Mar 16, 2020

COVID-19 Testing Mandate Passed by the House, Now Moves to the Senate with Trump’s Support

COVID-19 testing photo

Early on Saturday morning (March 14, 2020), the House of Representatives passed a coronavirus relief bill, H.R. 6201, which includes, among several other provisions, the requirement that group health plans provide coverage for COVID-19 testing at no cost to participants.

COVID-19 testing under the proposed legislation includes the cost of a provider, urgent care center, or emergency room visit, if the visit results in an order for or administration of COVID-19 testingAs currently drafted, the coverage mandate does not apply to health care services for treatment after COVID-19 has been diagnosed.

H.R. 6201 also includes significant new paid sick and family leave requirements for employers with fewer than 500 employees, the details of which we will outline in a separate Legal Alert (to be published soon).

President Trump has expressed his full support for H.R. 6201, which will be presented to the Senate this week.  Although at least some Republican Senators have expressed concerns over the bill’s paid leave provisions, it is expected to be passed by the Senate in some form and then signed into law by the President.

We will continue to update you on the status of the proposed legislation, and any changes, as soon as information becomes available.  We will also provide more details once the legislation is enacted.  If you have questions about plan design changes to address COVID-19 in the meantime, please contact your Executive Compensation and Employee Benefits Counsel at Smith, Gambrell & Russell, LLP.

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