With so much information coming out daily about the coronavirus and COVID-19, it’s hard to keep up, but important to know the facts.
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True or False: The Administration and Congress waived all out-of-pocket costs for people who receive treatment for COVID-19, including the uninsured and people with coverage from public programs (like Medicare and Medicaid) and private insurance.
To date, Congress has not passed a law to prohibit Medicaid, Medicare, or private plans from applying cost sharing to covered COVID-19 treatment. However, the Families First law passed by Congress earlier this year temporarily increased the federal matching rate for Medicaid for states that eliminate cost sharing for COVID treatment and meet other requirements. Congress has not waived Medicare cost sharing for COVID-19 treatment, but many Medicare Advantage HMOs and PPOs have voluntarily waived COVID-19 cost sharing for a limited period of time. A few states require insurers to waive cost sharing for COVID-19 treatment services, and a number of private insurers have voluntarily waived cost sharing for COVID-19 temporarily (e.g., through May). In addition, while Congress has appropriated funds to reimburse hospitals and providers for COVID-19-related testing and treatment for uninsured individuals, federal law does not prohibit providers from billing uninsured patients.