What to Do if Your Insurance Benefits Are Impacted by Coronavirus
April 14, 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic has swept across the United States, dramatically altering the way of life for just about everybody in this country. Most people are living under some sort of quarantine or “stay at home” order. Millions of people in this country have lost their jobs, and this has subsequently impacted their insurance benefits. Even those who have not lost their jobs may be wondering how their insurance benefits are impacted by coronavirus. If you’ve been impacted, contact an Orange County insurance bad faith attorney.
What should companies be doing for employees during this crisis?
It is recommended that all companies take the following steps during this unprecedented time in our country’s history:
- Follow all guidelines posted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
- Use wellness programs to instruct workers about hygiene and prevention of diseases.
- Allow and Encourage employees to stay home if they have any COVID-19 symptoms.
- Encourage workers to use telehealth services unless they have severe symptoms.
Employers should do everything in their power to ensure that they keep employees on the payroll. For workers who depend on their job for health insurance benefits, this is vital.
What if a person loses their insurance or has no medical insurance at all?
There are nearly 30 million people in the United States who do not have health insurance coverage, and this number has likely risen as more and more people have lost their jobs due to the coronavirus pandemic. Unfortunately, many of these uninsured people are also ineligible for Medicaid or Medicare.
Uninsured workers who contract COVID-19 are likely to receive large medical bills, even if they can demonstrate low income and an inability to pay. The hope is that Congress will continue to enact legislation to assist all Americans, particularly the unemployed and uninsured, during this coronavirus crisis.
Under the Families First law passed by Congress in March of 2020, states have the option to use their Medicaid programs to provide coverage for uninsured people for FDA-approved testing needed to detect COVID-19, the administration of the test, and costs associated with that particular visit. However, this does not include coverage of a person who tests positive and needs medical care.
The provisions provided under the law
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act passed in March of 2020 expanded coverage of diagnostic testing for COVID-19. This newest bill expanded on the Families First law that was also recently passed. Between these two laws, it was mandated that all private health insurance carriers must cover the cost of FDA-approved testing needed to detect or diagnose coronavirus. Expanded coverage extended to include any services or items provided during the medical visit (through telehealth, in-person at a doctor’s office, at an urgent care center, or an emergency room) that resulted in COVID-19 screening or testing.
Congress has also enacted legislation that requires certain employers to provide paid sick leave during this ongoing national health crisis. However, this policy will not reach all uninsured workers, as it only affects public agencies as well as private firms with between 50 and 500 employees.
Continue to track Congress
The future of how insurance providers respond to COVID-19, and whether or not uninsured individuals will receive coverage for all coronavirus treatment, will likely be determined by the US Congress. As this pandemic continues, we will have to look to lawmakers to make decisions affecting the health and well-being of the country.