On Wednesday, March 18, 2020, President Trump signed into law the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) which allocates billions of dollars to aid Americans impacted by the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

FFCRA includes a series of measures to help impacted Americans – from bolstering funding for food assistance programs to emergency paid sick leave and expanded paid family and medical leave.

Healthcare-Related Provisions Under FFCRA

Importantly, FFCRA also includes several healthcare-related provisions aimed at expanding access to COVID-19 testing and related services with no cost-sharing obligations for patients.

Below is a summary of the key ways FFCRA works to improve access to COVID-19 testing, at no cost to patients:

  • Requires certain private health plans and insurers to provide coverage for COVID-19 testing and certain related healthcare practitioner office visits, urgent care clinic visits, or ER visits that result in testing, without cost sharing or prior authorization/other medical management requirements.
  • Requires Medicare to waive cost-sharing for certain provider visits during which a COVID-19 diagnostic test is administered or ordered.
  • Provides for coverage, with no cost sharing, for COVID-19 testing (including associated cost of the provider visit in order to receive testing) by Medicare Advantage Plans.
  • Requires that Medicaid, CHIP, TriCare, and other federal programs provide coverage for COVID-19 testing and certain related provider visits, without cost-sharing obligations.
  • Allows for states to provide limited coverage to uninsured individuals under their Medicaid programs for COVID-19 testing.
  • Temporarily increases states’ Medicaid federal medical assistance percentage by 6.2% for the duration of the COVID-19 public health emergency, should states meet certain requirements.

If you have any questions regarding the information in this alert, please contact the authors of this alert or any attorney in our Healthcare Practice Group.