Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Impact of COVID-19 on Your Existing Insurance Policies

COVID-19 pandemic has a significant impact on the insurance industry and its customers. Initially, to weather the storm, the California government asked insurance companies to delay premium payments due to the financial hardship people are encountering.

Impact of COVID-19 on Your Existing Insurance Policies

How COVID-19 Has Left its Impact on Your Existing Insurance Policies

Like in the rest of the world, people in the US are facing financial challenges due to job fallout amid the COVID-19 pandemic, got temporary relief in terms of insurance payments.

For example, California has asked all insurance companies in the state to offer a minimum of 60-day grace periods for insurance payees.

  • Every company is different. Call us or your company directly to ask for a delay in payment due to COVID issues.
  • Most auto insurance companies are automatically refunding all clients 15-25% of their premium due to less driving and claims.
  • Most homeowner insurers are delaying or stopping planned attempts to cancel policies due to the 207-18 fire disasters.
  • Business insurance clients can also ask delays in payment due to COVID, but you need to ask.
  • Due to lower miles driven, sales made and payroll, call us for mid-term reductions in the premium impacting factors.

We can also expect more changes in insurance pricing and policy terms as insurers are struggling due to the economic impact of the outbreak.

Over the past couple of months, the insurance sector has modified group insurance policies due to COVID-19, and more to come.

Read Also: How COVID-19 Has Forced Many Americans to Re-Assess Their Retirement Planning
Here is a list of types of insurance and their potential changes:

Type of Insurance
Changes due to COVID-19

Auto Insurance
In the auto insurance sector, the nature of risk has changed drastically since February 2020, as automobile usage has nearly stopped to comply with social distancing measures. Similarly, changed economic circumstances are also affecting the usage of commercial vehicles. Soon, there will be shrinkage in the portfolio size, along with proportional reductions in contributions.

Due to COVID-19, many people have converted their homes into workplaces, and some people are living elsewhere for an indefinite period. Modification of some clauses is expected regarding unoccupied properties to continue with the coverage.

BusinessInterruption Insurance
Due to the increasing number of business interruption claims and disputes, many business insurance policies are contemplating whether to include or exclude virus-related losses. In the existing policies, business interruption cases are ambiguous for COVID-19. Policyholders will need to provide evidence that their commercial property was contaminated and not merely at risk of contamination. Some new clauses are expected around this.

Health Insurance
Private health insurance policies are likely to undergo significant changes, including higher pricing. Insurers are responding to the current crisis by expanding telemedicine services and waiving cost-sharing obligations on testing. The implications of the cost will extend beyond direct interventions for coronavirus cases.

Term Life Insurances
Increased mortality rate will directly affect the costs of term life insurance products. There will be cost implications in the coming years as well.

RetirementPlansand Annuities 
Some changes in the retirement plans are likely, as a large population has started modifying their asset allocation. Some people have also begun claiming their social security earlier than expected.

Disability, Accident and Sickness Insurance 
A higher rate of morbidity, along with increased claims costs associated with limited hospital supply, will raise the price of insurance policies. 

The Way Ahead

Amid the ongoing uncertainty due to COVID-19, many changes in the insurance industry are reactive. Eventually, when things settle down a bit, more flexible and efficient clauses may come up to save the interest of both insured and insurers.

To have more clarity on existing policy changes, call us at (650) 328-1000 or email to, and we will get back to you shortly.

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

How COVID-19 Has Forced Many Americans to Re-Assess Their Retirement Planning

The impact of COVID-19 is visible in nearly all aspects of American lives, including people’s retirement planning. According to a TD Ameritrade survey, almost 71 percent of adults in the country expect the pandemic to have an effect on their senior years and 21 percent think that the impact will be severe.

Another poll by MassMutual in April 2020 showed that nearly 55 percent of Americans already made changes or were planning to change their retirement contributions. Out of this group, about 54 percent were making lesser contributions to keeping more cash on hand.

