CARES Act Makes Changes for Health Plans

Posted by Edward McNamara on April 03, 2020

Good afternoon!

On March 27, 2020, President Trump signed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) into law to provide $2.2 trillion in federal funding to address the COVID-19 crisis. 

The CARES Act, in addition to providing previously mentioned SBA loans available, also makes a variety of changes affecting health plans.

These changes include:

  • Expanding the types of coronavirus testing that all health plans and health insurance issuers must cover without cost-sharing (such as deductibles, copayments or coinsurance) or prior authorization; 
  • Accelerating the process that will require health plans and issuers to cover preventive services and vaccines related to COVID-19;
  • Allowing telehealth and other remote care services to be covered under a high deductible health plan (HDHP) before the deductible is met, without affecting the HDHP’s compatibility with health savings accounts (HSAs) (applicable for HDHP plan years beginning on or before Dec. 31, 2021); and
  • Treating over-the-counter (OTC) medications, along with menstrual care products, as qualified medical expenses that may be paid for using HSAs or other tax-advantaged arrangements, such as health flexible spending accounts (FSAs) or health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs).

Some fully insured plans are also opting to temporarily cover at 100% the cost of COVID-19 related diagnosis and treatment as well – please check with your carrier to confirm. 

Self-funded plans have the option to cover this at 100% as well, although we are advising clients to not modify their plans and to allow for diagnosis and treatment to pay as though it were any other medical diagnosis.

Please click here for  the compliance bulletin for further details and contact us with specific questions on your plan.


About the author Edward McNamara

Ed McNamara is CEO and founder. With his partners, he delivers protection and growth at their full-service commercial insurance brokerage. Their proprietary examinations of risk profiles gives them a window into client challenges and opportunities. This perspective helps them to identify prospective customers, partners, and strategic suppliers in their fleet who – through personal introductions – can enable their clients to grow, prosper, and become more competitive.