On March 5, Governor Newsom directed California health insurance carriers to waive all patient costs related to testing for COVID-19 (novel coronavirus). This includes medically necessary lab tests and associated clinic, emergency room, and/or medical staff fees. Notably, it generally does not waive costs for subsequent treatment, in the event of a positive test. In general, treatment will be covered under the normal rules and structure of the patient’s health plan.

Carriers we know to have reached out directly to employer clients and covered individuals, between March 5th and March 9th:

We have not yet seen specific communications from United Healthcare, Aetna or Health Net. However, Aetna and Health Net have posted confirmation that copays/cost-sharing is waived for medically necessary services related to COVID-19 testing:

United Healthcare surprisingly does not yet appear to have complied with the Governor’s direction.

This is an excellent time to remind employees that all employer-provided health plans include one or more versions of tele-health services, from 24×7 nurse lines to video visits. These can be excellent options to help deal with other minor health issues, to get necessary care and prescriptions, without having to physically visit a doctor’s office or medical facility. If you or your team are unsure of how to access the tele-health options included in your plan, please reach out to your Allpointe benefits support team.

We encourage all of our clients and employees to follow the CDC guidelines with respect to preventive measures in the workplace, at home, and for travel.

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