You can’t escape the news about the coronavirus (COVID-19). Its reach touches every person and every industry. (The health insurance industry is no different!) Internet CE is a web-based online insurance CE business. As such, our operations will continue as normal.
But more than that, we want to continue to be a resource to you during this crisis.
So what do you, as an insurance agent, need to know about the coronavirus? And how is it impacting your carriers… and clients?
Let’s take a look.
The rules in an beneficiary’s Marketplace plan for treatment for COVID-19 is the same as any other viral infection. Individuals should check with their health insurance company for their specific benefits and coverage policy.
- Laboratory services are considered an Essential Health Benefit. Exact coverage for lab tests and related services for diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19 may vary by plan. Standard cost sharing may apply.
- Telehealth services or home health visits are covered by many health insurance companies. Policyholders should check with their health insurance company to determine whether these services are covered and their cost.
- Enrolling in coverage is a possibility if an individual qualifies for a Special Enrollment Period. Remember, per the ACA, federal law and regulations provide protections against pre-existing conditions!
“As you may have seen, medical experts are encouraging “social distancing” as a way to reduce to the number of individuals who become ill. We believe that it is important for us as a healthcare company to commit to this approach.
As a result, all Aetna Senior Supplemental Insurance associates who are able to work from home will do so effective March 12, 2020 until further notice. We will evaluate this policy on a weekly basis until the COVID-19 threat diminishes. While most of our associates will not be at the office, we are committed to servicing your needs and expect minimal disruption.
While we will continue to accept paper applications and phone calls, we encourage you to use all of the electronic resources available to you on aetnaseniorproducts.com during this time for faster service.”
“Americo is committed to supporting you and your policyholders in the same manner that you’ve come to expect from us. We want to provide you with an update to ensure you are well-informed on what Americo is doing to keep it ‘business as usual’. We are taking specific steps as part of our business continuity plan to maintain the level of service you have been accustomed to receiving from us, including:
- Employees are working remotely to ensure business is processed, commissions are paid, and you continue to receive the same excellent support you are accustomed to with Americo.
- Working closely with our IT department to make sure we have any additional, equipment and supplies needed to take care of our associates and, by extension, our agents and policyholders.
- Continuing to provide online tools like the Agent Portal to manage and track your business, and Sales Connection to run illustrations and write eApplications.
95 percent of our business is received through our 100 percent instant decision eApplication. Your clients will know they are covered and no follow-up phone calls or visits are required. In addition, our eApplication for Final Expense, Mortgage, and Medicare Supplement has remote signing capabilities.”
We’ve received many questions about our customers’ dental and vision coverage status during this uncertain time. We know many people will not be able to make premium payments during this crisis because of reduced hours, layoffs and furloughs, or temporary closures.
Our customers’ well-being is our first priority. Therefore, we are extending our premium grace period to 60 days while continuing coverage and claims payment. Ameritas will adhere to any state mandated premium grace periods as a temporary exception to our policy during this time.
We will work with customers on an individual basis to help meet their needs. Please read our FAQ for details about coverage, claims, and much more. We will also direct customers to this FAQ on our website.
If you have further questions about your clients’ coverage with Ameritas, please contact us at [email protected], and include COVID in your email subject line. We’re here to help you.
We are committed to carrying out actions to assist our members and community in the face of COVID-19. We will continue to re-evaluate and take recommendations from the CDC into consideration.
“The health and safety of our members is always our top priority,” said Dr. Von Nguyen, Vice President of Clinical Operations and Innovations at Blue Cross NC. “By taking these steps we are helping our members stay home if need be with the goal of keeping them and others well. If you have concerns about whether you have been exposed, please call your primary care doctor.”
Loss of Coverage
Blue Cross NC is committed to the health and well-being of all North Carolinians and is prepared to help customers who have recently lost health coverage navigate their options for coverage. Please visit our website to learn about individual and family plans, in which subsidies may be available, short term plans, and more. Customers may also call 1-888-802-4171 for help.
In addition to these resources, if you have been recently experienced a temporary layoff and/or reduction of hours, please speak to your employer about options for coverage.
