Community Health Plans Take Action on COVID-19

The rapidly evolving COVID-19 public health crisis is impacting every community across the country. In this time of uncertainty, the Alliance of Community Health Plans’ (ACHP) nonprofit, community-based health plans are quickly assessing local needs, nimbly adapting coverage and care and innovating to protect the public health.

On the ground in the communities they serve, ACHP members are leading efforts to address the very real challenges presented by this crisis, prioritizing prevention, testing and treatment.

ACHP plans and their affiliated systems are taking steps to ensure their members get access to the care and coverage they need during this public health crisis.

AultCare | AvMed | CDPHP | CommunityCare | Dean Health Plan | Fallon HealthGeisinger Health Plan | Group Health Cooperative South Central Wisconsin | Harvard Pilgrim Health Care | Health Alliance | Health Alliance Plan (HAP) | HealthPartners | Independent Health | Kaiser Permanente | Martin’s Point Health Care | Pacific Source Health Plans | Presbyterian Health Plan | Priority Health | Sanford Health | Scott & White Health PlanSecurity Health Plan | SelectHealth |UCare | UPMC Health Plan



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COVID-19 Information Hub
AultCare has launched an information hub designed to keep their members up to date on COVID-19.

AultCare Provides Reopening Resources (June 3, 2020)
AultCare, in partnership with the Aultman Health Foundation, is offering “Essential Workplace Solutions” for regional service areas in Ohio. AultPlan, will offer back-to-work support and solutions including: Social distancing workplace re-design, staff training/education, monitoring and PPE procurement. The customized services offer area employers a safe return-to-work transition plan.


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AvMed continues to take proactive response to COVID-19 (May 21, 2020)
AvMed is taking proactive action in response to the COVID-19 pandemic by continuing to increase access to care and removing potential cost barriers for its members. This includes: zero-cost diagnostic testing; zero-cost treatment; no specialist referral requirements; increased access to prescription medications; zero-cost virtual visits; and expanded behavioral health access.

AvMed Expands Access to Care for COVID-19 (April 7, 2020)
AvMed is waiving out-of-pocket costs for COVID-19 treatments for its fully-insured commercial and Medicare Advantage members through May 31, 2020. In addition, AvMed will continue to provide its members with zero-dollar diagnostic testing, zero-dollar virtual visits, including behavioral health, and waiver of specialist referral requirements.


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CDPHP Coverage of COVID-19
The health and safety of members and the community is a top priority at CDPHP. With this in mind, CDPHP is waiving cost-sharing (copays, coinsurance, and deductibles) for all coronavirus (COVID-19) related treatment. This change is retroactive for all COVID-19 treatment, including hospitalizations, testing, and office visits.

CDPHP provides first responders preventive resources during COVID-19 (May 19, 2020)
CDPHP, MVP Health Care and Quick Response announced a partnership to provide the cities of Albany, Schenectady, and Troy with essential sanitation equipment to protect local first responders from COVID-19. Each city will receive two Defense Soap Cordless Electrostatic Hand or Backpack Sprayers for use by the police and fire departments. Each sprayer provides up to 23,000 square feet of disinfectant in a single tank.

CDPHP Patient Care Team Connects Patients, Doctors, and Loved Ones during COVID-19 Crisis (April 16, 2020)
The CDPHP Patient Care Team, which moved into a virtual setting as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, is reaching out to patients and their family members to assist with the following providing emotional support to members, families, and caregivers; providing daily communication updates between hospital staff, patients, and families; collaborating with hospital care teams to customize discharge planning; odentifying any barriers to care, such as access to food, medication, and transportation; identifying any community resources/support services needed post-discharge; and facilitating post-discharge phone calls and support.

CDPHP, MVP Health Care Partner to Expand Access to Critical  Services (March 16, 2020)
CDPHP and MVP Health Care are teaming up to offer their entire membership (including MVP’s members throughout New York and in Vermont) access to virtual emergency medicine services that allows patients to connect with a physician 24/7 from the comfort of their home. The emergency medicine trained providers – powered by United Concierge Medicine – can assess a patient’s need for COVID-19 testing and prescribe appropriate treatment.

The following telemedicine services are being made available to CDPHP members at no cost-share:

  • ER Anywhere– An emergency telemedicine app available to members 24/7 for consultations, triage, testing, and treatment.
  • Doctor On Demand– A telemedicine app available 24/7 for consultation, testing, and treatment. Doctor On Demand is a safe and convenient alternative to urgent care.


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CommunityCare Coronavirus Testing and Treatment Coverage (March 25,2020)
CommunityCare is committed to addressing the challenges presented by the coronavirus (COVID-19) and is prioritizing prevention, testing and treatment. To help ensure members have access to the care they need, CommunityCare is providing most members with coverage and waiving cost-sharing for COVID-19 testing, for all telemedicine services and for medically appropriate COVID-19 treatment through May 31, 2020.  

Early refills of maintenance medications from the pharmacy will also be covered, and longer fills up to 90 days for employer group members and many medications up to 100 days for our Medicare Advantage members are available.

