Thursday, May 21, 2020View Showroom
Employer Groups Ask Congress to Provide COBRA Subsidies, Bolster Primary Care
A group of 36 organizations representing U.S. employers have urged Congressional leaders to bolster job-based health coverage and access to health care services by providing COBRA subsidies, shoring up primary care practices, and implementing programs to mitigate potential premium hikes. The joint letter delivered on May 19 outlined recommendations for policies to be included in the fifth COVID-19 relief package, which has been passed by the House of Representatives but is stalled in the Senate. The American Business Council, the ERISA Industry Committee, the National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions, and the Pacific Business Group on Health drafted the letter.
Administration Aims to Replenish Strategic National Stockpile to Brace for Second COVID-19 Wave
The Trump administration is moving to replenish a national stockpile of medical supplies to prepare for a potential second surge of COVID-19 or another respiratory illness, including adding critical care drugs. The announcement comes as some providers say they are continuing to have problems getting personal protective equipment as they fight the COVID-19 pandemic. Senior administration officials told reporters that they hope to add 300 million N95 respirator masks by the fall and eventually have 1 billion masks. The administration is also hoping to get 6 million to 7 million gowns.
Employers Can Let Workers Change Health Plans Without Waiting
The IRS made it easier for employers to allow workers to make adjustments to their health insurance plans and flexible spending accounts in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Under the new guidance, employers can let their workers drop out of their health insurance if they have another option or sign up if they failed to earlier in the year. Workers could also be allowed to add more family members to their plan, or switch from one workplace plan to another. The change doesn’t require employers to offer these options; they must opt in if they want to give their employees the added flexibility.
Alabama, North Dakota, and South Carolina to Debut Apple, Google’s COVID-19 Contact Tracing
Apple and Google released software on Wednesday that will allow public health agencies around the world to build their own apps to track who may have been exposed to COVID-19 using Bluetooth signals, with Alabama, North Dakota, and South Carolina the first U.S. states to sign on.