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Aetna is waiving cost-sharing for inpatient hospital admissions related to COVID-19

Other insurers have committed to covering testing at no cost to patients, as well as treatment from doctor visits.

Aetna is among the first national insurance companies to waive cost-sharing and co-pays for inpatient hospital admissions related to COVID-19.

This is for commercially-insured members and is effective through June 1, according to parent company CVS Health.

Other insurers have committed to covering testing at no cost to patients, as well as treatment given from doctor visits.

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These forms of treatment are actually related to testing, according to an Aetna spokeswoman. Aetna is going a step further by covering inpatient hospital admissions for COVID-19 treatment and related health complications, the insurer said. .

WHY THIS MATTERS

Coronavirus cases in the United States have topped more than 86,000 as of  Friday morning, according to Johns Hopkins data.

Health insurance coverage is critical as the numbers nationwide climb and all 50 states report cases.

Aetna said it is also allowing hospitals in states with the strongest prevalence of COVID-19, like New York and Washington, to hospitalize patients for COVID-19 without advance approval, to expedite their care.

Other insurers have also committed to waiving prior authorization requirements.

The company said it is also working closely with partner hospitals to help transfer and discharge members with issues unrelated to COVID-19 to help hospitals and emergency rooms make room for more patients suffering from the coronavirus.

Aetna's employee assistance program is also offering support and resources whether or not individuals have the program included in their benefits. This includes phone support, community resource referrals and management consultation.

THE LARGER TREND

Worldwide more than half a million coronavirus cases have been reported.

Authorities are concerned the pandemic will strain the healthcare system, especially in places like New York City that has seen 365 deaths related to the virus.

America's Health Insurance Plans announced that insurers are covering testing and treatment for COVID-19 and are waiving prior authorization, along with telehealth cost-sharing,

ON THE RECORD

"We are doing everything we can to make sure our members have simple and affordable access to the treatment they need as we face the pandemic together," said Lynch.Karen S. Lynch, president of Aetna Business Unit and vice president of CVS Health.

Max Sullivan is a freelance writer and reporter who, in addition to writing about healthcare, has covered business stories, municipal government, education and crime. Twitter: @maxsullivanlive maxesullivan@gmail.com