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Utah Insurance Commissioner Strongly Urges Insurers to Expand Coverage for COVID-19, Including Telehealth Services

Insurers should strive to offer Utahns stability and support

Insurance Commissioner Todd E. Kiser is urging all Utah health insurers to expand coverage for COVID-19 including telehealth services.

“In these unprecedented times, I have asked Utah’s health insurers to expand their operations to offer Utahns increased stability and support,” said Kiser. “COVID-19 is a significant concern to many people and offering them some peace of mind will be welcomed by the community.”

In a bulletin sent to health insurers on March 17, Commissioner Kiser requested the following coverage enhancements:

  • Member Support — Health insurers should devote resources to providing members accurate information about their benefits, responding to inquiries, and informing members about telehealth options.
  • Testing for COVID-19 — Lab tests, including tests for COVID-19, are an essential health benefit and must be covered under individual and small group comprehensive health policies. The Insurance Department encourages insurers to waive cost-sharing, co-pays, deductibles, and coinsurance for insureds seeking a medically necessary COVID-19 screening. Insurers are also asked to waive cost-sharing for visits to in-network providers, urgent care centers, emergency rooms, and calls to telehealth outlets.
  • Telehealth Services — Insurers should review their telehealth provider networks to be sure they can meet increased demand as the COVID-19 event continues.
  • Network Adequacy and Access to Services — Health insurers should verify that their provider networks can handle an increase in need for health care services and COVID-19 tests. This may include offering access to out-of-network services where appropriate and required. If a health insurer’s network does not have health care providers with appropriate training and experience to meet the particular needs of insureds at this time, insurers are asked to make exceptions to provide access to out-of-network providers at the in-network cost-sharing.

Commissioner Kiser also requested that insurers waive preauthorization requirements for COVID-19 testing and treatment, offer lenient prescription drug refill practices, and accept the highest in-network reimbursement rate for out-of-network patients to avoid surprise medical bills.

“Some people may have significant worries about the effects that COVID-19 is having on their communities and the world,” said Commissioner Kiser. “Anyone who feels a need to process such feelings should contact their health insurer to see what mental health options are available. In many cases, online mental health visits may be appropriate.”

Press Release
Utah Insurance Commissioner Strongly Urges Insurers to Expand Coverage for COVID-19, Including Telehealth Services
Bulletin 2020-1: Coverage for COVID-192020-1

What to Know About Coronavirus & Your Insurance

For the most up-to-the-minute updates about COVID-19 in Utah, visit coronavirus.utah.gov.

It’s important to know that the immediate risk from the coronavirus is low, but the CDC believes that the public health threat will be significant. Utahns can help the community stay healthy by washing their hands and avoiding people who appear sick — just like they would during any other flu season. If you or someone you know is diagnosed with COVID-19, your insurance company will be able to help.

Below are the actions Utah’s health insurers are taking to assist people affected by the coronavirus.

Bridgespan

Cigna

Cigna is waiving all co-pays and cost-shares for COVID-19 testing when recommended by a health care provider. Cost-sharing for office visits and telehealth screenings for COVID-19 will be waived through May 31, 2020. It is also providing free home delivery of up to 90-day supplies of maintenance medications and have set up a 24-hour toll-free help line for consumers who are feeling high stress and anxiety.

CVS Health/Aetna

CVS/Aetna is waiving member costs for diagnostic testing for COVID-19 at authorized locations. Members diagnosed with COVID-19 will receive a care package. It is also operating a crisis response line for members experiencing coronavirus-related anxiety and a 24-7 nurse line.

EMI Health

Humana

Humana is waiving out-of-pocket costs associated with COVID-19 testing for patients who meet CDC guidelines at approved laboratory locations. It is also waiving telemedicine costs for urgent care for the next 90 days and is allowing early refills on prescriptions.

LifeMap

Molina Healthcare

Molina Healthcare is waiving COVID-19 testing costs for members. It is monitoring the coronavirus on a daily basis and working to ensure that it is prepared to assist its members.

MotivHealth

National Foundation Life Insurance Co.

National Health Insurance Co.

PEHP

PEHP is covering COVID-19 testing without preauthorization under the member’s normal benefits. It is also allowing members to acquire 90-day supplies of maintenance medications from retail and mail order pharmacies, and early refills for Diabetes Savings Program members.

Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Utah

Regence is covering the cost of a COVID-19 test with no cost to fully insured members if a provider determines the test is necessary. Members who are diagnosed with COVID-19 will be provided personalized support. Medication policies have been loosened (except for opioids) so members can have needed medications on hand.

SelectHealth

SelectHealth is covering in-network COVID-19 testing with no copays, coinsurance, or deductibles. It is also educating members about the proper way to triage their concerns related to COVID-19, including telehealth visits through Connect Care. Early refills of 30-day medications are allowed when the medication is 60% finished, except for opioids.

UnitedHealthcare

UHC is waiving copays, coinsurance and deductibles for COVID-19 testing at approved locations and for visits associated with COVID-19 testing, including visits to a doctor’s office, urgent care, or emergency room. It is also allowing early prescription refills, expanding access to telehealth options, and offering a 24-hour emotional support help line that is free for anyone to call, not just members.

 

Other Resources

Coronavirus rendering courtesy of CDC/ Alissa Eckert, MS; Dan Higgins, MAMS