Gov. Walz announces Minnesota health plans agree to waive COVID-19 related expenses | KSTP.com

Gov. Walz announces Minnesota health plans agree to waive COVID-19 related expenses

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz speaks with reporters at the Capitol in St. Paul, Minn., Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2019, shortly after sending a letter to top legislative leaders asking them to convene a conference committee to negotiate the differences between competing House Democratic and Senate GOP insulin affordability plans. Photo: AP/ Steve Karnowski. Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz speaks with reporters at the Capitol in St. Paul, Minn., Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2019, shortly after sending a letter to top legislative leaders asking them to convene a conference committee to negotiate the differences between competing House Democratic and Senate GOP insulin affordability plans.

KSTP
Updated: April 02, 2020 06:39 PM
Created: April 02, 2020 01:47 PM

Gov. Tim Walz announced Thursday that Minnesota's health plans have agreed to waive expenses related to COVID-19.

With that decision, Minnesotans are eligible for benefits that include no cost-sharing charges for COVID-19 testing, no cost-sharing charges for in-network hospitalizations and expanded access to telemedicine services.

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The move stems from a letter the governor's commissioners of health and commerce sent to health plans, urging them to remove certain barriers during the pandemic.

"This move will help ensure no Minnesotan has to sacrifice paying rent or buying groceries to cover a hospital bill from COVID-19," Walz said in a statement. "I'm grateful Minnesota's health plans are putting the health and safety of our fellow Minnesotans first during this pandemic."

Minnesota's non-profit health plans that have committed to this framework include:

  • Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota
  • HealthPartners
  • Hennepin Health
  • Medica
  • PreferredOne
  • UCare

Walz's office said many Minnesotans that receive their coverage through their employer have self-insured plans, and state departments don't have regulatory authority over those plans but are encouraging employers to work with their plan administrators to implement similar measures. 

Below are statements from several of the health care companies.

Medica:

"Medica is waiving cost-sharing for certain COVID-19 services, including testing (as previously announced) and services to treat people with COVID-19. This change is the right thing to do for our members. We are working to operationalize the benefits and will soon provide more information about it to them as well as to providers and others."

HealthPartners:

"HealthPartners has joined with other Minnesota nonprofit health plans in voluntarily waiving member cost-sharing for testing and treatment related to COVID-19. Protecting the health and well-being of Minnesotans is a priority shared by all, and we are committed to making sure that cost is not a barrier to receiving prompt and appropriate care. We are closely monitoring the rapid changes in testing and treatments and are providing regular updates to our patients, members and employees."

UCare:

"This show of unity demonstrates Minnesota's strong collaboration to protect our community. UCare's mission has always been to ensure access to care for our members. During COVID-19, it is even more critical to remove financial barriers that may cause someone to think twice about seeking care. While many Minnesotans are losing income, we are committed to do what we can to support our members' health through these difficult times. Members will have no costs for doctor-ordered COVID-19 tests and associated clinic, urgent care and emergency room visits. If our members are hospitalized for COVID-19, we will cover their costs through May 31, 2020, at which time we will reevaluate the situation."

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota also released more information that can be found here.

Minnesota Council of Health Plans:

"Council members took this additional step to support our enrollees in uncertain times and lift any potential barrier to those seeking treatment.  We were happy to see the Walz Administration applaud the adjustment to coverage and recognize our collaborative efforts to support Minnesotans throughout the pandemic," said Lucas Nesse, president and CEO of the Minnesota Council of Health Plans.


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