Kaiser Permanente has announced that it will extend its waiver for most member out-of-pocket costs for inpatient and outpatient services related to the treatment of COVID-19 through December 31, 2020. This waiver, put into effect on April 1 and originally set to expire on May 31, is intended to alleviate the cost burden and stress of paying for care, allowing members to focus on recovery.
"Kaiser Permanente understands the financial impact that COVID-19 has had on our members and the communities we serve and is committed to ensuring they have access to the care they need during this time of crisis," said Greg Adams, chairman and CEO of Kaiser Permanente. "This move aims to alleviate any stress about paying for care, as well as any hesitancy to seek needed care. The path forward through this pandemic must include identifying, treating and tracing as many cases of COVID-19 as possible as we work to suppress this virus."
Kaiser Permanente's elimination of member out-of-pocket costs applies to all fully insured benefit plans, in all markets, unless prohibited or modified by law or regulation. It will apply for all dates of service from April 1 through December 31, 2020, unless superseded by government action or extended by Kaiser Permanente. This waiver does not automatically apply to self-funded customers who directly administer health benefits to their employees. It also does not cover out of network care for choice product members, unless urgent or emergency care. Kaiser Permanente has encouraged self-funded customers to adopt this change.
Kaiser Permanente suspended all terminations for nonpayment of premium or out-of-pocket expenses from March 15 through May 31. In May, Kaiser Permanente further extended the suspension of terminations for nonpayment through June 30 for Kaiser Permanente for Individuals and Families and small group members.
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