WASHINGTON – America’s leading doctors, nurses, clinicians, hospitals, health insurance providers, biopharmaceutical companies and employers are committed to working together in this unprecedented time to ensure every American can access the care they need and deserve.  As we work to defeat and overcome COVID-19, the free market is empowering patients to choose where and how they receive care. 

Health Care Leaders And The Federal Government Are Making It Easier For Americans To Seek Care Using Telehealth Services, Drive-up Clinics, Hospitals And More:

Telehealth And Telemedicine Platforms Are Allowing Doctors And Nurses To Practice Medicine Virtually. “With the surge of doctors’ offices transitioning to telemedicine platforms during the coronavirus crisis, many patients are left wondering whether the remote services are a practical alternative for your average doctor visit.  Telehealth and telemedicine platforms allow doctors and nurses to practice medicine virtually.  You can easily get a prescription refill or ask your doctor questions at the click of a button without ever stepping foot into an office.  The convenience of the ‘e-doc’ is meant to streamline medicine and the services they provide.  More recently doctors have been using the platform to keep their patients safe from the coronavirus.” (Krystina Alarcon, “Is Telehealth Here To Stay?,” FOX News, 5/4/20)

Hospitals And Health Clinics Have Become Increasingly Reliant On Technology In Their Fight Against COVID-19. “From telehealth apps to mobile contact tracing to artificial intelligence (AI) tools, technology has emerged as an unlikely hero during the pandemic.  Social media, too, has worked to connect people to crucial COVID-19 information from trusted sources.” (Audrey Conklin, “Technology Emerges As Coronavirus Hero In Hospitals,” FOX Business, 5/3/20)

Doctors Are Increasingly Using Technology To Provide Care. “Physicians have turned to technology to virtually connect with patients as telehealth transitions from a ‘gratifying new technology’ to something that’s developed ‘a life of its own,’ Dr. Roy Schoenberg, the CEO of the telemedicine company American Well, told Business Insider’s Lydia Ramsey during a webinar on Thursday afternoon.” (Yeji Jesse Lee, “‘The World Will Never Be The Same’: Healthcare Executives Say Telehealth Is Here To Stay Beyond The Coronavirus,” Business Insider, 5/1/20)

Telemedicine Up 2000%, Says Vonage, As Health Care Goes Digital. “Consumer electronics like phones or laptops are now essential medical technology, as doctors visits have transitioned from medical offices to your home.  Via, of course, video live-streaming.  ‘Vonage drives virtually all of the major telehealth providers throughout the world,’ CEO Alan Masarek told me recently on the TechFirst podcast.  ‘And we’ve seen literally in the last month a 2,000% increase in video usage in the telehealth vertical.’” (John Koetsier, “Telemedicine Up 2000%, Says Vonage, As Health Care Goes Digital,” Forbes, 4/23/20)

The COVID-19 Crisis Is Proof Of Concept For Mass Telemedicine. “The health system Ascension, with facilities in 20 states, says its online care increased nearly 2,000%, to about 10,000 visits in March from 500 in earlier months.  CommonSpirit Health, which operates in 21 states, says its virtual care doubled about every seven days, up to 33,000 televisits for the week ending April 3.  The Sanger Heart and Vascular Institute, part of North Carolina-based Atrium Health, says it moved 95% of its outpatient office visits to the cloud, for about 450 virtual patients a day.” (Editorial, “The Doctor Will Zoom You Now,” The Wall Street Journal, 4/26/20)

The Government And Private Insurers Have Shifted Their Reimbursement Policies To Encourage Telehealth To Help Stop The Spread Of Coronavirus. “The coronavirus pandemic has forced people inside and put unprecedented strain on our nation’s hospitals.  Together, these factors have made it nearly impossible for patients to seek routine medical care in person.  As a result, an increasing number have turned to telehealth.  Remotely delivered care isn’t new.  But it took the spread of the coronavirus to push it into the mainstream.  Telehealth is already distinguishing itself as a crucial tool in the fight against COVID-19 and can serve us long after this pandemic subsides.” (Sally Pipes, “Telehealth Is More Than An Emergency Measure During Coronavirus,” Washington Examiner, 4/6/20)

Telehealth Service Provider Doctor On Demand Is Expanding Services To Medicare Part B. “The San Francisco-based telehealth giant is expanding its services to Medicare Part B beneficiaries, making it the first nationwide, full-service telemedicine vendor to do so, according to Forbes.  For context, Medicare Part B makes up part of Original Medicare, and covers services such as doctor visits, preventative services, and lab tests for adults aged 65 or older in the US.” (Dane Finley, “Doctor On Demand Is The First Nationwide, Full-Service Telemedicine Vendor To Expand Services To Medicare Part B,” Business Insider, 5/14/20)

Telehealth Has Played A Big Role In Fighting The Coronavirus. “As our country responds to the unprecedented coronavirus pandemic, we are working rapidly to change the way we practice medicine to keep people safe.  One critical innovation is the use of telehealth, which allows patients to use smartphones, laptops, and other widely available technologies to connect with your healthcare team.” (Jerome M. Adams & Seema Verma, “Telehealth Plays Big Role In Coronavirus Cure,” Orlando Sentinel, 4/9/20)

U.S. Manufacturers Answer General Motors’ Call For Ventilator Components. “When General Motors and Ventec Life Systems sought out capacity to build 200,000 ventilators, they turned to U.S. suppliers for the parts, as the coronavirus pandemic threatened global supply chains and made speed a key driver.  The lifesaving machines that help patients breathe are desperately needed by hospitals across the nation facing shortages.  New York State’s Governor Andrew Cuomo has said his state alone may need 30,000 or more to service patients suffering from covid-19.” (Stephanie Dhue, “US Manufacturers Answer General Motors’ Call For Ventilator Components Amid Coronavirus Crisis,” CNBC, 4/1/20)

