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.
Shared Measurement and Joint Accountability Across Health Care and Non-Health Care Sectors: State Opportunities to Address Population Health Goals
Dana Hargunani, MD, MPH
Health care leaders are well-positioned to use cross-sector approaches to drive improvements in population health in collaboration with state leaders. Through the use of joint measurement and accountability tools, policymakers can help to improve health outcomes to an extent not possible through isolated, medical-centric efforts. This issue brief, developed by Dana Hargunani, MD, MPH, outlines how state agencies can use shared measurement and joint accountability across sectors as tools for improving population health outcomes. The issue brief describes five prerequisites for success, and includes a case study from Oregon on the state’s experiences forming cross-sector partnerships and using jointly employed measurement and accountability tools.