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Health insurers stockpile savings while hospitals battle costly pandemic

On October 27, 2020, Law 360 reported that health insurers have been hoarding premium dollars during COVID-19, including refusing to cover emergency care they decide isn't warranted. Are we really all in this together?

During the COVID-19 pandemic, hospitals and health systems have fully embraced their role in responding to the public health crisis, moving mountains to offer community testing services and providing care for patients with COVID-19, even while dealing with serious cuts to their revenue models. Frontline doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals are being hailed as heroes—and rightly so, as they not only are learning how to treat an unprecedented and unpredictable virus but are also offering emotional and spiritual support to individuals who are ill and suffering, and isolated from their families. Then you have health insurers. While the rest of the healthcare industry stretches and strains to meet the pandemic’s demands, they alone have been experiencing record profits. And they’re not just passively reaping the financial benefit of patients delaying care. According to the American Hospital Association, they are actively blocking access to care and putting unnecessary burdens on providers during this pandemic. From unfairly denying coverage of emergency services to refusing to pay providers for certain kinds of inpatient cases, to launching new reporting requirements for labs, to refusing to pay for COVID-19 tests, the AHA has no shortage of proof points to back up its argument.

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