Health insurers have begun to phase out the COVID-19 treatment cost-sharing waivers that they have had in place for most of the pandemic. As vaccines have become broadly available in the U.S., insurers are starting to see the novel coronavirus as a “normal” disease — and plan sponsors like Delta Air Lines Inc. are beginning to see health benefits as another means to steer employees toward vaccination.

During most of 2020 and the first half of this year, most carriers took on the full cost of COVID-19 treatment for their fully insured members, waiving copays and other cost sharing. Many self-funded employer plan sponsors did the same. However, both types of health plans have begun to make COVID-19 care a normal health benefit with standard hospitalization and outpatient cost sharing applied.

The end of carriers’ cost-sharing waivers suggests that COVID-19 will become an endemic disease, Michael Lutz tells AIS Health, a division of MMIT. Lutz is a senior consultant at Avalere Health and former executive at Cigna Corp. and Independence Blue Cross.

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