Neal Statement Following Meeting with Insurers on Coronavirus Policies
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard E. Neal released the following statement after meeting with representatives from eight health insurance companies regarding their policies for covering coronavirus testing and treatment:
“It’s essential that affected Americans are able to afford to be tested and, if necessary, treated for the coronavirus. The fear of high prices must not stand in the way of exposed individuals seeking the testing and care they need to get healthy and prevent further spread of the virus. I was encouraged that the insurers whom I met with today agreed not to charge copays for testing and will work to prevent affected Americans from encountering any surprise medical bills related to coronavirus. Several insurers also highlighted steps they’re taking to ensure that telehealth services are provided without charge and to provide premium relief to beneficiaries who face lost or reduced income due to the virus. Generally, I was reassured that the companies in attendance are trying to do what is right for patients during this public health crisis.
“One portion of our discussion particularly stood out to me: It is vitally important that people who think they may be infected with coronavirus not travel from place to place looking for assistance and testing. First, individuals should pick up the phone and call their trusted medical providers to discuss the safest location to be tested. This safety precaution is to minimize the spread of infection. Not all sites are equipped to handle the test for coronavirus. Testing should only occur in locations that will protect both health professionals and members of the general public from unnecessary exposure.
“There are many unknowns for everyone involved in confronting this crisis. Maintaining open lines of honest communication between all relevant parties is important as conditions evolve, and I appreciate the opportunity to speak with insurers today.”
Representatives from Humana, Anthem, HCSC, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, Cigna, UnitedHealth, Aetna, and Kaiser Permanente attended this afternoon’s meeting with Chairman Neal.