Second Emergency Funding Package Responding to COVID-19 Signed Into Law

March 23, 2020

On March 18, the President signed into law the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, the second emergency supplemental package designed to respond to COVID-19. The package requires private health plans, Medicare Advantage Plans, TRICARE, veterans’ plans, federal workers' health plans, and the Indian Health Service to cover the COVID-19 diagnostic test at no cost to the patient and without prior authorization, as long as the patient visits a health care provider, urgent care center, or emergency room before receiving the test.

Other insurance changes include:

  • Permits states to extend Medicaid eligibility to their uninsured populations only for the purpose of COVID-19 diagnostic testing. 
  • Provides $1 billion for the Health and Human Services (HHS) Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund for diagnostic testing to be administered to the uninsured. 
  • Creates Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System (HCPCS) codes specific to COVID-19 testing-related services. 

The package also makes additional changes to federal matching programs, paid leave, unemployment insurance, and food assistance. Changes include:

  • Increased Federal Matching Assistance Program (FMAP) by 6.2% during the COVID-19 emergency. This increase includes federal matching for Medicaid, Children’s Health Insurance Programs (CHIP), and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families programs (TANF).  
  • Temporarily provides up to 12 weeks of paid sick leave and family and medical leave for COVID-19-related absences to certain workers at companies with fewer than 500 employees, with some limitations. The paid leave is also available to self-employed workers. 
  • Provides $500 million in 2020 for emergency grants to states for activities related to processing and paying unemployment insurance (UI) benefits. 
  • Provides $1.2 billion to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and HHS to provide additional nutrition assistance to affected areas and populations, including low-income seniors and their caregivers, local food banks, pregnant and postpartum women, and students who lose access to school lunch programs as a result of COVID-19-related school closures. 
  • Grants states additional flexibility in providing nutrition aid under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the Child Nutrition Program.  

Congress is preparing a third emergency supplemental package to respond to COVID-19. The third package is expected to provide economic stimulus to impacted individuals and industries.  

ASCO is committed to providing the most current information and resources to its members and the larger oncology community to help ensure that individuals with cancer continue to receive high-quality care.

View the COVID-19 resources ASCO has compiled to support clinicians, the cancer care delivery team, and patients with cancer, and stay connected to ASCO in Action for policy updates related to COVID-19.