Humana to Waive Expenses Related to Coronavirus Treatment

Humana Inc. HUM has decided to waive out-of-pocket costs regarding coronavirus-related treatment for its members. Enrollees of Medicare Advantage plans, fully-insured commercial members, Medicare Supplement and Medicaid will gain traction from this initiative by the company.

Last week, the company declared that it will waive expenses for coronavirus testing.

This waiver is applicable to all COVID-19 medical expenses and FDA-approved medicines or vaccines when the same will be available. This leading health insurer will dole out the coverage under the plan benefits for coronavirus services, irrespective of whether those services are delivered by in-network or out-of-network providers.

Waiving coronavirus hospitalization expenses (in addition to costs for coronavirus testing) first came to the fore when President Donald Trump confirmed that they would be catering to both during an Oval Office address on Mar 11.

Additionally, Humana is lifting administrative requirements for members with coronavirus and for patients with conditions wherein capacity is extended by the necessities of those afflicted with coronavirus. Earlier, the company also announced that it will relieve members from cost share for telehealth services as well as allow early prescription refills so that patients can gear up for extra supply essentials. It also offered a support line with trained call centre staff to help members with coronavirus-related queries and concerns.

The company is uniquely positioned to aid its members amid the global pandemic. This initiative will reduce the financial stress on its members, thus facilitating a hassle-free process for them to avail of the required medical help.

The United States now tops the list of worst-affected nations worldwide with more than 130,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and in excess of 1,000 casualties so far. Per a Commonwealth Fund survey, around 45% of working-age Americans does not come under sufficient health coverage, because of which getting proper and timely treatment for coronavirus can be a financial burden for them. Thus, insurers and the government health regulators are taking steps to encourage telemedicine, waive co-pays and costs for members, etc.

Another leading health insurer Cigna Corporation CI too chose to waive costs pertaining to the COVID-19 treatment. With all industry-leading insurers removing out-of-pocket costs off the COVID-19 treatment regime, other insurers are most likely to follow suit.

Humana's policy does not yet have an end date as of now and it will reassess as circumstances change.

Other companies in the same space, such as Anthem Inc. ANTM and UnitedHealth Group Inc.’s UNH also extended their range of services to fight the coronavirus woes.

However, shares of this Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) company have lost 15.1% year to date, narrower than the industry's decline of 15.7%. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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