For more than a year, patients with Covid-19 have not had to worry about co-pays and deductibles after insurance companies waived fees amid the public health crisis the nation and world face. Now, insurers say they're restarting the charges for people who contract the virus.
According to The Washington Post, beginning this year, insurance companies have slowly started restoring fees for hospital stays for people have Covid-19. In some cases, the fees came down from their insurers even before the vaccines against the virus became widely available.
"The cost-share waivers were just one piece of our overall response to the Covid-19 pandemic," United Healthcare spokesperson Tracey Lempner wrote in an emailed statement to the news outlet. "We have focused our efforts around helping our members get access to Covid-19-related tests, vaccines and treatment, while providing additional support to our clients, care providers and local communities."
Insurance companies continue to waive costs associated with vaccinations and tests per the federal government's requirements in a pandemic. Residents of Vermont and New Mexico will have their Covid-19 treatment fully cover, in accordance with state laws there.
News of the restored costs come amid a nation-wide surge in new Covid-19 cases, and as insurance companies' annual profits steadied or grew in 2020.
The Post reported that many companies in the health insurance industry remained strong or grew last year due in large part to the fact that the insurers made less payouts for elective procedures that were suspended by many hospitals across the nation amid the pandemic.
A survey conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation shows that more people are being saddled with the financial burden of Covid-19 treatment.
A health insurance lobby group said the decision to reinstate fees for Covid-19 treatment came after vaccines became more widely available and in recognizing that Covid-19 will be an ongoing challenge.
"After a year and a half, it's pretty clear that covid is here to stay, that this is a continuing health condition," David Allen, spokesperson for America's Health Insurance Plans, an industry lobby group, told The Post. "When it comes to treatment, we're looking at it like we would treat any other health condition."
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