Dean Health Plan

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Dean Coronavirus Coverage
Dean Health Plan is waiving in-network cost-sharing, including copayments, coinsurance and deductibles, for COVID-19 diagnostic testing during this public health emergency. Dean Health Plan will cover the test and doctor visit at no cost to members when the basis for the visit is related to testing for COVID-19.

Dean Health Plan will also cover in-network hospitalizations for COVID-19 treatment with no member cost sharing.

To limit potential coronavirus risk, Dean Health Plan is expanding its coverage of telehealth services. This will allow additional methods of health care access for members, such as Skype, FaceTime or Zoom. This policy applies to Commercial (fully-insured, including ACA), Medicare and Medicaid members.

To provide members earlier access to prescription medications, Dean Health Plan has relaxed its refill policy. Members can get early refills of maintenance and non-maintenance medications, both at a retail pharmacy and through mail order.

Dean Health Plan Offering Free Meals to MA Enrollees (April 23, 2020)
Dean Health Plan is partnering with Food Fight Restaurant Group and Epic to offer free weekly meals to seniors in the Medicare Advantage Program.

SSM Wisconsin report surge in online, phone visits (April 22, 2020)
SSM Health Wisconsin has seen a telehealth surge amounting to about 20,000 total visits this year. The initial push was done to care for patients who might have COVID-19 to keep them safe at home, but SSM is now handling acute care and routine follow-up visits via telehealth where physical examinations aren’t necessary.

Fallon Health

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Fallon Health Awards $100,000 to Address COVID-19 (May 8, 2020)
In addition to the $25,000 Fallon Health previously donated to “Worcester Together”—a fund established to address the immediate community relief efforts across their key service areas—the organization has awarded $75,000 in emergency relief funding for organizations that support food insecurity and/or senior isolation and support services.

Fallon Health Accelerates Access to Health Care Services for Members Impacted by Coronavirus (March 31, 2020)
Fallon Health is waiving cost-sharing COVID-19 testing and counseling and waiving co-pays for COVID-19 related treatment. They are also waiving cost-sharing for telehealth services and allowing early refills on maintenance medications.

Fallon Health pledges $25,000 to “Worcester Together” to address COVID-19 community needs (March 26,2020)
Fallon is pledging $25,000 to aid those impacted in the Worcester, Massachusetts area. The funds will go directly to “Worcester Together,” a joint fund led by the Greater Worcester Community Foundation and United Way of Central Massachusetts fund that will address immediate basic needs and long-term local relief efforts.

Geisinger Health Plan

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Geisinger channels donated funds to increase testing capacity (July 9, 2020)
Geisinger Health has used donated funds to purchase a new Hologic Panther Fusion System. The new equipment aligns with existing instruments to increase capacity and efficiency for the Geisinger laboratory. The new equipment increased Geisinger’s testing capacity by more than 70 percent, a jump from the processing 5,528 tests per week to 21,278 tests per week. That larger capacity provides greater access to testing for the community, allowing for faster diagnosis and effective containment and contact tracing.

Geisinger receives $979,000 to bolster telemedicine services (July 7, 2020)
Geisinger has been awarded $978, 935 from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to provide telehealth services during the COVID-19 pandemic. Geisinger will use the award to purchase telemedicine carts, tablet computers, and telemedicine peripherals such as hand-held cameras and stethoscopes. Geisinger offers telehealth visits for primary care appointments and 72 specialties.

Geisinger Health provides guidance on safely reopening businesses (May 14, 2020)
As businesses prepare to reopen across Pennsylvania, Geisinger is providing tools, information and guides to help employers keep their staff and patrons safe and healthy.

Geisinger expands telehealth services amid COVID-19 pandemic (April 10, 2020)
To give patients continued access to primary and specialty care while slowing the spread of COVID-19, Geisinger has expanded its telehealth services to include primary care and more than 70 specialties.

Geisinger Health Plan waiving member cost-sharing for COVID-19 testing and treatment (April 3, 2020)
Effective April 3, 2020, Geisinger Health Plan will waive member cost-sharing for in-network, in-patient treatment of COVID-19. The cost waivers will be in effect until further notice. This is applicable to all Geisinger Health Plan members. Self-insured/TPA groups may opt-out

Geisinger Chatbot Screens Helps Screen for COVID-19 Remotely (March 27, 2020)
Geisinger Health has developed a chatbot to help triage and screen patients remotely. In addition, it’s setting up video chat capabilities for admitted patients allowing them to contact their families at home, which helps to minimize person-to-person contact.

Telehealth services available to Geisinger Health Plan members (March 19, 2020)
Geisinger is partnering with Teladoc on telehealth services. Cost-sharing waived for members until June 15 and applies to all treatments, not just COVID-related treatment.

Geisinger to process tests for coronavirus (March 16, 2020)
Geisinger Health System is processing tests for COVID-19. Geisinger’s test results are available in a matter of hours, as opposed to the 24- to 48-hour wait when tests are sent to the state laboratory.

Group Health Cooperative of South Central Wisconsin

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GHC-SCW developes desktop droplet barrier (March 19, 2020)
Using only everyday items, Dr. Alison Craig has created a barrier that will help protect clinicians while examining and testing patients who may have COVID-19.