The Centers For Medicare And Medicaid Services (CMS) To Examine Potential Virtual Standards Moving Forward. “Since March, the CMS has allowed Medicare and Medicaid to pay telehealth costs for office, hospital, and other visits.  The inspector general’s office at the HHS also permitted health-care providers to waive or reduce cost-sharing for virtual visits, including deductibles, coinsurance, and copayments.” (Ayanna Alexander, “Doctors Hope Relaxed Telehealth Rules Continue Beyond Pandemic,” Bloomberg Law, 5/5/20)

  • The Centers For Medicare And Medicaid Services (CMS) Is Expanding The Use Of Telemedicine. “CMS also said the waiver would remain in place for the duration of the coronavirus health emergency, and the agency would pay doctors and hospitals for telehealth services at the same rate as in-person services.  CMS said the Department of Health and Human Services also would ease back on enforcement of patient privacy requirements under the federal law restricting release of medical information, so that doctors can use FaceTime, Skype, WhatsApp and other video platforms to consult with patients.” (Gopal Ratnam, “Telemedicine Key To US Health Care Even After Pandemic Ends,” Roll Call, 4/30/20)
  • The Centers For Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) “Has Broadened Access To Medicare Telehealth Services So That Beneficiaries Can Receive A Wider Range Of Services From Their Doctors Without Having To Travel To A Healthcare Facility.” (“Medicare Telemedicine Health Care Provider Fact Sheet,” CMS, 3/17/20)

Walmart To Run More Than 20 Coronavirus Test Sites In 10 States By The End Of April. “Walmart plans to have more than 20 coronavirus testing sites operating in at least 10 states by the end of April, the company told Business Insider on Monday.  The retailer has been working with the federal government to set up drive-thru testing sites in its parking lots.  The first two sites opened in the Chicago area on March 22.” (Hayley Peterson, “Walmart Says It Will Be Running More Than 20 Coronavirus Test Sites In 10 States By The End Of April,” Business Insider, 4/13/20)

Aetna Is “Offering Zero Co-Pay Telemedicine Visits For Any Reason,” And Is Reimbursing All Providers For Telemedicine At The Same Rate As In-Person Visits For Applicable Telehealth Codes, Including For Mental Health Care Services.  (“Health Insurance Providers Respond To Coronavirus (COVID-19),” AHIP, 3/25/20; CVS Health, “CVS Health Announces Actions To Support Health Care Providers And Patients During The COVID-19 Pandemic,” Press Release, 4/6/20)

Allways Health Partners Is “Removing All Cost-Sharing For Telemedicine Services, Including Virtual Visits With Primary Care Providers And Specialists, And Through Partners Healthcare On Demand, To Enable Members To Seek COVID-19-Related Care Without The Need To Go To Medical Offices.” (“Health Insurance Providers Respond To Coronavirus (COVID-19),” AHIP, 3/25/20)

AmeriHealth New Jersey Is Offering Members Free Access To Stop, Breathe & Think, An Emotional Wellness App, Until June 14, 2020. (AmeriHealth New Jersey, “AmeriHealth New Jersey Expands Suspension Of Prior Authorization Beyond COVID-19 Diagnoses,” Press Release, 4/27/20)

  • AmeriHealth New Jersey Is “Waiving Cost-Sharing For Telemedicine Visits Available Through Members’ Plans For The Next 90 Days.” (“Health Insurance Providers Respond To Coronavirus (COVID-19),” AHIP, 3/25/20)

AMN Healthcare Made Acquisitions That Will Enable It To Offer Telehealth Capabilities So Medical Professionals Can Engage In COVID-19 Triage Activities Without Necessarily Being In The Same Room As The Patients. (Healthcare Leadership Council, “Healthcare Industry Actions To Protect Patients During The COVID-19 Pandemic,” Press Release, 3/23/20)

Anthem Has Launched [email protected], A Teledentistry And At-Home Orthodontia Program, Which Includes Discounts Of Up To $200 Off Retail Pricing. (Anthem, “Anthem Blue Cross And Blue Shield Announces [email protected] For Convenient And Affordable Access To Orthodontic Benefits From Home,” Press Release, 5/14/20)

  • Anthem Has Launched A Virtual Dental Care Program Through A Partnership With The TeleDentist, Which Provides People With Timely Access To Dental Care That Is Available 24/7, 365 Days A Year And In The Event Of An Emergency. Virtual Exams Are Covered At 100% With No Deductibles, Copays, Paperwork Or Claims To File Through June 30, 2020. (Anthem, “Anthem Blue Cross And Blue Shield Launches Virtual Dental Care Program To Enhance Patient Access To Oral Health Services During COVID-19 Pandemic,” Press Release, 4/30/20)
  • Anthem Is “Working To Accelerate The Availability Of A Coronavirus Assessment Tool On The Sydney Care Mobile App, Which Members Can Download At No Cost,” And “Increasing Physician Availability Through Its Telemedicine Service, Livehealth Online (LHO), Including Encouraging In-Network Doctors To Join The Platform.” (“Health Insurance Providers Respond To Coronavirus (COVID-19),” AHIP, 3/25/20)
  • Anthem And Beacon Health Options Have Joined With Psych Hub, Mental Health Advocates And Other National Health Insurance Providers To Develop A Free Digital Resource Site. (Anthem, “Anthem Announces Additional Resources For Consumers, Care Providers And Community Partners To Deliver Whole Health Care Support And Relief In Response To COVID-19,” Press Release, 4/7/20)

