Insurance companies , looking at their profits, are backing away from 100% coverage as the virus case’s drop , but appear to be something that will continue …..
The lack of uniformity in covid insurance practices across the country this year is striking. In some places, because of differences in health plan policies, covid patients in the same hospitals and in the same ICU units could be facing completely different financial burdens.
“There was no federal mandate for insurers to cover all the costs for covid treatment. Insurers were doing it voluntarily,” said Krutika Amin, a Kaiser Family Foundation associate director who researchers health insurance practices.
Last year, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, 88 percent of people covered by private insurance had their co-pays and deductibles for covid treatment waived. By August 2021, only 28 percent of the two largest plans in each state and D.C. still had the waivers in place, and another 10 percent planned to phase them out by the end of October, the Kaiser survey found. Its survey this year of employer-sponsored plans reflected similar patterns.
“For some people, deductibles can be over $8,000 for a hospital stay,” Amin said. “It will really depend on what plan they have.”
America’s Health Insurance Plans, the industry’s lobbying and trade group, said insurance companies began to reinstate cost-sharing for covid treatment as vaccines became available and in recognition that the coronavirus will be an ongoing health challenge.
“After a year and a half, it’s pretty clear that covid is here to stay, that this is a continuing health condition,” AHIP spokesman David Allen said. “When it comes to treatment, we’re looking at it like we would treat any other health condition.”
The industry says it is not using the return of deductibles as financial incentive for people to get vaccines. To encourage vaccinations, the industry is focused on “carrots, not sticks,” Allen said, with programs targeting education and making sure no one is billed for receiving vaccines…..
The reintroduction of cost-sharing mainly affects people with private or employer-based insurance. Patients with no insurance can have 100 percent of their expenses covered by the federal government, under a special program set up by the government for the pandemic, with hospitals reimbursed for care at Medicare rates….
“The inhumanity of our health-care system and the tragedies it creates will now resume and will now cover this one group that was exempted,” he said. “The U.S. health-care system is sort of like a game of musical chairs where there are not enough chairs, and some people are going to get hurt and devastated financially.”….