The Families First Coronavirus Response Act, signed into law on March 18, 2020, is a  significant piece of federal legislation addressing the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.  Among its many provisions is a broad requirement that group health plans and health insurance issuers provide coverage for COVID-19 testing without any cost sharing, prior authorization, or other medical management requirements.  The mandate applies to both the individual and group markets, and to all grandfathered health plans.  Notably, the requirement applies only to testing – not treatment – but includes telemedicine and in-person visits.  It also includes items and services furnished to an individual during health care visits to the extent the items or services relate to evaluating the need for, furnishing or administering COVID-19 testing.

The new requirement took effect immediately.  Note that, under IRS Notice 2020-15, compliance with this new requirement (that is, coverage of COVID-19 testing) will not cause a high deductible health plan to fail to qualify as a high deductible health plan.  For more information on the impact of Notice 2020-15 on high deductible health plans, see our prior blog entry.