What You Need to Know About Coronavirus and Group Health Cooperative South Central Wisconsin (March 13, 2020)
GHC-SCW is waiving cost-sharing (including copays, deductibles, and coinsurance) for COVID-19 testing for all insured members. Members are encouraged to use GHC Care on Demand, a virtual clinic that members can access 24/7; the program is free for most members. GHC-SCW’s pharmacy department will be also be able to fill member prescriptions through the mail.

Harvard Pilgrim Health Care

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Your Guide to COVID-19 Care: Havard Pilgrim Health Care
Harvard Pilgrim Health Care is waiving cost-sharing for in-network and out-of-network emergency care related to COVID-19. Telemedicine and remote consultations will also be covered by these waivers. The plan is also allowing some members early refill on maintenance medications, some of which can be filled for 90-days instead of 30.

Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Announces $32 Million in Premium Credits to Employer Groups and Medicare Supplement Members (June 18, 2020)
Harvard Pilgrim Health Care announced today that it will be providing $32 million in premium credits to all its fully-insured employer groups, as well as to Medicare Supplement members. Harvard Pilgrim is awaiting regulatory approval for this action in Connecticut which it expects to receive shortly. Additionally, the nonprofit health plan announced it will provide $3 million in financial support to independent primary care physicians, $3 million to support community health centers, and the insurer will waive all primary care and specialty care copays for office visits for Medicare Advantage members through the end of the year.

Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation contributed $50,000 to Families in Transition-New Horizons (April 24,2020)
Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation contributed $50,000 to Families in Transition-New Horizons to sponsor its Relief Meal Delivery Project.

Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation Gives $40,000 to Sponsor New Bedford COVID-19 Relief Meal Delivery Project (April 7, 2020)
Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation will contribute $40,000 to Coastal Foodshed to sponsor and coordinate the New Bedford COVID-19 Meal Delivery Project. Tia Maria’s European Cafe and Destination Soups will prepare 100 daily meals for older adults and others in need in New Bedford, MA. As part of this project, meals will be delivered to homes by New Bedford-based Yes! We Van commuter transportation services. 

Harvard Pilgrim Presses Federal Authorities for Premium Relief (April 2, 2020)
Harvard Pilgrim Health Care President and CEO Michael Carson is proposing a sequel to the Paycheck Protection Program. Small- and mid-sized businesses could access loans to cover their insurance bills, but those loans could be forgiven if they keep workers on their insurance plans.

Harvard Pilgrim is waiving all cost-sharing for COVID-19 related treatment (March 31, 2020)
Harvard Pilgrim is waiving co-pays, deductibles and coinsurance for COVID-19 at in-network facilities and out-of-network emergency care. Telemedicine, or remote consultations, also will be covered by these waivers. The policy is effective immediately through June 1, 2020.

Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation Gives More Than $3 Million for Covid-19 Relief Efforts (March 21, 2020)
Pilgrim Health Care Foundation today announced it will give more than $3 million for COVID-19 relief efforts by supporting community and nonprofit organizations in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts and New Hampshire. As part of its initial $3 million distribution of funds, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation has committed dedicated resources to community-focused initiatives including the engagement of select restaurants throughout the region to provide and deliver take-out meals to families in need and helping to put people back to work.  Additionally, these resources will assist communities in facilitating access to COVID-19 testing.

Health Alliance

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Health Alliance COVID-19 Information and Updates
Health Alliance is providing coverage for and waiving cost-sharing for the medically appropriate testing for COVID-19. Most Health Alliance and Health Alliance-administered plans provide benefits for telehealth and/or virtual doctor visits. In addition to what is normally provided, Health Alliance is temporarily broadening telehealth codes to cover additional services, including behavioral therapy, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Members can also receive early refills on certain prescription drugs and can enroll in Health Alliances prescription mailing service.

Carle, Grainger College of Engineering develop working prototype of emergency ventilator (March 27, 2020)
A team led by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s Grainger College of Engineering and Carle Health has produced a prototype emergency ventilator to help address the expected surge in the need for respiratory care associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Health Alliance Plan (HAP)

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HAP COVID-19 Updates
HAP will waive member cost-sharing for testing and treatment of COVID-19. This waiver is currently in effect through June 30, 2020.

All cost-sharing for telehealth services is waived for HAP individual, fully-insured group and Medicare members through June 30, even if the service is not related to COVID-19. Members who use telehealth services for COVID-19 related questions and other medical or behavioral health concerns won’t be charged a copay. Medicaid members aren’t included at this time, but HAP is in daily discussions with Michigan Department of Health and Human Services on how HAP can provide telehealth to Medicaid members.

HAP is allowing some members to refill prescriptions early to ensure they have an adequate supply on hand. HAP also offers free in-home delivery of medications through Pharmacy Advantage. The standard shipping costs on your medications are free.

Henry Ford Health System opens outdoor testing sites to address COVID-19 (March 16, 2020)
Henry Ford Health System has set up triage tents in hospital parking lots in Detroit, Wyandotte, Clinton Township, West Bloomfield, and Jackson to divert patients for COVID-19 screening and testing. Hospital staff will also provide acute care treatments inside the tents.


