But the December coronavirus relief package that passed in Washington included a measure to keep the threshold at 7.5% permanently going forward. (Permanent, of course, could be viewed as a relative word when it comes to tax policy.)
The 7.5% threshold was viewed as a big victory for seniors and others who face high medical expenses.
COVID-19 expenses you might face
When it comes to the coronavirus, no one should be charged out of pocket to pay for the vaccines, whether you have insurance or not.
But consumers could face other expenses.
On the plus side, high-deductible health plans were permitted to cover testing and treatment for COVID-19 without a deductible, Luscombe said. So that may have helped some consumers limit some out-of-pocket expenses.
When it comes to testing, federal law requires health insurers to cover COVID-19 testing — including the test itself, the related visit, and other services related to testing — with no cost-sharing for people covered by most private health plans, Medicare and Medicaid, according to the Peterson Center on Healthcare and the Kaiser Family Foundation.
Even so, it's possible some patients, including the uninsured, could receive bills for COVID-19 diagnostic testing and related services, and those bills often can be widely different from patient to patient.
Some plans denied COVID-19 testing claims or applied cost sharing for COVID-19 testing for asymptomatic individuals unless they had known or suspected that they were exposed to COVID-19 and had a referral for testing from their provider, according to a report by the Peterson Center on Healthcare and the Kaiser Family Foundation.
And in some cases, the report noted, some plans denied COVID-19 testing claims unless directly ordered by a physician.