Kaiser Permanente San Diego Medical Center in Kearny Mesa. Courtesy of Kaiser Permanente

Kaiser Permanente will extend a waiver through 2020 for most member out-of-pocket costs for patient services related to COVID-19.

Kaiser’s CEO said Friday that he hopes the waiver, in force since April 1 and originally set to expire Sunday, will help relieve financial stress for patients.

“Kaiser Permanente understands the financial impact that COVID-19 has had on our members and the communities we serve and is committed to ensuring they have access to the care they need during this time of crisis,” Chairman and CEO Greg Adams said.

“This move aims to alleviate any stress about paying for care, as well as any hesitancy to seek needed care,” he said. “The path forward through this pandemic must include identifying, treating and tracing as many cases of COVID-19 as possible as we work to suppress this virus.”

Kaiser has 4.6 million members across Southern California.

The elimination of member out-of-pocket costs applies to all fully insured benefit plans, in all markets, according to the company.

It will apply for all dates of service from April 1 through Dec. 31, unless superseded by government action or another extension.

The waiver does not automatically apply to self-funded customers who directly administer health benefits to their employees. Kaiser Permanente has encouraged those customers to adopt this change.

Kaiser Permanente also suspended all terminations for non-payment of premiums or out-of-pocket expenses from March 15 through Sunday. That suspension now extends through June 30.

– City News Service

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