March 2, 2021

Around the nation: CMS says private health plans must cover coronavirus tests

Daily Briefing

    CMS says all private group health plans and issuers must cover the costs of diagnostic tests for the novel coronavirus regardless of whether a patient is experiencing Covid-19 symptoms or has been exposed to the virus, in today's bite-sized hospital and health industry news from Kentucky, Maryland, and Tennessee.

    • Kentucky: CHI Saint Joseph Health has named Anthony Houston as the health system's new CEO, effective April 5. Houston will also serve as president of Saint Joseph Hospital and Saint Joseph East. Currently, Houston is president and COO of CHI Memorial, and he previously served as president of CHI St. Vincent (Gooch, Becker's Hospital Review, 2/25; CHI Saint Joseph Health release, 2/24).

    • MarylandCMS on Friday issued new guidance aimed at ensuring Americans have access to diagnostic tests for the novel coronavirus and Covid-19 vaccines. In the guidance, CMS states that all private group health plans and issuers must cover coronavirus tests without cost-sharing, prior authorization, or any other medical management requirements, regardless of whether a patient is experiencing Covid-19 symptoms or has been exposed to the virus. CMS under the guidance also requires health plans to cover point-of-care coronavirus tests, including those administered at state and local testing sites. Further, CMS in the guidance outlines how providers can receive federal reimbursements for costs incurred when administering diagnostic coronavirus tests or Covid-19 vaccines to uninsured Americans (Haefner, Becker's Payer Issues, 2/26; Brady, Modern Healthcare, 2/26; CMS release, 2/26).
    • Tennessee: Tennessee-based Discovery Church has erased over $1 million in medical debt for patients in Georgia and Tennessee under a partnership with RIP Medical Debt, which purchases and forgives $10,000 in medical debt for every $100 donated. Members of Discovery Church raised $10,000 for the effort, which was used to forgive the debts of more than 500 people (Adams, Becker's Hospital CFO Report, 2/25; Keeling, WJHL, 2/23).

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