Humana has announced several actions in response to the increased spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19).
“As we navigate the spread of the coronavirus, our top priority is the health and well-being of our members,” said William Shrank, M.D., chief medical officer, Humana. “Effective immediately, we are waiving the out-of-pocket costs associated with COVID-19 testing and increasing the availability of telemedicine options to reduce additional exposure. We are also implementing some important actions such as early refills of prescription medicines and connecting people with a reassuring voice on the phone.”
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), older adults and people with multiple chronic conditions are at higher risk for more symptomatic disease. Many of Humana’s Medicare Advantage members are living with multiple chronic conditions, which potentially puts them at a greater risk.
Humana will waive out-of-pocket costs associated with testing for COVID-19 for patients who meet CDC guidelines at approved laboratory locations. This will apply to Humana’s Medicare Advantage, Medicaid and commercial employer-sponsored plans. Self-insured plan sponsors will be able to opt-out of the program at their discretion. The CDC continues to offer free testing for coronavirus.
The company is also announcing the following resources for its members:
- Telemedicine costs waived for all urgent care needs for next 90 days – To help reduce the risk of infection and spread of disease, Humana is encouraging members to use telemedicine (e.g., video chat) as a first line of defense for all urgent care needs. The company will waive costs for telemedicine visits for urgent care needs for the next 90 days. This will apply to Humana’s Medicare Advantage, Medicaid and commercial employer-sponsored plans and is limited to in-network providers delivering synchronous virtual care (live video-conferencing). Self-insured plan sponsors will be able to opt-out of the program at their discretion. Humana is working closely with federal agencies to understand the impacts of both telemedicine and the coronavirus test on High Deductible Health Plans and Health Savings Accounts.
- Early prescription refills allowed for next 30 days – The company is allowing early refills on prescription medicines so members can prepare for extended supply needs—an extra 30- or 90-day supply as appropriate.
- Member support line available – Humana has trained a specialized group of call center employees to help support members with specific coronavirus questions and concerns, including live assistance with telemedicine. Members can call Humana’s toll-free customer support line, which can be found on the back of their member I.D. card, to be connected to this dedicated team of professionals.
“Our goal through these actions is to give members additional peace of mind. We will continue to listen to their feedback and explore ways we can support their health through innovative solutions, technology and personalized support,” said Dr. Shrank. “We’re also committed to working with state and federal policymakers on creative options, such as in-home testing, that will best support members.”