“Cigna customers will have access to coronavirus (COVID-19) testing, as prescribed by health practitioners, and the company will waive all co-pays or cost-shares to help fight the rapid spread of the virus in the U.S. and for its globally mobile customers.
Recognizing that health outbreaks can increase feelings of stress, anxiety and sleeplessness and in some cases, loss, Cigna is also staffing a second phone line for customers. This 24-hour toll-free telephone help line will connect customers and caregivers directly with qualified clinicians who can provide support and guidance on coping and resiliency.
To mitigate exposure risks, customers are reminded that telehealth options are available for seeking on-demand medical attention, as appropriate. To access telehealth options, visit mycigna.com and select the Connect Now button on the home page to talk with a doctor or nurse any time day or night.”
“Envision has introduced three new attestation options on our electronic enrollments.
At the bottom of the electronic enrollment, there has been two attestation boxes to choose from. Now due to the COVID-19, we have three additional attestations of getting the client/member’s signature. We have received approval from our legal team and our compliance team.
Due to COVID-19, I am unable to meet with my client to obtain a signed application and Scope of Appointment (SOA). Please select one of the following options:
- I attest that I spoke to the member on the phone and they agree to enroll in EnvisionRxPlus. I will collect the paper documents at a later date and be prepared to be audited at plan discretion.
- I attest my client has sent me a picture image of the signed SOA and application through a smart phone or email. I will keep this documentation for my records and will be prepared to be audited at plan discretion.
- I attest that I have recorded my client agreement to enroll in EnvisionRxPlus through a web communication software such as Zoom or Go To Meeting. I will save a copy of this recording or transcript of it and be prepared to be audited at plan discretion. There is no need for paper SOA or application.
For the first option, if the client gives approval over the phone, you still need a signed application and Scope of Appointment (SOA), but you can collect these documents at a later date. When you send them the SOA to sign, you need to verify the application date and the signature date are the same. Enter the date you completed the phone enrollment and not the date they are mailing the signed documents back to you.
For the second option, the client has a smart phone, can scan and email images, or can borrow a family member’s phone to take a picture and save it to their records as signatures.
For the third option, if a WebEx, Go To or Zoom meeting can be organized, that will be the face-to-face. However, you must obtain the transcript or recording of that meeting to save, as you would have the signed documents.
We hope this helps to alleviate some of the worries of this “no face-to-face “ time we are currently experiencing.
Due to the COVID-19, we are working, but from home we have all the equipment and connections we need to continue giving great support to our agencies and agents. Any questions or concerns feel free as always to reach out to [email protected].”
“As you might imagine, the past ten days has been very eventful at Guarantee Trust. We have lots of moving pieces and heightened levels of activity to support a very thorough plan of operations which has two main objectives. One objective is to provide the safest possible work environment for our employee population and the second, and equally important, objective is to provide outstanding uninterrupted service to our policyholders and field representatives.
As of yesterday, we had better than 50 percent of our workforce working remote. By Monday all of our employees will be able to work remote. Employees under the age of 60 with no underlying health issues are permitted to come to our office if they so choose but most of our employees will be working remote. We have done a truly good job at shifting the entire way we work in a very short period of time.
Several things worth noting are that Guarantee Trust has never been as financially sound as it is today. We are open and ready to process as much business as you can send our way. It is also true that we have never been as competent as we are today and while we wish the circumstances driving reality were not what they are, we are excited to demonstrate our preparedness to function well in a challenging environment.”
HealthTeam Advantage is closely monitoring COVID-19 (Coronavirus) to ensure we continue providing the best care and service to our members and employees. We rely on the guidance from our medical directors, our parent company, Cone Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the NC Department of Health and Human Services. Please visit our website for current information and reports. You can also follow us on Facebook @HealthTeamAdvantageHTA.
“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.
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.
As the COVID-19 coronavirus continues to circulate around the world, Humana is being mindful of all we can do to stay safe and healthy and minimize potential disruption to our ability to care for members. Humana is focused on safety and mobility of our associates and the continuity of our operations, especially in areas related to accessing pharmaceutical products and medical supplies. We have enterprise cross-functional teams working together to identify and manage risks, including outreach to our third parties to ensure their plans for this situation complement ours. We’re also coordinating with public health authorities and are ready, with contingency plans in place, should the virus continue to spread.
