Cassidy, Daines cosponsor bipartisan bill ensuring private health coverage for coronavirus

U.S. Sens. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and Steve Daines (R-MT) on March 17 introduced bipartisan legislation that would require private health insurance plans to completely cover treatments or forthcoming vaccines for COVID-19.

“This bipartisan bill mitigates the coronavirus outbreak by ensuring that folks have access to testing and vaccines without costs,” Sen. Daines said. “Montana families need access to these important preventive services, and financial barriers should not stand in the way during this national emergency.”

Sens. Daines and Cassidy are original cosponsors of the Rapid Coverage for Coronavirus Vaccines Act, S. 3505, will bill sponsor U.S. Sen. Doug Jones (D-AL) to require private health insurance to rapidly cover preventive services and vaccines related to the coronavirus, according to the congressional record bill summary.

“When a vaccine is released for coronavirus, it needs to be available for all Americans as soon as possible,” said Sen. Cassidy. “Vaccine coverage by insurance companies is key to this. This bill ensures that coverage.”

Under the Affordable Care Act, private health plans must cover preventive services that receive an A or B rating by the U.S. Preventive Health Services Task Force, as well as immunizations recommended by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) with no cost-sharing.

If enacted, S. 3505 would stipulate the same requirements for any coronavirus treatment or vaccine that gets an A or B rating by the task force or is recommended by ACIP no later than 15 business days after the recommendation, according to a bill summary provided by the lawmakers’ offices.

“We have to do everything we can to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, added Sen. Jones. “Congress should immediately pass the Rapid Coverage for Coronavirus Vaccines and Treatments Act as part of a robust response to this virus.”