NEW: Now sharing carriers’ COVID-19 vaccine responses!
Dickerson’s Carriers Answer Pressing Questions on the COVID-19 Crisis.
On April 3, 2020 we hosted a Q&A webinar with our carriers, having them answer some of the most pressing questions about the current COVID-19 crisis. Click here for a recording of this webinar, or click here to download a transcript of the carrier’s responses.
See below for our individual carrier’s responses to COVID-19 as well as other guides. To the right you’ll find links to resources from our corporate parent, Alera, as well as small business guidance from the SBA.
In response to COVID-19, Aetna is offering the following support to members:
- Waiving copays for all diagnostic testing related to COVID-19. This policy will cover the cost of physician-ordered testing at approved lab locations for patients who meet CDC guidelines
- Waiving member costs associated with diagnostic testing at any authorized location for all commercial, Medicare, and Medicaid lines of business
- Aetna extended all member cost-sharing waivers for covered in-network telemedicine visits for outpatient behavioral and mental health counseling services through January 31, 2021
- Aetna self-insured plan sponsors offer this waiver at their discretion.
- Through Aetna’s Healing Better program, members diagnosed with COVID-19 will receive care packages containing over-the-counter medications for symptom relief. This care package will also include personal and household cleaning supplies to help keep others in the home protected from potential exposure.
- Crisis Response Lines for all Aetna (commercial, Medicare, Medicaid) and Caremark members who may be experiencing anxiety related to COVID-19
- Expanding 24×7 access to the Aetna Nurse Medical Line for all Aetna and Caremark members
Anthem Blue Cross
In response to COVID-19, Anthem is offering the following support to members:
- Covering care costs for members diagnosed as having COVID-19, based on members’ plan benefits
- Providing coverage for COVID-19 screening tests at no out-of-pocket cost. Prior authorization not required for diagnostic services related to COVID-19 testing
- Access to Virtual Care and Development of a Coronavirus Assessment via Anthem’s Sydney Care Mobile App
- Anthem’s telehealth provider, LiveHealth Online, is available for members at no extra cost through December 31, 2020. It’s a safe and effective way for members to see a doctor and receive health guidance related to COVID-19 from their homes via smartphone, tablet, or webcam
- 24/7 NurseLine, where members can ask registered nurses a variety of questions, including how to choose the right level of care
- Relaxed prescription refill limits, where permitted, for members who wish to receive a 30-day supply of most maintenance medications early
Blue Shield of California
In response to COVID-19, Blue Shield is offering the following support to members:
- Waiving all cost-sharing and any prior approval for COVID-19 testing prescribed by a physician. This includes cost-sharing for hospital, urgent care, emergency room, and office visits where the visit is to screen or test for the virus
- No prior authorization required for medically-necessary emergency care, consistent with current practice
- Waiving Teladoc cost-sharing for all members through December 31, 2020. Blue Shield recommends members and employees reach out to their Teladoc or NurseHelp 24/7 service to report their condition to their family doctor or urgent care clinic
In response to COVID-19, Choice Administrators is offering the following support to members:
- Please refer to their carriers for specific policy updates regarding Covid-19 medical care.
- Choice Administrators also has a Business Community Plan in place.
In response to COVID-19, Cigna is offering the following support to members:
- Covering COVID-19 testing similar to a preventive benefit for fully-insured and Administrative Services Only (ASO) plans, by waiving copays, deductibles and co-insurance for members
- Waiving all copays or cost shares for testing prescribed by health care providers
- ASO self-funded benefit plans that wish to opt out of this enhanced coverage must submit in writing a request stating the plan does not wish to offer or waive copays, coinsurance, or deductibles for plan participants
- Submission in writing is required within 10 business days of this communication. If a written communication is not received within that time period, copays, coinsurance, or deductibles will be waived for COVID-19 testing for employees.
- If Cigna did not receive written communication on time, copays, coinsurance, or deductibles will be waived for COVID-19 testing for employees.
In response to COVID-19, Guardian is offering the following support to customers:
- Someone unable to work due to having or being exposed to COVID-19 (certified by a medical professional) may file a Disability Insurance (DI) claim.
- Employees unable to work because they are caring for an ill or quarantined family member with COVID-19 (certified by a medical professional) may file a Paid Family Leave (PFL) claim
- If a member’s employer reduced their hours or shut down operations due to COVID- 19, the member can file an Unemployment Insurance (UI) claim
- For more information on California, please visit this web page.
In response to COVID-19, Health Net is offering the following support to members:
- Waiving cost-sharing (deductibles, copayments and coinsurance) for medically-necessary COVID-19 screenings and tests
- Waiving cost-sharing for doctor office, urgent care, and outpatient hospital (including emergency department) visits for medically necessary COVID-19-related services
- No prior authorization required for lab work for screening and testing, so waivers are not required
- No prescription refill limits for medically-necessary, COVID-19-related services
- Relaxed restrictions on home or mail delivery of prescription drugs
- Treatment for COVID-19 is a covered benefit under the Health Net plans
- For members admitted to the hospital for COVID-19 treatment, the hospital is required to follow standard Health Net prior authorization and notification requirements.