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.
As a member of Humana and SilverSneakers®, your health and safety are our top priorities.
- SilverSneakers is monitoring the Coronavirus situation closely and are following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
- SilverSneakers locations are taking necessary steps to maintain a clean and sanitized environment.
- Understanding this is a fluid situation, we recommend calling your participating SilverSneakers location prior to your visit to ensure that it is open, classes are in session, and events are still on.
- Exercise is a key part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle and can support a healthy immune system. Whether you choose to go to the gym or stay home, we encourage you to stay active.
- Included in your SilverSneakers membership is SilverSneakers OnDemand which gives you access to 200+ online workout videos. Log in to silversneakers.com (or create an account) to view OnDemand workouts like SilverSneakers Classic, Yoga, etc.”
Agent Support Unit
- Agent Support Unit will begin transitioning all associates to Work at Home over the next several days. There may be service level impacts during this transition.
- Send any non-urgent requests or questions to [email protected]
- If any urgent needs, please call us at 800-309-3163
Telephonic Sales Presentation
- In an effort to protect our most vulnerable population we strongly suggest not meeting face-to-face. Sales agents may conduct a telephonic sales presentation, with the beneficiary’s permission.
Use our Vantage Agent Portal for Faster Service
- Leverage the IVR system to complete a Scope of Appointment 866-945-4471
- Electronic Enrollments
- Enrollment Hub with E-Signature
- Fast App with E-Signature
- Digital Marketing Materials
- Digital Marketing Materials can be used to present plan options after conducting a sales presentation.
- A beneficiary may complete their own application through Digital Marketing Materials
- Agent Support
- Service Inquiries
- Commission Statements, License and Cert Status
- My Humana Business Center in Vantage (Enrollment status checks)
- Plan information, drug look up, Find a Doctor”
“We want to take this opportunity to share how we’re responding to this situation:
- Mutual of Omaha has a multi-disciplinary team of subject matter experts meeting daily to closely monitor, assess and respond to the coronavirus situation as it develops.
- Mutual of Omaha remains committed to providing superior service to our policyholders and we are taking active steps to prevent any interruption in our business processes.
- If you have any questions regarding your insurance policy, we encourage you to access your account from home 24⁄7 using our online portal, Customer Access, or our automated phone system (800-775-6000) to view policy information, update payment/billing information and more.
- Please note that out of an abundance of caution, Mutual of Omaha is practicing social distancing and has asked all associates who are able, to work from home. We appreciate your patience and understanding as we take steps to protect the health and safety of our associates and ensure uninterrupted service to our customers.
- As additional information for our Medicare supplement customers, please be advised of the following:
- Should your doctor or medical provider determine you need to be tested, your Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance) will cover the test. To learn more, visit Medicare.gov
- Your Medicare supplement plan covers foreign travel emergency (up to plan limits); the plan is the same as stated in your policy.
Be assured that we continue to pay claims without disruption, which allows you to remain focused on your health.”
We are aware of growing concerns regarding the Coronavirus (“COVID-19”) and you are our top priority. Please take proactive measures to maintain your health and know that we are here for you.
The health of our members is of the utmost importance, and we want to be sure you are equipped to manage your health. We encourage you to take precautions. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued the following guidelines to minimize any potential health risks:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
- Follow the CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask.
- The CDC does not recommend that well people wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
- Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).
If you or an enrolled family member are feeling ill or suspect you may have the virus, we encourage you to call the Telemedicine number provided on your ID card or in your membership guide. Allow them to put your mind at ease and guide you back to health as quickly as possible.
All of our members have access to Telemedicine, with a $0 consult fee. You can talk with a physician 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
For Massachusetts Residents please call Teledoc at 855-847-3627.
“In light of the COVID-19 situation, Oxford Life Insurance Company is doing everything we can to protect the health and well-being of our team members and our Producer Partners. We want to assure you that we have extensive business continuity plans in place and we will be implementing those plans as necessary.
At this time, we do not expect an interruption to any of our services and we are here to support our customers. With that said, following are a few of the key steps you can take to ensure your business will be serviced and processed in a timely manner.
