Mar 19, 2020 - Health

Senators ask health insurers to cover all coronavirus costs

A red coronavirus testing tent stands outside Carney Hospital.
Carney Hospital and its testing tent in Massachusetts. Photo: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Sixteen senators have asked the nation's largest health insurance companies — Aetna, Anthem, the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, Cigna, Humana, Kaiser Permanente and UnitedHealth Group — to "suspend all cost-sharing requirements connected with treatments for COVID-19 and associated health complications."

Why it matters: Almost all insurers have said they are waiving copays, deductibles and other out-of-pocket costs for all coronavirus testing, but the bigger concern is treatment and hospitalization for the illness, which could rack up thousands of dollars in bills for patients.

What they're saying: "If there's a perception that cost is going to be a significant barrier to diagnosis or treatment, then people are going to stay outside the system, and that's going to lead to further spread of the virus," Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) told Axios.

Go deeper: Read the letter

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