Many Americans May Withdraw Money Early from Their Retirement Plan 

The pandemic has caused panic among people. About two in five Americans or 38 percent say that this virus outbreak has affected their retirement plans. Many people are planning to withdraw money from their retirement plans earlier than expected. Nearly 41 percent of consumers feel they need to rethink their retirement plans to understand the pandemic's financial impact.

In recent months, the CARES Act increased the 401(k) plan withdrawal limit and waived the early withdrawal tax of 10 percent and federal tax withholding of 20 percent for people affected by this crisis. With this option available, now two in five Americans (39 percent) holding a 401(k) plan, are likely to withdraw early from their retirement plan.

In addition, nearly 63 percent of Americans are concerned about developing a strategy to address taxes during retirement. About 59 percent say that they are now worried about how taxes will affect their retirement income in the post-pandemic era.

How Americans Should Brace Themselves for the Potential Post-Pandemic Recession

Do Not Break Your Savings Just Yet

The value of your retirement account may have dipped during the pandemic but do not panic or rush to dump it. Taking out money from a 401(k) or IRA today means you will have less money for the retired days. If you keep your retirement savings intact, there is a good chance that it will recover over time and become better once the economy gets stronger.

Read Also: Things to Know About Business Interruption Insurance in the US Amidst the Coronavirus Outbreak

Keep Contributing to Your 401 (k) or IRA

It is a harsh reality that the pandemic has hurt people financially. Many people have lost their jobs and are clueless about dealing with issues like mortgage payments or student loans. If you lost your job during the pandemic, you have no other option but to put your retirement contributions on hold. However, if you are still working and had a pay cut, keep contributing to your retirement plan. This way, you will not lose your potential income from the retirement account. 

Prepare Yourself to Deal with an Impending Recession

Currently, the economy is reeling due to COVID-19 and the experts are predicting another recession similar to the one that occurred in 2008-2009. Considering a potential downturn, make sure you do not rack up debts and keep your emergency fund afloat. Also, try to cut back your expenses in case your income suffers another setback. 

Read Also: Getting Unemployment Insurance in the US During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Should You Consult a Finance Professional to Survive the Pandemic?

Studies show that before breaking or withdrawing from retirement plans, people are seeking guidance. An online financial survey by the Nationwide Retirement Institute in April 2020 showed that nearly one-quarter or 24 percent of American adults of 18 years or older consulted finance professionals. The ongoing pandemic has made people (48 percent) realize the need to protect their retirement income. Besides, 57 percent of US adults and 60 percent of investors have said that the current situation has made them recognize the significance of life insurance.
Before We Go

If your income is fluctuating during this uncertain time, it is better to keep your retirement account or emergency fund on standby. If you are thinking of dipping into your retirement savings due to this turbulence, resist that urge. Just keep setting aside around 10-15 percent of your income for the future. It will be handy.

If you have more questions regarding retirement planning, let us know. Give us a call at (650) 328-1000 or fill out the online contact form, and we will be happy to help you.

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

How Health Insurance Options Can Help Foreigners Visiting the US?

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, millions of people in the US were uninsured and risked a massive liability of paying medical bills on their own. For example, as many as 2.2 million people are still uninsured in Los Angeles County only. 

In the US, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPA) aims to provide uninsured people with affordable health insurance coverage. The PPACA also seeks to improve the quality of healthcare, bring down medical expenses, and provide people health insurance rights.

To most people, the PPACA involves complex documentation and procedure. However, there are several areas that citizens, tourists, students, immigrants, and other visitors to the US need to know, especially those who are stuck there due to the pandemic.
Health Insurance for Foreigners

Besides the citizens, visitors to the United States are affected by the PPCA in various ways. Here is how health insurance will affect the following groups of people:

Travelers or Visitors to the US

Current visitors or people will be traveling to the US in the future to meet friends, and relatives do not require PPACA coverage.

Citizens of other countries, who are temporarily traveling to the US, are exempt from the PPACA rules. It means the US government will not penalize these visitors for not having health insurance.

Traveling to the US without health insurance is, however, risky. Healthcare is still expensive in the country, even when the PPCA has marginally brought the costs down. Visitors to the US will have to pay out of their pocket in case they fall ill or are injured. 

