COVID-19 Insurance Updates

Insurance Commissioner Donelon issued two emergency rules in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The rules are promulgated under the authority of the statewide public health emergency declared by Gov. Edwards on March 11, 2020. They apply to all insurance regulated by the state of Louisiana.

On March 18, 2020, the Commissioner issued Emergency Rule 36. This emergency rule waives cost sharing for COVID-19 testing and prohibits imposing prior authorization requirements for that testing. It also permits early refills, except for drugs in certain drug classes like opioids, and enhances access to mail-order pharmaceuticals. It prohibits the use of step therapy and continues to ensure network adequacy in the face of increased demand.

On March 23, 2020, the Commissioner issued Emergency Rule 37. The rule expands access to telemedicine services and permits telemedicine visits conducted through the patient’s phone or personal device. It also requires insurers to cover mental health services via telemedicine, except for treatment that is not appropriate for remote delivery. The rule waives restrictions requiring patients to only conduct telemedicine visits with providers in the insurer’s telemedicine network. Finally, the rule requires insurers to evaluate their out-of-network cost sharing to ensure patients are not unreasonably charged extra cost sharing amounts under their insurance policy if in-network access becomes limited during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Employers with policies regulated by Louisiana should be aware of these developments.

Emergency Rule 36 »
Emergency Rule 37 »