To stay on top of the latest COVID-19 news as it relates to the industry, sign up for our daily newsletter here.
Advocate Aurora Health is holding off charging patients for coronavirus testing and treatment, one of the first systems in the country to declare its policy amid the fast-moving illness.
The nation's 10th largest hospital system said in a statement Thursday, "At this time, we are refraining from sending patient bills related to coronavirus as we continue to work with regulatory and industry officials to navigate this developing situation."
The hospital system, based in Downers Grove and Milwaukee, said it wants to make sure people get tested and treated. Advocate Aurora has 28 hospitals across Illinois and Wisconsin.
"As we further accelerate our efforts to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, we are committed to ensuring residents of Illinois and Wisconsin seek medically necessary testing and care," a spokeswoman said in an emailed statement. However, "this is not a commitment to waive fees indefinitely and Advocate Aurora Health may send out bills later."
Advocate's announcement comes after insurance companies like the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association's 36 independent companies, including Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Illinois, said they will waive cost-sharing for some health plan members.
For members diagnosed with the coronavirus, Blues plans will waive prior authorizations—in which doctors obtain approval from insurers before providing medical care—for diagnostic tests and "covered services" it deems "medically necessary" and consistent with CDC guidance, according to a statement. Under the same conditions, the plans will also cover diagnostic tests at no cost to patients.
This story first appeared in our sister publication, Crain's Chicago Business.