How Health Insurance Providers are Responding to Coronavirus (COVID-19)
According to a recent AHIP blog here are some ways health insurance providers are taking action:
- Aetna will waive co-pays for all diagnostic testing related to COVID-19, according to CVS Health. That includes all member costs associated with diagnostic testing for Commercial, Medicare, and Medicaid lines of business. Self-insured plan sponsors will be able to opt-out of the program at their discretion. Aetna is also offering zero co-pay telemedicine visits for any reason, and it is extending its Medicare Advantage virtual evaluation and monitoring visit benefit to all fully insured members. People diagnosed with COVID-19 will receive a care package. CVS Health is also offering several programs to help people address associated anxiety and stress.
Aetna, a CVS Health company, will waive member cost-sharing for inpatient admissions at all in-network facilities for treatment of COVID-19 or health complications associated with COVID-19. This policy applies to all Aetna-insured commercial plan sponsors and is effective immediately for any such admission through June 1, 2020.
- Anthem will cover the cost of coronavirus testing with no out-of-pocket cost. Anthem also confirms that prior authorization is not required for diagnostic services related to COVID-19 testing. The company recommends using telehealth when possible to help prevent the spread of a virus. It is also encouraging its members to talk to their doctor about whether it is appropriate for them to change from a 30-day supply of their regular medications to a 90-day supply.
On March 17, Anthem also announced new resources for its members. First, it is working to accelerate the availability of a Coronavirus Assessment tool on the Sydney Care mobile app, which members can download at no cost. Second, Anthem’s affiliated plans will continue to waive copays, coinsurance and deductibles for diagnostic tests for COVID-19, and extending this to include waiver of copays, coinsurance, and deductibles for visits associated with in-network COVID-19 testing, whether the care is received in a doctor’s office, urgent care center or emergency department. Third, Anthem is relaxing early prescription refill limits for members who wish to receive a 30-day supply of most maintenance medications, where permissible. Fourth, for 90 days, Anthem plans will waive any cost sharing for telehealth visits, including visits for mental health care, for fully insured employer plans, individual plans, Medicare plans, and Medicaid plans, where permissible. This includes visits using Anthem’s telemedicine service, as well as care received from other telehealth providers delivering virtual care. The Anthem Foundation continues to support the Red Cross, Direct Relief, Americares, and Feeding America, and is working to redirect up to $2 million to local Boys and Girls Clubs to help distribute meals to children and families in need. The company is matching employee donations to the Anthem Foundation’s program.
Anthem is increasing physician availability through its telemedicine service, LiveHealth Online (LHO), including encouraging in-network doctors to join the platform, given the surge in demand. LHO is a safe and helpful way to use Anthem benefits to see a doctor and receive health guidance related to COVID-19, without leaving home or work.
- Bright Health will cover COVID-19 diagnostic test and associated office as a preventive care service, so it is available at no cost to members, regardless of network. The company is also authorizing early medication refills for members who might be impacted by the outbreak. Non-emergency transportation is being made available to all members, and ride limits are being waived for non-emergency visits to and from their doctor. All telehealth services (online and virtual care) obtained in connection with COVID-19 testing and diagnosis is now covered, at no cost to members.
- Centene will cover COVID-19 testing and screening services for Medicaid, Medicare and Marketplace members and is waiving all associated member cost share amounts for COVID-19 testing and screening. The company will not require prior authorization, prior certification, prior notification or step therapy protocols for these services.
- Cigna is covering the cost of coronavirus testing, waiving all co-pays or cost-shares for fully insured plans, including employer-provided coverage, Medicare Advantage, Medicaid, and individual market plans available through the Affordable Care Act. Organizations that offer Administrative Services Only (ASO) plans will also have the option to include coronavirus testing as a preventive benefit. Recognizing that health outbreaks can increase feelings of stress, anxiety and sleeplessness and sometimes loss. Cigna is also staffing a second phone line for customers.
Cigna also announced it will waive customers’ out-of-pocket costs for COVID-19 testing-related visits with in-network providers, whether at a doctor’s office, urgent care clinic, emergency room or via telehealth, through May 31, 2020. This includes customers in the United States who are covered under Cigna employer/union sponsored group insurance plans, globally mobile plans, Medicare Advantage, Medicaid and the Individual and Family plans. Employers and other entities that sponsor self-insured plans administered by Cigna will be given the opportunity to adopt a similar coverage policy. The company is making it easier for customers with immunosuppression, chronic conditions or who are experiencing transportation challenges to be treated virtually by in-network physicians with those capabilities, through May 31, 2020. Cigna’s Express Scripts Pharmacy offers free home delivery of up to 90-day supplies of prescription maintenance medications. Cigna has opened a 24-hour toll-free help line (1-866-912-1687) to connect people directly with qualified clinicians who can provide support and guidance. Additionally, Cigna will offer a webinar to the general public raising awareness about tools and techniques for stress management and building resiliency, along with the ability to join telephonic mindfulness sessions.
Cigna will waive prior authorizations for the transfer of its non-COVID-19 customers from acute inpatient hospitals to in-network long term acute care hospitals to help manage the demands of increasingly high volumes of COVID-19 patients.
Cigna is waiving customer cost-sharing and co-payments for COVID-19 treatment through May 31. The policy applies to customers in the U.S. who are covered under Cigna’s employer/union sponsored insured group health plans, insured plans for U.S. based globally mobile individuals, Medicare Advantage, and Individual and Family Plans. Cigna will also administer the waiver to self-insured group health plans.
- Humana will waive out-of-pocket costs associated with COVID-19 testing. This applies to Medicare Advantage, Medicaid, and commercial employer-sponsored plans. Self-insured plan sponsors will be able to opt-out. The company is also waiving telemedicine costs for all urgent care for the next 90 days, and is allowing early refills on regular prescription medications.
Humana is waiving member cost share for all telehealth services delivered by participating/in-network providers, including telehealth services delivered through MDLive to Medicare Advantage members and to commercial members in Puerto Rico, as well as all telehealth services delivered through Doctor on Demand to commercial members.
Humana is waiving consumer costs for treatment related to COVID-19-covered services. Costs related to treatment for COVID-19, including inpatient hospital admissions, will be waived for enrollees of Medicare Advantage plans, fully insured commercial members, Medicare Supplement, and Medicaid.
The waiver applies to all medical costs related to COVID-19 treatment, as well any FDA-approved medications or vaccines.
There is no current end date for the waiver.
- Molina Healthcare will waive all member costs associated with testing for COVID-19. Any related visit to a primary care doctor, urgent care or emergency care does not require prior authorization.
Molina Healthcare has launched a Coronavirus Chatbot, an enhanced digital tool for members seeking information about COVID-19 risk factors and their own personal risk profile. This new self-appraisal feature is available for members looking for current insight, risk factors, live help, and appropriate action to take if symptoms are present.
- UnitedHealthcare is waiving costs for COVID-19 testing provided at approved locations in accordance with the CDC guidelines, as well as waiving copays, coinsurance and deductibles for visits associated with COVID-19 testing, whether the care is received in a physician’s office, an urgent care center or an emergency department. This coverage applies to Medicare Advantage and Medicaid members as well as commercial members. United is also expanding provider telehealth access and waiving member cost sharing for COVID-19 testing-related visits.
UnitedHealthcare is also opening a special enrollment period for some of its existing commercial customers beginning March 23 through April 6 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. UnitedHealthcare is also suspending prior authorization requirements to a post-acute care setting through May 31, and suspending them when a member transfers to a new provider through May 31.
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