The medical expenses of undergoing treatment for illness and injury in the US can go up to thousands of dollars. Here health insurance can be helpful for visitors to the country if an unforeseen disease occurs.

Health insurance coverage for non-US citizens includes doctors’ fees, emergency treatment in a US hospital, undergoing treatment for life-threatening/non-life-threatening illnesses or injuries, prescription drugs, repatriation, and others. 

Individuals Holding H1 Visa

Individuals holding workers or H1 visas are eligible to buy health insurance for non-US citizens. H1 visa holders can use the alien registration number/USCIS number or 1-94 number as supporting documentation when applying for health insurance available on the market. 

The PPCA or Obamacare clause specifies that the same health insurance rule applies to H1 and L1 visa holders as US citizens. If an H1 visa holder is working with a company with more than 50 workers, the employer is obligated to provide health coverage. 

If a company has less than 50 employees, H1 visa holders may need to purchase an individual health insurance plan for non-immigrant protection. Even H4 visa holders or dependents are also eligible to buy health insurance provided they are residing legally in the US. 

Read Also: The Impact of COVID-19 on the US Insurance Sector

International Students Enrolled in the US Universities

Many students from all over the world visit the US to enroll in colleges and universities. The valid question is, do these international students need to sign up for the PPACA healthcare insurance?

The general answer is “no.” International students are non-residents under the US law and do not fall within the PPCA legislation unless they have exceeded certain time limits. 

An example could be international students in the US holding F, J, M, and Q visas, do not require the PPACA insurance for the first five years of their stay in the country. 

After five years, those students are no longer deemed exempt from PPCA and need to go through the enrollment process of categorization based on the substantial presence test. 

Read Also: Getting Unemployment Insurance in the US During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Immigrants without Proper Documentation

The immigrants who are legally residing in the US are eligible to buy discounted health insurance and are required to be part of PPACA. 

On the other hand, undocumented immigrants and workers do not qualify for PPACA, and having health insurance is not a requirement for them. 

In the case of illness or injury, they can receive treatment by paying from their pocket, or through an organization, which is ready to treat them irrespective of their immigration status like a community health care center. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Visitors’ Insurance to the USA

Currently, many people have questions regarding visitors’ insurance coverage for coronavirus. Here is a compilation of some common questions and answers for US visitors:

I already have a visitor health insurance policy. Does it cover illnesses related to coronavirus?

People who already have existing health insurance coverage for the US may get coverage for coronavirus-related conditions. If a visitor is infected with COVID-19 after the health policy begins, the visitors’ insurance plan may cover for treatment and services similar to any other new medical condition. 

I entered the US as a traveler, but do not have visitor insurance. If I want to undergo treatment for COVID-19 and buy a policy now, will I get coverage?

Visitors’ insurance does not cover any pre-existing illness or condition, including coronavirus. If you are not infected but want to buy a visitors’ insurance policy as a precaution, you may get coverage, though it is not a guarantee. 

Is it possible to include coronavirus coverage if I renew my plan?

If you renew your visitors’ insurance plan, you may get coverage for coronavirus treatment and services. However, there must not be any lapse in coverage between renewals, and you must not have been infected with coronavirus before the policy start date.

My parents have a plan to visit the US soon. Will my insurance provide coverage for coronavirus?

Certain visitors’ insurance plans would cover travelers for coronavirus if they purchased the program after the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a global pandemic. If you buy a new plan for your parents, look for ones that may cover coronavirus patients.

Before We Go

We hope all this information regarding visitors’ insurance is helpful to you. If you have more questions regarding health insurance for travelers or those temporarily staying in the US, let us know. You can call us at (650) 328-1000 or fill out the online contact form, and we will be glad to assist you.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Things to Know About Business Interruption Insurance in the US Amidst the Coronavirus Outbreak

The widespread COVID-19 outbreak has interrupted businesses and forced them to scale back or shut down operations to comply with the lockdown order. This interruption in business in the US has resulted in huge losses. Subsequently, a certain section of the US Congress sent a letter to major insurance companies in the country on March 18th. The letter suggested that the insurance companies work with companies and their payout claims as part of the business interruption policies because the existing clauses may otherwise restrict or prevent coverage. 

