Welcome to the WBD News Flash, your weekly highlight of HR benefits and healthcare news. Weekly, we will provide you with the top trending industry news stories in healthcare, human resources, legislation, benefits technology and administration, and more. Make the WBD News Flash your go to reference for current events!
Insurers Call on Government to Fund Back-to-Work Testing
A letter from America’s Health Insurance Plans and the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association asks Congress to provide financial support for businesses, including federal funding for widespread COVID-19 testing. “We strongly support federal funding to account fo rate magnitude of tests that will be required to get the economy back on track,” the letter states. There are also requests to strengthen health insurance, make premiums less costly, and modify the CARES Act to mitigate the risks posed by the prospect of new, potentially costly, COVID-19 therapies which come on the market after plans have been approved for 2021.
Supreme Court Allows Employers to Opt Out of Birth Control Coverage
Employers with a “religious or moral” objection will be able to opt out of covering contraception for women, due to a 7-2 Supreme Court ruling. The case brought before the court was to uphold an exemption for religious nonprofits extended by the Trump Administration, but the exemption now extends to any employer with a “moral” objection. The court ruling could have far-reaching political consequences for the future, as it could bring the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act into the November election cycle. Read more at Kaiser Healthcare News.
Job Loss Spurs Massive Uptick in ACA Enrollment
More than one million Americans could join the Affordable Care Act’s insurance exchanges in 2020. Due to job losses related to the COVID-19 pandemic, exchange coverage is booming. Healthcare. gov reports 487,000 new enrollees since the end of last year’s open enrollment — a 47% increase over the same period of 2019. As a result, major insurers are making the move back to healthcare exchanges. In May, United Healthcare filed to enter the Maryland exchange for 2021.
HHS Testing Czar Calls for Tougher Fight on Virus
Adm. Brett Giroir, responsible for the Trump administration’s coronavirus testing response under the Health & Human Services Agency, joined the surgeon general in telling ABC’s “This Week” that areas hard-hit by COVID-19 outbreaks need to respond with action. The officials recommended face coverings, closing bars, limiting the number of diners in restaurants, and prohibiting mass gatherings of people. Admiral Giroir called mask-wearing “essential,” stating: “We have to have like 90 percent of people wearing the masks in public… if we don’t have that, we will not get control of the virus.”