Managed care is the dominant delivery system for Medicaid enrollees. With 72% of Medicaid beneficiaries enrolled in comprehensive managed care organizations (MCOs) nationally, plans have played a key role in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and are expected to work with states in conducting outreach and providing support to enrollees during the unwinding of the continuous enrollment requirement. While managed care is the dominant Medicaid delivery system, states decide which populations and services to include in managed care arrangements which leads to considerable variation across states. Additionally, while we can track state requirements for Medicaid managed care plans, plans have flexibility in certain areas including in setting provider payment rates… Read MoreContinue Reading
The End of COVID-19 Public Health Emergency: How will telemedicine be affected?
On Jan. 30, 2023, the Biden Administration announce it will end the public health emergency (and national emergency) declarations on May 11, 2023. Telemedicine What’s changing: Some flexibilities associated with providing health care via telehealth during the public health emergency will end. What’s the same: Expanded telehealth for Medicare beneficiaries was once tied to the public health emergency but, due to recent legislation, will remain unchanged through December 31, 2024. Most private insurers already covered telemedicine before the pandemic. In Medicaid, states have broad authority to cover telehealth without federal approval. Most states have made, or plan to make, some Medicaid telehealth flexibilities permanent. Have any questions regarding this notice?… Read MoreContinue Reading
The End of COVID-19 Public Health Emergency: How will COVID treatments be affected?
On Jan. 30, 2023, the Biden Administration announced it will end the public health emergency (and national emergency) declarations on May 11, 2023. COVID Treatment What’s changing: People with public coverage may start to face new cost-sharing for pharmaceutical COVID treatments (unless those doses were purchased by the federal government). Medicare beneficiaries may fact cost-sharing requirements for certain COVID pharmaceutical treatments after May 11. Medicaid and CHIP programs will continue to cover all pharmaceutical treatments with no-cost sharing through September 2024. After that date, these treatments will continue to be covered; however, states may impose utilization limits and nominal cost-sharing. What’s the same: Any pharmaceutical treatment doses (e.g., Paxlovid) purchased… Read MoreContinue Reading
Notice: White House announces COVID-19 PHE and National Emergency will be allowed to expire
On January 30, 2023, the White House announced its plan to allow the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE) and National Emergency periods to expire on May 11, 2023. We have provided example scenarios in the Compliance Alert that demonstrate the impact of the national emergency period expiration. We encourage you to review each example to determine the impact on your specific plan(s). Although we encourage you to review the entire Compliance Alert, we have provided a summary of the content for your review: Public Health Emergency During the PHE, group health plans are required to cover the cost of COVID-19 tests and testing-related services without cost-sharing or prior authorization or… Read MoreContinue Reading
The End of COVID-19 Public Health Emergency: How will PCR and rapid tests be affected?
On Jan. 30, 2023, the Biden Administration announced it will end the public health emergency (and national emergency) declarations on May 11, 2023. PCR and rapid tests ordered or administered by a health professional What’s changing: Although most insured people will still have coverage of COVID tests ordered or administered by a health professional, these tests may no longer be free. What’s the same: Uninsured people in most states were not eligible for the temporary Medicaid pathway for COVID testing and therefore will continue to pay full price for tests unless they can get tested through a free clinic or community health center. Have any questions regarding this notice? Don’t… Read MoreContinue Reading
The End of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency: How will at-home COVID tests be affected?
On Jan. 30, 2023, the Biden Administration announced it will end the public health emergency (and national emergency) declarations on May 11, 2023. At-home COVID tests What’s changing: At-home (or over-the counter) tests may become more costly for people with insurance. After May 11, 2023, people with traditional Medicare will no longer receive free, at-home tests. Those with private insurance and Medicare Advantage (private Medicare plans) no longer will be guaranteed free at-home tests, but some insurers may continue to voluntarily cover them. For those on Medicaid, at-home tests will be covered at no-cost through September 2024. After that date, home test coverage will vary by state. A temporary Medicaid… Read MoreContinue Reading
The End of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency: How will vaccines be affected?
