Chlora Lindley-Myers (Credit: Missouri Department of Insurance) Chlora Lindley-Myers (Credit: Missouri Department of Insurance)

Missouri — a state with a conservative Republican governor — has put out a bulletin asking health carriers to waive any co-payment requirements or other cost-sharing requirements related to related to testing for Covid-19 pneumonia.

The Missouri Department of Commerce and Insurance is also asking health insurers and managed care companies to prepare their provider networks for a Covid-19-related surge in cases, and to cover out-of-network on in in-network basis if their regular networks are not able to provide enough care.

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Chlora Lindley-Myers, the director of the Missouri department, has put those requests in Insurance Bulletin 20-03.

Lindley-Myers is also asking carriers to:

  • Adjust their formularies, or covered drug lists, to compensate for any disruptions caused by the Covid-19 outbreak.
  • Prepare to cover any Covid-19 immunizations that become available with no cost-sharing.
  • Keep utilization review programs from creating any barriers to people who might be infected with the virus that causes Covid-19, the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS CoV-2), getting care.

Much of the language in the Missouri bulletin is identical to the language in a circular letter that the New York Department of Financial Services posted Tuesday.

The Missouri bulletin leaves out some provisions from the New York letter that deal with matters such as surprise billing and coverage for ambulance services.

But the Missouri bulletin includes an additional section asking carriers to report on how they’re responding to the bulletin.

The Missouri bulletin lists Amy Hoyt, the department’s health insurance counsel, as the contact person.

New York state has a Democratic governor, Andrew Cuomo, and often takes a more different approach to regulating insurers than other states do.

Mike Parsons, Missouri’s governor, is a Republican who endorsed Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election.

Missouri is one of the states that has joined the Interstate Insurance Product Regulation Commission and lets the commission’s Interstate Insurance Product Regulation Compact handle its life, annuity, long-term care insurance and disability insurance product filings.

The Missouri bulletin may be a sign that regulators in a wide range of states may ask health carriers to waive cost-sharing requirements for Covid-19 testing.

In other Covid-19 news:

Susan Neely, the president of the American Council of Life Insurers, has posted a blog article encouraging members of the public to have confidence that life insurers will be there to help them weather the storm.

“Life insurers are subject to strict solvency regulations and state regulators require that companies set aside reserves adequate to meet unexpectedly large volumes of claims,” Neely writes in the article. “This strict oversight is a key reason why life insurers have been able to honor their promises through disruptive events in our nation’s history… While the coronavirus requires vigilance and a clear-eyed view of the risks and situation, policyholders should rest assured that life insurers are up to the challenge.”

Tom Considine, the chief executive officer of the National Council of Insurance Legislators (NCOIL), has announced that NCOIL is going ahead with holding its four-day spring meeting tomorrow, in Charlotte, North Carolina.

“We have been monitoring the spread of Covid-19 (coronavirus) carefully, and have consulted with public health experts,” Considine says in a statement about the decision. “We are aware that there have been elevated warnings against travel to specific regions of the world, but none in the United States.”

But Considine says NCOIL has decided to declare the NCOIL meeting to be a “Handshakes Free Meeting.”

“Studies have shown that fist bumps reduce the spread of infection by 90% compared to a handshake, while a friendly head bow at arms’ length reduces the risk even further,” Considine says.

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