Private health insurance companies will waive all copayments for Americans undergoing coronavirus testing or related treatment, Vice President Mike Pence announced Tuesday.
Pence and President Donald Trump met with executives from several health insurance companies at the White House Tuesday morning as part of the administration’s efforts to ease economic strain caused by the virus. (RELATED: California Congresswoman To Become Fifth Member To Self-Quarantine After Meeting Person With Coronavirus)
Pence estimated that between private insurers, Medicare, and Medicaid that 240 million Americans are covered, all who would not be forced to make the coronavirus copayments.
Attendees at the meeting included Gail Bourdreaux, President and CEO of Anthem, Inc., Dave Wichmann, CEO of UnitedHealth Group, Bruce Broussard, President and CEO Humana, Michael F. Neidorff, Chairman, President, and CEO of Centene Corporation, Matt Eyles, President and CEO Americas Health Insurance Plans, Tim Wentworth, CEO of Express Scripts and Cigna Services, Justine Handelman, Senior Vice President for Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, Karen Lynch, President of Aetna Business Unit, Executive Vice President of CVS Health, and Gregory Adams, Chairman and CEO Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc.
“All the insurance companies here, either today or before today, have agreed to waive all co-pays on coronavirus testing and coronavirus treatment in their benefit plans,” the vice president told the attendees in the Roosevelt Room. “Medicare and Medicaid already made it clear to Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries that coronavirus would be covered and treatment.”
The vice president noted that the insurers specifically “agreed to cover tele-medicine.”
“We want people to get tested,” Pence concluded, noting that both the administration and private insurers do not want people to fear “surprise billing” if considering getting tested.
Trump and Pence announced at a Monday press conference that the administration is considering a range of economic stimulus options, including a payroll tax cut and relief for small businesses. He confirmed during Tuesday’s meeting that he would join National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin in meeting with Senate Republicans on Capitol Hill Tuesday to discuss possible courses of legislative action.
The White House will also host Wall Street executives to discuss the recent dip in the market amid coronavirus panic.
Five lawmakers have self-quarantined after being exposed to confirmed coronavirus cases. Two of them, Georgia Republican Rep. Doug Collins and Florida Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz, have had direct contact with Trump in recent days, prior to being notified they might have come in contact with the confirmed case. Collins toured the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention with POTUS on Friday, while Gaetz hitched a ride back to Washington, D.C. aboard Air Force One on Monday.
Trump’s incoming White House chief of staff, former North Carolina Republican Rep. Mark Meadows, has also self-quarantined after coming into close proximity with a confirmed case at the Conservative Political Action Conference in late February.