Coronavirus Stimulus Package FAQ: CT's Health Care System, Check Information

April 3, 2020

Last week, Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, and it was signed into law by President Trump last Friday.
To help Connecticut residents understand the details of the bill and how it can potentially provide assistance during the COVID-19 crisis, Senator Chris Murphy's office has compiled a list of frequently asked questions. Addressed below are questions relating to support for the state's health care system.

For further information on the state's response to the coronavirus, visit

Connecticut’s Health Care System

How can we make sure Connecticut is getting its share of money for medical supplies and Personal Protective Equipment for health care workers and first responders, as well as other?

  • The CARES Act includes $100 billion to ensure that health care providers continue to receive the support they need for COVID-19 related expenses and lost revenue that are otherwise unreimbursed. The HHS preparedness and response office plans to take applications on a rolling basis but has not yet opened up the process.
  • The CARES Act also includes $19.57 billion in funding to ensure the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has the equipment, tests, telehealth capabilities and support services necessary to support veterans and the health care workforce at facilities nationwide.

How do the laws support community health centers?

  • For community health centers on the front lines of testing and treating patients for COVID-19, the CARES Act provides $1.32 billion in new funding nationwide. The law also provides flexibility to expand telehealth coverage under Medicare to health centers.

Will I have to pay for a coronavirus test?

  • The Families First Coronavirus Act waives cost-sharing (such as deductibles, coinsurance, or co-pays) for COVID-19 diagnostic testing and related health care services for individuals enrolled in private insurance plans, Medicare, Medicare Advantage, Husky/Medicaid, CHIP, TRICARE, VA as well as federal civilians, American Indians, and Alaska Natives. That law also prohibits plans from using tools like prior authorization to limit access to testing.

How does this law affect the cost of a vaccine when one becomes available?

  • The CARES Act ensures that once a vaccine is developed and is approved by the U.S. Government as a preventive measure that it will be covered by private insurers and free to Medicare beneficiaries with Part B.
  • This law also provides over $27 billion to support research and development of vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics to prevent or treat the effects of coronavirus.
  • These resources are in addition to $826 million to the National Institutes of Health to support basic research and the development of vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics; and $2 billion to support advanced research and development of vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics that was included in the first COVID-19 appropriations.

How does this law increase access to telehealth services for seniors and other Medicare Beneficiaries?

  • The Act allows more clinicians to provide telehealth services to Medicare beneficiaries, including in beneficiaries’ homes to avoid potential exposure to COVID-19, and provides more flexibility for health centers, rural health clinics, hospice physicians and nurse practitioners to utilize telehealth and remote patient monitoring services.

How can seniors and others get prescriptions filled while social distancing?

  • The law allows Medicare Part D recipients to get up to 90 days of a prescription, if that is what the doctor prescribed, as long as there are no safety concerns.
  • Medicare drug plans will also allow beneficiaries to fill prescriptions early for refills up to 90 days, depending on the prescription.
  • Governor Lamont also issued an Executive Order that provides pharmacists in the state with the discretion to fill a ninety-day refill of prescription drugs under certain circumstances.

Support for the State of Connecticut

What resources are provided for Connecticut to support critical efforts in the state to respond to this crisis?

  • The law includes $150 billion for a “Coronavirus Relief Fund” to send direct payments to states, tribal authorities, and local governments to help pay for necessary expenditures related to addressing the COVID-19 public health crisis. The state of Connecticut is expected to receive approximately $1.3 billion from this fund.
  • There’s also $1.5 billion to support state, local, and tribal public health department activities to be used for medical supplies, surveillance, lab testing, infection control and mitigation. Connecticut is estimated to receive almost $8 million from this fund to support state and municipal activities related to the COVID-19 response.
  • This is in addition to $950 million that Congress included in the first COVID-19 appropriations package. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provided $7.558 million on March 11 to Connecticut to support the state and local public health response.

One area that I know a bunch of folks have asked about – thanks to the work of our federal delegation, Social Security beneficiaries who do not complete tax returns normally will no longer need to complete a special form to get their check. The IRS will use information on file with the Social Security Administration.

A link to more details as well as questions and answers regarding stimulus checks can be found by clicking the image below:

The IRS says they plan to send money out starting next week where they have direct deposit information on file. If you do not have it on file, there will be an online form to complete OR they will, eventually, mail the check. The Washington Post is reporting that some individuals will not get their checks until September.