COVID-19 insurance
(Photo : REUTERS/Stefan Jeremiah/File Photo)
FILE PHOTO: FDNY Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT) secure a patient that was identified to have coronavirus disease (COVID-19) into an ambulance while wearing protective gear, as the outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, in New York City, New York, U.S., March 24, 2020.

Amid the COVID-19 crisis, health insurance companies Cigna and Humana announced that they will waive patient cost-sharing for al COVID-19 treatments, which include hospitalization and ambulance transfers for all of their insured members.

In a statement by Cigna president and CEO David Cordani, he said that their customers should be focusing on fighting the virus and preventing its spread and not worrying about bills to pay. He further added that while the people are still regaining their healths, the company got their backs.

The waiver applies to all medical costs which are related to the treatment of the deadly virus, according to the insurers. These medical costs include but are not limited to FDA-approved drugs and vaccines when they are made available to the public. The costs will then apply to their privately insured group and individual plans, Medicaid and Medicare members.

On top of this, the President and CEO of Humana, Bruce Broussard stated that they are taking significant action to help ease the burden on those who are struggling at the moment, especially the seniors who are at high risk of getting the diseases. Also adding that no American should be worried about the costs at the moment while trying to survive this disease.

A week ago, Aetna of CVS Health was the first major insurance carrier to waive the cost-sharing amongst their members who are receiving treatment for COVID-19.

The discussion about waiving the cost-sharing on COVID-19 hospitalization costs, aside from testing followed after US President Donald Trump said on March 11 that the insurers would be waiving said expenses,

More insurers are expected to follow the lead of Aetna, Humana, and Cigna and commit to waive essentially all out-of-pocket costs for COVID-19. However, they would be electing to do so without knowing how much the costs would be.

Read also: Trump Says New York Area Quarantine Unnecessary as COVID-19 Deaths in US Reaches 2,000

Medical costs of COVID-19 could reach $95 billion

Earlier this month, analysts at S&P Global has released an estimate of the possible collective cost that health insurers would face amid the COVID-19 crisis. An estimate of $95 billion was declared which includes medical cost in a severe national epidemic with the assumption that 30% of the members would be infected with the virus.

Based on the analyses of S&P, they calculated hospitalization costs for patients which would require intensive case could reach more than $20,000 for patients under 65 and are on private insurance place. Meanwhile, it would costs around $12,000 for Medicare patients.

Financial impact on insurers and employers

While insurers may have a better idea of how much COVID-19 treatments would cost from the growing cases and rate of hospitalizations in some states like New York and Washington, there is no telling as of the moment on how widespread the epidemic will be.

According to CVS Health, at the moment there is still no reasonable way to estimate how adverse the impact of the epidemic will be for insurance carriers since there is still minimum known information on the severity that the outbreak would reach. Thus, they still cannot calculate the impact on them but they are already expecting it would be massive.

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