Many insurance carriers are providing additional services to their members during this challenging time. Please feel free to contact our benefits insurance broker partner, Ashbrook-Clevidence, if you would like assistance in managing your health insurance plans during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Whether it be covering the cost of COVID-19 tests and treatment, or the benefits already available that make managing healthcare more accessible, insurance carriers have a number of resources to offer during this time.
Telemedicine, a way to virtually visit with your primary care physician or specialist, has been available to members for many years, but you may not know that most insurance carriers have reduced the copay for telemedicine visits to $0 during the COVID-19 pandemic. Teladoc, a virtual or phone visit with one of Teladoc’s providers, is the most popular virtual provider network used by insurance carriers and is offering $0 copay visits for members within partnered carriers.
If you’re on a PPO medical plan or the Blue Shield Trio HMO plan, you may have access to a home visit from a healthcare provider through Heal. If you would like to find out more about how to see the doctor during this time, contact Ashbrook-Clevidence, Inc.
The IRS recently released guidance regarding Health Savings Account (HSA) eligibility when participating in a high deductible health plan (HDHP). COVID-19 related testing and treatment is not subject to the deductible and will be treated as “first dollar coverage." If you are on an HDHP, you are still eligible to make HSA contributions even if your carrier opted to cover COVID-19 tests and treatment.
If you or a loved one is struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic, many carriers offer Employee Assistance Programs (EAP). Oscar and United Healthcare offer services via Optum, a toll-free emotional support helpline staffed by professionally trained mental health experts. The service is free of charge and available to anyone, whether they are members or not. You may share the information with anyone that needs this assistance.
Are you and your loved ones in need of insurance coverage? Or did you previously waive coverage? Most insurance carriers are offering special enrollment opportunities with COVID-19 being considered a qualifying event. This applies to both group business plans and individual and family plans.
Some employers have been forced into temporary layoffs, furloughs, or reduction of employee hours during this time. Many carriers are allowing benefits to continue, but it is important to offer this to all employees to remain compliant with regulations. When employees are rehired, many carriers are offering waivers of waiting periods for those rejoining the plan to help members start coverage sooner. Carriers are also offering deductible credits for those rehired employees so that they do not have to meet their deductibles once they return to work.
There are also prescription drug opportunities for individuals who have lost coverage and need assistance paying for their prescriptions. GoodRx or Parachute Rx by Express-Scripts are a great resource for savings and discount programs.
If you are looking to change medical benefits but it is not your regular annual open enrollment time, insurance carriers are allowing off-anniversary plan changes due to the COVID-19 qualifying events.
Going to the dentist may be more difficult during this time, but did you know you may have access to teledentistry visits during the COVID-19 pandemic?
Many dentists are following guidelines to postpone non-essential dental health visits, so it is important to check with your dentist to see what services he or she is performing. Because of this, virtual visits with a dentist do not count against your annual frequency for most carriers during this time.
If your dental insurance is through MetLife, your April and May premiums are being discounted 25 percent in the form of a credit towards a future bill to help clients with finances during this challenging time.
While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recommended postponing non-essential vision care services, member need for benefits do not stop.
Many online eyewear retailers offer alternative solutions to getting glasses and contacts while your vision provider might be closed during this time.
Vision Service Plan (VSP) is offering a savings program to those without vision coverage to assist those who cannot afford coverage.
VSP is also offering essential vision benefits to all members during this time, regardless of their current plan benefits at VSP. Essential care includes, but is not limited to, sudden vision changes or loss, eye trauma, pink eye, foreign body removal, and other symptoms that hamper day-to-day activities.
Other FAQs Around COVID-19
While we do not provide legal guidance, we do have HR consultants as well as resource documents to help with any questions regarding the Paycheck Protection Program, CARES Act, and other legislation surrounding COVID-19 or questions you may have regarding compliance.
Please contact our broker partners at Ashbrook-Clevidence for additional information on how to best manage your healthcare or to learn about resources available to you at 800-447-4023 and ask for Evan Bruski or Cristina Burnell. Or you may send them an email at EvanB@aclevidence.com or CristinaB@aclevidence.com, respectively. The website address is www.aclevidence.com.