Insurance companies usually offer business interruption coverage (BI) through property policies. However, though standard BI also pays for financial losses due to an interruption in business operations, it still requires that the loss should happen because of direct physical damage to property. In the current scenario, a standard BI may arguably cover the closure of business for sanitizing a facility that has virus contamination as most courts find the contamination of property to be direct physical damage to that property.

What Exactly Is Business Interruption Insurance?

A business interruption insurance helps an organization protect itself against financial losses after a covered peril affects its business operations. Typically, covered perils are fire, theft, wind, lightning or falling objects. Make sure that you read your business insurance documents thoroughly so that you know which scenarios are covered by your insurance. 

An insurer will pay for the actual loss of revenue a business sustains due to closure of operations while restoring the facility. The cause of suspension must be direct physical loss, destruction or damage to the property. 

We can understand the business interruption insurance better by exploring the three terms given below:

Actual Loss: Business interruption insurance provides coverage for the actual loss sustained by a business due to direct physical loss or damage to the business property by a peril that is not excluded from the policy.

In such a scenario, an insurance company is only liable to pay if a business owner actually sustained a business interruption that resulted in revenue loss. If a business sustains revenue loss, the obligation of the insurance company is limited to the extent of the actual loss in dollar amount, but it must not exceed the applicable policy limit.

Business Revenue: Usually, an insurance company is liable for the reduced net income that results from the closure of business operations (wholly or partially) due to a physical loss at the business facility. 

Restoration Period: An insurance company is liable for the loss of business revenue only during the restoration period. The restoration period is often defined as the duration or time frame necessary to repair, rebuild or replace the destroyed or damaged property. The restoration period starts when the physical loss or damage happens, whereas it ends when the business property goes through the process of repair or replacement at a reasonable speed. 

The Coverage Limit

Typically, business interruption insurance comes with a coverage limit. The coverage limit is the maximum amount an insurance company will pay towards a covered claim. If financial losses exceed the coverage limit, then it will be the responsibility of the business owner. This is why a business owner must choose the appropriate coverage for his/her business.

The following are a few things that business owners may want to consider while choosing the amount for business interruption coverage:

A probable duration of how long it may take to resume business operations and run full-fledged after a loss.

How well the facility is protected if the business owner rents out his/her office space.

Is a similar commercial facility readily available in the area of business or will it take time to find an appropriate temporary location?

Do the fire alarms and sprinkler systems in the facility work properly? 

If business owners are forced to shut down their business in large-scale due to a catastrophic event such as a storm, fire or earthquake, they will lose revenue. However, despite these events, business owners are liable to pay their bills and may have to incur additional expenses due to the disruption. Luckily, if business owners have business interruption coverage, many of these costs and losses are reimbursable. 

Understanding the Limitations of Business Interruption Coverage

Although a business interruption insurance can help businesses survive major disasters, several limitations and exceptions are an integral part of the coverage. As a business owner, if you have taken a business interruption coverage as part of a commercial property policy, you will receive an extended coverage only when the events are defined in the core coverage. For example, if your property insurance does not include windstorm damage, you will not receive business interruption insurance if your company’s business operation is interrupted due to a windstorm.

Besides, a business interruption insurance also has time limits on its coverage. So, make sure to discuss the exceptions and limitations with your insurance company or insurance representative. After the discussion, you can decide on purchasing an extended business income coverage for your business.

You need to consider the possible business interruption scenarios and the actual coverage available before buying a business interruption insurance. If we consider the ongoing pandemic, no one saw that coming. However, to get insurance for this reason, some changes in the insurance clauses along with government intervention is required. There are already many lawsuits in the US between the insured and the insurers on the business interruption clause due to coronavirus.

At Allied Brokers, we can assist you by providing adequate information on business interruption insurance and other types of insurance that are just right for you. Call us today at (650) 328-1000 or fill out this online contact form and one of our representatives will contact you shortly. 

