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Lindsey Copeland

Federal Policy Director

Short-Term Health Insurance Plans Are an Especially Risky Option During the Coronavirus Pandemic

A recent analysis from The Commonwealth Fund highlights the problems consumers with “short-term” health plans may face during the coronavirus emergency. Over the past few years, the Trump administration has expanded access to short-term health plans that are not required to adhere to the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) consumer protections or insurance regulations. This non-compliance allows short-term plans to charge premiums based on health status, decline coverage for pre-existing conditions, impose annual or lifetime limits, and exclude coverage for the essential health benefits.

CMS Releases Temporary Policy Changes to Expanded Medicare Telehealth Services

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently took several steps to further expand the availability of Medicare telehealth services during the coronavirus emergency. Last week, the agency announced several temporary policy changes, and released an updated version of its coronavirus-related blanket waiver guidance that reflects these developments. According to CMS, the revisions are intended to “increase access to telehealth for Medicare patients so they can get care from their physicians and other clinicians while staying safely at home.” Notably, these flexibilities are in addition to those previously made by Congress and CMS, including via the CARES Act and the federal rulemaking process. Below is a summary of key changes.

Coronavirus Public Health Emergency Highlights the Need for Medicare Enrollment Protections

A new Associated Press (AP) story, “Medicare applications raise anxiety for seniors in pandemic,” highlights the challenges Medicare-eligible individuals may face when trying to enroll in the program during the coronavirus emergency. Their experiences, and those of callers to Medicare Rights’ national helpline, indicate the pandemic is exacerbating an already cumbersome process.

CMS Temporarily Eases Some Requirements for Medicare Advantage and Part D Appeals

People with Medicare who are denied coverage for a health service or item by Original Medicare, Medicare Advantage (MA), or their Part D plan may appeal—or formally request a review of—that decision.

During the coronavirus public health emergency, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is allowing new flexibilities in how these appeals are managed. The temporary changes give the entities hearing or processing a beneficiary’s appeal the authority to remove barriers that might otherwise prevent a beneficiary from successfully filing or pursuing an appeal.

CMS Releases Interim Final Rule for Medicare Policy During the Coronavirus Emergency Period

On April 6, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)—the agency that oversees the Medicare program—published an interim final rule (IFR) with comment period, Policy and Regulatory Revisions in Response to the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency. The IFR reinterprets and clarifies several Medicare rules and policies for the duration of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) emergency period, often to increase access to telehealth services. The rule is retroactive to March 1, and comments on the rule are due June 1.

2020 ANNUAL AWARDS VIRTUAL EVENT

Monday • October 19, 2020 • 6:00 PM

Join us as we honor the resilience of the health care and aging services community serving older adults and people with disabilities during these unprecedented times.

2020 ANNUAL AWARDS VIRTUAL EVENT

Monday • October 19, 2020 • 6:00 PM

Join us as we honor the resilience of the health care and aging services community serving older adults and people with disabilities during these unprecedented times.

2020 Annual Awards Virtual Event

Join us for a special event on Monday, October 19 at 6 PM.