March 24, 2020
by Ceci Connolly
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.
The ACHP Board of Directors voted early in this crisis to include COVID-19 testing as a covered benefit. And most of our member companies have gone far beyond that, waiving cost-sharing for testing, expanding telehealth services and flexing their workforces to telecommuting to flatten the curve.
I am frequently asked what distinguishes ACHP member companies. In this crisis, here are just a few examples:
- Baylor Scott & White of Texas has deployed two drive-through testing sites with a third on the way
- Henry Ford Health System of Michigan is conducting triage in tents to reduce the risk of infection
- UPMC in Pittsburgh developed a new COVID-19 test, filling a critical gap before other commercial tests are available
- And Kaiser Permanente in Washington state is developing the first related vaccine trial
A majority of member plans have also implemented or expanded telehealth services, most waiving out-of-pocket copays and cost-sharing:
- CDPHP in Albany is providing access to virtual emergency medicine services enabling patients to connect with physicians 24/7
- CommunityCare in Tulsa deployed telemedicine and e-visit options in light of COVID-19 and recently expanded coverage
- PriorityHealth in Michigan is waiving copays on virtual care
- SelectHealth in Utah is adding coverage for telephonic visits
- Fallon Health in Massachusetts is waiving all copays for medically appropriate COVID-19 treatment
Additionally, numerous member plans, including AvMed, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, Health Alliance Plan (HAP) and Security Health Plan, are allowing members to refill drug prescriptions early and are signing off on 90-day supplies of maintenance medications.
We will not cure COVID-19 and ease corresponding anxieties overnight. It will take a smart and systematic approach with buy-in from all corners of the health sector; one that ACHP member plans are leading directly from their communities.
For a full list of ACHP plans’ action COVID-19, click here.
Ceci Connolly is President & CEO of the Alliance of Community Health Plans, a national leadership organization bringing together innovative health plans and provider groups that are among America’s best at delivering affordable, high-quality coverage and care.