The past week has seen daily action at the state and federal level that seeks to ensure that health plans and insurers are providing unrestricted access to testing for COVID-19 and for related services. Health plans nationally have responded by adopting copayment and preauthorization waivers even where they have not been mandated.
Here are a few of the headlines:
On March 2, 2020, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced he would require state health insurers to waive fees related to coronavirus testing in the state in order to avoid cost as a barrier to testing. To implement his directive, Governor Cuomo announced that the New York State Department of Financial Services (“DFS”) will promulgate an emergency regulation that (i) prohibits health insurers from imposing cost-sharing on an in-network provider office visit or urgent care center when the purpose of the visit is to be tested for COVID-19 and (ii) prohibits health insurers from imposing cost-sharing on an emergency room visit when the purpose of the visit is to be tested for COVID-19. In addition, DFS issued other COVID-19 guidance to New York insurers, including: (a) directing insurers to develop robust telehealth programs with their participating providers, and (b) directing insurers to verify that their provider networks are adequately prepared to handle a potential increase in the need for health care services, including offering access to out-of-network services where appropriate and required.