Blue Shield just announced that it follows Governor Newsom’s action to expand COVID-19 coverage to promote the health, safety, and well-being of all Californians. Starting immediately, Blue Shield is waiving all cost-sharing and any prior approval for COVID-19 testing prescribed by a physician. This includes cost-sharing for the hospital, urgent care, emergency room and office visits where the visit is to screen or test for the virus. Blue Shield will also not require prior authorization for medically necessary emergency care. Anthem and Aetna policy currently are accepting the cost of the treatment of COVID-19. After Blue Shield announced their procedures on how they will deal with COVID-19, Anthem followed to waive cost-sharing if testing is prescribed by a physician, however they are not following Blue Shield policy in regard to hospital and emergency care. Oscar is reminding customers to use their free Doctor on Call 24/7 feature for medical advice and that their concierge team is also prepared to answer questions concerning your health care needs. Other insurance carriers are still evaluating how to handle treatment procedures for coronavirus.
Telemedicine is one important aspect of treating the virus. Insurance carrier Oscar offers free doctor-on-call service, Blue Shield or Health Net use Teladoc or Heal. To avoid spreading the virus, please contact your Teledoctor, 24/7 nurse line, Teladoc or primary care doctor via telephone or your insurance app (Oscar) in case you have fever, cough or shortness of breath. A Teledoc doctor or your primary doctor will instruct you on which appropriate steps to take and where to go for testing. You might want to reevaluate with your doctor to see if routine visits should be postponed until there is a better handle on COVID-19.
In case you have not read about the symptoms of coronavirus, here is a short summary. The coronavirus is a type of virus that causes respiratory illness- an infection of the airways and lungs. COVID-19 is a new strain of coronavirus. It is part of the coronaviruses that includes the common cold. Early symptoms include fever, cough, and shortness of breath, which arise within 2-14 days after contraction. Especially older adults age 60 and above or those with chronic medical conditions diabetes, heart disease, asthma to mention a few, and people with weak immune systems are especially threatened by the new coronavirus. Medical experts believe the virus is spread from person to person through coughing, sneezing or kissing. It is best to keep at least a 3-foot distance from anyone suspected of having the virus.
Here once more are the preventive measures you can take:
- Comply with travel advisiories issues by the CDC ( Level 2 , meaning that the countries are experiencing a sustained community transmissiion of respiratory illness caused by COVOD-19, the CDC advises older adults or those with chronic medical conditions to consider postponing non-essential travel – Warning Level 3 , the CDC recommends that travleres avoid all non-essential travel.
- Wash your hands regularly, cover your mouth when you cough , and follow other procedures that help to keep you safe from viruses like the flu.
- Stay at home if you are sick, and see your doctor if you need relief from your symtoms.
- if you have concerns about coronavirus- particularly if you have traveled internationaly or come into contact with someone who has – contact your doctor best via telemedicine.
With many industries being affected by the coronavirus, from transportation to healthcare to tourism, has your family and business mapped out a contingency plan to deal with the coronavirus, also known as COVID-19? It is an absolute must to create a contingency plan so that you can ensure the safety of your family, employees & customers as well as ensure the continued operation of your business in the event of a coronavirus, any epidemy or other major disasters.
You can start preparing your business by putting emergency medicine procedures in place. If an employee is suspected of having the virus, they should not come to work and seek medical help. You should encourage your sick employees to use their health insurance telemedicine services so they can contact a doctor from the comfort of their home. Oscar offers free doctors on call while other health insurance carriers such as Health Net & Blue Shield offer telemedicine services through Teladoc. If diagnosed with COVID-19, it is best to stay at home, wear a facemask and frequently wash your hands to avoid spreading the virus through physical contact or coughing.
When reviewing staffing needs in such an emergency, the employer must make sure that they are not exposing employees to known hazards. OSHA requires employers to:
- Keep its workplace free from a hazard
- The hazard is recognized
- The hazard was likely to cause death or serious physical harm
- The hazard could feasibly be corrected.
Furthermore, an employer cannot take action against an employee who “refuses in good faith to expose himself to the dangerous condition.” Such a condition for a “reasonable person, under the circumstances then confronting the employee, would conclude that there is a real danger of death or serious injury and that there is insufficient time, due to the urgency of the situation, to eliminate the danger through regular statutory enforcement channels.” (29 C.F.R. § 1977.12(b)(2).)
With California’s strict laws on disability discrimination, California employers must be careful when approaching staff about their abilities to work during the coronavirus or other disasters. Employers must make sure their managers and supervisors are not asking employees questions about perceived disabilities or face penalties for disability discrimination.
ADA-COMPLIANT PRE-PANDEMIC EMPLOYEE SURVEY
Directions: Answer “yes” to the whole question without specifying the factor that applies to you. Simply check “yes” or “no” at the bottom of the page.
In the event of a pandemic, would you be unable to come to work because of any one of the following reasons:
- If schools or day-care centers were closed, you would need to care for a child;
- If other services were unavailable, you would need to care for other dependents;
- If public transport were sporadic or unavailable, you would be unable to travel to work; and/or;
- If you or a member of your household fall into one of the categories identified by the CDC as being at high risk for serious complications from the pandemic influenza virus, you would be advised by public health authorities not to come to work (e.g., pregnant women; persons with compromised immune systems due to cancer, HIV, history of organ transplant or other medical conditions; persons less than 65 years of age with underlying chronic conditions; or persons over 65).
Answer: YES______ , NO_______
To summarize, to prepare your business for such an event as the coronavirus, first create a clear and concise contingency plan, stock up on emergency food and medicine kits, train your managers and supervisors on how to effectively implement your contingency plan while also making sure your business is compliant the OSHA and ADA.
At Solid Health Insurance Services, we strive to keep our group and individual clients up-to-date on the insurance market which is constantly changing. To get more information or a quote for your small business, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org, call us at 310-909-6135 or click on this link to get a group quote.