COVID-19 and Health Insurance: What’s Changed?

COVID-19 has impacted nearly every facet of life. In the United States and around the world, healthcare systems have probably felt its impact the hardest. It has grown the patient population, overcrowded hospitals, and affected health insurance plans. To better understand what is happening with health insurers and COVID-19, it’s a good idea to look at what is happening in education and with health care workers.

There has also been a rise in the need for caregivers across the world. From primary care doctors to nurse practitioners (NP) to more specialized adult-gerontology nurse practitioners (AGNP), the need is great. This in turn has created a rise in people seeking education in the field.

Places like Wilkes University offer an array of programs designed to fast-track individuals for success in a primary care setting. Degrees offered include Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP), Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), Associate Degree in Nursing (RN to MSN), and post-graduate certifications like the AGNP.

The stay-at-home restrictions also do not limit taking the next step with Wilkes University since many of their programs are online. It’s good to note that the financial aspects of the industry are strong. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median wage for healthcare practitioners is higher than the national average.

So, how does this equate to health insurance? Since the education of nurses continues to be a priority, insurance companies have been able to take steps to impact health coverage during the pandemic. The health and wellness—physical, mental, and financial—appears to be in the thought of health insurance companies. Searching through different providers will show how health insurance coverage has changed for you.

Waiving Cost-Sharing

Many companies are eliminating the cost-sharing for members for different types of treatments. Aetna, one of CVS’s affiliates, has done this for inpatient admissions for COVID-19 and its complications, telemedicine visits that are in-network, and many of the cost-sharing for Medicare members. These waivers are designed to encourage those with health coverage to not wait to seek help, digitally or in person.

Waiving Early Refill Limits

Another health promotion many companies are doing is changing prescription refills. Prior to the pandemic, there were exclusions on when you could get a refill on your medication. Now, many health insurers are allowing pharmacies to do early refills to keep patients from overexposure to other people.

Free COVID-19 Testing

Many companies have offered to waive any fees associated with COVID-19 testing. This would be despite an illness and geared more towards disease prevention. The testing often includes both the nasal swab and the blood pathogen test. The newer, rapid testing is also covered by some providers though it is not as widespread among global insurance companies.

Pre-authorization Waivers

Time is crucial in the health care field. Patients of all ages can suffer from any delays in receiving their treatment. Many insurance companies have waived their pre-authorization requirement for their clients to receive treatment. This tends to be limited to COVID-19 issues but has been expanded to other specialization referrals.

Donations

In addition to trying to cut costs within their organization, many health insurers are also donating money. AFLAC has donated upwards of $10 million to organizations that are providing global relief to people directly and indirectly affected by the pandemic. This includes counsel for people suffering from mental health issues and assistance to health care workers. AlohaCare has also sent many to non-profit organizations that help families who are at-risk or high-risk of COVID-19.

These are just a few of the changes that COVID-19 has had on health insurance and the education of those who work in the field.