Aspire Health Plan Is Waiving Cost-Sharing For Telemedicine. (James Gilbert, “Coronavirus Information,” Aspire Health Plan, 3/18/20)

Avera Health Plans Is Waiving Cost-Sharing For Telemedicine Through June 14.  (“COVID-19 Information For Members, Employers And Agents,” Avera Health Plans, Accessed 4/6/20)

Blue Cross Blue Shield Association Will “Expand Access To Telehealth And Nurse/Provider Hotlines,” And “All 36 Independent And Locally Operated Blue Cross And Blue Shield Companies Are Also Waiving Cost Sharing For Telehealth Services For Fully Insured Members For The Next 90 Days.” (“Health Insurance Providers Respond To Coronavirus (COVID-19),” AHIP, 3/25/20)

Blue Cross Blue Shield Of Illinois Is Lifting Cost Sharing Payments For Medically Necessary Health Services Delivered Through Telehealth. (Blue Cross And Blue Shield Of Illinois, “Blue Cross And Blue Shield Of Illinois Responds To COVID-19 By Further Expanding Telehealth And Waiving Member Cost-Share,” Press Release, 3/18/20)

Blue Cross Blue Shield Of Massachusetts Has Processed 180,000 Telehealth Claims Since Changing Its Policy To Both Expand Coverage For Telephone And Virtual Visits And Reimburse Them At The Same Rate As In-Person Visits During The COVID-19 State Of Emergency.  The March Telehealth Claims Figure Is A 3,600% Increase Over February And A 5,100% Increase Over The Monthly Average For 2019.  In March Blue Cross Made Payments Of Nearly $800 Million To Physician And Hospitals, Including More Than 50,000 New Claims For COVID-19 Testing And Care, Totaling Approximately $10 Million.(Blue Cross Blue Shield Of Massachusetts, “Blue Cross Blue Shield Of Massachusetts Telehealth Claims Skyrocket During Coronavirus Pandemic,” Press Release, 4/13/20)

Blue Cross Blue Shield Of Michigan And Blue Care Network Are Launching New Telehealth Programs With Behavioral Health Providers, So Members Who Are Interested In Participating In Group Sessions To Discuss The Impacts Of The COVID-19 Crisis On Their Mental Health Can Share Their Experiences With Others Under The Guidance Of A Trained Therapist.  The Programs Are Available For Free To Members With Blue Cross And Blue Care Network Behavioral Health Coverage Through June 30, 2020. (Blue Cross Blue Shield Of Michigan, “Blue Cross Blue Shield Of Michigan And Behavioral Health Professionals Create Free Virtual Group Therapy Programs To Support Members’ Mental Health Needs During The COVID-19 Pandemic,” Press Release, 5/11/20)

Blue Cross Blue Shield Of Mississippi Is Waiving Cost-Sharing For Telemedicine. (“Expanding Access To Care,” Blue Cross Blue Shield Of Mississippi, Accessed 4/6/20)

Blue Cross Blue Shield Of North Carolina “Will Cover Virtual Doctor Visits, Including Those Done By Phone, The Same As Face-To-Face Visits According To A Member’s Health Plan.” (“Health Insurance Providers Respond To Coronavirus (COVID-19),” AHIP, 3/25/20)

Blue Cross Blue Shield Of Oklahoma Is Working Together To Deliver “Medical Care Services Straight To The Doorsteps Of Its Members.” (Blue Cross Blue Shield Of Oklahoma, “In-Home Medical Care Helps Prevent Overcrowding At The ER,” Press Release, 3/26/20)

Blue Cross Blue Shield Of Tennessee Has Made Permanent Its Coverage Of Virtual Visits With In-Network Providers, And It Began Covering Telephone And Video Visits With In-Network Providers In March 2020.  The Change Initially Included Primary Care Providers, Specialists And Behavioral Health Providers And Was Later Expanded To Include Occupational, Physical And Speech Therapy As Well As ABA Therapy Services.  All Of These Services Will Now Be Covered On An Ongoing Basis. (Blue Cross Blue Shield Of Tennessee, “BlueCross Making In-Network Telehealth Services Permanent,” Press Release, 5/14/20)

  • Blue Cross Blue Shield Of Tennessee Is Expanding Access To Telehealth Services By Making Physician Now Visits Available At No Cost And By Covering Virtual Visits With Other Network Providers For Many Services. (Blue Cross Blue Shield Of Tennessee, “Blue Cross Expanding Telehealth Access With In-Network Providers,” Press Release, 3/17/20)
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield Of Tennessee “Will Cover Virtual Visits With In-Network Providers At The Same Benefit Levels As In-Person Visits. This Change Includes Primary Care Providers, Specialists And Behavioral Health Providers With This Capability.” (“Health Insurance Providers Respond To Coronavirus (COVID-19),” AHIP, 3/25/20)

Blue Shield Of California Will “Waive Out-Of-Pocket Costs For Most Members To Use Teladoc Health’s Virtual Care Service.” (“Health Insurance Providers Respond To Coronavirus (COVID-19),” AHIP, 3/25/20)

