Mar 19, 2020 - Health

Senators ask health insurers to cover all coronavirus costs

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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Major Blues health insurer sues to recoup ACA funds

HCSC headquarters in Chicago. Photo: Raymond Boyd/Getty Images

Health Care Service Corp. is suing the federal government, arguing it is owed $2 billion from the Affordable Care Act's risk corridors program, which was put in place to mitigate insurance company losses in the law's early years.

Between the lines: The timing of the lawsuit is odd. Several other health insurers have already sued the feds over unpaid risk corridors claims, which led to the Supreme Court hearing their arguments this past December. However, a spokesperson for HCSC, which owns five Blue Cross Blue Shield affiliates, said the company is "not speculating on how the SCOTUS will rule."

Justice Department sues Anthem, alleging Medicare fraud

Anthem's headquarters in Indianapolis. Photo: Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images

The Department of Justice has sued Anthem, alleging that the health insurance company knowingly submitted inaccurate medical codes to the federal government from 2014 to 2018 as a way to get higher payments for its Medicare Advantage plans and turned "a blind eye" to coding problems.

Why it matters: This is one of the largest Medicare Advantage fraud lawsuits to date, and federal prosecutors believe they have more than enough to evidence to claim that Anthem bilked millions of dollars from taxpayers.

Go deeperArrowMar 27, 2020 - Health

The coronavirus is exposing the holes in employer health insurance

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A record 3.3 million people filed for unemployment in one week, in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, but people didn't just lose their jobs. Many also lost the health insurance that came with the job.

Why it matters: U.S. workers, even those who feel relatively secure in their health benefits, are a pandemic away from falling into the ranks of the uninsured.

Go deeperArrowMar 30, 2020 - Health