Monday, May 18, 2020

Getting Unemployment Insurance in the US During the COVID-19 Pandemic

The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has caused a huge dent in the US economy. Due to the closure of companies to contain the virus, business operations have come to a halt. As a ripple effect, thousands of people have lost their jobs and are looking at an uncertain future. An estimate by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) shows that the total job loss is likely to be 3 million.

Unemployment Insurance in the US During the COVID-19 Pandemic

On March 27th, President Donald Trump approved a government aid in the form of an unemployment allowance. Soon after the announcement, between 70,000 and 281,000 people applied for the aid by the end of March. In the week that ended on April 4th, a record 6.6 million people applied for unemployment benefits.

Will All the Unemployed People Get Unemployment Insurance?

The answer is no. Under normal circumstances, most unemployed people will not receive unemployment insurance benefits. People, who quit their jobs voluntarily, those looking for their first job and people who are getting back to the labor market after leaving it voluntarily will not receive unemployment insurance benefits. Also, undocumented workers, self-employed people, gig workers and students are usually not eligible for these benefits.

In most states, the required minimum earnings to qualify for unemployment benefits are between $1,000 and $5,000 in the previous year. Due to different eligibility criteria, the unemployment insurance rate varies drastically across states. For example, in the fourth quarter of 2019, Massachusetts had the highest unemployment insurance rate at 57 percent, whereas Mississippi had the lowest at 9 percent. 

The Eligibility for Unemployment Benefits and How to Apply

The government is allowing the states to change their laws to support people who have lost their job because of the virus outbreak. Changes in laws will depend on the state. The general condition for unemployment benefits is that an individual must have lost his/her job due to the shutting down of business. 

The specific eligibility criteria for unemployment benefits are below:

Applicants must meet their state’s wage requirements or time worked during a specific period or base period. This is usually the first four out of the last five completed calendar quarters before filing the claim.

  • Applicants should have lost their jobs due to no fault of their own. It means workers must be separated from their jobs because of the non-availability of work. 
  • There is also a need to fulfill additional requirements laid out by the individual states. You can find the requirements of your own state’s program here

The government has created the Pandemic Unemployment Act to make independent contractors and all part-time employees eligible for unemployment benefits. People will receive an amount between $250 and $550 every two weeks.

People need to apply for unemployment benefits through their state’s website. Usually, there will be a one-week unpaid waiting period before they start receiving benefits. However, several states, including California, Ohio and New York have waived this waiting period.

Checklist of Things When Applying for Unemployment Insurance 

  • The applicant’s social security number 
  • The Alien Registration Number if the applicant is a non-citizen. 
  • Information regarding all the employers of an applicant in the past 18 months. It should include the name of the company, the name of the supervisor, both mailing and physical address and phone number. 
  • The Employer Registration Number/the Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN) of the applicant’s most recent employer (you can find FEIN on the W-2 forms). 
  • Remuneration earned and how the payment was received (for example, hourly, weekly or monthly). 
  • The reason why an applicant worked reduced hours with the employer or why the applicant is no longer working with the employer. 
  • The applicant’s most recent separation form or DD 214 form if he/she served in the military. 

New Legislation May Extend Unemployment Benefits for More Than Six Months

Most states will pay unemployment benefits for 26-weeks or up to six months. However, the new legislation may provide benefits for a longer period. During circumstances of high unemployment, eligible applicants may receive extended benefits. The Senate passed a bill recently that is likely to make extended benefits available in the states where the unemployment rate is more than 10 percent. To alleviate the economic distress of the labor market due to this pandemic, the CARES Act has come up with a $2 trillion relief package. The act will extend the duration of unemployment insurance benefits by 13 weeks and increase payments by $600 per week until July 31. However, it is still impossible to make a forecast right now as to when the need for social distancing will end and when economic conditions will get back on track.

The Department of Labor has listed the unemployment insurance offices of all the 50 states, along with phone numbers and links to websites with detailed information.

If you have questions regarding unemployment insurance or other areas of insurance, give us a call at (650) 328-1000 or fill out the online contact form and we will be glad to assist you.