BlueCross BlueShield Of Western New York Is Offering Members Free Access To A Digital Behavioral Health App, myStrength, Which Helps Users Combat Anxiety, Stress, Depression, Chronic Pain And Sleep Challenges.  The App Features Modules That Can Help Manage Heightened Stress And Feelings Of Social Isolation Due To COVID-19, As Well As Manage Their Overall Health. (BlueCross BlueShield Of Western New York, “BlueCross BlueShield Fuels The Frontline During COVID-19 Pandemic,” Press Release, 4/27/20) 

Blue Cross Blue Shield Of Wyoming Is Waiving Cost-Sharing For Telemedicine.(Blue Cross Blue Shield Of Wyoming, “Blue Cross Blue Shield Of Wyoming To Waive Out-Of-Pocket Costs For COVID-19 Treatment,” Press Release, 4/3/20)

Bright Health Will Cover “All Telehealth Services (Online And Virtual Care) Obtained In Connection With COVID-19 Testing And Diagnosis … At No Costs To Members.” (“Health Insurance Providers Respond To Coronavirus (COVID-19),” AHIP, 3/25/20)

Cambia Is Promoting Telehealth Options, And In-Network Providers Can Provide Telehealth Services At The Same Cost As An In-Person Visit. (Mark Ganz, “Caring For Each Other In Our New ‘Normal,’” Cambia, 4/10/20)

Capital District Physicians’ Health Plan Has Partnered With Brook Health To Offer The Brook Personal Health Companion To Members And Non-Members For Free During The COVID-19 Crisis.  The Health Companion Is A Smartphone App That Can Provide Patient Support In Areas Including Healthy Meal Ideas, Blood Pressure Management And Sleep Support. (Capital District Physicians’ Health Plan, “CDPHP Partners With Brook Health To Provide Free Community Resource To Combat COVID-19 Crisis,” Press Release, 4/28/20)

Capital District Physicians’ Health Plan’s Patient Care Team Moved Into A Virtual Setting And Is Reaching Out To Patients And Their Family Members During COVID-19 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;
  • Identifying 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.

(Capital District Physicians’ Health Plan, “CDPHP Patient Care Team Connects Patients, Doctors, And Loved Ones During COVID-19 Crisis,” Press Release, 4/16/20)

CareFirst Is Waiving Copays, Coinsurance, And Deductibles “For The Duration Of This Public Health Emergency – Including Behavioral Health, Lactation Support, Nutrition Counseling And Urgent Care Services” For Telemedicine Accessed Through A CareFirst Video Visit. (“Health Insurance Providers Respond To Coronavirus (COVID-19),” AHIP, 3/25/20)

With The Delivery Of Care Moving To Telehealth, CareOregon Is Working With Providers To Supply Flip Phones And Simple Smart Phones To Members. (“Coronavirus (COVID-19) Member Information,” CareOregon, Accessed 5/6/20)

Centene Corporation Created A Medicaid Telehealth Partnership With The National Association Of Community Health Centers To Help Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC) Quickly Ramp-Up Their Capacity To Provide Telehealth Solutions To Meet The Needs Created By The COVID-19 Crisis.  Centene Is Dedicating $5 Million To The Partnership’s Efforts, Which Will Be Used To Purchase Equipment And Provide Training And Technical Assistance To FQHCs. (Centene Corporation, “Centene To Equip Critical Medicaid Providers With Telehealth Resources,” Press Release, 4/22/20)

  • Centene Corporation Has Launched A Dedicated Online Portal Where Providers Can Research Benefits They May Be Eligible For And Work Directly With Experts To Apply For Them. (Centene Corporation, “Centene Announces Provider Support Program To Assist Providers With Grant Writing, Small Business Loan Applications,” Press Release, 4/8/20)

Cigna Is Expanding Its Digital Capabilities To Help Customers With COVID-19 By Providing Real-Time, Personalized Support.  These New Virtual Solutions Will Help Rapidly Identify And Assist Cigna Customers Who Arrive In Emergency Room Settings With COVID-19 Symptoms, And Support Those Who Are Actively Recovering At Home. (Cigna, “Cigna Launches Real-Time Digital Capabilities To Assist Covid-19 Positive Customers,” Press Release, 5/14/20)

  • Cigna Launched Dental Virtual Care, Which Will Be Available Through Cigna’s Growing Network Of Dental Providers Who Offer Teledentistry.  Cigna Dental Virtual Care Will Be Available This Month To Over 16 Million Dental Customers Enrolled In Cigna’s Employer-Sponsored Insurance Plans At No Cost Through May 31, 2020.  Cigna Is Also Partnering With The TeleDentists, A National Virtual Care Dental Provider With More Than 300 Dentists.  Through A Video Consultation, Licensed Dentists Can Triage Urgent Situations Such As Pain, Infection, And Swelling And Guide The Customer On Next Steps.  If Necessary, The Dentist Will Prescribe Medications, Such As Antibiotics And Non-Narcotic Pain Relievers. (Cigna, “Cigna Launches Dental Virtual Care To Improve Access And Protect Customers In Response To Covid-19,” Press Release, 4/14/20)
  • Cigna “Will Waive Customers’ Out-Of-Pocket Costs For COVID-19 Testing-Related Visits With In-Network Providers, Whether At A Doctor’s Office, Urgent Care Clinic, Emergency Room Or Via Telehealth, Through May 31, 2020.”  (“Health Insurance Providers Respond To Coronavirus (COVID-19),” AHIP, 3/25/20)

CommunityCare Members Have 100% Coverage When Accessing Their In-Network Providers Who Are Participating In Providing Telemedicine Services. (CommunityCare, “Coronavirus (Covid-19) Testing And Treatment Coverage, Press Release, 4/3/20)

