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Gov. Greg Abbott asks insurers to waive coronavirus costs for Texans

The TDI is asking health providers to take specific actions to mitigate the risk of the virus.

AUSTIN, Texas — Gov. Greg Abbott and the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) have asked Texas health insurers to waive costs on testing and telemedicine visits for the diagnosis of coronavirus (COVID-19).

TDI will also ask insurers to report their actions on consumer cost-sharing and access to services so consumers are aware of their available benefits, the governor said on Tuesday.

TDI is requesting insurers take the following actions to mitigate the risk of COVID-19:

  • Waive co-payments, co-insurance and deductibles for testing that is consistent with guidance issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
  • Waive consumer cost-sharing and facilitate expanded use of telemedicine.
  • Cover necessary medical equipment, supplies and services.
  • Waive penalties, restrictions and claims denials for necessary out-of-network services.
  • Waive requirements for pre-authorization, referrals, notification of hospital admission or medical necessity reviews for care consistent with CDC guidance.
  • Allow extra time for health providers and facilities to file claims.
  • Authorize payment to pharmacies for up to a 90-day supply of any prescription medication for individuals, regardless for when the prescription was filled.

According to the governor’s office, the following insurers and health maintenance organizations have already begun to waive cost- sharing for medically necessary testing of COVID-19:

  • Aetna (CVS)
  • Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas
  • Cigna Health of Texas, Inc.
  • Community Health Choice, Inc.
  • Golden Rule Insurance (UHC)
  • Humana Health Plan of Texas, Inc.
  • Molina Healthcare Insurance Company of Texas
  • Oscar Insurance Company
  • Scott & White Health Plan
  • Superior Health Plan (Centene)
  • United Healthcare Insurance Company

“We must ensure no Texan is denied access to testing resources relating to coronavirus,” said Abbott. “Texans who are concerned that they may have coronavirus should seek medical attention in the most appropriate setting, and telemedicine is a good first medical encounter for anyone experiencing mild symptoms.”

The governor said the waived costs would impact individuals covered by state-regulated insurance plans. Families concerned about coronavirus who receive benefits through Medicaid and CHIP will be able to access testing ordered by a physician at no cost, he said.

The Employees Retirement System of Texas, the Teacher Retirement System of Texas, the Texas A&M University System and the University of Texas System have been asked to provide these same benefits to employees and retirees.

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