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.
Qualified Health Plan Review in Marketplaces with State Plan Management: An Analysis of the Division of Labor Between State Exchanges and Other State Agencies
Gabbie Nirenburg, JD, MS, and Arthur Thourson Jones, PhD, Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics
States have implemented a variety of different methods to handle the review and certification of qualified health plans (QHPs). The Health Insurance Exchanges (HIX) Research Group at the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics at Wharton (LDI) recently collected data from 30 states, including those with State Based Marketplaces (SBMs), State Partnership Marketplaces (SPMs), Supported State Based Marketplaces (SSBMs), and Federally Facilitated Marketplaces (FFMs) with state plan management. This brief summarizes the findings within this dataset, which outlines the various plan management and certification functions assumed by different state agencies across these marketplace models.
The full dataset and codebook is available here. The dataset also highlights the role CMS plays in SPM, SSBM, and FFM with state plan management states.