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HealthPartners tests 50,000 people during COVID-19 pandemic (June 18, 2020)
In its ongoing effort to contain COVID-19, HealthPartners this week tested its 50,000th patient since it began testing in March. About 8,000 people were asymptomatic and received tests after participating in large community gatherings, following recommendations from the Minnesota Department of Health. This short-term temporary expansion of testing was among the largest number of asymptomatic tests administered in the Twin Cities in the last two weeks. The number of tests in this category reached a daily high of 1,484 on June 8 and declined to 488 on June 17.

HealthPartners increases COVID-19 testing capacity seven fold (May 1, 2020)
HealthPartners is increasing its laboratory capacity to more than 2,000 COVID-19 tests a day beginning the week of May 4, a seven-fold increased since April 22. The organization has created new high-volume, drive-up testing sites in St. Louis Park and White Bear Lake where care teams can test 300-400 symptomatic patients a day. In addition, capacity has been increased at existing drive-up testing locations in Plymouth, Lakeville, St. Paul, Stillwater, Hutchinson and Olivia where more than 6,000 tests have been performed since mid-March.

HealthPartners waiving costs for all Virtuwell visits (April 24, 2020)
HealthPartners has announced it will be waiving costs for all Virtuwell visits. The cost-waiving will be effective through May 31 for HealthPartners commercial fully-insured plans. A standard Virtuwell visit usually costs $49.

HealthPartners and University of Minnesota Team Up to Develop Hot-Spot App (April, 22, 2020)
HealthPartners and researchers at the University of Minnesota have teamed up with developers to create a mobile app that provides users with data about the health of their neighborhood, helping them avoid potential COVID-19 hotspots.

HealthPartners Selected as Partner Organization for Minnesota Testing Initiative (April 22, 2020)
HealthPartners has been selected as one of the partner organizations to help support Minnesota’s initiative on expanding testing and contact tracing throughout the state.

Social Distancing and HealthPartners (April 18, 2020)
HealthPartners is adapting to COVID-19 by finding new and creative ways to leverage technology–like Google Duo–to ensure patients continue to receive routine care and treatment when possible.

HealthPartners Waives Cost-Sharing on COVID-19 Treatment (April 3, 2020)
HealthPartners will waive copayments and coinsurance requirements for COVID-19 testing and in-network hospitalizations, and to grant expanded access to telemedicine services so people can receive care at home. The waivers will last through at least May 31.

HealthPartners Expands Mental Health Care Access through Video Visits (March 31, 2020)
HealthPartners is harnessing technology to provide critical mental health care and primary and specialty care to patients amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. The health system trained more than 2,000 clinicians across multiple care specialties in only three days on how to use video visits to assess, serve and treat patients.

HealthPartners covers testing for COVID-19, encourages use of free telehealth tools (March 12, 2020) 

Independent Health

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Independent Health and COVID-19
Independent Health will cover all laboratory testing and services related to the diagnosis of COVID-19 with no member cost share. Additionally, the health plan will cover all services and treatment for members with no member cost share through at least May 31, 2020, including in-person, telehealth, urgent care center, outpatient hospital or emergency room visits. This includes all plans, including HSA-qualified high deductible health plans (HDHPs).

To encourage social distancing and help reduce the risk of spreading this virus, Independent Health will cover any in-network telehealth/telemedicine services, whether or not COVID-19 related. There will be $0 copay or cost-sharing* for members for these services.

When members can’t reach their primary care physician, Independent Health’s telemedicine benefit will allow members to use Teladoc to talk with a doctor anytime, anywhere by phone, mobile app or online 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Indepednet will waive the cost share for Teladoc services during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Independent Health Partners with Brook Personal Health Companion (April 1, 2020)
Independent Health announced it is expanding its partnership with Brook, an innovative Seattle-based technology company, to offer the Western New York community free access to the Brook Personal Health Companion App for the duration of the COVID-19 health emergency

All Independent Health employees will work from home (March 15, 2020)

Kaiser Permanente

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Kaiser Permanente COVID-19 Information Center
Kaiser Permanente has waived all member cost-sharing for COVID-19 related treatment and testing. Kaiser Permanente also offers robust telehealth options and will fill member prescriptions by mail. Members are always encouraged to use the prescription mail service, and with most prescriptions can get a 3-month supply for the price of 2 months.

Kaiser Permanente extends waiver for out-of-pocket costs related to COVID-19 (May 28, 2020)
Kaiser Permanente has announced that it will extend its waiver for most out-of-pocket costs for inpatient and outpatient services related to the treatment of COVID-19 through December 31, 2020. This waiver, put into effect on April 1 and originally set to expire on May 31 is intended to alleviate the cost burden and stress for paying for care, allowing members to focus on recovery.

Kaiser Permanente provides members access to Calm meditation app (May 19, 2020)
Starting May 19, 2020, the Calm meditation app will be available for free to all Kaiser Permanente members as part of a way to help customers manage anxiety as they deal with the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.

