MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Gov. Tim Walz, on his daily COVID-19 update conference call in conjunction with the Minnesota Department of Health, announced that Minnesota’s health plans would waive all patient cost-sharing for treatments associated with the coronavirus.

“This move will help ensure no Minnesotan has to sacrifice paying rent or buying groceries to cover a hospital bill from COVID-19,” Walz said. “I’m grateful Minnesota’s health plans are putting the health and safety of our fellow Minnesotans first during this pandemic.”

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Walz’s office said the move comes in response to the Governor’s Commissioners of Health and Commerce sending a letter on March 13 urging the health plans to remove barriers to coverage during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The health and safety of Minnesotans are the highest priorities of the nonprofit plans we represent,” said Lucas Nesse, president and CEO of the Minnesota Council of Health Plans.  “Uniform access to appropriate and affordable treatment is critical to controlling the scope of the pandemic, particularly for those with underlying medical conditions.”

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Blue Cross and Blue Shield simultaneously announced the waiving of cost-sharing in treatments related to COVID-19.

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BCBS said that the waiver would be in effect through May 31, and applies to all members in fully insured commercial plans, including through businesses, seniors enrolled in Medicare, and plans purchased by individuals.