The Journal Gazette
 
 
Thursday, March 26, 2020 1:00 am

Insurer waives coronavirus bills

Associated Press

One of the nation's biggest health insures is waiving patient payments for hospital stays tied to the coronavirus.

CVS Health's insurer Aetna said Wednesday many of its customers will not have to make copayments or other forms of cost sharing if they wind up admitted to a hospital in the insurer's provider network.

The waiver lasts through June 1. It applies to the insurer's 3.6 million customers who have fully insured coverage, which is usually offered through a small business. Big employers that offer Aetna coverage also can chose to waive those payments, a spokesman for the insurer said.

Many insurers have waived patient costs for testing or doctor visits and telemedicine to encourage people to get help with coronavirus symptoms. But Aetna, which covers nearly 23 million people, is the first major insurer to extend a payment waiver to the bills many patients will fear most if they become sick.

A recent study by researchers with the Covered California health insurance exchange found that a lengthy hospital stay of 12 days could cost a total of $72,000 on average nationally, depending on factors like how long a patient stays in an intensive care unit.


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