News

Melissa Riba quoted on upcoming changes for COVID-19 patient cost-sharing

August 27, 2021 | Bridge Magazine, In The Media

Bridge Magazine’s Robin Erb and Makayla Coffee quote Melissa Riba, director of research and evaluation at the Center for Health and Research Transformation (CHRT), in “Costs rising for Michigan COVID care with return of deductibles, copays.”

The story discusses an upcoming shift in patient cost burden for COVID-related illnesses—costs that have largely been waived by Michigan’s largest insurers for more than a year, ensuring that patient costs remained low.

By September 30, 2021, at least six insurers will resume charging copays and deductibles for COVID-related care.

Riba explains that while we’ve tried to encourage more Michigan residents to get vaccinated through a variety of incentives, this shift represents “the leading edge of the stick” in a carrot-and-stick approach.

She notes that shifting the COVID-19 cost burden to patients signals “moving away from the incentives to more of the penalties associated with making a choice to be non-vaccinated,” a shift that reflects a national trend among health plans as vaccines have become widely available to the public.

Insurers have noted that waivers for cost-sharing were intended to be temporary before vaccines were available.

READ THE ARTICLE