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The costs for a COVID-19 hospitalization are changing. This is why

The costs for a COVID-19 hospitalization are changing.  This is why

During the first two years of the pandemic, Minnesota health insurers, including Blue Cross and Blue Shield and HealthPartners, voluntary waived fees for clinical treatment with COVID-19. Lots of plans serving other states took similar steps.

But as we move into 2022, that’s likely to change for most people.

The state’s nonprofit insurers absorbed more than $1 billion in costs related to treating COVID-19 by 2020, said Lucas Nesse, president and chief executive officer of the Minnesota Council of Health Plans. Last year “remained just as challenging, as we all know,” he said. “But we wanted to continue that coverage there.”

It’s a trend play nationally.

“While many plans were abandoned [cost-sharing for COVID-19 treatments] in early March 2020, many of many of the health plans have phased that out by the end of 2021,” he said.

Nesse said it’s best to contact your insurance company with questions, but here’s what you need to know about how your health insurance policy may change this year.

I thought I didn’t have to pay for a COVID-19 treatment. Why does that change?

Nesse said the plan are changing partly because vaccines are now available and proven to prevent the worst disease.

“I think a lot of it has to do with access to vaccines and the efficacy of the vaccines, being able to keep people out of the hospital,” he said.

Sharing the cost for each medical treatment is typical of insurance coverage under normal circumstances, Nesse added.

What if I have a deductible?

If you work for a large company that collects premiums and pays for your medical claims, you may see other changes to your plan.

Delta Airlines, which has a large number of employees in Minnesota, announced last year it would charge unvaccinated workers an additional $200 in monthly premiums to cover the additional costs associated with treating COVID-19.

“A lot of confident employers have started looking at the influence of that monthly premium, as well as an incentive to try to get people or encourage them to get that vaccine,” Nesse said.

What if I have Medicare, Medical Assistance, or MinnesotaCare?

According to the Minnesota Department of Human Services, there is no cost-sharing for COVID treatment for those with medical assistance or MinnesotaCare.

However, the costs vary for people on Medicare depending on their coverage plan.

COVID-19 vaccines and tests remain free, right?

Yes. As with most vaccines, the COVID-19 vaccines — including boosters — are are free for everyone who wants one.

Federal rules require that health insurance plans: waive cost-sharing for COVID-19 testing, including related visits.

Home rapid tests have come at a cost, however. But from January 15th, that will change, with insurers being required to cover up to eight rapid tests per person monthly.

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About the author

Anna Wintour

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