ConnectiCare Is Covering Telehealth Visits For Covered Medical And Mental Health Services At No Cost Through May 31, 2020. (ConnectiCare, “ConnectiCare Provides Members With Additional Support During COVID-19 Pandemic,” Press Release, 3/23/20)

CVS Health Reported A 600% Surge In Use Of Its Retail Health Clinics Via Telehealth And A Big Jump In Home Prescription Delivery As Americans Sought Easier Access To Health Care Services During The COVID-19 Crisis. (Bruce Japsen, “CVS Health’s Telehealth Clinic Visits Surge Amid Coronavirus Pandemic,” Forbes, 5/6/20)

  • CVS Health Is Launching Two New Drive-Thru Coronavirus Testing Locations Using Abbott Laboratories’ Rapid COVID-19 Test. “CVS Health said Monday it will be running two new drive-thru coronavirus testing locations and hopes to perform up to 1,000 tests a day.” (Bertha Coombs, “CVS Launches Drive-Thru Rapid Testing In Rhode Island And Georgia,” CNBC, 4/6/20)

EmblemHealth Is “Partnering With Medly Pharmacy To Provide Direct, At-Home Delivery Of Prescriptions To Members, As Part Of Its COVID-19 Response,” And Expanded Telemedicine Benefits For Members, Waiving All Cost Sharing For Telehealth Services And Expanding Services Available Via Telehealth.(“Health Insurance Providers Respond To Coronavirus (COVID-19),” AHIP, 3/25/20; “Coronavirus [COVID-19] Frequently Asked Questions,” EmblemHealth, Accessed 4/9/20)

Excellus Blue Cross Blue Shield Is Waiving Cost-Sharing For Telehealth Screenings For COVID-19. (Excellus BCBS, “Excellus BCBS Working On Behalf Of Members, Employers And Providers To Respond To COVID-19 Pandemic,” Press Release, 3/25/20)

Fallon Health Waived Cost-Sharing For All COVID-19 And Non-COVID-19 Related Medically Necessary Telehealth Services For All Members, And It Will Be Effective While Massachusetts Is Under A State Of Emergency. (“Information About Coronavirus [COVID-19],” Fallon Health, 4/20/20)

Fidelis Care Is Waiving Cost-Sharing For Telehealth Screenings For COVID-19. (Fidelis Care, “Fidelis Care Expands Access To Telehealth Services To Support Members During COVID-19 Emergency,” Press Release, 4/9/20)

First Choice Health Is Covering The Cost Of Telehealth And Virtual Care Services For Employers Via 98point6 Amid COVID-19 Crisis. (First Choice Health, “First Choice Health Covers The Cost Of Telehealth And Virtual Care Services For Employers Via 98point6 Amid COVID-19 Crisis,” Press Release, 3/25/20)

Florida Blue Is Offering A Dedicated COVID-19 Virtual Assistant On Its Public Websites At www.FloridaBlue.com And www.FloridaBlue.com/COVID19, Free And Available To Anyone.  The Assessment Function Of The New Virtual Assistant Pops Up Automatically On The Websites, And Guides Users Through Educational Content Or Through A Series Of Questions To Check For COVID-19 Symptoms And Related Risk Factors.  Based On The Assessment Results, The Tool Directs Users To Contact Their Primary Care Provider For Next Steps, To The Florida Blue Center Nurses For Answers To Commonly Asked Questions About COVID-19 And Connection To Community Resources, Or To Immediate Care Options As Needed. (Florida Blue, “COVID-19 Virtual Assistant Available Free To All On Florida Blue Websites,” Press Release, 4/27/20)

  • Florida Blue Is “Adding A Free-To-Member Virtual Care Partner, Teladoc, For Seniors And Others On Its Medicare Advantage Plans, And Waiving The Virtual Care Copay For Many Commercial And Affordable Care Act Members To Encourage Use Of Teladoc If It Is Offered As Part Of Their Plan.  Additionally, During This Pandemic, Florida Blue’s Network Of Primary Care Doctors And Specialists Will Be Able To Treat Patients Virtually.” (“Health Insurance Providers Respond To Coronavirus (COVID-19),” AHIP, 3/25/20)

Geisinger Health Plan Is Offering New Virtual And Telephonic Services To Members.  These Include Health Coaching, Population Health Programs, Behavioral Health Services And Online Health Resources.  Geisinger Is Also Providing Tools, Information And Guides To Help Employers Keep Their Staff And Patrons Safe And Healthy.  This Online Resources Center Is Available At Go.Geisinger.Org/Businessresources And Includes Frequently Asked Questions, Best Practices, Guidance For Screening Employees, Signage Kits Promoting Handwashing And Social Distancing At The Workplace And More.  Virtual Consultations Are Also Available Upon Request. (Geisinger Health Plan, “Geisinger Providing Best Practices, Signage And Guidance For Employers,” Press Release, 5/14/20)

  • Geisinger Health Plan Is “Making Telehealth Services Available For All Members At No Cost Through June 15,” And Has Expanded Telemedicine Services To Include Primary Care And 70 Other Specialties.  The Service Allows Patients To Speak To Providers In Real-Time About Colds, The Flu, Rashes, Diabetes, Mental Health Conditions, Neurological Conditions, And Much More. (“Health Insurance Providers Respond To Coronavirus (COVID-19),” AHIP, 3/25/20; Staff, “Geisinger Expands Telehealth Opportunities Amid COVID-19 Emergency,” NorthcentralPA.com, 4/13/20)

