Key findings:

  • Sixty-eight percent of people say that out-of-pocket expenses would be a driving force in whether or not to seek treatment for COVID-19.
  • The Families First Coronavirus Response Act appropriated $1 billion to cover COVID-19 testing for uninsured people under Medicaid.
  • About 88% of enrollees in the individual and fully insured group markets are covered by plans that have taken action to limit out-of-pocket costs for patients undergoing treatment for COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic.
  • Massachusetts, Maryland and New York were considered to have taken the strongest responses with health policy action.

The COVID-19 pandemic has left many Americans uncertain about their health — not just in regards to contracting the virus, but also insurance coverage and out-of-pocket expenses for many who have been left unemployed. The unfortunate part for many Americans is that not all states have taken policy action to alleviate the uncertainties. An estimated 5.4 million people were left uninsured as a result of job losses,and one report estimates that 68% of people worry about out-of-pocket expenses as a reason for now seeking treatment for COVID-19. These uncertainties people are facing have been backed up by some states, but many are not taking enough health policy action for their people. We wanted to see which states are being most active in health policy during the pandemic.

Our team of analysts at QuoteWizard analyzed Kaiser Family Foundation data on health policy actions taken by each state. In order to rank each state on their response to COVID-19 through health policy action, we looked at seven health policy actions and their response to each policy. Each health policy was scored on a scale of 1 to 0, with 1 being full policy action and 0 being no action. States that scored the highest in the seven categories were states that are considered to have taken the fullest health policy action in response to COVID-19.

Waive cost-sharing for COVID-19 treatment - Waives all cost-sharing expenses for people who receive COVID-19 treatment at a hospital.

Free cost vaccine when available - When a vaccine becomes available, people in states that require a vaccine will receive one for free.

Early prescription refill - Lets people refill prescriptions early so patients will have enough supply of their medications in the event of shortages or lockdown events.

Premium payment grace period - Allows people to extend insurance premium payments so coverage does not lapse.

Expand access to telehealth services - States are expanding telehealth policy so people can receive medical consultation and reduce exposure to the virus.

Marketplace special enrollment period - Opening insurance marketplace special enrollment for people who lost health insurance coverage after becoming unemployed from pandemic layoffs.

Paid sick leave - Allows those who have contracted COVID-19 and family members who are caring for someone with COVID-19 to have paid sick leave.

Rank State Waive Cost Sharing for COVID-19 Treatment Free Cost Vaccine When Available Early Prescription Refills Premium Payment Grace Period Expands Access to Telehealth Services Marketplace Special Enrollment Period Paid Sick Leave
1 Massachusetts State Requires State Requires State Requires - Yes Ended Enacted
2 Maryland - State Requires State Requires Grace Period Extended for All Individual Policies Yes Ended Enacted
3 New York - State Requires - COVID-19 Diagnosis/Impacts Only Yes Active Enacted
4 Rhode Island - State Requires State Requires - Yes Ended Enacted
5 California - - State Requires - Yes Active Enacted
6 Washington - - State Requires Expired Yes Ended Enacted
7 Colorado - - State Requires - Yes Ended Enacted
8 Kentucky - State Requires State Requires - Yes -
Proposed - March 2020
9 Louisiana - State Requires State Requires Expired Yes - -
10 Oregon - State-Insurer Agreement - Expired Yes - Enacted
11 Connecticut - - - Expired Yes Ended Enacted
12 Maine - State Requires State Requires - Yes - -
13 Michigan State-Insurer Agreement - Expired - Yes - -
14 Alaska - - State Requires Expired Yes - -
15 Delaware - - State Requires Expired Yes - -
16 New Jersey - - - Expired Yes - Enacted
17 Vermont - - - - Yes Ended Enacted
18 Arizona - - - - Yes - Enacted
19 Idaho State-Insurer Agreement - - - Yes - -
20 Illinois - - - All Policies Yes - -
21 New Hampshire - - State Requires - Yes - -
22 New Mexico State Requires - - - Yes - -
23 Ohio - - - All Policies Yes - -
24 Oklahoma - - Expired Expired Expired - -
25 Arkansas - - - COVID-19 Diagnosis/Impacts Only Yes - -
26 Georgia - - State Requires Expired - - -
27 Minnesota State-Insurer Agreement - - - - Ended -
28 Mississippi - - - Expired Yes - -
29 Nevada - State Requires - - - Ended -
30 North Carolina - - - Expired Yes - -
31 West Virginia - - State Requires COVID-19 Diagnosis/Impacts Only - - -
32 Florida - - State Requires - - - -
33 Hawaii - - - - Yes - -
34 Indiana - - - - Yes - -
35 Iowa - - - - Yes - -
36 Kansas - - - - Yes - -
37 Montana - - - - Yes - -
38 Nebraska - - - - Yes - -
39 North Dakota - - - - Yes - -
40 South Dakota - - - - Yes - -
41 Texas - - - - Yes - -
42 Utah - - - - Yes - -
43 Virginia - - - - Yes - -
44 Alabama - - - - - - -
45 Missouri - - - - - - -
46 Pennsylvania - - - - - - -
47 South Carolina - - - - - - -
48 Tennessee - - - - - - -
49 Wisconsin - - - - - - -
50 Wyoming - - - - - - -