✦ 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 https://bit.ly/3becGwm.
✦ 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 https://bit.ly/2xdKGde and Oscar’s press release at http://on.hioscar.com/3a2M6G8.