In response to COVID-19, Kaiser is offering the following support to members:
- Waiving member costs related to COVID-19 screening or testing
- If members test positive for COVID-19, additional services, including hospital admission (if applicable) will be covered and charged according to the normal plan coverage rules
- A five-part COVID-19 informational video series that members may find informative in helping prevent the spread of COVID-19
In response to COVID-19, LA Care is offering the following support to members:
- Waiving all costs associated with screening, testing and medically-necessary treatment for COVID-19.
- Offering Telehealth services to members. Telehealth allows members to have urgent via phone or video chat and can be used to address minor illnesses, minor injuries, seasonal sickness, allergies, skin conditions, and treatments
- The Nurse Advice Line is also available to members 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at (800) 249-3619 (TTY 711).
- Creation of LA Care Community Link, which can assist with food, employment and other issues brought on by the pandemic
In response to COVID-19, MediExcel is offering the following support to members:
- Waiving all cost-sharing for COVID-19 testing prescribed by a physician for patients who meet CDC guidelines
- A Member Services Line at (619) 365-4346 for members to call before going to Excel Hospital if they have a fever, respiratory symptoms, have traveled to Asia, Europe or the Middle East recently, or were exposed to someone with COVID-19
- Excel Hospital in Tijuana now has a respiratory triage area to support the potentially high demand for screening where all arriving patients are being screened for symptoms. MediExcel’s providers in Mexicali and Tecate are readying their facilities
- Call the Doctor Line is also available from Monday – Saturday, 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM
In response to COVID-19, Metlife is offering the following support to customers:
- Under 500 employees: If the new leaves under the Act qualify for a “disability” under your client’s existing Short Term Disability (STD) program with MetLife, STD will run concurrently with FMLA and offset the federal benefits, subject to the terms and conditions of MetLife’s program
- Offering an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) that provides 24/7, confidential access to professional support to help employees manage stress, anxiety, grief, financial concerns, and much more. Employees can connect to support by phone, video or chat
- Employee access to a vast library of online resources for coping with trauma, building resiliency, self-care and managing change
- Licensed Grief Counselors from Lifeworks are available for insured employees and their dependents if they experience a loss, regardless of cause of death, or are diagnosed with a potentially life-threatening disease such as COVID-19
In response to COVID-19, Molina is offering the following support to members:
- Coverage of testing for COVID-19 at no copay or cost-share for members who meet the guidelines for testing and have a doctor’s order
- Members who feel sick and wish to seek medical advice can use the Molina Nurse Advice Line to discuss symptoms and treatment options
- Telemedicine and “virtual visits” with doctors are encouraged to reduce the risk of being exposed to other sick people in the doctor’s offices
In response to COVID-19, Oscar is offering the following support to members:
- An online COVID-19 risk assessment survey which includes a care plan option
- Waiving cost-sharing for COVID-19 screening for members when a doctor recommends testing
- Waiving early refill limits on most prescription drugs at all pharmacies
- Continuing to offer $0 telemedicine services (Doctor on Call). Telemedicine physicians can recommend COVID-19 testing and direct members to the right place for testing
In response to COVID-19, Principal is offering the following support to customers:
- For employees quarantined due to COVID- 19 and unable to work from home, standard continuation language provides coverage to the end of the month. If a quarantine period extends into the next month, Principal will continue coverage until the end of that month
- For employees who have tested positive for COVID-19, Principal continues coverage for the duration of the illness
- An employee who does not have a disabling medical condition is not considered disabled if they are quarantined due to COVID- 19
- Employees who fall ill due to COVID-19 might qualify as disabled if they satisfy Principal’s definition of disability and all other provisions outlined in the policy
- Principal does not have a pandemic-specific exclusion in its group benefit policies and evaluates COVID-19 as it would any other medical condition
- Extending telephonic EAP support for all group benefit clients that may have employees who are feeling overwhelmed or anxious about COVID-19. Employees can contact Magellan Healthcare 24/7 at (800) 450-1327 for free, confidential consultation services
Sharp Health Plan
In response to COVID-19, Sharp is offering the following support to members:
- Covering COVID-19 screening and/or testing costs when recommended by a health care provider as medically necessary
- Reducing the cost-share to $0 for all medically necessary screening and testing for COVID-19
- Offering telehealth services via video and phone with available medical professionals
- Relaxed early refill limits on 30-day prescriptions for maintenance medications at any in-network pharmacy
United Health Care
In response to COVID-19, United Healthcare is offering the following support to members:
- Waiving cost-sharing for Covid-19 tests and testing-related visits
- Telehealth is available 24/7 via FaceTime, Skype, Zoom, or dedicated telehealth applications
- Waiving cost-sharing for telehealth benefit through June 18, 2020
- Members with an OptumRx pharmacy benefit can request early prescription refills through their pharmacy
All information on this post were culled from communications with Dickerson Insurance Services carrier partners. Information is not guaranteed to be accurate and is subject to change at any time.