Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates – March 31, 2020March 31, 2020
As our country and our communities continue to deal with the effects of COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus, we’re working closely with local, state and federal health partners to temporarily update some of our policies and help our groups and members meet these challenging times. Please read on for our latest updates and information on some of the actions we’ve recently taken.
Expanded Telehealth Coverage
We recognize the advantages of telehealth during this unique time, as it lets our members access certain types of care without having to visit the hospital or doctor’s office. If your employees want to schedule telehealth appointments, your plan may offer Virtual Visits with a doctor through the Hally™ mobile app or YourHealthAlliance.org. Your plan may also offer your employees the services of our Anytime Nurse Line at (855) 802-4612. Certain self-funded employer group plans may offer alternative platforms for virtual doctor visits and telephone help lines.
Many of our providers weren’t authorized to provide telehealth services previously. However, we know they are working quickly to establish this technology as more patients are seeking these services during the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result:
- We’re temporarily covering additional telehealth services, including behavioral health therapy, for all members of all fully-insured plans.
- We’ll also temporarily cover the full cost or waive in-network requirements for members on some of our plans.
If your employees have specific questions about the types of telehealth services we will now temporarily cover, or any questions about possible cost sharing or in-network restrictions that might apply based on your specific plan, please direct them to call the number on the back of their member ID cards. As always, they should visit a hospital emergency department for all serious conditions and call 911 for all emergencies.
Important Information about COVID-19 Treatment and Prevention
The Health Alliance Director of Pharmacy, Brian Smolich, PharmD, and the Chief Medical Officer, Robert Good, DO, both wish to remind our groups and members that, at this time, there is no Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved vaccine for prevention of COVID-19, nor any pharmaceutical treatments approved through the usual FDA process. Although the FDA has given emergency approval for hospitals and doctors to prescribe certain anti-malarial drugs to treat COVID-19, these are unproven treatments that have not yet been tested in large-scale scientific studies. These drugs also have well-known side effects, which can even be fatal for individuals with certain heart problems. Therefore, these anti-malarial drugs should not be taken unless prescribed by your doctor, and only after you have talked with your doctor about your existing health conditions and undergone his or her recommended screenings to predict your susceptibility to harmful side effects.
As a general rule: please advise your employees to not take any medications not prescribed by a healthcare professional for treatment or prevention of COVID-19. Medications not only have side effects, but using treatments intended for HIV, Rheumatoid Arthritis and other diseases can put existing patients at risk by creating drug shortages. We understand the concern surrounding the current pandemic. At the same time, we want to make sure your employees and their families are using medications safely.
Extended Cancellation of In-person Community Outreach and Events
Out of an abundance of caution, Health Alliance, Health Alliance Northwest and HA Connections have extended the cancellation of all in-person community outreach, along with all member and community events, through the end of April. Virtual-only events will continue as scheduled, including webinar learning events and the Facebook Live streaming of our monthly healthy cooking demonstration on Wednesday, April 15, at 1:00 p.m. CDT / 11:00 a.m. PDT. Please advise your employees of these updates.
Additional Answers, Information and Resources
You and your employees are encouraged to visit our webpage for details about coverage for COVID-19 testing, treatment and services. Here we also provide information about COVID-19 symptoms, prevention and treatment, and point you to the most up-to-date websites from federal and state public health officials.
We know that this is a unique, and perhaps challenging, time for you and your employees. As always, if you have any questions for us, please call Client Support at 217-902-8151 or email ClientSupport@healthalliance.org.
We are here to help keep you and your employees healthy.
Health Alliance and Health Alliance Northwest