On Jan. 30, 2023, the Biden Administration announced it will end the public health emergency (and national emergency) declarations on May 11, 2023. Vaccines What’s changing: Nothing. The availability, access, and costs of COVID-19 vaccines, including boosters, are determined by the supply of federally purchased vaccines, not the public health emergency. What’s the same: As long as federally purchased vaccines last, COVID-19 vaccines will remain free to all people, regardless of insurance coverage. Providers of federally purchased vaccines are not allowed to charge patients or deny vaccines based on the recipient’s coverage or network status. Although a federal rule temporarily required private insurers to reimburse out-of-network providers for vaccine administration… Read MoreContinue Reading
Medicare & Coronavirus
Medicare covers the COVID-19 vaccine at no cost to you. Medicare covers the vaccine for anyone who has Medicare due to their age, a disability, End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD), or ALS (also called Lou Gehrig’s disease). Be sure to bring your Medicare card. To learn more about Medicare and the COVID-19 vaccine and boosters, click here. If you have Medicare and have a disability or face other challenges in getting to a location away from home for a vaccination, Medicare will pay a doctor or other care provider to give you the COVID-19 vaccine in your home. You may need to give them your Medicare Number for billing, but there’s… Read MoreContinue Reading
HHS Extends Public Health Emergency Until October 13
On July 15, 2022, the Secretary of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) renewed the COVID-19 pandemic Public Health Emergency, effective July 15, 2022. This will once again extend the Public Health Emergency period for an additional 90 days and as a result, numerous temporary benefit plan changes will remain in effect. Employers should continue to adhere to the national pandemic-related benefit changes and expanded timeframe for providing COVID-19 testing and vaccinations and other plan requirements. State and local emergency measures may expire at different times and could impact employee benefit plans (such as insured group health plans) and other state/or local programs (such as paid leave) differently than the timeframes… Read MoreContinue Reading
HHS to Extend Public Health Emergency Once Again
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has repeatedly renewed the public health emergency since it was originally declared in January 2020. The most recent extension was set to expire July 15. However, it will now be extended again, commencing on Friday, July 15. The administration will give states 60 days’ notice before ending the emergency to allow sufficient time to prepare for changes to certain programs and regulatory authorities. HHS last extended the public health emergency in May of 2022. The designation of a public health emergency allows regulators to clear the way for vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics for use against the coronavirus. Should the designation expire, people… Read MoreContinue Reading
COVID-19 Vaccines Now Available for Young Children
A recent CDC announcement recommends that children six months through five years of age should get an age-appropriate dose of the Pfizer‑BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. Independence covers the cost of administering vaccines and booster shots with no cost-share (such as co-pays, deductibles, coinsurance) for members regardless of where the vaccine is given. For Medicare Advantage members, the cost and administration of the vaccine and booster shots will be covered by Original Medicare so long as the health care provider administering the vaccine participates in the Medicare program. Please click here to learn more about the COVID-19 vaccines and boosters. As always, please contact your Total Benefit Solutions Inc health… Read MoreContinue Reading
Oxford/UHC: New Reward Program Encourages Pediatric Covid 19 Vaccinations
COVID-19 vaccines are an important step in helping to lessen the spread of the disease. While many adult New Yorkers have been vaccinated, vaccination rates among children remain relatively low. To encourage pediatric vaccination, we are offering New York-situs subscribers whose dependents are enrolled in a fully insured UnitedHealthcare or Oxford plan a $100 pre-paid Target Gift Card. The New York Pediatric COVID-19 Vaccination Reward program is in effect May 5, 2022 through October 1, 2022. Criteria for the New York UnitedHealthcare and Oxford Pediatric COVID-19 Vaccination Reward program Dependent child(ren) must be enrolled on an active subscriber’s New York UnitedHealthcare or Oxford fully insured plan. Dependent must be eligible for the… Read MoreContinue Reading