Costs waived for members receiving COVID-19 treatment (April 3, 2020) 
Kaiser Permanente has announced that it will waive all member out-of-pocket costs for inpatient and outpatient services related to the treatment of COVID-19 through May 31. This is intended to alleviate the cost burden and stress on impacted members of paying for care.

Kaiser Permanente staff use baby monitors to keep eye on ICU (April 1, 2020)
Burses have begun using two-way baby monitors to interact with isolated patients showing symptoms associated with COVID-19. Those who have used the baby monitors say it’s a practical solution for staying connected to patients — a novel way to fight the novel virus. Kaiser Permanente began introducing the idea at its facilities in California’s Santa Clara County, where the hospital beds were already filling up with possible COVID-19 patients.

First COVID-19 vaccine trial at Kaiser Permanente Washington (March 16, 2020)
On March 16, 2020, Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute gave the first-ever injection of an investigational vaccine for the 2019 novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, to volunteers participating in phase one of the federally sponsored clinical trial. This is the first vaccine trial for this virus, which causes COVID-19, in humans. The KPWHRI trial began recruiting participants on March 3.

Kaiser Permanente pledges $1M to treat homeless for COVID-19 (March 16, 2020)
Kaiser Permanente has pledged $1 million toward efforts to prevent and treat COVID-19 cases among the nation’s homeless population. The Oakland, CA,-based health system is partnering with the advocacy group National Health Care for the Homeless Council to fund at least four housing activist groups in California, Seattle and Portland, OR.

Kaiser Permanente supports public health response to COVID-19 with $1 million donation, collaboration with CDC Foundation (March 11, 2020)
Kaiser Permanente is contributing $1 million to 10 leading public health organizations and collaborating with CDC Foundation to strengthen the United States’ public health infrastructure and response systems to stop the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

Martin’s Point Health Care

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Martin’s Point Health Care and COVID-19
Medicare Advantage members will not pay any cost-sharing on COVID-19 related treatment or testing. For patients admitted to a hospital, the standard inpatient copay will still apply. If members must see an out-of-network provider for any covered service, they will receive the in-network cost share. This applies even if a members’ MA plan does not normally include out-of-network coverage. Martin’s Point Health Care Medicare Advantage plans covers all telehealth services covered by Original Medicare.


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PacificSource Waives Member Costs for Coronavirus (COVID-19) Diagnosis and Treatment (April 6, 2020)
PacificSource will waive all out-of-pocket costs for coronavirus (COVID-19) testing, diagnosis and treatment for its fully insured commercial, Medicare Advantage, and health savings accounts (HSA) members. This waiver will apply to those members who have received or will receive care between Jan. 31 through June 30, 2020, regardless of place of care.

PacificSource donates $25,000 to nonprofit relief fund (March 29, 2020)
PacificSource has donated $25,000 to a COVID-19 relief run by the Helena Area Community Foundation and the United Way of the Lewis & Clark Area. The fund will provide financial resources to nonprofits responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.

PacificSource Benefit Updates to Combat Coronavirus (March 13, 2020)
PacificSource will eliminate out-of-pocket costs for COVID-19 testing and testing-related visits for our members at out-patient care sites (including primary care, urgent care and emergency rooms). PacificSource will allow members a one-time early refill for prescription drugs. (Vaccination—when it becomes available—will also be offered at no cost to members.)

Presbyterian Health

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Presbyterian Health Services COVID-19 Information Center
Presbyterian Health Services is providing free screening and testing for COVID-19. Treatment for COVID-19 will be free for Presbyterian Health Plan members. Presbyterian Health Plan members can also get early refills on maintenance medications.

Presbyterian Expands Virtual Care Options (April 17, 2020)
Presbyterian has increased virtual care options during this time of uncertainty, offering most patients a virtual care visit, which can be done by telephone or through MyChart Zoom video. Members can also request an appointment, message their care team, view test results and request prescription renewals using MyChart.

Priority Health

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Priority Health provides all members free access to Livongo’s myStrength mental health and wellness app (July 8, 2020)Priority Health provides all members free access to Livongo’s myStrength mental health and wellness appPriority health has partnered with Livongo Health Inc, the leading Applied Health Signals company empowering people with chronic conditions to live better and healthier lives, to offer its members free access to myStrength, a digital behavioral health solution with a breadth of evidenced-based activities to manage stress and bolster mental health and wellness.

Priority Health offers $0 cost share treatment for COVID-19 and virtual visits through 2020 (June 29, 2020)
Priority Health has announced that it will continue to waive all copays, deductibles and coinsurance for treatment and medically-necessary testing of COVID-19 as well as expand its $0 cost share virtual visits offer, including behavioral health visits, through December 31, 2020.

Spectrum Health hospital offering antibody tests (May 27, 2020)
Spectrum Health Lakeland is now offering COVID-19 antibody tests for those with a physician’s order. Spectrum Health has the capacity to do up to 1,000 antibody tests per day, with results available within about 24 hours. The antibody, or serology, test is a blood test designed to detect a previous COVID-19 infection through the presence of disease-fighting antibodies.

