✦ The average COBRA enrollee spends significantly more on health care services than active workers or dependents with employer-sponsored coverage, according to a new study from the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI). The study, released July 9, found that active, full-time employees with individual coverage in 2018 used an average $6,724 worth of health care services, while COBRA beneficiaries used an average of $18,752. COBRA enrollees are also older than their employed counterparts, on average, and more likely to have certain health conditions such as COPD, diabetes, cancer or mental health conditions. EBRI argued that subsidizing COBRA — as some policymakers have supported in light of the current economic downturn — can help reduce adverse selection against COBRA plans by making that coverage option more attractive for healthier people. Read more at https://bit.ly/322Pz6G.
✦ Five prominent Democratic lawmakers wrote to top Trump administration officials to “express serious concerns” about guidance they issued June 23 stating that health insurers are required to cover only “medically necessary” SARS-CoV-2 diagnostic or antibody tests (HPW 6/29/20, p. 1). Based on that guidance, insurers would not have to pay for “return to work” screening or for public health surveillance testing. “With COVID-19 cases skyrocketing and our testing capacity nowhere near where it needs to be, it is unacceptable that this Administration’s priority seems to be giving insurance companies loopholes instead of getting people the free testing they need,” wrote Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.Y.), Bobby Scott (D-Va.), Richard Neal (D-Mass.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), in a July 7 letter to HHS, the Dept. of Labor and the Dept. of the Treasury. View the letter at https://bit.ly/3gMjQKV.