• Aetna said it is trying to make treatment available more quickly
  • The waivers apply to in-network facilities and will extend through June 1
  • CVS Health's pharmacy benefit manager, Caremark, said it is working to make sure no one is hoarding drugs that could be used as possible treatment


CVS Health announced Wednesday it has waived cost-sharing and co-pays for in-patient hospital admissions for COVID-19 for people with Aetna insurance coverage to “make sure our members have simple and affordable access” to treatment.

Separately, CVS Health’s Caremark pharmacy benefit manager is working to prevent hoarding of medications that are under consideration by federal authorities for treating victims of the pandemic.

The Aetna decision, effective through June 1, applies to in-network facilities and is available to all commercial policyholders.

“In states like New York and Washington with the strongest prevalence of COVID-19 cases, hospitals no longer need advance approval from Aetna for members requiring hospitalization for COVID-19. This change allows for expedited access to the necessary treatment,” the company said.

“Additionally, Aetna is working closely with partner hospitals to help transfer and discharge members with issues unrelated to COVID-19 from hospitals to safe and clinically appropriate care settings where they can continue to have their needs addressed. This will help hospitals and emergency rooms make room for more patients, especially those suffering from COVID-19.”

“We are doing everything we can to make sure our members have simple and affordable access to the treatment they need as we face the pandemic together,” said Karen S. Lynch, president of Aetna Business Unit and executive vice president of CVS Health.

Aetna also is offering employees mental health support.

CVS Caremark President Alan Lotvin said the company will take “proactive steps to help ensure the integrity of the supply chain. We are taking additional steps today to limit stockpiling that could result in future shortages and gaps in care. We will continue to anticipate and support the needs of our clients, who collectively provide prescription drug coverage for more than 90 million members.”

The announcement follows reports some doctors have been hoarding prescriptions of drugs under consideration as possible treatments for coronavirus The drugs include hydroxychloroquine, azithromycin, one protease inhibitor and albuterol inhalers, which are approved for treatment of lupus, bacterial infections, HIV, rheumatoid arthritis and asthma.

The company also has suspended prescription expirations for 90 days medications that had been due to expire before June 30.