Priority Health to offer financial relief to members (May 12, 2020)
Priority Health announced plans to provide financial support to members and employers facing challenges amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. It plans to offer premium credits and waive cost sharing for its most heavily impacted populations. Priority Health plans to return any revenue above the company’s low, ten percent administrative rate back to employers and members.

Free access to COVID-19 mental wellness tools (April 17, 2020)
Self-care and coping skills are critical to mental health and wellbeing. To empower members, Priority Health has partnered with a digital health specialist to offer free access to mental wellness resources specifically focused on the COVID-19 pandemic.

Priority Health waives all member cost sharing for the treatment of COVID-19 (April 10, 2020)
Priority Health will waive all copays, deductibles and coinsurance for the treatment of COVID-19 through June 30. Covered treatment may be inpatient or outpatient from an in-network provider. 

Priority Health further expands home medication delivery for all members (March 27, 2020)
Spectrum Health has begun giving out as many as 28 take-home doses of methadone and other treatments to patients who come to Spectrum’s 14 outpatient locations for addiction treatment. Spectrum, in coordination with the Bureau of Substance Abuse Services, has also eliminated the requirement that people be in treatment for six months before receiving take-home doses. (March 22, 2020)
Priority extends free telehealth through April (March 20, 2020)
In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, Priority Health announcedwill its existing $0 copay telehealth, also known as virtual care, to include all lines of business through April 30. This means that essentially all of the company’s nearly one million members across Commercial, Individual, Medicaid and Medicare plans, will now have virtual access to medical professionals for non-emergency care, at no additional cost.

Sanford Health

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Sanford Health Coverage Information, COVID-19
Sanford Health Plan will waive all cost-sharing for testing and treatment of COVID-19 through May 31, 2020. This means members will receive care and treatment and Sanford Health Plan will cover all of their out-of-pocket costs related to COVID-19. This provides for coverage of testing and treatment, including outpatient treatment and inpatient hospital stays. All Sanford Health members also have access to telehealth and virtual care services. To ensure members have access to vital medication, Sanford Health Plan is extending prior authorizations an extra 90 days for all existing maintenance prescriptions with prior authorizations that will expire in 90 days or fewer.

Sanford Health Deploys COVID-19 Mobile Testing Lab (May 8, 2020)
Sanford Health has deployed a mobile testing unit equipped with the laboratory technologies to process COVID-19 tests on-site, with results completed in one hour. The unit can be deployed to potential hot spots to expedite testing and results, which has proven to give health officials an advantage in containing the spread of the illness.

Sanford Opens Drive-Thru Testing Center in Minnesota (April 23, 2020)
Sanford Health has installed three lanes of drive-thru style testing inside the ice arena to minimize wait times. This testing location is only for JBS employees. Employees must bring their JBS work identification to be tested. In all, more than 2,000 tests should be completed in the coming days.

Sanford Gets Helmsley Grant to Buy Mechanical CPR Devices (April 21, 2020)
Sanford Health has received a $620,895 Helmsley grant  to purchase 51 additional LUCAS mechanical CPR devices.

90-minute rapid coronavirus tests now available (April 3, 2020)
Sanford Health can now use a test for COVID-19 with results available in 90 minutes. These rapid tests will be used for the highest priority patients including those who are hospitalized, health care workers and elderly adults living in long-term care facilities. The rapid tests are now available in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and Fargo, North Dakota.

Sanford Health launches in-house testing for coronavirus (March 24, 2020)
anford Health has launched a test for the COVID-19 virus using an FDA-approved method under Emergency Use Authorization. Tests will be available at Sanford clinics and medical centers, and processed at the Sanford laboratory in Sioux Falls. Patients will receive results in 24-48 hours.

Coronavirus: Sanford Health prepares for new strain (March 9, 2020)

Scott & White Health Plan

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Scott and White Health Plan – COVID-19
Effective March 6, 2020, and until further notice, Scott and White Health Plan is waiving all member cost-sharing for care related to COVID-19, which includes testing, telehealth services, outpatient office visits, and inpatient hospital stays. All telehealth medical care is also covered at a $0 copayment, whether the service is provided through the member’s in-network physician, or through or the myBSWHealth app.

In conjunction with our pharmacy benefit manager, OptumRx, Scott and White Health Plan is amending its prescription drug policies to ensure an uninterrupted supply of medication during the COVID-19 threat. Members may obtain an early refill of prescription medications if they have refills remaining on file at a participating retail or mail-order pharmacy. The refill obtained will stay consistent with the standard days’ supply previously filled as allowed by your plan (e.g., 30- or 90-day supply).

Extended Authorizations: Scott and White is extending prescription drug approvals (prior authorizations) for most medications for an additional 90 days, for members whose authorizations expire on or before May 1, 2020.

Baylor Scott & White Research Institute Exploring Potential Prevention Options (April 23, 2020)
Baylor Scott & White Research Institute has activated five clinical trials, each of which is available at multiple Baylor Scott & White sites, with work ongoing to launch additional studies. These trials range from examining prophylactic drugs as preventative measures, to studying the efficacy and safety of potential therapeutic medications for infected patients, to performing longitudinal surveillance to understand the emotional impact of COVID-19 over time – contributing to the global effort to learn more about the SARS-COV-2 virus causing the pandemic.

