Aetna, which is now owned by CVS Health (NYSE:CVS), is waiving cost-sharing and co-pays for members who are admitted to the hospital for treatment of COVID-19 or health complications associated with it. However, they will have to go to in-network facilities to get that benefit.
Earlier this month, Aetna waived co-pays for COVID-19 tests and for those using telemedicine services for any reason. CVS Health didn't give an estimate of how much it expects those waivers will cost the company. CVS Health was trading up by 5% at 1:38 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, while the S&P 500 was up 4.4%.
"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," Karen S. Lynch, president of the Aetna business unit and an executive vice president at CVS Health, said in a statement.
In states that have been hit the hardest by COVID-19, including New York and Washington, hospitals won't have to get advanced approval from Aetna for members requiring hospitalization for the coronavirus. Aetna is also working with hospitals to get patients with unrelated conditions transferred to other facilities or discharged to make room for patients with COVID-19.
In light of the natural anxiety that this pandemic is generating, Aetna is also opening up its Resources For Living employee assistance program to all members, even if that program isn't part of their normal healthcare benefits. The program includes phone support to deal with the emotional impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as referrals to support services in the community. Companies that offer Aetna healthcare will also have access to consultation with Aetna to help them meet the needs of their employees.