Friday, April 24, 2020

The Impact of COVID-19 on the US Insurance Sector

The ongoing outbreak of COVID-19 is impacting the insurance industry at various levels, starting from issues involving employees and business continuity to client servicing and the financial situation. 

In the past few weeks, the coronavirus pandemic has hit the country and the insurance industry hard. Many states and cities have been rethinking public health measures, modifying government health plans and implementing significant changes in daily life.

According to the country’s health experts, amid this environment of fear and confusion, private health insurance companies with their restrictive insurance policies are struggling to keep up. So far, they have made some incremental changes to plans instead of doing some major overhaul. 

In several of the US hospitals, there are patients who are completely stable still waiting for authorization from their private health insurance companies, which might take days. So, instead of moving to a rehab facility, these patients are stuck.

Generally, the process of prior authorization is considered inefficient as it delays insurance payment to patients and intensifies their problems. However, now with thousands of COVID-19 patients being admitted in hospitals all over the country and with the shortage of beds being evident, the age-old red tapes are dominating. 

In this post, we will talk about the impact of the current outbreak on the insurance sector and give suggestions on the right policies for those who are still uninsured.

How Is the Insurance Industry Responding to This Crisis?

Insurance companies in the US are responding to the widespread COVID-19 outbreak in various ways including claim payments, capital management and employee safety. Each of these areas has its own set of challenges, not just in terms of the impact on the insurance industry, but also on the economy and society in a broader sense. 

Currently, the immediate concern for insurance companies is protecting the health and safety of employees while allowing the agents/brokers to maintain business continuity. Also, when it comes to consumers, the country’s largest insurance companies have announced that they will not charge patients for COVID-19 testing. However, the companies have confirmed that they have not waived the out-of-pocket expenses for the treatment, which could cost patients thousands of dollars.

Read Also: Do the Health Plans in the USA Cover Coronavirus Treatment?

Many insurance companies are setting fresh policies for remote work to comply with social distancing guidelines. As companies have started following remote protocols, they are trying to ensure that offsite workers can access various technological necessities such as a laptop, a virtual private network, audio/video communication and equipment for the IT team to answer customers’ questions. 

Insurers may also need to consider the circumstances of claims adjusters, who are often required to travel onsite for their duties. That could be a problem with the COVID-19 outbreak. To avoid such situations, insurers may need to set new protocols. Instead of in-person interactions with claimants, claims adjusters may have to investigate the claim from a remote location.

Impact on Insurers’ Financial Outlook

Insurers are also carefully considering the potential impact of COVID-19 on their short-term and long-term financial outlook; the long-term concern is how the pandemic will affect the overall economic environment.

According to the Insurance Information Institute, the impact of COVID-19 on the insurance industry and on global growth is likely to be more deep-rooted than what we are currently thinking. The report further states that the effects of the virus outbreak could slow down the global GDP this year by as much as 1 percent, making the possibility of recovery in 2021 bleak. For the insurance industry, the decline in the interest rate will have a heavy impact, particularly in the life insurance and annuity sectors. 

What About the Auto Insurance Sector? 

Currently, many states in the US are on lockdown and people all over the country are adhering to social distancing. As a result, driving around has significantly reduced. If for this reason you are considering getting a lower car insurance rate, the answer to that will depend on your auto insurance company. After the COVID-19 outbreak, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention has suggested that organizations encourage their employees to remote work. If the pandemic affects your commute only for a short period, you may not get lower rates or a mileage discount. 

These days, there has also been a request for auto insurance companies to reduce or refund premiums due to lockdowns. Also, the Consumer Federation of America and the Center for Economic Justice have urged the state insurance departments to convince auto insurers to provide relief from paying the premium for policyholders.

COVID-19 has affected many people’s income and they cannot afford to pay their auto insurance premium. In such cases, they need to call their agent or insurer right away. Many auto insurance companies have extended their grace period and are offering other payment options.

If you still do not have insurance or need to renew one, consult us now. We are a leading insurance brokerage firm dealing in a wide range of insurance options including health insurance, life insurance, auto insurance, etc. We will help you choose the best insurance with the desired coverage. For more info, give us a call at (650) 328-1000 or fill this online contact form and we will get back to you as soon as possible. 

