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!

Mask Mandates on Public Transport Remain Through September

As the CDC eases strict mask guidance for the fully vaccinated, the TSA will continue requiring masks on public transport, including commercial flights, buses, and rail, through at least September 13, 2021.

The CDC has stated that fully vaccinated people can drop the mask when they’re outdoors — unless they’re in a crowd of people. CDC data projects that close to 85% of the United States population could be fully vaccinated by the end of August.

Special Enrollment Period for ACA Adds Flexibility

The CMS has finalized new regulations that allow additional flexibility for consumers signing up for ACA during a special enrollment period. Requirements for a SEP will include life changes like a job loss or divorce, and allows qualifying individuals to sign up for an SEP if they weren’t aware they’d had such an event. Consumers with COBRA coverage can always qualify for an SEP.

House Democrats Request CEOs Continue Covid-19 Waivers

Members of the U.S. House of Representatives have cosigned a letter to CEOs of Anthem, UnitedHealth, and Aetna/CVS Health requesting that they bring back Covid-19 treatment waivers. The companies phased out the treatment waivers in 2021, leaving group health plan members open to the possibility of paying expensive Covid-19 hospitalization bills. The representatives point out that the healthcare providers experienced a rise in revenue and profits in 2020, due to lowered requests for care by covered individuals, but CEOs continued to make millions in compensation. Covid-19’s average hospitalization cost has been calculated to range between $35,000-$45,000 for patients without insurance.

CVS Expands Free Community Health Screenings

CVS’s no-cost health screening program opens to fourteen more markets this year with additional locations across the southern United States and the southwest. Cities such as Jacksonville, Florida and Phoenix, Arizona are on the list. The program, called Project Health, offers free biometric screening to underserved communities and offers consultations with a nurse practitioner.

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