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COVID-19 Updates for Members

New! The Secretary of Health and Human Services extended the nationwide public health emergency due to COVID-19 through Jan. 20, 2021.

COVID-19 Testing

This means, we will continue to cover medically appropriate COVID-19 testing at no cost-sharing to you during the public health emergency when the testing is ordered by a physician or health care professional for purposes of diagnosis or treatment. A virus detection (diagnostic) test determines if a person is currently infected with COVID-19, while an antibody (serology) test may determine if a person has been exposed to COVID-19. 

Visit CDC.gov for more information about testing. Talk to your doctor about where to get the tests.

COVID-19 Testing-Related Visits
We will also continue to waive member cost-sharing for COVID-19 testing-related visits during the public health emergency when there is a COVID-19 diagnosis or suspected diagnosis, whether the testing-related visit is in-person or a telehealth visit. If a COVID-19 diagnosis or suspected diagnosis is not present, plan cost-sharing would apply.

Waiving of cost-sharing means you are not responsible for paying a copay or coinsurance for the visit.

COVID-19 Treatment

We are waiving member cost-sharing for COVID-19 treatment through Dec. 31, 2020, for in-network and out-of-network visits, including telehealth visits, when there is a confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis.
Remember to visit network providers and always show your member ID card for COVID-19-related testing, visits or treatment. Also, keep your primary care provider informed of any COVID-19 testing results or care you might receive.

Visits With Assigned Network Primary Care Provider

New! We’ve updated our processes to continue waiving member cost-sharing for network primary care provider office visits (including telehealth visits) the member has with their assigned network primary care provider.

The waiver does not require a COVID-19 diagnosis. It applies to physician evaluation and management services provided at an in-person visit or a telehealth visit.

Plan copays still apply for specialist office visits, visits for network outpatient therapy services, and services such as labs, X-rays and medical equipment, unless cost-sharing was already waived because the services were for COVID-19-related diagnosis or treatment. Specialist office visits and visits for network outpatient therapy services were waived May 11, 2020, through Sept. 30, 2020. Starting Oct. 1, plan cost-sharing again applied for these services.

Contacting Us for Assistance

Peoples Health values the health and safety of our employees, members and community. In light of the ongoing outbreak of COVID- 19, we are following recommended guidelines to implement social distancing. The Peoples Health office in Metairie is closed to visitors until further notice. If you need assistance, you can call us at 1-800-222-8600 (TTY: 711) or contact us electronically at
phn.member@peopleshealth.com or by using the form on our Contact Us page.

If you are unable to get in touch with your doctor, please let us know.

We continue to expand your access to care, support and resources to help you navigate through this unprecedented time. We are committed to helping you protect your health by making it easier and more affordable to get the care you need, when you need it, including from the comfort of your home.

Access to Telehealth

Telehealth gives you access to health care providers from the comfort of your home through digital audio-visual technologies or dedicated telehealth applications. We expanded access to telehealth to help you stay in your home and reduce exposure to the virus.

  • 24/7 Virtual Visits through designated telehealth providers: These visits are ideal for urgent care.
  • Talk to your health care provider from home: Eligible health care providers can provide a telehealth visit for many of your urgent and non-urgent health care needs. This way, you can stay at home while still receiving the care you need.

Telehealth visits may include:

  • Urgent and routine medical care: Providers can use both interactive audio/video and audio-only.
  • Outpatient behavioral care: Providers can use both interactive audio/video and audio-only.
  • Physical, occupational and speech therapies: Providers must use interactive audio/video technology.

More Information About COVID-19

COVID-19 Image

We have a team of experts closely monitoring COVID-19. Our top priority is the health and well-being of the people we serve.

As with any public health issue, we will work with and follow all guidance and protocols issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, and Food and Drug Administration in supporting our members’ needs.

Stay alert for fraud during the coronavirus national public health emergency. Scammers like to take advantage of people when they’re distracted. Read more here.

In keeping safety in mind, many health care providers are making changes to office and clinic hours and locations. Be sure to call your provider the day before a scheduled appointment to confirm its time and location.

Symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to an upper respiratory infection and may include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

It is important to know that 80% of COVID-19 cases are mild or without symptoms. Like the seasonal flu, COVID-19 is more severe in patients with long-term, underlying health conditions and the elderly. For the most updated information about COVID-19, visit the CDC’s Share the Facts page.

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Find answers about cost, coverage and support for members affected by COVID-19

As more COVID-19 cases are being reported, Peoples Health is responding to your needs and concerns. Review the information to find answers to common questions about COVID-19.

Frequently Asked Questions
Updated 10-22-2020

The COVID-19 situation continues to quickly evolve.

Go to the CDC for the latest information on COVID-19, including how to protect yourself, what to do when sick and what to do about travel.

How can I protect myself from COVID-19?

The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. As with any potential illness, like the flu, it is important to follow good prevention practices, including:

  • Wearing a mask to protect you in public places.
  • Hand washing with soap and water for 20 seconds or use of alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
  • Do not touch your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Try to stay away from people who might be sick.
  • Do not share cups or eating utensils with people who are sick.
  • Clean and disinfect often touched surfaces.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, and then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • While a flu shot does not stop COVID-19, it’s still good to protect yourself against the flu. Contact your primary care provider or search peopleshealth.com/providers to find a network provider and schedule your flu shot.

