by Matthew Albright, Chief Legislative Affairs Officer, Zelis

State governments are reacting to the Coronavirus with an incredible amount of activity in the past few weeks.

COVID-19 Testing: A number of states announced strict requirements on insurers, while other states requested insurer’s compliance or came to agreement with specific insurers. Among those state announcements, commonalities included: waiving cost sharing for testing, requiring insurers to waive prior authorization for testing, and allowing members to get prescriptions filled before scheduled refill dates.

Click the image below view these states and the emergency provisions they’ve passed.

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Telemedicine: States are addressing telemedicine in emergency orders and bulletins addressed to insurers. At this point, the majority of the states are simply reminding insurers of existing rules on telemedicine; others, like Colorado and Arizona, direct insurers to waive or lower the cost of telemedicine when it’s associated with COVID-19. In related news, Medicare announced that it was broadening the range of telehealth services it was covering and some insurers are voluntarily waiving fees for telemedicine.

Click the image below for a list of states referencing telemedicine and their specific provisions.

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As of this writing, legislative sessions have been or soon will be suspended, at least temporarily, in: Alabama, California, Colorado, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Missouri (Senate only), Nebraska, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Tennessee, and Vermont.

If there’s a silver lining to this period, it’s that state governments are working together, across party lines, to address insurance-related issues associated with the Coronavirus.