What We're Reading: Geisinger Waives COVID-19 Treatment Costs; World Health Organization Criticized; Reopening Schools in the Fall

April 8, 2020

Geisinger Health Plan is waiving coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) testing- and treatment-related costs; President Donald Trump comes down hard on the World Health Organization; there is optimism that schools could reopen in the fall.

Geisinger Health Plan to Offer Free COVID-19 Testing, Treatment

Geisinger Health Plan yesterday announced that it will not charge members for any in-network testing and treatment related to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19); this covers deductibles, co-pays, and coinsurance. The move supersedes a previous notification from the plan provider that it was waiving member cost sharing for the same. In addition, GHP will allow plan participants to get early refills for most 30- and 90-day prescriptions, waive prior authorization requirements for COVID-19 testing and treatment, and provide free telehealth services via Teladoc through June 15.

WHO May Lose Funding From the United States

Citing lack of an aggressive response to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to The New York Times, President Donald Trump may withhold US funding for the World Health Organization (WHO). At the heart of this possible decision is an accusation by Trump that the global public health group did not respond fast enough to the COVID-19 crisis, which is similar to accusations his administration, too, has faced. The yearly budget for WHO is close to $6 billion, of which the United States contributes just over 9%, or $553 million. The final decision is currently up in the air, per Politico, in noting how the president said he was still “looking into it.”

Schools May Be Able to Reopen in the Fall, Fauci Claims

Anthony S. Fauci, MD, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, who has taken on a leading role with the president’s COVID-19 response team, says schools nationwide could reopen for the 2020-2021 school year, reports The Hill. He noted, however, that preventive measures, such as widespread testing, should be in place at that time in case of a resurgence. Fauci also noted the possible availability of a new antibody test by that point, which could direct future treatment decisions.