If you’re one of the millions of people in the United States without health insurance and you live in New York, you’re getting a second chance to sign up for it to ease your concern of paying out of pocket if you need treatment for COVID-19.
Open Enrollment refers to the annual period when Americans can enroll in a health insurance plan or make changes to their current plan. The period is usually from November 1st to December 15th each year, this timeframe may vary slightly in some states. However, due to the spread of COVID-19 in the city, open enrollment is now open again for uninsured New Yorkers. Signing up for a healthcare plan will enable New Yorkers to be tested for COVID-19 for free.
Around 30 million people throughout the U.S. are uninsured. One concern in many areas of the country is that people are not getting tested for the coronavirus because they are uninsured and they are afraid of the cost of treatment. This has the potential to make the spread of the virus worse because certain people who may be infected could slip through the cracks.
COVID-19 and Health Insurance
Due to the increase in the number of cases of coronavirus in the United States, many health insurance companies are amending their policies to help people who need testing or treatment for COVID-19. Here are some of the main ones:
Aetna: Aetna is waving co-pays for COVID-19 diagnostic tests. This includes member costs for coronavirus tests within Medicaid, Medicare, and Commercial lines of business. Individuals who are self-insured have the choice to opt-out. Aetna is also waiving co-pay for all telemedicine appointments, whatever the reason for the visit. People who have a positive diagnosis will receive a care package. Aetna members also have the option of programs to help with stress and anxiety.
AllWays Health Partners: AllWays is waiving co-pays, deductibles, and coinsurance for COVID-19 tests and is removing copayments for treatment at in-network clinics or hospitals. The company is also allowing access to out-of-network facilities for the first COVID-19 test when in-network facilities are not available. AllWays has also waived cost-sharing for telemedicine services related to COVID-19.
AmeriHealth New Jersey: AmeriHealth NJ is waiving co-pays for any COVID-19 test that is taken at an approved laboratory or hospital. This change includes members with individual and family plans, members who have employer-sponsored plans, and plans available through the Affordable Care Act. AmeriHealth NJ is also removing cost-sharing for telemedicine visits for 90 days.
Many other health insurance companies have made amendments to their member’s plans. You can find out if yours is one of them here. Other states which have reopened open enrollment include Connecticut, California, Colorado, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Washington, and Nevada. Because these states run their own health exchanges, this gives them more flexibility to reopen the enrollment programs.
Details of the reopened enrollment period vary from state to state. For example, Maryland and Nevada are allowing coverage for individuals without insurance and those with health coverage that doesn’t offer full benefits. Washington and Massachusetts, on the other hand, are only making coverage available to people who do not have insurance. Hopefully, the reopened enrollment period will help to give more Americans peace of mind during this time of uncertainty.