Gold Coast Health Plan Launched A 24/7 Emergency Hotline For Members To Consult A Medical Professional About COVID-19 Or Other Health Issues.  The Service Is Available To Medi-Cal Beneficiaries And Will Help Them Decide If They Need Urgent Medical Care Or Can Take Care Of Symptoms At Home. (Staff, “Gold Coast Health Plan Launches Hotline During COVID-19 Crisis,” VC Star, 3/26/20)

Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Will “Waive Cost Sharing For All Telemedicine Visits” And Announced A Partnership With ConvenientMD To Open A Drive-Thru COVID-19 Testing Site At Harvard Pilgrim Health Care’s Quincy Headquarters’ Parking Lot. (“Health Insurance Providers Respond To Coronavirus (COVID-19),” AHIP, 3/25/20; Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, “Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation Partners With ConvenientMD Urgent Care To Open Drive-Thru COVID-19 Testing Site In Quincy, Mass.,” Press Release, 4/2/20)

The Health Plan Is Waiving Cost Sharing Where Applicable For Telemedicine Visits For The Next 90 Days. (“Important COVID-19 Information,” The Health Plan, Accessed 4/11/20)

The HealthPartners Institute 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.  The SafeDistance App Crowdsources Data Down To The Level Of People’s Census Block Groups, Which Usually Contain Around 1,500 People And Most Accurately Reflects Neighborhoods. (HealthPartners, “HealthPartners, UMN Researchers Launch App To Fight COVID-19 At The Neighborhood Level,” Press Release, 4/22/20)

Health Net Is Providing California Medi-Cal Providers Grants Totaling $13.4 Million To Expand Telehealth Services.(Health Net, “California Medi-Cal Providers Receive Grants From Health Net Totaling $13.4 Million To Expand Telehealth Services,” Press Release, 5/6/20)

Highmark Has Collaborated With The Centers for Disease Control And Prevention Foundation And Microsoft To Develop And Launch The COVID-19 Symptom Checker Healthbot, Which Provides Guidance On Seeking Appropriate Medical Care When Necessary During The COVID-19 Pandemic. (Highmark, “Highmark Introduces Online Tools To Check Covid-19 Symptoms; Enhance Customer Service,” Press Release, 4/27/20)

  • Highmark Has “Waived Member Cost Sharing For All Covered Telehealth Services For 90 Days And Expanded Access To Telehealth Vendor Platforms For Medicare Advantage And Medicaid Members.” (“Health Insurance Providers Respond To Coronavirus (COVID-19),” AHIP, 3/25/20)

Humana Is Extending Telehealth Cost Share Waivers For All Telehealth Visits – Primary Care Physicians And Specialty, Including Behavioral Health, For In-Network Providers Through 2020. (“Expanded Medicare Advantage Cost Share Waivers Effective May 1, 2020,” Humana, Accessed 5/6/20)

  • Humana Is “Waiving Telemedicine Costs For All Urgent Care For The Next 90 Days, And Is Allowing Early Refills On Regular Prescription Medications.” (“Health Insurance Providers Respond To Coronavirus (COVID-19),” AHIP, 3/25/20)

Independence Blue Cross Is Waiving Cost Sharing Payments For All Primary Care Telemedicine Visits Through June 4 And Is Offering Members Access To An Emotional Wellness App, Stop, Breathe & Think, At No Cost Until June 14, 2020. (Independence Blue Cross, “Independence Expands Telemedicine Coverage During COVID-19 Outbreak,” Press Release, 3/21/20; Independence Blue Cross, “Independence Provides Members Access To Emotional Wellness App At No Cost,” Press Release, 4/14/20)

Independent Health Is Covering In-Network Telehealth/Telemedicine Services, Whether Or Not It Is COVID-19 Related, To Encourage Social Distancing And Help Reduce The Spread Of COVID-19.  There Will Be $0 Copay Or Cost-Sharing For These Services. (“COVID-19 Coronavirus Update,” Independent Health, Accessed 5/11/20)

  • Independent Health Is Expanding Its Partnership With Brook, A 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. (Independent Health, “Independent Health Partners With Brook Personal Health Companion To Provide Western New York Community Access To Health Support During COVID-19 Emergency,” Press Release, 4/1/20)

Indiana University Health “Provides Free Screening For COVID-19 Via Its Virtual Visits App Where Indiana Residents Of Any Age Are Able To Review Symptoms With A Health Care Provider.  The Team Will Recommend And Facilitate Appropriate Pathways For Care And Will Provide Direct Access And Communication With Local Hospitals As Medically Appropriate.” (“Health Insurance Providers Respond To Coronavirus (COVID-19),” AHIP, 3/25/20)

Kaiser Permanente And Dignity Health Will Partner With California And Los Angeles County To Open The Los Angeles Surge Hospital, A Temporary Facility In Los Angeles That Will Expand Access To Additional Beds And Expand Intensive Care Unit Capacity For Patients Who Contract COVID-19.  The Los Angeles Surge Hospital Is Expected To Open April 13, 2020.(Kaiser Permanente, “Innovative Partnership Creates Los Angeles Surge Hospital,” Press Release, 4/7/20)

Magellan Health Has “Expanded Telehealth Services To Help Support Clients During The COVID-19 Pandemic.  Magellan Will Permit All Credentialed And Contracted Behavioral Health Providers To Conduct Telehealth Video Sessions For All Routine Services And Certain Psychological Testing, Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP) And Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP) Services.” (“Health Insurance Providers Respond To Coronavirus (COVID-19),” AHIP, 3/25/20)

“Medica Health Plan Is Providing Coverage For Virtual Care Or Telehealth Services.” (“Health Insurance Providers Respond To Coronavirus (COVID-19),” AHIP, 3/25/20)

