UnitedHealthcare has a team closely monitoring COVID-19 and, as with any public health issue, we are working with and following all guidance and protocols issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), state and local public health departments in supporting our members’ needs.
To help ensure our members have access to care, on March 7th UnitedHealthcare announced that we will waive member cost sharing for approved and authorized COVID-19 testing for fully-insured commercial, Medicaid and Medicare members.
Our public health and infectious disease experts — working closely with federal, state, and local officials — have implemented a robust monitoring and planning process for coronavirus. Their insights are helping us diagnose and provide care for patients who are being screened for, or are confirmed to have, the virus.
Below is an overview of what we’re doing to help ensure our members have the right information and know how to access the right care.
- Keeping our members informed: We’re keeping our public website updated, posting communications at our medical facilities, and sending informational emails and messages to our members to help them prepare. These materials include evidence-based best practices for prevention, as well as facts about the virus itself. We’re also making sure our members know it’s easy to get care and advice through our established telehealth options — including phone, email, chat and video — without an in-person visit.
- Ensuring access to care: Kaiser Permanente has a business continuity plan and pandemic policy in place. We’ve opened a national command center and command centers in all of our regions, including Colorado, to prepare our staff and facilities for potentially large numbers of members who may become ill or are concerned they might be ill.
- Understanding the risk: This is a rapidly evolving situation and we are monitoring the reports from CDC and other health agencies to guide our understanding of the spread of COVID-19. We are aware of community transmission in certain parts of the country and are actively taking steps to support our members and communities.
- Relying on experts and best practices: Kaiser Permanente has confronted highly infectious diseases for years, and we’re confident we can safely treat patients who’ve been infected with this virus, with limited risk to other patients, members, and employees. Staff at all our medical offices regularly drill using various disaster scenarios, including detection of infectious diseases, and have practiced — and are following — CDC protocols to be used with the coronavirus.
- Partnering with the National Institutes of Health: The National Institutes of Health has selected the Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute to launch the first clinical trial of an experimental coronavirus vaccine.
Update on steps Humana is taking to support you and your employees during the Coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak.
Care for your employees
Our highest priority remains the care of our members – your employees. Therefore, Humana will waive out-of-pocket costs, where allowed within state and federal law, associated with testing for COVID-19 for patients who meet CDC guidelines at approved laboratory locations. Self-insured plan sponsors will be able to opt-out of the program at their discretion.
Additionally, Humana is working closely with federal agencies to gain clarity on the impacts of these actions on High Deductible Health Plans and Health Savings Accounts. The CDC continues to offer free testing for coronavirus.
We are also announcing the following resources for members:
- Telemedicine costs waived for all urgent care needs for next 90 days – To help reduce the risk of infection and spread of disease, Humana is encouraging members to use telemedicine (e.g., video chat) as a first line of defense for all urgent care needs. The company will waive costs for telemedicine visits for urgent care needs for the next 90 days. This is limited to in-network providers delivering synchronous virtual care (live videoconferencing). Self-insured plan sponsors will be able to opt-out of the program at their discretion.
- Early prescription refills allowed for next 30 days – Humana is allowing early refills on prescription medicines so members can prepare for extended supply needs – an extra 30- or 90-day supply as appropriate.
- Member support line available – Humana has trained a specialized group of call center associates to help support members with specific coronavirus questions and concerns, including live assistance with telemedicine. Members can call Humana’s toll-free customer support line, which can be found on the back of their member I.D. card, to be connected to this dedicated team of professionals.
Ongoing collaboration with health organizations
Humana will continue to be in regular contact with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), federal agencies, state authorities and provider partners to monitor COVID developments. We will update you as needed to ensure you have visibility to any additional steps Humana takes regarding our COVID support approach.
Steadfast commitment to supporting you
Finally, the Humana team is committed to ensuring you have the support you need. Your Humana representative will continue to be available to assist you locally. We have also established a dedicated phone service line: 1-800-592-3005 and email account COVIDquestions@humana.com to answer any COVID-19 related questions.