Whenever possible, use the E-Application feature for our Assurance Final Expense and our Multi-Select, Multi-Year Guaranteed Annuity. E-Applications guarantee that all required fields are filled in prior to advancing. This valuable tool helps to insure that more of your applications are “IN-GOOD-ORDER”. You can access E-Applications at oxfordlife.com. Log into your agent portal and click on My Tools then E-App. Then click on the specific product you wish to submit.
Go to oxfordlife.com and log into your agent portal. Click on My Tools,
Upload Documents and then New Business. From here you can upload all new business documents along with any outstanding requirements ensuring prompt secure processing.
Avoid potential long hold times by “chatting” with an Oxford Life Customer/Agent Service representative. Go to oxfordlife.com and click on Chat.
Triple check your application before submitting
Now more than ever, avoid the need to revisit a client for any outstanding requirements. Make sure all required fields are filled in accurately. This includes submitting any required additional forms such as Suitability, Disclosure, Replacement, Power of Attorney, Non-Resident Sale Certification, Authorization for Multiple Premiums, Transfer of Funds/1035 Exchange and Certification of Trustee Powers.
View Your Agent Portal
Visit your Agent Portal often to stay up-to-date on any developments with your business.
As a firm, we have restricted travel unless absolutely necessary. We are also restricting attendance at conferences or any other meetings where social distancing is not possible. In terms of client meetings, we are encouraging our Producer Partners to take whatever measures are necessary to ensure you and your clients’ safety. As we navigate this global pandemic, we are committed to being available to answer the important questions, and provide the best value for our customers.”
We announced today that in an effort to provide protection and peace of mind to our insureds during the COVID-19 outbreak we will, effective immediately, waive certain cost sharing provisions on Independence American Insurance Company’s (IAIC) Short-Term Medical plans (STM) in order to remove financial barriers to COVID-19 testing.
As a part of this effort, all IAIC STM plans will:
- Waive all insured cost sharing, including deductibles, copays and coinsurance, for:
- The COVID-19 diagnostic test; and
- The COVID-19 diagnostic related services, including the related office, emergency or urgent care visit.
- Waive any preauthorization requirements related to COVID-19 testing
David Kettig, the President of IAIC, stated, “STM is a potential solution for many people who cannot purchase insurance through the Affordable Care Act market. Right now, if someone is uninsured and doesn’t have a Special Enrollment Period, STM may be their only option for coverage at a time when health insurance is more important than ever.”
This will apply to all IAIC STM Plans for any covered testing performed on or after March 11, 2020 through April 30, 2020. IAIC will continue to evaluate other ways in which to assist its insureds during this emergent situation.
It is important to remember that this ONLY applies to COVID-19 testing and costs related to covered testing. In addition:
- The pre-existing condition will continue to apply, as will underwriting. It is important to sell STM to people who are eligible and understand the plan’s limits.
- Depending on the plan and provider, the insured may still have amounts to pay for claims in excess of the usual, reasonable and customary amount.
This waiver does not apply to treatment for the COVID-19 virus; however, the plan will pay for covered claims as it would any other claim.
“On March 9, 2020, CVS Health announced additional COVID-19 resources to increase patient access to medications.
Beginning immediately, CVS Pharmacy will waive charges for home delivery of prescription medications, which will help patients avoid visiting their local CVS Pharmacy for refills or new prescriptions.
Aetna will offer 90-day maintenance medication prescriptions for insured and Medicare members.
CVS Caremark is working with all PBM clients to waive early refill limits on 30-day prescription maintenance medications.”
“UnitedHealthcare has waived member costs for approved diagnostic testing for COVID-19 for all commercial insured, Medicaid and Medicare members who may be affected by COVID-19.
Optum, part of UnitedHealth Group, has opened its Emotional-Support Help Line. Professionally trained, mental health staff are available to provide support to people who may be suffering from fear or stress as a result of COVID-19. Optum’s Emotional-Support Help Line number is 866-342-6892 and is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
UnitedHealthcare Medicare Advantage only members will receive We are Here for You: Navigating through the Coronavirus and AARP® Medicare Supplement members will receive What You Need to Know: Stay Informed.