Medical Mutual Of Ohio Is Waiving The Requirement That Telehealth Visits Have A Visual Encounter. (“Important Information For Our Members About COVID-19,” Medical Mutual, Accessed 4/7/20)

MetroPlus Health Plan And Healthx Have Launched Improved Online Engagement Platforms For Its Members And Providers. (MetroPlus Health Plan, “MetroPlus Health Plan, Responding To COVID-19 Crisis, Announces Enhanced Online Websites, Radically Improving Engagement For Nearly 545,000 Members And More Than 23,000 Of The Plan’s Providers,” Press Release, 5/8/20)

Molina Healthcare Unveiled Its Coronavirus Chatbot, An Enhanced Digital Tool For Members Seeking Information About COVID-19 Risk Factors And Their Own Personal Risk Profile.(Molina Healthcare, “Molina Healthcare Launches Coronavirus Chatbot,” Press Release, 3/24/20)

MVP Health Care And Media Logic Have Launched A New Website, Trytelemedicinefirst.Com, That Serves As A Directory Of Available Telemedicine Services, And Can Be Searched By Health Insurance Provider Name Or By Zip Code – The Latter Of Which Will Provide Information On Hospitals And Providers That Offer Telemedicine Services. (MVP Health Care, “New ‘Try Telemedicine First’ Website Launched To Increase Access To Virtual Care Resources During COVID-19 Pandemic,” Press Release, 4/14/20)

Oscar Is “Offering Telemedicine Services At No Cost To Most Members Through Its Doctor On Call Service.” (“Health Insurance Providers Respond To Coronavirus (COVID-19),” AHIP, 3/25/20)

Optima Health Is “Offering Free Telehealth Visits To Members For The Next 90 Days.” (“Health Insurance Providers Respond To Coronavirus (COVID-19),” AHIP, 3/25/20)

PacificSource Is Waiving Out-Of-Pocket Costs For COVID-19 “Diagnosis-Related … Telemedicine Visits.” (“Health Insurance Providers Respond To Coronavirus (COVID-19),” AHIP, 3/25/20)

Passport Health Plan Will Not Charge Any Copays For COVID-19 Screening And Testing, Including Telehealth. (“Health Insurance Providers Respond To Coronavirus (COVID-19),” AHIP, 3/25/20)

Piedmont Community Health Plan Is “Waiving Out-Of-Pocket Costs For Telehealth Services, And Is Permitting Online Mental Health Counseling For All Members At In-Network Providers.” (“Health Insurance Providers Respond To Coronavirus (COVID-19),” AHIP, 3/25/20)

Premera Blue Cross Is Launching Its First-Ever Virtual Primary Care Plan Called Premera NOW. The New Product Leverages Digital Solutions To Help Customers Access Care Easily And Affordably Without Leaving The Comfort Of Their Home.  Washington-State Employers Can Purchase The Product Now For Availability October 1, 2020.  Designed With 98point6, The Premera NOW Health Plan Will Offer Access To A 98point6 Virtual Provider At Any Time Across The Country At A $0 Copay. (Premera Blue Cross, “Premera Blue Cross Launches Its First Virtual Primary Care Health Plan,” Press Release, 5/14/20)

  • Premera Blue Cross Expanded Its Zero Cost Share Options For Virtual Mental Health Care And Substance Use Disorder Treatment In Response To The Unprecedented Demand For Virtual Care During The COVID-19 Crisis.  Premera Has Signed Provider Agreements With Doctor On Demand, Boulder Care And Workit Health To Deliver Video-Based Mental Health Care And Substance Use Disorder Treatment To Nearly All 2.3 Million Premera Blue Cross, Premera Blue Cross And Blue Shield Of Alaska, And LifeWise Health Plan Of Washington Customers Through At Least June 30, 2020. (Premera Blue Cross, “Premera Blue Cross Offers Zero Cost Share Virtual Mental Health And Substance Use Disorder Treatment During COVID-19 Pandemic,” Press Release, 4/21/20)
  • Premera Blue Cross Is Expanding Telehealth Offerings At Little To No Cost To Members During COVID-19 Pandemic.  (Premera Blue Cross, “Premera Blue Cross Expands Telehealth Offerings At Little To No Cost To Members During COVID-19 Pandemic,” Press Release, 3/25/20)

Priority Health Is “Expanding Its Existing $0 Copay Telehealth To Include All Lines Of Business Through April 30.  All Of The Company’s Nearly 1 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.” (“Health Insurance Providers Respond To Coronavirus (COVID-19),” AHIP, 3/25/20)

Prominence Health Plan Is Providing Members Telehealth Services Through Teladoc With Zero-Dollar Copays. (“Telemedicine Services,” Prominence Health Plan, Accessed 4/9/20)

QualChoice Health Insurance Is Waiving Cost-Sharing For Telemedicine. (“Protecting Our Members Against COVID-19,” QualChoice Health Insurance, Accessed 4/2/20)

Quartz Health Solutions Is Waiving Cost-Sharing For Telemedicine. (“Coronavirus,” Quartz, Accessed 4/2/20)

Sanvello Health, Inc., “A Leading Provider Of Digital And Tele-Mental Health Solutions To Individuals, Businesses And Payers … Announced Free Premium Access To Its Digital Care Delivery Platform.” (“Sanvello Offers Free Premium Access to Help People Cope With Mental Health Impacts of COVID-19,” UnitedHealth Group, 3/20/20)

