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Three major health insurance providers have now pledged to shield patients from high medical bills if they need treatment for COVID-19. Insurers Cigna and Humana announced Monday that they would waive consumer costs associated with COVID-19 treatment. Last week, CVS Health announced a more limited change — that Aetna would waive costs to patients for hospital admissions related to the coronavirus.

These announcements are a "big deal" says Sabrina Corlette, co-director of the Center on Health Insurance Reforms at Georgetown University. She notes that, on average, people's deductibles for health policies in the U.S. run between $1,800 and $6,500. "That's — for most families — a lot more cash than they have sitting in their bank account," she says. "So that's really scary.

All three insurers have now pledged to waive the patient's portion of a medical bill — what's called a patient's "cost sharing." That means, if your plan qualifies, you won't have to pay your full deductible before insurance will take over, or have to pay the usual fixed amount for a medical service or treatment (the copayment), or a percentage of the total bill (coinsurance).

These insurers have also pledged to waive costs to patients for coronavirus testing and telemedicine visits related to COVID-19 and its symptoms.

So far, Aetna and Cigna are pledging to waive COVID-19 treatment costs through qualified medical bills that are incurred until June 1, 2020. Humana's policy does not yet have an end date.

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