Many COVID-19 Cost-Sharing Waivers Are Set to Expire
Although federal relief legislation tied to the pandemic required health insurers to waive cost sharing for COVID-19 testing, not treatment, many plans opted to do both anyway. In fact, a recent analysis from the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) found that 80% of enrollees in the individual and fully insured group insurance markets were in plans that voluntarily waived out-of-pocket costs for COVID-19 at some point during the pandemic.
Yet with the public health crisis ongoing and the race to develop and distribute an effective vaccine far from over, a considerable portion of the commercially insured population may be exposed to hefty hospital bills due to health plans’ cost-sharing waivers expiring. According to the Peterson-KFF Health System Tracker analysis, published Aug. 20, 20% of individual and fully insured group plan enrollees are in plans where a cost-sharing waiver for COVID-19 treatment has already expired, and another 16% are in plans where the waiver is scheduled to expire by the end of September.