Stay informed on the latest advice:

I may have been exposed to COVID-19. What should I do?

Call your primary care provider right away if you believe you might have been exposed to COVID-19 or have symptoms such as fever, cough or difficulty breathing. Only health care providers can order a COVID-19 test. Find contact information for network providers by visiting www.peopleshealth.com/physicians.

How do I know if I have the flu or COVID-19? Should I get a flu shot?

The flu and COVID-19 are caused by different viruses, but both are highly contagious respiratory illnesses. They share some of the same symptoms, so it may not be easy to tell them apart. While getting a flu shot won’t keep you from getting COVID-19, it reduces your chances of getting the flu, and preventing the flu helps you to stay healthy. 

The steps you’re taking to protect yourself from COVID-19 can also help protect from the flu. These steps include wearing a mask out in public and when in close contact with others (meaning less than 6 feet apart) and washing your hands frequently with soap and water. 

Talk to your doctor. You can also learn about the similarities and differences of the flu and COVID-19 at https://www.cdc.gov/flu/symptoms/flu-vs-covid19.htm.

Where do I get the COVID-19 test?

Call your health care provider right away if you believe you might have been exposed to COVID-19 or have symptoms such as fever, cough or difficulty breathing.

A virus detection (diagnostic) test determines if a person is currently infected with COVID-19, while an antibody (serology) test may determine if a person has been exposed to COVID-19. Work with your provider to determine if you need a COVID-19 test.

Remember to visit network providers and always show your member ID card for COVID-19-related testing. Also, keep your primary care provider informed of any COVID-19 testing results or care you might receive.

My provider is offering a COVID-19 antibody test. What is the value in this?

Your provider can help you determine if you need an antibody test. Antibody tests can only determine if a person might have been exposed to COVID-19 in the past. At this time, it is not known what level of antibodies, if any, provides immunity to COVID-19.

Until there is better understanding about antibodies, the results should not be used to diagnose a current COVID-19 infection. Also, until clinical evidence is available, there are no recommendations at this time on how this test can be used. It should not be used to make employment decisions or decisions regarding the need for personal protective equipment.

How do I know if the COVID-19 antibody test is FDA-authorized?

Ask your provider to use an FDA-authorized test. Tests must be FDA-authorized to be covered without cost-sharing. FDA-authorized tests include tests approved for patient use through pre-market approval or emergency use pathways, as well as tests that are developed and administered in accordance with FDA specifications or through state regulatory approval.

What exactly is telehealth?

If you feel like the term “telehealth” is everywhere lately, you’re spot on. It’s a way to talk with a doctor or provider, right in your own home. You’re probably hearing the term a lot because telehealth use has expanded with the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s become a more convenient way to help people connect with a provider from home—anytime, day or night.

With telehealth, you use digital technologies, like your smartphone or computer, to talk with a provider. You can get treatment options and even prescriptions for medications, if needed.

If you think you might have been exposed to COVID-19 or have symptoms such as fever, cough or difficulty breathing, be sure to call your doctor right away. Ask your provider if you can have a telehealth visit to help assess your symptoms. But that’s not all. You can also consider telehealth for preventive care visits, like annual wellness checkups, or specialty care visits. Just ask your provider about their telehealth options.

If you have urgent care needs, you can also use telehealth services, like virtual visits, to get treatment and even many common prescriptions if you need them. Consider a telehealth visit for these common health conditions and more:

  • Flu
  • Fever
  • Migraines
  • Allergies
  • UTIs

You may find telehealth is a helpful and convenient way to get care, anytime, anywhere. You can access telehealth through your local health care provider if your provider offers this service.

Is there any help to take care of my stress?

Optum, part of our parent company UnitedHealth Group, is opening its Emotional-Support Help Line. Professionally trained, mental health staff are there to support people who may be suffering from COVID-19 fear or stress. Optum’s Emotional-Support Help Line number is 1-866-342-6892 and will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The service is free of charge and open to anyone.

The drug I take normally requires prior authorization, but I can’t get in touch with my doctor. What should I do?

Congress passed the CARES Act on March 20, which reduces prior authorization requirements for certain prescription medications when your doctor is not available to help with the authorization. If you have a concern regarding authorization for a drug you are taking and you are unable to reach your doctor to get the authorization, call us, so we can help you.

Why are Peoples Health offices closed?

Peoples Health values the health and safety of our employees, members and community. In light of the ongoing outbreak of COVID-19, we are following recommended guidelines to implement social distancing. The Peoples Health office in Metairie is closed to visitors until further notice. If you need assistance, you can call us or contact us electronically at phn.member@peopleshealth.com or by using the form on our website at https://www.peopleshealth.com/contact-us.

Note: Early prescription refills through Jan. 21, 2021, will be approved. If you need help or have questions, contact OptumRx customer service at 1-877-889-6358 or 1-800-788-4863.

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