Getting hospitalized with COVID-19 stinks. There is nothing good about it.
But people with Highmark or UPMC Health Plan insurance can at least feel secure that their out-of-pocket costs, including deductibles and copayments, remain 100% covered.
Highmark and UPMC Health Plan, Erie County’s two largest private health insurers, continue to waive all out-of-pocket costs for inpatient COVID-19 treatment.
This isn’t the case with most other health insurers nationwide, according to a research brief from the Peterson Center on Healthcare and the Kaiser Family Foundation.
About 72% of the nation’s largest health insurers no longer waive those costs. Nearly half of those 102 plans stopped covering those costs in April.
Highmark will continue to cover out-of-pocket costs through Dec. 31 at the earliest.
“We will continue to monitor the changing conditions with COVID when making any decisions about extending the cost-share waiver beyond the end of the year,” said Highmark spokeswoman Monica Lewis. “Until then, we are relying on our members and the community to get vaccinated so they are less likely to get seriously ill or need to be hospitalized.”
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UPMC Health Plan will continue covering those costs for nearly two more months.
“UPMC Health Plan continues to waive the costs of in-network, inpatient treatment for COVID-19,” UPMC Health Plan spokeswoman Denise Hughes said in an email. “The current policy is effective through 10/20 (the end of the currently declared federal Public Health Emergency period).”
Health coverage for COVID-19 is important, especially as Erie County’s 14-day moving average of daily COVID-19 patients has risen over the last five weeks from three to 23.
Even with health insurance, a patient hospitalized with COVID-19 could be responsible for thousands of dollars in deductibles, copayments and other out-of-pocket costs.
The average deductible in employer health plans is $1,644, according to the Peterson-KFF brief. The average out-of-pocket cost for someone hospitalized with pneumonia, which requires treatment similar to COVID-19, paid an average of about $1,300 out of pocket.
The highest annual out-of-pocket maximum for health insurance plans — the most someone could pay for care — is $8,500 for 2021, according to healthcare.gov.
That is a lot of money for anyone to pay for COVID-19 treatment. Let’s hope Highmark and UPMC Health Plan continue to cover those costs as long as patients are hospitalized for COVID-19.
Contact David Bruce at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @ETNBruce.
Originally Appeared Here