Information on COVID-19 for Employers and Brokers
Updated October 2, 2020:
MVP Health Care® continues to make the health and well-being of our members our top priority during the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. We are closely monitoring the virus and taking proactive measures to protect the health and safety of our members, in accordance with the guidelines provided by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), New York State, and Vermont authorities.
MVP is also dedicated to ensuring our members, employers, and brokers continue to receive the care and support they need. We have contingency plans to ensure operations are maintained. The MVP Customer Care Center will still be open to answer member and provider questions, authorizations will be completed, and claims will be paid.
Experts are still researching the origin of the virus, but believe it is a new respiratory virus called SARS-CoV-2 that is spreading from human-to-human when an infected person coughs or sneezes (as with a cold). There have always been multiple strains of coronavirus; the disease that this new virus causes is called COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease 2019).
Symptoms can include:
- Fever (most common)
- Shortness of breath/difficulty breathing
- Muscle aches may also occur
The CDC believes symptoms appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after direct exposure to the virus. A health care provider can determine the cause of the symptoms.
Protocol for Members with COVID-19 Symptoms
If an employee has been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19, showing symptoms of COVID-19, or recently traveled from an area with ongoing community spread of COVID-19, he/she needs to be evaluated by a health care provider.
- Call a primary care doctor’s office or urgent care facility before you go to the location, or use MVP’s myERnowSM (virtual emergency room services).
- Wear a mask before you go into a doctor’s office, urgent care facility, or hospital.
- If an employee is low risk for COVID-19, but still feeling sick, consider using telemedicine alternatives.
Telemedicine/Telehealth Services and Coverage
myERnow is powered by United Concierge Medicine (UCM) and is a virtual emergency room telemedicine service. At no cost to MVP members, myERnow offers 24/7 access to trained emergency room providers who can diagnose, prescribe medications when appropriate, order labs/diagnostic imaging, and make any necessary referrals to specialists. myERnow providers also routinely follow up with members post-visit to ensure their health care needs were met. Self-funded employers can choose to offer this benefit to their employees.
MVP members can download the myERnow app by searching “myERnow” in the App Store® or Google Play™, or call 1-833-myERnow (1-833-693-7669). For more information, visit mvphealthcare.com/myERnow.
If employees feel sick but are at low risk for COVID-19 based on their symptoms, they should consider myVisitNow to avoid potential exposure. MVP members will now have access to $0 telemedicine visits through myVisitNow for the duration of the State of Emergency. Self-funded plan participants should contact their employer to understand if they have the myVisitNow benefit as part of their MVP plan.
Other Telehealth Solutions
Telehealth visits offered by providers in the MVP network will also be available at no-cost to members.
COVID-19 Testing Coverage
MVP continues to follow state and federal guidance related to COVID-19 testing. At this time, MVP will waive member cost-shares for FDA-approved COVID-19 antibody tests and immunoassays (qualitative, semiquantitative, and single step method) for all members. MVP will waive member cost-shares for all additional FDA-approved, medically necessary COVID-19 testing ordered by a physician for diagnostic purposes.
The Internal Revenue Service announced that high-deductible health plans (HDHPs) can pay for COVID-19-related testing before deductibles have been met. This also means that an individual with an HDHP that covers these costs may continue to contribute to a Health Savings Account (HSA).
COVID-19 Treatment Coverage
MVP has extended the member cost-share waiver for COVID-19 treatment costs for inpatient hospitalizations and emergency room visits for New York fully insured health plans and Medicare Advantage health plans through December 31, 2020. The member cost-share waiver for Vermont fully insured health plans has been extended until the State of Emergency is lifted.
Medications administered for the treatment of COVID-19 during an inpatient hospitalization are covered under the inpatient hospitalization charges at no cost-share to the member.
Self-funded employer groups have the option to waive COVID-19 treatment costs for their plan participants.
Hydroxychloroquine and Chloroquine
The U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently approved two drugs through an Emergency Use Authorization to treat COVID-19. However, hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine should only be used by patients who can be appropriately monitored either in the hospital or as part of a clinical trial. These will be covered by MVP for treatment of COVID-19 as part of a member’s inpatient stay (without prior authorization), or if they have met criteria for coverage within a clinical trial.
Hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine remain covered without prior authorization if a member is currently taking for one of the FDA approved indications and has a refill history of the medication. If there is no history and/or diagnosis, the claim will come in for review.
At this time MVP is working to develop a list of appropriate CPT codes for COVID-19 treatment. MVP is not including behavioral health visits as physiological treatment for COVID-19. As a reminder, if a member utilizes myVisitNow or HIPAA-compliant telehealth platform to obtain behavioral health care services, those are available at no cost-share to MVP members during the State of Emergency.*
*MVP SmartFund MSA® members who have not reached their deductible limit will need to cover costs related to COVID-19 testing and treatment, as well as any telemedicine co-pays.
