COVID-19 Current Information Early July 2020

Here is some COVID-19 current information which I would like to share with you.

COVID-19 masks

From the Washington Post: “Face masks with coin-sized valves on the front might appear to be better options but they are not as good at preventing the spread of coronavirus than the seemlingly lower-tech, non-valved masks….Masks are recommended to prevent respiratory droplets from spreading into the air when you exhale, speak, cough or sneeze, and the valves allow those droplets through. Medical masks, you’ll notice, do not have valves specifically for that reason.

The best face masks to prevent the spread are still the simple cloth kind. A few layers of cotton prevent most of the potentially infectious respiratory droplets from escaping into the air around you, and they are also much cooler than the form-fitting N-95 masks.”

https://www.aarp.org/health/conditions-treatments/info-2020/wearing-face-masks-summer.html?cmp=EMC-DSO-NLC-WBLTR—MCTRL-070320-F1-4685481&ET_CID=4685481&ET_RID=33403781&encparam=MKdyQwd5f7V8P%2frk2bP0%2f5vowWZ23iUfS2U8DzV%2bhak%3d

insurance and COVID-19

After ten years in place, the Affordable Care Act continues to face challenges; this time with a request to the Supreme Court for consideration of eliminating the program. If the case is accepted, hearings are not expected to occur before October, with a decision to be made after the November elections.

There are several ongoing problems with eliminating the ACA, also known as Obamacare. First, the Republicans have yet to present an alternative program to cover the 32+ million currently enrolled in the plan. Secondly, as we face record unemployment, people are losing the health insurance coverage provided by their employer. Many have turned to the federal exchanges to obtain health insurance. COBRA premiums; keeping your employer provided health insurance while paying the full amount of the premium, is often too expensive to even consider, especially if you are unemployed with family coverage.

Modern Healthcare reported on June 25, 2020 that nearly 500,000 signed up on HealthCare.gov for medical insurance after losing other coverage since the December 2019 open enrollment period ended – a 46% increase compared to the same period last year. Many others of the 20 million unemployed will be eligible to enroll in the Medicaid programs administered in their state of residence.

While the administration has loosened the guidelines for short-term health plans, read the fine print carefully before enrolling in one of these medical insurance policies. You could be facing large out of pocket expenses if you need medical care beyond a routine doctor visit.

https://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/504625-house-report-finds-short-term-health-plans-leave-consumers-on-the-hook-for

paying for covid-19 related expenses

The initial time period that many insurance companies agreed to pay for COVID-19 related expenses expired at the end of June. The debate about who pays for the tests continues. Before you have any testing done, ask about the cost of the test. If you or a loved one are hospitalized due to COVID-19, also ask what related charges your insurance benefitis will cover. As the virus continues to spread throughout the country, I would anticipate that there will be new coverage agreements offered by insurance companies to both their contracted hospitals and medical centers and those whom they insure.

https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2020/06/19/880543755/insurers-may-only-pay-f

As we continue to live through this terrible pandemic, which will be with us for the foreseeable future, I hope that this information is helpful to you. Please contact me with any questions you might have about any of these topics or medical billing and insurance issues which you are experiencing.

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