California physicians, dentists want payers to compensate for costs of COVID-19 gear

Listen

The California Medical Association sponsored legislation that would require health insurers to reimburse medical and dental providers for expenses incurred during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Kaiser Health News.

Such additional expenses cited include personal protective equipment, disinfectant and additional time needed to screen patients for symptoms before appointments.

"We've sustained a lot of financial costs," said Judee Tippett-Whyte, DDS, president of the California Dental Association. "We shouldn't have to bear the cost of this for ourselves." 

A recent request by physicians to bill CMS for pandemic-related expenses failed at the federal level. But a new law in Washington state requires private insurers to reimburse a portion of the costs through the end of the public health emergency, according to the article.

"Here we are with treatment and office levels back at pre-pandemic levels. Now they want additional payment from plans to pay for nonmedical expenses," said Mary Ellen Grant, a spokesperson for the California Association of Health Plans. "They've gotten plenty of help from the feds to cover these costs."

Health insurers argue that since April 2020, HHS has distributed $9.9 billion to more than 50,000 California providers through the Provider Relief Fund. They also cited additional government assistance in the form of grants, loans and advance payments on claims.

University of Pennsylvania law professor Allison Hoffman said health insurance companies "made a fortune over the past year" and are responsible for assisting providers with added COVID-19 costs.

 

© Copyright ASC COMMUNICATIONS 2021. Interested in LINKING to or REPRINTING this content? View our policies by clicking here.

 

Featured Whitepapers

Featured Webinars