Health Care Site of Service Cost Differences
Your employees often have less expensive, more convenient options than the hospital emergency room. The chart below details estimated costs based on site of service for an upper respiratory infection.
Hospital Emergency Room $1,150 Urgent Care $173 myVisitNow $49 The costs above show averages of all rates in the MVP service area. They do not represent a specific region or county in the MVP service area, or any single MVP participating provider’s contracted rates.
Special Enrollment Period Guidelines
New York State is allowing individuals to enroll in a Qualified Health Plan On-Marketplace or Off-Marketplace during a Special Enrollment Period (SEP). New York’s SEP is extended through December 31, 2020. Individuals who enroll by October 15 can choose a coverage start date of either October 1 or November 1. Individuals who enroll between October 16 and December 15 can choose a coverage start date of either November 1 or December 1. Individuals who enroll December 16 through December 31 will have a January 1, 2021 coverage effective date.
Additionally, individuals will have the option to continue their enrollment in the same plan in 2021 without a break in coverage. If their plan is retiring in 2021, they will need to select a new plan to remain covered.
Prescription Medication Refills
MVP Commercial members will be able to obtain an early refill on a 30-day supply of maintenance medications at an in-network retail pharmacy. MVP Medicaid members may be eligible for an early refill of a 30-day supply of a maintenance medication at an in-network retail pharmacy. Medicaid members who are quarantined or whose provider suggests self-quarantine may contact CVS to request a 90-day supply of maintenance medications during the COVID-19 pandemic. MVP Medicare members may request a 90-day supply of medications at an in-network pharmacy (mail or retail). Members should speak with their pharmacist to enter the applicable emergency supply override code into their dispensing systems to trigger the early refill override.
Controlled substances and specialty medications will be exempt from this early refill override process. Please remember that most specialty medications may be obtained from the CVS Specialty Pharmacy, which already mails prescriptions to homes.
Members taking maintenance medications are encouraged to take advantage of the ability to receive a 90-day supply of medication through the CVS Caremark mail order pharmacy to have medications mailed directly to their homes. Some retail pharmacies will also mail prescriptions to a home address. Members should ask their pharmacist if this is an option.
COVID-19 Claims Codes
Coding for COVID-19 is in process. MVP providers have been notified of coding requirements related to COVID-19.
Employer Group Billing Policy
MVP is committed to making sure you have the health insurance coverage you need during the COVID-19 State of Emergency. While you are no longer able to defer premium payments, if you have experienced financial hardship please call your broker, MVP Account Representative, or MVP Premium Billing Representative to discuss your options.
Ancillary Product Changes Due to COVID-19
Ancillary Product Extensions
The grace period for COBRA elections and premium payments has been extended to 60 days after the State of Emergency is lifted, retroactive to March 1, 2020.
Runout periods for Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRA) and Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) are also extended to 60 days after the State of Emergency is lifted, retroactive to March 1, 2020.
Over-the-Counter Item Eligibility for Spending Accounts
The CARES Act was amended to add over 17,000 over-the-counter items and menstrual care items to the list of qualified medical expenses for Health Savings Accounts (HSA), FSAs, and HRAs.
It is the employer’s choice to allow for reimbursement of OTC items out of an HRA.
Mid-Year Election Changes for FSAs, Dependent Care FSAs, and LPFSAs
Employers can amend their plan to permit employees to revoke an election, make a new election, or increase or decrease an election to a medical FSA, Dependent Care FSA, or Limited Purpose FSA. The employer can limit the window in which employees can make these changes and limit mid-year elections to no less than amounts already reimbursed.
Extended Claims Period
Employers may amend their plans to extend the claims period and allow employees to use funds in an FSA or Dependent Care FSA within the plan year or any grace period ending in 2020 to pay for expenses incurred no later than December 31, 2020.
The extension for incurring claims is available to cafeteria plans that have a grace period and plans that provide a carryover of funds.
FSA Carryover Fund Increase
Members may now carryover up to $550 year-over-year in their medical FSA. Employers have until December 31, 2021 to adopt this amendment. It can be retroactive to the 2020 plan year.
Ambulance Claim Coverage
Effective March 13, 2020, Vermont members will have no cost-share for an ambulance claim if they have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or they have symptoms of COVID-19 (cough, shortness of breath, fever).
MVP will waive cost-shares for all in-person, in-network behavioral health services, including mental health and substance use disorders, for most MVP Commercial members in New York State until the State of Emergency is lifted, retroactive to May 2, 2020. Members enrolled in a qualified high-deductible health plan are responsible for their cost-shares until their deductible is met.
Self-funded employers can elect to waive cost-shares for in-person, in-network behavioral health services.
myVisitNow from MVP Health Care is powered by American Well. Regulatory restrictions may apply.
Information regarding COVID-19 is subject to change.