News Briefs

America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) and the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA) sent a letter to House and Senate leaders on March 19 outlining various legislative proposals to “protect Americans’ health care and coverage.” The trade groups want: a nationwide special enrollment period for the individual market; a 90% subsidy for COBRA or other insurance coverage for those who lose jobs; some mechanism to help companies continue to provide health insurance to their employees (such as direct subsidies or payroll tax relief); and a “backstop contingency program” that would be triggered if insurers’ costs are significantly higher than expected, in order to prevent a spike in premiums. Regarding the backstop program, AHIP and BCBSA say it should “cover a portion of related costs for 2020 and 2021 and apply to the individual, employer, Medicare and Medicaid markets.” Read the letter to congressional leaders at

The number of health insurers taking steps to address the COVID-19 pandemic (HPW 3/16/20, p. 1) has ballooned in the wake of President Donald Trump declaring a national emergency. Bright Health is among the insurers amending their initial policies, as the Minneapolis-based company will now cover the COVID-19 test and associated office visit as a no-cost preventive care service regardless of network, authorize early medication refills, provide non-emergency transportation to all members and cover all telemedicine visits in connection with COVID-19 testing and diagnosis at no cost to members. Oscar Health, meanwhile, on March 13 unveiled what it dubbed “the first testing center locator for COVID-19 in the U.S.” View the latest list of insurer actions at and Oscar’s press release at

© 2021 MMIT

AIS Health Staff

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