christine stuart / ctnewsjunkie file photo
Insurance Commissioner Andrew Mais (christine stuart / ctnewsjunkie file photo)

HARTFORD, CT – Connecticut’s Department of Insurance is encouraging health insurers to waive cost-sharing associated with testing for COVID-19.

The announcement, which came late Monday evening from Insurance Commissioner Andrew Mais, said it was encouraging health insurers and health care centers to waive any cost-sharing related to COVID-19 laboratory tests.

“Also, health insurers and health care centers are encouraged to waive any cost-sharing related to an in-network provider office visit, urgent care visit, or emergency room visit when the purpose of such visit is to be tested for COVID-19,” Mais wrote in the bulletin.

Further, “health insurers and health care centers are encouraged to offer and waive cost-sharing for medical advice and treatment of COVID-19 via telehealth services.”

The Insurance Department also asked insurers to “authorize payment to pharmacies for a ninety (90) day supply of maintenance prescription medications for individuals.”

On Tuesday, ConnectiCare, which is one of the two insurance companies offering plans on Connecticut’s insurance exchange, said it is “encouraging its members who feel ill to contact their doctors. The company will waive co-pays and cost-sharing for COVID-19 testing for patients who meet CDC testing guidelines. ConnectiCare will also cover 90-day supplies of many prescription drugs for its members.”

Anthem, the other health insurance company offering plans through Access Health CT, issued a statement on Friday saying it would provide, “coverage of the coronavirus screening test at no out-of-pocket-cost.”

“We are committed to keeping healthcare affordable for the consumers we serve. While the CDC continues to advise that the risk for the virus remains low, we are mindful of our responsibility to our health plan consumers and communities to ensure access to care,” said Anthem President and CEO Gail K. Boudreaux. “These actions today should reduce barriers to seeing a doctor, getting tested and maintaining adherence to medications for long-term health issues.”

Several other insurance companies that offer plans in the state of Connecticut, but are not regulated by Connecticut’s Insurance Department, have also said they would waive cost-sharing associated with COVID-19 testing.

Bloomfield-based Cigna has waived fees associated with coronavirus testing for all of its plans, including Medicare Advantage and individual and family plans.

“We will do everything we can to help contain this virus, remove barriers to testing and treatment, especially for seniors and people who are chronically ill, and give peace of mind to those we serve,” Cigna Chief Executive David M. Cordani said in a March 5 press release.

UnitedHealthcare also waived member costs for approved diagnostic testing for COVID-19 for all commercially insured and Medicaid and Medicare members who may be affected by COVID-19.
Aetna said it “will waive co-pays for all diagnostic testing related to COVID-19.”

As of Tuesday morning Connecticut had tested 56 people for the virus and two were positive. A Wilton man in his 40s was diagnosed over the weekend and a second Connecticut resident who is currently at Bridgeport Hospital tested positive for the virus on Monday.