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Do the Health Plans in the USA Cover Coronavirus Treatment?

The outbreak of corona virus or COVID-19 has placed the health sector all over the world in an unprecedented situation. The lack of any vaccine or antidote is making things more daunting when it comes to treating patients. 

Health Plans in the USA Cover Coronavirus Treatment

At the time of writing this article, the US alone has more than 368,000 cases, with over 10,000 deaths. In a country where the private sector provides most healthcare services, people are asking if their health insurance covers tests and cost of treatment of this virus.

On March 25, 2020, the US Senate unanimously passed the Corona virus Aid under the CARES Act with a $2.2 trillion package to tackle this crisis. 

The bill will broaden the range by covering the FDA-approved testing without cost-sharing by Medicaid and CHIP programs and will include the following:

  1. Tests conducted in labs on an urgent basis
  2. Tests managed by states and 
  3. Any other test considered appropriate by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

The CARES Act does not seem to provide extended coverage of diagnostic testing to public coverage such as Medicare, Medicaid, CHIP, military coverage or Indian Health Services. 

The bill, however, has amended the section of the Families First legislation that will allow state Medicaid programs to cover the expenses of testing for uninsured patients.

What Actions Have Health Insurance Providers Taken?

A large section of the country’s private health insurers have decided to waive off the expenses of testing for insured members. However, they have not made any commitment towards covering the cost of treatment for those who are ill due to the virus.

As there is no specific treatment for the corona virus infections, insurance companies are not providing expanded coverage for anyone, even the patients who need hospitalization. The bottom line is that the insurance companies have not agreed to waive the out-of-pocket expenses for treatment.

Now, the situation is getting a little more complicated with the involvement of private testing companies. One of the conditions for getting coverage for the COVID-19 test is that doctors or some other healthcare professionals need to order the test.

People, who have coverage from most private insurance companies, may find a test price on their benefits descriptions. However, they do not have to pay anything for the test. The country’s largest public insurance programs, Medicaid and Medicare, are also covering the expenses of testing and the federal health department has been publicizing it.

Will Uninsured Patients Get Help with Testing or Treatment for COVID-19? 

During this pandemic, 27 million people in the US with no insurance are bearing the greatest risk as they find the corona virus test unaffordable. Added to that, some of these people may be particularly vulnerable to infection, especially those working in low-paying jobs like food services; they have no health benefits and are constantly exposed to customers. 

The woes of uninsured workers do not end here. Many of them are facing the risk of losing their existing health coverage, as many organizations are planning to downsize due to COVID-19. 

The US states, advocacy groups and health care practitioners are now joining hands to provide support to uninsured people so that they get the testing/treatment done to prevent the virus from spreading. Besides the US citizens without health insurance coverage, thousands of illegal immigrants are also not eligible for such coverage. In addition, another 2 million people living across the 14 states that chose not to provide extended Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act would also slip off the coverage gap.

Healthcare professionals suggest that people without insurance suspected of having contracted corona virus seek proper medical care. According to the American Hospital Association, hospitals will treat uninsured people as they are treating others regardless of their ability to pay. However, it remains to be seen how extensively hospitals follow this, especially when it will come to out-of-pocket expenses for the treatment.

Get Your Health Insurance Now!

Amid this gloomy situation, one of the positive aspects is that several states that earlier did not expand Medicaid are now trying to provide temporary coverage to more residents.

If you still do not have an individual or family health insurance, now is the time to take immediate action. Sign up for insurance fast and we can assist you in comparing various plans before choosing one that is the most suitable for you and your family. Here you need to keep in mind that there are many insurance plans that do not include some key aspects of coverage. So, make an informed decision.

In states like California, all the insurance plans need to cover corona virus treatment as part of the mandatory health benefits. However, the scenario is not the same in other parts of the country. Therefore, patients who are rushing to enroll for health insurance these days need to be aware of junk insurance policies. 

To get more information on health insurance, call us at (650) 328-1000, or get a free health quote by filling out this form and we will get back to you shortly.