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Major Insurer Won't Charge Patients for Coronavirus Stays

Aetna's move applies to 3.6M Americans
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 25, 2020 2:13 PM CDT

(Newser) – One of the nation's biggest health insurers is waiving patient payments for hospital stays tied to the coronavirus. CVS Health's insurer Aetna said Wednesday that many of its customers will not have to make co-payments or other forms of cost sharing if they wind up admitted to a hospital in the insurer's provider network. The move could save those patients thousands of dollars, depending on their coverage and how much health care they've used so far this year. The waiver lasts through June 1. It applies to the insurer’s 3.6 million customers who have fully-insured coverage, which is usually offered through a small business, reports the AP.

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Big employers that offer Aetna coverage also can chose to waive those payments, a spokesman for the insurer said. But Aetna, which covers nearly 23 million people, is the first major insurer to extend a payment waiver to the bills many patients will fear most if they become sick. A recent study put together by researchers with the Covered California health insurance exchange found that a lengthy hospital stay of 12 days could cost a total of $72,000 on average nationally, depending on factors like how long a patient stays in an intensive care unit. Insured patients would only pay a slice of that bill, but that slice could amount to as much as $6,000 depending on their coverage. Many plans have deductibles that patients must pay before most of their coverage starts.

(Read more Aetna stories.)

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