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!
At-Home Covid Tests Hit Shelves Soon
Could the home Covid-19 test become a medicine shelf staple? Pharmaceutical companies are banking on government messaging shifting from vaccination to Covid-19 testing in the second half of 2021. Rapid Covid-19 tests are being rolled out by multiple companies hoping to bank on this messaging, according to Kaiser Health News. Testing kits range from $10 to $110, and some companies suggest that consumers should seek reimbursement from their insurance plans. According to diagnostic company Everlywell, which manufactures a higher-cost kit, tests can also be bought with health savings accounts and flexible spending accounts.
New Tax Credits Lower ACA Plan Prices
The Department of Health and Human Services is investing $50 million in outreach following the availability of new, lower subsidies for ACA healthcare plans. The increased tax credits were passed as part of the American Rescue Plan Act in March. Now, the HSS says, “many Americans on the marketplaces will see their premiums decrease, on average, by $50 per person per month, and $85 per policy per month.” Additionally, zero-premium plans are expected to allow three out of five uninsured adults to find coverage. Current ACA enrollees will need to submit a plan or re-select their current plan to take advantage of the increased tax credits.
GOP Lawmakers Hasten to Ban Vaccine Passports
The tech is in its infancy in the United States, and is currently only in use in Israel, but some lawmakers have rushed executive orders or legislation proposing the ban of vaccine passports. Citing health privacy rules and constitutional rights, GOP leadership in Florida, Pennsylvania, Montana, and Arkansas have all moved to prohibit businesses from requiring vaccine passports, health certificates, or travel passes from being used to screen potential customers. Acting CMS administrator Andy Slavitt has stated that vaccine passports are best left to the private sector, although the government may issue guidelines to steer the process and make sure some citizens are not left out of any passport because of cost, smartphone compliance, or language barriers. Read more at Modern Healthcare.