Aetna waives patient payments for coronavirus hospital stays

One of the nation’s biggest health insures is waiving patient payments for hospital stays tied to the coronavirus.

CVS Health’s insurer Aetna said Wednesday that many of its customers will not have to make co-payments or other forms of cost sharing if they wind up admitted to a hospital in the insurer’s provider network.

The move could save those patients thousands of dollars, depending on their coverage and how much health care they’ve used so far this year.

The waiver lasts through June 1. It applies to the insurer’s 3.6 million customers who have individual insurance or get their coverage through a fully-insured plan offered by a small business. Big employers that offer Aetna coverage also can chose to waive those payments, a spokesman for the insurer said.

Many insurers have waived patient costs for testing or doctor visits and telemedicine to encourage people to get help with coronavirus symptoms. But Aetna, which covers nearly 23 million people, is the first major insurer to extend a payment waiver to the bills many patients will fear most if they become sick.