CARES Act: New Requirements for Employer-Sponsored Health Care Established

March 27, 2020

The CARES Act would, among other requirements, require employer-sponsored insurance to cover coronavirus preventive services at no cost to their employees.

Additional provisions include requiring employers to:  

  • Pay—without cost-sharing—for any item, service, or immunization that will prevent or mitigate COVID-19 that has an “A” or “B” recommendation rating from the United States Preventive Services Task Force; and 

  • Reimburse the provider of diagnostic testing at the negotiated rate throughout the period of emergency.  If there is no negotiated rate, then the employer must reimburse the provider for the cash price of the service, or they may negotiate a lower price directly with the provider.

Expansion of Health Savings Accounts:  Individuals with HSAs will be able to use funds to cover telehealth services and purchase over-the-counter drugs and medical products without a prescription.

No resolution to surprise billing: Talk of an overall fix to surprise medical billing being included in the CARES Act did not come to fruition. Instead, the funding for several health care programs was extended to November, meaning surprise billing will likely be renegotiated then.  However, it is possible that provisions to fix surprise billing could be included in a Phase IV COVID-19 bill.