On January 15, 2022, health insurers will be subject to new federal requirements to cover and waive cost-sharing for over-the-counter diagnostic tests for COVID-19 for the duration of the federal public health emergency. Past federal guidance required insurers to fully cover COVID-19 tests, but allowed them to require enrollees to first obtain a health professional’s determination that a test is medically necessary. The new requirements, published January 10, enable consumers to obtain the tests directly from pharmacies or online retailers without being seen by a health professional. With case rates surging and the costs of over-the-counter COVID-19 tests ranging from $14 to $34, this new benefit should provide significant financial relief to privately insured individuals. This expert perspective focuses on key provisions of the new coverage requirements as well as health equity considerations and implications for state insurance regulators.
Creating Seamless Coverage Transitions between Medicaid and the Exchanges
Center for Health Care Strategies – Carolyn Ingram, Shannon M. McMahon, and Veronica Guerra
Under health reform, Medicaid will expand in 2014 to cover an additional 16 to 20 million beneficiaries. This population will include a significant percentage of childless adults with urgent and complex health care needs, who are likely to shift between subsidy programs over time. This brief, prepared by the Center for Health Care Strategies, draws from current state programs that have dealt with this challenge successfully. The experiences described herein can help states develop policies and procedures that foster seamless coordination of care during coverage transitions between Medicaid managed care organizations and qualified health plans in the exchanges. A companion matrix includes excerpts of sample contract language related to coverage transitions in existing programs.