Morales and DiMario file bill to prohibit insurers from imposing cost-sharing for COVID services during emergency
STATE HOUSE – Rep. David Morales and Sen. Alana DiMario are sponsoring legislation to prevent health insurers from instituting cost-sharing for as long as the state of emergency remains in effect.
The House bill (2021-H 6208) was introduced April 7 with over 20 co-sponsors and has been assigned to the House Health and Human Services Committee with a hearing scheduled April 15. The Senate bill will be introduced soon.
“Ultimately, this is about protecting the health and safety of all Rhode Islanders. There should not be any financial barriers standing in the way of someone who thinks they might have COVID-19 and now requires testing or treatment. If cost-sharing is instituted, it will discourage people from getting tested or seeing a health professional. That is not what we need during a time when we are trying to collectively overcome this pandemic,” said Representative Morales (D-Dist. 7, Providence. “Despite our progress with administering the vaccine, the pandemic is still here. We are still in an emergency and we need all insurers to stay on board and continue to be committed partners in the effort to overcome this pandemic and minimize the impact it is having on our communities.”
The legislation stemmed from a recent announcement that Blue Cross Blue Shield of Rhode Island planned to allow its cost-sharing waiver to expire on March 31. The insurer later rescinded the plan.
Representative Morales and Senator DiMario say they filed the legislation to make sure that no such cost-sharing is instituted by any insurer, so Rhode Islanders are protected for the duration of the emergency. The bill prohibits insurers from requiring copayments, coinsurance or any out-of-pocket deductible for COVID-19 testing, vaccines, or COVID-19-related emergency services, inpatient services, office visits or hospital stays for the duration of the state of emergency. The prohibition on cost-sharing for COVID-19 testing and vaccines would remain in perpetuity.
“We are so close to the other side of this pandemic, and it’s essential to keep up our efforts with testing, treatment, and vaccination without any cost barriers so we don’t prolong it. Staying vigilant will save lives,” said Senator DiMario (D-Dist. 36, North Kingstown, Narragansett).
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