The average cost to treat a hospitalized patient with COVID-19 is $30,000 and can often exceed this figure depending on the patient’s condition, according to a study from America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP). By continuing to waive the standard cost-sharing requirements, Minnesota health plans are stepping up to support affordability and easier access to care during the health crisis.
“Minnesota’s nonprofit health plans recognize the impact COVID-19 is having throughout the state and are committed to supporting members throughout this crisis,” said Lucas Nesse, President and CEO of the Council. “The health and safety of Minnesotans remain our top priority and we will continue to find innovative ways to offer our help to those affected.”
Member organizations of the Minnesota Council of Health Plans have taken the following steps:
- Treatment: Health plans are extending waivers for cost sharing for in-network COVID-19 hospitalization on fully insured, individual and group health plans through March 31, 2021. Health plans are continuously assessing all aspects of care from diagnosis to hospitalization, as well as any other requirements, such as prior authorization or pre-certification requirements to ensure timely access to appropriate care. Plans that have committed to this extension include:
- Blue Cross and Blue Shield/Blue Plus of Minnesota
- Hennepin Health
- Public health response: Health plans are playing a significant role in the public health awareness efforts related to COVID-19. This includes a new partnership with the state’s hospitals and health systems on a campaign called FightCovidMN, which urges all Minnesotans to fight the community spread of COVID-19. Health plans are also collaborating with the state of Minnesota on promoting a new app – COVIDaware MN – that notifies Minnesotans of potential COVID-19 exposure.
- COVID-19 vaccine coverage: The new COVID-19 vaccine will be among the recommended immunizations for enrollees as it rolls out over the next several months. As such, member health plans will waive copays, deductibles and coinsurance for the COVID-19 vaccine as it becomes available through the government’s multi-phased approach.
- Provider assistance: Health plans have also offered providers financial assistance. This includes grants to provider groups and community clinics for enhancements to provide care in a COVID-19 environment and accelerated claim payments to providers to address their immediate financial concerns brought on by COVID-19.
- Community giving: Health plans continue to play a significant role in community outreach efforts to curtail the impacts of the pandemic. Collectively, health plans and their foundations have provided significant financial assistance related to social isolation, mental health, telehealth, food insecurity, domestic abuse and personal protective equipment needed during the pandemic. Organizations receiving financial and other support from health plans include Second Harvest Heartland, Greater Twin Cities United Way, People Serving People, YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities and many others.