Sentara Healthcare Has “Started Providing Drive-Thru Screening And Testing At Three Locations For Those Who Are Concerned They May Have Coronavirus (COVID-19).” (“Health Insurance Providers Respond To Coronavirus (COVID-19),” AHIP, 3/25/20)

Sharp Health Plan Will Waive The Cost-Share For All “Telehealth Appointments For The Purpose Of Screening And/Or Testing For Coronavirus.” (“Health Insurance Providers Respond To Coronavirus (COVID-19),” AHIP, 3/25/20)

Teladoc Is Establishing Virtual “COVID Clinics” For Health Systems.  (Healthcare Leadership Council, “Healthcare Industry Actions To Protect Patients During The COVID-19 Pandemic,” Press Release, 3/26/20)

Tufts Health Plan Has Launched An Employee Relief Fund To Support Employees Who Have Been Affected By The COVID-19 Crisis And Are Experiencing Financial Hardship, Including The Loss Of A Job By Someone In Their Household.  Eligible Employees Can Apply For $1,000 Grants To Cover Essential Living Expenses, Such As Rent Or Mortgage, Utilities And Certain Medical Costs. (Tufts Health Plan, “Tufts Health Plan Launches Employee Relief Fund,” Press Release, 5/13/20)

Tufts Health Plan Is Waiving Cost-Sharing For Telemedicine. (Tufts Health Plan, “Tufts Health Plan Waiving Treatment Costs For Members With COVID-19,” Press Release, 4/3/20)

UCare Is Removing Copays For Medicare Primary Care And Mental Health Clinic Services – Including Telehealth – During The COVID-19 Crisis. (“COVID-19: What’s Covered?,” UCare, Accessed 5/20/20)

UnitedHealthcare Is “Waiving Copays, Coinsurance And Deductibles For Visits Associated With COVID-19 Testing, Whether The Care Is Received In A Physician’s Office, An Urgent Care Center Or An Emergency Department,” And “Is Also Expanding Provider Telehealth Access And Waiving Member Cost Sharing For COVID-19 Testing-Related Visits.” (“Health Insurance Providers Respond To Coronavirus (COVID-19),” AHIP, 3/25/20)

Upper Peninsula Health Plan Is Waiving Cost-Sharing For Telemedicine For Next 90 Days. (“UPHP Coverage Information Updates For Members Amid COVID-19 Outbreak,” Upper Peninsula Health Plan, Accessed 4/15/20)

Viva Health “Members Can Have Telehealth Visits From Any Location With Any In-Network Physician, Nurse Practitioner, Or Physician Assistant Who Offers This Service. Members Will Not Have A Copayment For Telehealth Visits With Their Local Provider For The Next 30 Days.” (“Health Insurance Providers Respond To Coronavirus (COVID-19),” AHIP, 3/25/20)

Walgreens Is Opening 15 Drive-Thru Coronavirus Testing Sites In Seven States. “Walgreens said Tuesday that it plans to open 15 drive-thru testing locations for the coronavirus across seven states, starting later this week.  The sites will be in Arizona, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Tennessee and Texas, the drugstore chain said in a news release.  They will use Abbott Laboratories’ rapid COVID-19 test.” (Melissa Repko, “Walgreens To Open 15 Drive-Thru Testing Sites For The Coronavirus Across 7 States,” CNBC, 4/7/20)

Walmart Is Staffing A COVID-19 Drive-Thru Testing Unit In Georgia. “Walmart Public Affairs Director for Georgia Glen Wilkins said the company is ‘committed to supporting the state of Georgia’s efforts to expand COVID-19 testing, especially in communities that have had limited access to testing.’  He added, ‘We are grateful to our pharmacists and associates who are supporting these testing sites, and to [clinical service network] eTrueNorth and local officials as we work together to open sites that will help Georgians access timely testing.’” (Cortney Moore, “Walmart Staffs Coronavirus Drive-Thru Testing Unit In Georgia,” FOX Business, 4/26/20)

Wellmark Blue Cross And Blue Shield Is “Offering Virtual Health Care Visits For All Appropriate Medical And Behavioral Health Visits At No Cost To Members Until June 16.” (“Health Insurance Providers Respond To Coronavirus (COVID-19),” AHIP, 3/25/20)

Pharmaceutical Giant, Eli Lilly, Is Working With Indiana To Help The State Increase Its COVID-19 Testing Capacity, By Analyzing Samples In Its Lab, Opening A Free  Drive-Thru Testing Clinic And Deploying Its Medical Professionals To Staff The Clinic. (Shari Rudavsky, “Eli Lilly To Start Coronavirus Testing With Same-Day Or Overnight Results Available,” The Indianapolis Star, 3/18/20; “Member Company Efforts To Combat Coronavirus Outbreak,” PhRMA, 3/26/20; Merck & Co., Inc., Pfizer Inc., And Eli Lilly And Company, “Medical Professionals Across Merck & Co., Inc., Pfizer Inc., And Eli Lilly And Company Activate To Support Health Systems, First Responders And Patients Amid COVID-19 Pandemic,” Press Release, 4/1/20)

Stanford Health Care Created A Clinic For COVID-19 Patients. “A new clinic provides specialized care for patients who have tested positive for the coronavirus but don’t need to be in the hospital.  The clinic is isolated from other patient care areas to protect those who aren’t infected.  A new Stanford Health Care clinic for COVID-19 patients, isolated from other clinics to avoid spreading the disease, offers specialized care for patients riding out the illness at home.” (Mandy Erickson, “Stanford Health Care Creates Clinic For COVID-19 Patients,” Stanford University, 4/27/20)