| Covid-19 | Nov 3, 2020

IRS, DoL, Treasury, & HHS Issue New COVID-19 Interim Final Rule with Comment Period (IFC)

HHS, DoL, Treasury, & HHS released the fourth COVID-19 interim final rule. The IFC:- Outlines HHS’ plan for COVID-19 vaccine coverage and, in particular, coverage of vaccine administration. Prior to the rule’s release, HHS had announced that it planned to distribute the vaccine to providers—but there were several open questions about coverage for the professional services to administer the vaccine. The rule lays out HHS’ plan to make the vaccine widely available without cost-sharing through a combination of regulatory changes (for Medicare and commercial coverage) and preamble language and supplemental toolkits (clarifying, for example, how existing Medicaid regulations and statute apply).

– Establishes an additional payment for certain Medicare-covered COVID-19 patients who are treated in inpatient settings with an eligible COVID-19 treatment. Additionally, it establishes a similar separate payment for patients who are treated in hospital outpatient departments.

– Provides states with flexibility to alter benefits and cost-sharing for Medicaid enrollees, despite a continuous enrollment provision of the FFCRA that requires states, as a condition of receiving the temporary increase in the federal matching rate, to maintain Medicaid beneficiary enrollment.

– Creates a process for states to propose exceptions to the public participation requirements for Section 1332 waivers during the public health emergency; it appears that CMS is seeking to establish a pathway for approving Georgia’s pending Section 1332 waiver.

The IFC will become effective once published on the Federal Register on November 6. Public comment will be due January 5, 2021.