Pence Plans to Discuss Coronavirus With U.S. Health Insurers

Vice President Mike Pence invited top executives from the largest U.S. health insurers to discuss the response to the coronavirus outbreak on Tuesday, as the White House sought to signal a more muscular effort to stem the outbreak and stock markets again stumbled.

Among the executives invited to attend are Gail Boudreaux, the chief executive ofAnthem Inc.,UnitedHealth Group Inc. chief executive Dave Wichmann, CVS Health Corp. Executive Vice President Karen Lynch and leaders fromHumana Inc., Blue Cross & Blue Shield Association,Centene Corp., and Americas Health Insurance Plans, according to three people familiar with the matter.

Also attending will be members of Pence’s task force overseeing the administration’s efforts to address to the crisis, including coronavirus response coordinator Deborah Birx and Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar.

House Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal meanwhile has invited officials from health insurers including Humana, Anthem,Cigna Corp. andAetna Inc. to meet with him Tuesday to discuss coronavirus testing and coverage, according to a House Democratic aide.

The White House declined to comment when asked about the purpose of the meeting, as did spokespeople for several of the companies invited to meet the president. But the administration has been stepping up its outreach to the business community as coronavirus spreads.

President Donald Trump and his economic team planned to weigh measures later Monday to contain the fallout from coronavirus and a sudden crash in oil prices. Possible steps include funding for a temporary expansion of paid sick leave and aid for battered U.S. energy producers.

Wall Street executives have been invited to the White House later in the week to discuss the outbreak and financial markets’ response. The benchmark S&P 500 indexfell the most in one day since the 2008 financial crisis on Monday as a crash in oil prices compounded investors’ worries about coronavirus.

— With assistance by Alexander Ruoff

Source: Read Full Article