News page for related information on coronavirus (COVID-19) and its impact on Medicare beneficiaries.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) mandated in early March that all testing for COVID-19 be covered in full by Medicare and private Medicare insurance carriers. A COVID-19 vaccine will also be covered if and when one becomes available.
Now, some private insurance carriers are going a step further by eliminating cost-sharing for COVID-19 treatment protocols as well.
Cigna, Humana and Aetna have each taken measures to reduce out-of-pocket spending for their Medicare plan members who undergo treatment for the disease. These out-of-pocket costs can include plan deductibles, coinsurance and copayments.
COVID-19 treatment can potentially include inpatient hospital stays, doctor’s office appointments, inpatient skilled nursing facility stays, home health visits and emergency ambulance transportation.
These services can typically come with costs such as copays and deductibles.
Medicare Advantage plans cover the same inpatient and outpatient services and items that are covered by Original Medicare (Medicare Part A and Part B).
While Original Medicare is provided by the federal government, private insurance companies administer Medicare Advantage plans.
Some of the out-of-pocket costs that a beneficiary who has Original Medicare may face if they receive covered COVID-19 treatment include:
For members of Medicare Advantage plans from Cigna and Humana, however, those costs will be waived for covered COVID-19 treatment.
“Our customers with COVID-19 should focus on fighting this virus and preventing its spread,” David M. Cordani, President and CEO of Cigna1
“While our customers focus on regaining their health, we have their backs,” David Cordani, President and CEO of Cigna, said in a statement.
Cigna’s cost-sharing waiver expires May 31, 2020.
“We know we’re uniquely positioned to help our members during this unprecedented health crisis,” said Bruce Broussard, President and CEO of Humana. “It’s why we’re taking this significant action to help ease the burden on seniors and others who are struggling right now.”2
Humana’s waivers includes costs related to COVID-19 treatment by both in-network and out-of-network facilities or physicians.
Humana’s cost sharing waivers currently have no end date, as the company plans to readdress the situation as needed.
Aetna, a CVS Health company, is also dismissing COVID-19-related inpatient cost-sharing for its members.
“The additional steps we’re announcing today are consistent with our commitment to delivering timely and seamless access to care as we navigate the spread of COVID-19,” said Karen S. Lynch, president of Aetna Business Unit. “We are doing everything we can to make sure our members have simple and affordable access to the treatment they need as we face the pandemic together.”3
Aetna’s cost-sharing waiver for inpatient admissions to any in-network facility for treatment of COVID-19 is currently in effect until June 1, 2020.