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.
Why Per Capita Caps Aren’t Just Managed Care for States
Deborah Bachrach, Patricia Boozang, and Anne Karl, Manatt Health
The American Health Care Act (AHCA), as passed by the House of Representatives on May 4, 2016, would overhaul federal financing of state Medicaid programs, and for the first time, would cap federal Medicaid funding. As policymakers debate the potential implications of per capita caps, it has been suggested that per capita caps are really no different than Medicaid managed care—a concept with which states are fully familiar and well able to manage. This Manatt Health policy brief tests that hypothesis by examining the similarities and differences between the federal per capita cap and a state’s per capita “cap” in Medicaid managed care spending.