Thursday, March 5, 2020

Very Brief Blog: VP Pence Defines Coronavirus test as "Essential Health Benefit"

On March 4, 2020, Vice President Pence defined coronavirus testing as an "essential health benefit."  Essential health benefit is a term of art that applies to health plans in the U.S. under the Affordable Care Act.
  • CNBC here.
  • Fox News here.
  • At, see transcript of Pence speech to Diagnostics CEO's - here.
Separately, CMS issued a press release on how coronavirus prioritization would affect other issues, like hospital and nursing home inspections (here).

My earlier blog on how coronavirus fit into existing LCDs for molecular virus testing is here.  My earlier blog on precision-medicine frameworks for understanding vulnerability to coronavirus is here.

"HHS has already denominated a test for coronavirus to be an essential health benefit, which — which is a — which ensures that it will be covered by people’s private health insurance.  It’ll be covered by Medicare and Medicaid.  And we’ll — we’ll continue to work in that way."


Nerd note.

Experts discuss what Pence meant - at AP, here.

See the HHS page for Essential Health Benefits at CCIIO here.   CCIIO is, " Center for Consumer Information & Insurance Oversight."

 The main categories are very broad - "ambulatory healthcare, emergency services, hospitalization, maternal care," etc.