President issues 6-point plan focused on business engagement in vaccinating the unvaccinated

On Thursday, Sept. 9, 2021, the President unveiled a 6-point COVID-19 response plan focused on 1) vaccinating the unvaccinated, 2) providing further protections for the vaccinated, 3) keeping schools safely open, 4) increasing testing and masking, 5) protecting economic recovery and 6) improving care for those with COVID-19.

The plan includes requiring more than 80 million Americans working in the private sector to receive a COVID-19 vaccine or produce negative test results at least once a week. It is expected that these new regulations will be issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in the coming weeks and apply to companies with 100 or more employees.

In addition, the executive orders require most federal employees and contractors doing business with the federal government to get the COVID-19 vaccine. This will apply to approximately 50,000 providers and a majority of health care workers that work in settings receiving Medicare or Medicaid reimbursement.

The plan also mentions increasing the supply of tests and reducing the cost of at-home tests, and includes the purchase of 280,000,000 rapid tests that will be distributed to support long-term care facilities, community testing sites, critical infrastructure, shelters serving individuals experiencing homelessness, prisons and jails and other vulnerable populations and congregate settings. 

UnitedHealthcare is evaluating what the Sept. 9 announcement might mean and once additional guidance is released, we will provide updates for brokers, consultants and customers. Please check the UnitedHealthcare COVID-19 FAQs for up-to-date information. 

In the coming updates and guidance from the government, we expect to learn more about who will be expected to cover the costs for weekly testing for unvaccinated members — the government, the unvaccinated individual, the employer or the insurer. UnitedHealthcare’s policy is to cover testing for employment, education, public health or surveillance purposes only when required by applicable law(s). Information on COVID-19 surveillance testing and other policies can be found on the health and wellness website.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the COVID-19 vaccine for use in preventing serious illness from COVID-19 among people aged 16 and older. The following COVID-19 vaccines also have FDA emergency-use authorization (EUA), among people aged 12 and older to help prevent serious illness from COVID-19. 

  • Comirnaty (Pfizer) -- requires 2 doses 
  • Moderna -- requires 2 doses
  • Johnson and Johnson -- requires 1 dose

To support members, customers and providers with COVID-19 vaccination, UnitedHealthcare has informed members that there is $0 cost-share for their vaccination during the national public health emergency period. We continue to provide resources to help members find COVID-19 vaccine information and provide communications to help encourage members to get vaccinated and to discuss vaccinations with their health care provider. Please visit the COVID-19 Vaccine Resource Locator to find and access COVID-19 vaccination providers.

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