Guidance for required Medicaid and CHIP coverage for COVID-19-related treatment

Oct. 25, 2021

Ensuring that 144 million people enrolled in Medicare, Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) have access to COVID-19 treatments, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued guidance to states about the statutory requirement for states to cover COVID-19-related treatment without cost-sharing in Medicaid and CHIP for many seniors, low-income adults, pregnant women, children, and people with disabilities who receive health coverage through these programs. This includes care for conditions that could complicate the treatment of COVID-19 in patients who are presumed positive for the virus or have been diagnosed with COVID-19.

In addition to issuing today’s Medicaid and CHIP guidance, CMS recognizes and applauds the efforts that many private issuers have taken to waive cost sharing for COVID-19-related treatment in the commercial market. Along with today’s guidance, CMS encourages private health plans to continue to take steps to ensure consumers have coverage for treatment for COVID-19, including for long COVID, without cost barriers.

Under the ARP, states are required to cover COVID-19 treatments without cost-sharing, including preventive therapies and specialized equipment, beginning March 11, 2021 and generally ending over a year after the COVID-19 public health emergency ends. This coverage also includes treatments for post-COVID conditions, which are often described as “long COVID.”  Long COVID includes a range of symptoms that can last weeks or months after infection. Additionally, during the same time frame, states are required to cover, without cost-sharing, treatments for conditions that may seriously complicate the treatment of COVID-19 for individuals who have or are presumed to have COVID-19, if otherwise covered under the state plan (or waiver of such plan, including a section 1115 demonstration), during the period when they are diagnosed with or presumed to have COVID-19. 

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