If you have events planned in the coming days, the health of you and attendees is our top priority. Please reference our events policy in your agent guide on Jarvis, and be sure to contact your sales leaders and follow the appropriate steps.”
Attention Valued Partner:
In this time of uncertainty, staying informed is essential. Therefore, we will regularly communicate updates and talking points. Rest assured, we are still closely monitoring the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation and are engaging regularly with medical professionals, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), and other government agencies, as the situation evolves.
Helping Members Feel Supported
With so many things changing, it is important that our members know they are supported. We are here to help members manager their conditions and stay healthy.
- Members can fill prescriptions early, if needed.
- Many pharmacies are offering free local delivery. If a member’s pharmacy isn’t offering free local delivery, they should consider CVS mail order or another local pharmacy (of the members’ choice).
- Convert medications to 90-day supply home delivery.
- This process can take time, will generally require providers to be involved, and requires time for mail delivery.
- There are two ways to set up 90-day supply home delivery: visit the CVS website www.Caremark.com or call 1-866-808-7471 TTY: 711
Food & Basic Essentials
When in need, we are here to help and connect members to our Community Connections Help Line, who help members find local resources. The Community Connections Line is 1-866-775-2192, TTY: 1-855-628-7552. Please understand, this service is experiencing higher than usual call volumes and higher demand on all supplies. We will continue to work with our members to meet their needs as best as possible.
When to Call a Doctor
If your member thinks he/she has been exposed to COVID-19 and develop a fever and symptoms, such as cough or difficulty breathing, advise them to call their healthcare provider for medical advice.
Telephonic MAPD Marketing Presentation
Due to the current state of COVID-19 as of 3/16/2019, WellCare will allow agents to conduct telephonic MAPD sales appointments with beneficiaries!
Remember, when conducting telephonic MAPD marketing presentations to Medicare prospects seeking only MAPD information; all current CMS Medicare Marketing Guidelines, WellCare policies, etc. must be followed.
MAPD Telephonic Marketing Presentation Dos and Don’ts
After all CMS requirements are met including consent-to-contact and SOA, an agent may proceed with a telephonic MAPD marketing presentation and assist with a formulary/physician searches.
If the prospect agrees to enroll, the agent MAY:
- Provide PURL information to the prospect; or
- Send paper application (and all required documents) to be completed by the prospect
If the prospect agrees to enroll, the agent MAY NOT conduct telephonic enrollments on behalf of the prospect
Protecting our members, employees, and partners conducting home visits
- Centene is taking steps to cover COVID-19 testing and screening services for Medicaid, Medicare, and Marketplace members and is waiving all associated member cost share amounts for COVID-19 testing and screening.
- We will not require prior authorization, prior certification, prior notification, or step therapy protocols for COVID-19 testing and screening.
- Enhanced protocols have also been created to ensure our pharmaceutical services continue to be available for members through supply chain management.
- To lower the risk of transmission of illness we suggest taking precautions, such as reaching out by telephone prior to home visits to ensure that those being visited are not experiencing any symptoms related to COVID-19. As always, please ensure to adhere to all CMS guidelines.
Hours of Operation:
Presently, all call centers will be operating business as usual. As our country continues to prepare and execute safety measures, we will continue to evaluate business processes that will ensure the safety of all partners.
We encourage you to reference the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website as well as local government guidance for current updates.
Further, ensure to use the following precautionary measures to support a safe and healthy environment:
- Thorough hand washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds — hand hygiene is the most effective method to control the spread of many viral illnesses.
- Using alcohol-based (containing at least 60 percent) hand sanitizer.
- Covering your mouth when you cough or sneeze by coughing and sneezing into a tissue and then disposing of the tissue in a wastebasket.
- Thoroughly cleaning surfaces that may be contaminated.
- Avoiding shaking hands and close contact with people who are sick.
We appreciate your cooperation and support in serving our members and communities in this time of need and uncertainty. As the situation evolves, please know that additional measures will be taken with a local-oriented approach, and we will continue to ensure our employees and partners are supported and safe.
As always, thank you for all that you do to transform the health of our communities and your dedication to our underserved and vulnerable populations. You are making a difference and you are relied upon more than you may realize.