(CNSNews.com) – Executives from the nation’s top health insurance companies agreed to waive copays on coronavirus testing and to extend coverage for coronavirus treatment in all their plans, Vice President Mike Pence announced Tuesday.
President Donald Trump met with nine health insurance company executives at the White House for a coronavirus briefing. The vice president, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar, and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services CMS Administrator Seema Verma were also in attendance.
The following executives attended the briefing: Gail Bourdreaux, president & CEO of Anthem, Inc.; Dave Wichmann, CEO UnitedHealth Group; Bruce Broussard, president and CEO Humana; Michael F. Neidorff, chairman, president, and CEO Centene Corporation; Matt Eyles, president and CEO Americas Health Insurance Plans (AHIP); Tim Wentworth, CEO of Express Scripts and Cigna Services; Justine Handelman, senior vice president, Office of Policy and Representation, Blue Cross Blue Shield Association; Karen Lynch, president of Aetna Business Unit, executive vice president, CVS Health; Gregory Adams, chairman and CEO Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc.
In addition to waiving copays for testing and extending coronavirus treatment to people with private insurance, testing and treatment will be covered for Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries. Telemedicine will also be available to seniors, the vice president said, and he said the CEOs promised “no surprise billing.”
“But today, Mr. President, you directed us to bring together insurance companies -- health insurance companies -- that cover, through private insurance and through their support of Medicare and Medicaid, almost 240 million Americans. And I'm pleased to report, as you requested, Mr. President, that all the insurance companies here -- either today or before today -- have agreed to waive all copays on coronavirus testing and extend coverage for coronavirus treatment in all of their benefit plans,” Pence said.
“And, at your direction, Medicare and Medicaid, last week, already made it clear to Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries that coronavirus testing and treatment would be covered. These private insurance carriers have extended that as well. They've also agreed to cover telemedicine so that anyone, particularly among the vulnerable senior population, would not feel it necessary to go to a hospital or go to their doctor. They'll know that telemedicine is covered,” he said.
“These CEOs have also agreed to no surprise billing. We want people to get tested. Over a million tests are out, thanks to the diligent work of CDC and HHS. More than 4 million will go out this week. You've worked with commercial labs to expand testing, and that will continue to increase by the day, but we want the American people to know that they are covered through private insurance. They are covered through Medicare and Medicaid, and there will be no surprise billing” the vice president said.
“And finally, Mr. President, as you directed us yesterday, we produced helpful information for every American family: how they can keep their home, their school, their business, their establishment safer from the spread of the coronavirus. All of these major health insurance companies have agreed to convey all this information, starting today, to all of their customers as well as to send the CDC's guidance for seniors with underlying health conditions to give them specific recommendations,” Pence said.