On Friday morning April 10, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) released details regarding the first $30 billion in payments under the CARES Act.  The CARES Act provides a total of $100 billion in relief funds to providers “to support healthcare-related expenses or lost revenue attributable to COVID-19 and to ensure uninsured Americans can get testing and treatment for COVID-19.” Relief payments are being made beginning today to providers according to their Tax Identification Numbers.  All facilities that received Medicare Fee For Service (“FFS”) reimbursements in 2019 are eligible, and payments will be distributed based on their share of total Medicare FFS reimbursements in 2019.  Providers will be required to agree “not to seek collection of out-of-pocket payments from a COVID-19 patient that are greater than what the patient would have otherwise been required to pay if the care had been provided by an in-network provider.”

Providers will be required to sign and return Relief Fund Payment Terms and Conditions within 30 days of receiving payment.   HHS states that the remaining $70 billion appropriated in the CARES Act will “focus on providers in areas particularly impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak, rural providers, providers of services with lower shares of Medicare reimbursement or who predominantly serve the Medicaid population, and providers requesting reimbursement for the treatment of uninsured Americans.”   According to HHS, Humana, Cigna, UnitedHealth Group, and the Blue Cross Blue Shield system have agreed “to waive cost-sharing payments for treatment related to COVID-19 for plan members.”

Norton Rose Fulbright attorneys will continue to follow on a daily basis COVID-19-related developments pertinent to health care providers and publish regular updates in the Health Law Pulse.