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COVID-19 Updates for Members

National Public Health Emergency Extended

New! The Secretary of Health and Human Services has extended the National Public Health Emergency because of COVID-19. With this extension, we have updated our policies waiving member cost-sharing for COVID-19 testing-related visits, testing and treatment, as well as telehealth coverage for COVID-19-related services through October 22, 2020.

Waiving Cost-Sharing for Network PCP and Specialist Office Visits

We are waiving member cost-sharing for all network primary care provider and specialist office visits (including telehealth visits), as well as visits for network outpatient therapy services through September 30, 2020.

Waiving of cost-sharing means you are not responsible for paying a copay for visits with your network primary care provider or specialist. Plan copays still apply for services such as labs, X-rays and medical equipment, unless cost-sharing is already waived because the services are for COVID-19-related treatment.

The waiver does not require a COVID-19 diagnosis. It applies to physician evaluation and management services in a physician office, a facility-based clinic, a rural health clinic, a federally qualified health center or your home via telehealth.

Waiving Cost-Sharing for COVID-19 Antibody Testing

We are waiving cost-sharing for COVID-19 antibody testing, which can help tell if you had the virus.

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

Peoples Health Office and Service Center Closures

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. Peoples Health office locations in Metairie and Baton Rouge and Peoples Health service centers are 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. 

These latest steps are in addition to measures already in place to waive member cost-sharing for health care provider-ordered COVID-19 testing and the test-related visit during the national public health emergency period, ending October 22, 2020. The testing-related visit includes a visit to a health care provider’s office, an urgent care center, an emergency department or a telehealth visit. We’re also waiving member cost-sharing for the treatment of COVID-19 until October 22, 2020.

 

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 CDC, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and Food and Drug Administration in supporting our members’ needs.

Stay alert for fraud during the coronavirus national 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 6-17-20

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:

  • 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’m concerned with COVID-19 and would like to move from the hospital to a different care location. Will my provider need to do special paperwork?

Through May 31, 2020, we relaxed provider prior authorization requirements for moving members to a different post-acute setting (i.e., long-term acute facilities, inpatient rehabilitation, skilled nursing facility or home health care). The admitting provider simply notified us within 48 hours of the move. Normal prior authorization requirements resumed June 1, 2020. 

 

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.

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 is telehealth?

Telehealth services offer a way to visit with a health care provider using your phone, computer, tablet or mobile device, helping you connect with your local provider in the safety and comfort of your home.

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 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 or service centers 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. Peoples Health office locations in Metairie and Baton Rouge and most Peoples Health service centers are 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 Aug. 31, 2020, 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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