The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act provides relief for health insurance expenses due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Sec. 3201-3203 specifically addresses access to health care for COVID-19 patients.
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), as amended by the CARES Act, requires health insurance plans in all markets to provide coverage of COVID-19 diagnostic testing, including the cost of a provider, urgent care center, or emergency room visit in order to receive testing, without any patient cost sharing. This includes “a service or immunization that is intended to prevent or mitigate coronavirus disease 2019”. The CARES Act expanded this provision to include tests provided by labs on an emergency basis and state-developed tests.
The FFCRA secured funding to cover COVID-19 testing for uninsured individuals at no cost under any state Medicaid program that elects to offer this enrollment option. Also, Medicare beneficiaries can receive COVID-19 testing in Medicare Part B at no cost.
As a condition to receiving general funds, healthcare providers must agree not to seek collection of out-of-pocket payments from a presumptive or actual COVID-19 patient that are greater than what the patient would have otherwise been required to pay if the care had been provided by an in-network provider.
The CARES Act also allows HSAs, FSAs and HRAs to reimburse for the purchase of over-the-counter medical products without a physician prescription. The ACA had previously required a prescription.
To inquire about changes to your specific health insurance, we suggest contacting your provider directly.
IMPACTfolio’s COVID-19 & CARES Act Financial Planning Series
For more detailed information on The CARES Act, we recommend that you read this excellent article.
Julie Fletcher McDaniel, CFP®, has been in the financial services industry since 2006. She is a co-founder of IMPACTfolio, a wealth management firm that specializes in IMPACT investing and holistic financial planning for one flat-fee.