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CVS's Aetna Reduces Hospital Costs for Coronavirus Patients

Customers of CVS's Aetna won't be responsible for deductibles, copayments or coinsurance for inpatient hospital visits required to treat the coronavirus.

CVS Health’s  (CVS) - Get Report Aetna insurance division said Wednesday that patients covered by its commercial insurance won’t be responsible for deductibles, copayments or coinsurance for inpatient hospital visits to treat the coronavirus.

“These announcements build on previous efforts focused on eliminating out-of-pocket costs and cost-sharing for diagnostic testing and telemedicine visits and on expanding patient access to medications,” the Hartford, Conn., insurer said in a statement.

“Aetna will waive member cost-sharing for inpatient admissions at all in-network facilities for treatment of Covid-19 or health complications associated with Covid-19. 

"This policy applies to all Aetna-insured commercial plan sponsors and is effective immediately for any such admission through June 1, 2020.”

In addition, hospitals in coronavirus hot-spot states like New York and Washington will no longer need advance approval from Aetna for insured patients requiring hospitalization for the coronavirus.

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Aetna also is offering its members a mental-health hotline to deal with coronavirus-related anxiety.

CVS, the country’s biggest pharmacy chain, said Monday that it would hire 50,000 full-time, part-time and temporary workers around the country to cope with the onslaught of business brought on by the coronavirus.

Even in cities and states that are locked down, businesses that offer essential goods and services are allowed to stay open. Customers can purchase medicine and sundries at CVS and other pharmacies.

It is looking for store associates, home delivery drivers, distribution center employees and member/customer service professionals.

At last check, CVS shares traded little changed at $54.31. 

The stock has lost 20% in the month through Wednesday, compared with a 24% drop for the S&P 500 index.