Security Health Plan

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Security Health Plan coverage information and resources
Security Health is fully-covering COVID-19 testing with no cost sharing, has authorized a one-time early refill on medications, will facilitate prescription drug delivery/mailing and has established a COVID-19 Community Support Fund in conjunction with Marshfield Clinic Health System.

Marshfield Clinic Research Institute receives $22.5 million to be CDC reference lab for COVID-19 research (July 1, 2020)
The Integrated Research and Development Laboratory at Marshfield Clinic Research Institute has received a $22.5 million grant to serve as the sole central reference lab in the nation to support the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on several COVID-19 studies across the country for the next year. The Laboratory will focus on three objectives for this award:

  • Establishing an effective means of assessing SARS-CoV-2 and influenza virus infections in the context of prospective cohort studies.
  • Designing effective specimen processing and molecular testing procedures that are adapted to the needs of CDC’s cohorts.
  • Full implementation and refinement of high throughput molecular diagnostics.

Marshfield Clinic Health System, Security Health Plan helping business reopen safely (May 28, 2020)
As Wisconsin businesses re-open, they are partnering with the Marshfield Clinic Health System Occupational Health Team on their full range of customizable services to help employers safely get their employees back to work during the ongoing COVID-19 situation.

Marshfield Clinic Health System collaborates in statewide testing initiative (March 27, 2020)
Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers announced on Monday that the state has initiated a new public-private partnership to increase its laboratory testing capacity for COVID-19. The partnership includes laboratory support from Exact Sciences, Marshfield Clinic Health System, Promega, and UW Health. These organizations, along with the Wisconsin Clinical Lab Network, will share knowledge, resources, and technology to bolster Wisconsin’s testing efforts.

Marshfield Clinic Health System Alters Pharmacy Services During COVID-19 Pandemic (March 20, 2020)
Members may obtain a one-time early refill supply for each medication for the maximum quantity defined in their plan benefits. SHP is continuously monitoring the COVID situation and will re-evaluate if further quantities or early refills may be necessary. Security Health Plan suggest members contact their pharmacy to request medication be delivered by mail. If a pharmacy does not mail, Marshfield Clinic Pharmacies can obtain the prescription and mail the refill to member homes.

Security Health Plan Waives Copays on Medically Necessary COVID Test Costs (March 12, 2020)


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SelectHealth COVID-19 Coverage
Cost-sharing for in-network treatment and testing has been waived for most members. When members’ 30-day medication is 60% finished, they can call the pharmacy for an early refill request. Regular copay/coinsurance is still required. This early refill option does not apply to opioids. SelectHealth has also extended telehealth options to help members seek services safely and to help ensure important continuity of care. This includes adding temporary coverage for digital and telephonic services for medical and behavioral health needs.

Intermountain Healthcare Begins Limited Antibody Testing (May 5, 2020)
Intermountain Healthcare has started to use a COVID-19 antibody test offered by ARUP which may help identify previous COVID-19 infections. An antibody blood test will be given to carefully selected Intermountain Healthcare patients and caregivers who meet specific criteria.

First COVID-19 Patient in Utah to Receive Convalescent Plasma Transfusion Leaves Intermountain Medical Center (May 1, 2020)
Just 13 days after receiving Utah’s first convalescent plasma transfusion for treatment of COVID-19 at Intermountain Medical Center as part of a new national treatment protocol, Cynthia Lemus, 24, has been discharged from the hospital and is now home with her family.

Intermountain Healthcare adding vital COVID-19 testing services for people experiencing homelessness (April 23, 2020)
Intermountain has developed a comprehensive approach to helping the homeless community with increased testing, coordinating with local and community partners, and helping to enhance the safety of the vulnerable population during the pandemic. Intermountain is taking a multi-pronged approach:

  • Intermountain is sending a mobile unit to local area homeless resource centers to support COVID-19 testing.
  • Intermountain is coordinating with multiple county health departments to ensure the transition of homeless individuals to community isolation and quarantine as needed.
  • Intermountain is providing 14 days of medication for homeless patients after they are discharged from their hospitals.
  • Intermountain caregivers and community partners are deploying to support healthcare services for the homeless.
  • People without housing need to have an isolated area while waiting for their COVID-19 test results to process. Intermountain will provide hospital waits to our non-housed patients when they cannot be discharged to a quarantined or isolated area while awaiting results.

Intermountain Healthcare Joins National Protocol to Give COVID-19 Patients Access to Plasma Donations; Performs Utah’s First COVID-19 Transfusion (April 21, 2020)
In an effort to expand access to investigative treatments for COVID-19, Intermountain Healthcare is participating in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s newly launched National Expanded Access Treatment Protocol to allow use of convalescent plasma donated by patients who have recovered from COVID-19 to be processed and given to patients with the virus. As part of the treatment protocol, a team of Intermountain Healthcare transfusion experts arranged the state’s first plasma transfusion on April 17 at Intermountain Medical Center in Murray.

