Wednesday, October 27, 2021
Health Care Coverage: COVID-19 Cost Sharing
Existing law, the Knox-Keene Health Care Service Plan Act of 1975, provides for the regulation of health care service plans by the Department of Managed Health Care and makes a violation of the act a crime. Existing law also provides for the regulation of health insurers by the Department of Insurance. Existing law limits the copayment, coinsurance, deductible, and other cost sharing that may be imposed for specified health care services.
This bill would require a health care service plan contract or a disability insurance policy that provides coverage for hospital, medical, or surgical benefits, excluding a specialized health care service plan contract or health insurance policy, to cover the costs for COVID-19 diagnostic and screening testing and health care services related to the testing for COVID-19, or a future disease when declared a public health emergency by the Governor of the State of California, and would prohibit that contract or policy from imposing cost sharing or prior authorization requirements for that coverage. The bill would also require a contract or policy to cover without cost sharing or prior authorization an item, service, or immunization intended to prevent or mitigate COVID-19, or a future disease when declared a public health emergency by the Governor of the State of California, that is recommended by the United States Preventive Services Task Force or the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as specified. The bill would only extend the prohibition on cost sharing for COVID-19 diagnostic and screening testing, or an item, service, or immunization intended to prevent or mitigate COVID-19, with respect to an out-of-network provider for the duration of the federal public health emergency. The bill would also apply these provisions retroactively beginning from the Governor's declared State of Emergency related to COVID-19 on March 4, 2020. The bill would make the provisions of the act severable. The bill would also make related findings and declarations. Because a violation of this requirement by a health care service plan would be a crime, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program.
The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement.
This bill would provide that no reimbursement is required by this act for a specified reason.
Source: Open States