Intermountain Healthcare COVID-19 Response Teams to Provide Support to New York Hospitals (April 11, 2020)
Hundreds of Intermountain Healthcare clinicians recently expressed interest in providing assistance to states facing major surges in COVID-19 cases that are also currently experiencing severe staffing shortages. In response, Intermountain has created two COVID-19 Response Teams that will deploy to the New York City area to assist hospitals the week of April 13.

Intermountain Healthcare Launches Emotional Health Relief Hotline (April 9, 2020)
Intermountain Healthcare has launched a free, new community call-in resource to help support patients, clinicians, and the public who are seeking to address emotional health concerns during these challenging times. The Intermountain Emotional Health Relief Hotline offers callers guidance, tools, and referrals for people experiencing issues related to their mental wellbeing.

Intermountain Healthcare and U Health Launch COVID-19 Clinical Trials to Determine Effectiveness, Safety of Drugs (March 8, 2020)
Researchers from Intermountain Healthcare and University of Utah Health in Salt Lake City have launched two vital clinical trials to test the effectiveness and safety of two drugs –hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) and azithromycin – to treat patients with COVID-19 (infection with the novel coronavirus). Researchers from the two health systems plan to enroll nearly 2,300 patients who are COVID-19 positive or suspected of being positive for the virus.

Intermountain Healthcare is protecting — not cutting — the jobs and incomes of its people during COVID-19 (April 6, 2020)
Intermountain Healthcare has taken several steps  to protect the incomes and jobs of physicians and employees. Their goal is to ensure their financial stability so staff can focus on providing care to our patients and communities.

Intermountain Healthcare to ramp up coronavirus testing to process 1,000 tests per day (April 2, 2020)
Intermountain will collect as many as 1,500 samples every day at its 20 curbside testing locations, and hopes to turn out more than 1,000 test results per day.


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UCare COVID-19 Update
Through May 31, UCare is waiving coinsurance, copays an deductibles for in-network COVID-19 treatment and testing. UCare will cover a 90-day supply of maintenance medications (except for controlled substances or specialty drugs for Medicaid members). Medicare and Individual & Family plan members can also get early refills. Medicare plan members can use their Healthy Savings over-the-counter benefit to purchase preventive care items such as masks, gloves or hand sanitizers at participating stores.

UCare provides financial relief to members (May 19, 2020)
UCare will be offering its members financial relief by: reducing premiums by 20 percent in July and August; removing copays for Medicare primary care and mental health clinic services during the pandemic; continuing to waive most out-of-pocket costs associated with treatment for COVID-19; and offering $25,000 grants to small provider groups and community clinics to build infrastructure during the public health crisis.

UCare Waives Cost-Sharing on COVID-19 Treatment (April 3, 2020)
UCare will waive copayments and coinsurance requirements for COVID-19 testing and in-network hospitalizations, and to grant expanded access to telemedicine services so people can receive care at home. The waivers will last through at least May 31.

UPMC Health Plan

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Until June 15, UPMC is waiving all cost-sharing for in-network testing and treatment for COVID-19 and for all telehealth services. UPMC Health Plan will also ease access to needed prescription medications by waiving early refill limits on medications filled at any of our network pharmacies until June 15.

UPMC extends cost-sharing waiver for telehealth services (May 28, 2020)
UPMC Health Plan, a leader in providing innovative coverage and flexibility for its members and providers to choose how they engage in care, is extending $0 cost-sharing for all covered telehealth through September 30, 2020.

UPMC, Pittsburgh explore Virtual-Triage System (April 23, 2020)
UPMC and Pittsburgh paramedics for the first time are using secure video links that permit emergency room doctors to visually examine and assess potential covid-19 patients through smartphones and tablets.

UPMC to pay patients’ out-of-pocket costs for covid-19 treatments (April 2, 2020)
UPMC waiving all deductibles, co-pays and co-insurance costs for insurance members who receive in-network, inpatient care related to COVID-19 through June 15.

UPMC School of Medicine developing potential COVID-19 Vaccine (April 2, 2020)
University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine scientists today announced a potential vaccine against SARS-CoV-2, the new coronavirus causing the COVID-19 pandemic. When tested in mice, the vaccine, delivered through a fingertip-sized patch, produces antibodies specific to SARS-CoV-2 at quantities thought to be sufficient for neutralizing the virus.

UPMC Develops New COVID-19 Test, Offers Testing to Select Patients (March 14, 2020) 
UPMC has developed a test for the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 — the virus that causes COVID-19 — UPMC will use this test to diagnose select, symptomatic cases. The health system plans to rapidly increase capacity at its central laboratory and, if there is a need, could test hundreds of patients per week in the near future, filling a critical gap before other commercial tests come online.

Updated July 10, 2020; Original post March 10, 2020

Making Health Care Better

ACHP is the voice of a unique approach in health care today, one that puts the patient at the center with plans and clinical teams collaborating to improve health outcomes and reduce costs. Our advocacy focuses on providing policymakers with tested solutions, rooted in a model that is proven to deliver better value for patients, employers and taxpayers.

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