Aetna and CVS Health Partner to Benefit Members Amid Coronavirus Outbreak
Rachel is a longtime contributor to Contagion, HCP Live and MD Magazine. She frequently covers C diff, coronavirus and other infectious diseases.
CVS Health is opening a Crisis Response Line to ease coronavirus-related anxiety.
CVS Health and Aetna have partnered to create benefits for insured patients who either have or exhibit symptoms of the novel coronavirus, according to a company press release on Friday.
After meeting with public health experts and organizations like the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), CVS Health and Aetna created this program in response to the coronavirus outbreak.
First, Aetna will waive co-pays for all diagnostic testing related to coronavirus. This includes the test kit for patients who fall within the CDC’s testing guidelines and costs associated with diagnostic testing. Testing can be done in any approved laboratory setting at commercial, Medicare, or Medicaid lines of business. Sponsors of self-insured plans can opt out of this program if they choose, the statement added.
Secondly, for the next 90 days, Aetna will offer zero co-pay telemedicine visits for any reason; the company suggests using telemedicine as a “first line of defense in order to limit potential exposure in physician offices.” The CVS MinuteClinic app, Aetna’s Teladoc, and in-network providers that offer live video-conference sessions for all commercial plan designs will fall under this program. Again, self-insured plan sponsors can opt out.
Additionally, those who are diagnosed with COVID-19 will receive a CVS care package through Aetna’s Healing Better program. The package includes over-the-counter medications to relieve symptoms, as well as personal and household cleaning supplies to help keep others who share the home protected from exposure.
“Supporting the health and well-being of our members and removing barriers to care are among our key areas of focus as we navigate the spread of COVID-19,” Karen S. Lynch, president, Aetna, and executive vice president, CVS Health, said in the press release. “That’s why we’re providing COVID-19 diagnostic testing and telemedicine visits with no out-of-pocket costs or cost sharing for Aetna members, along with a number of other programs and offerings that reinforce our commitment to delivering timely and seamless access to care.”
Aetna also plans to leverage its existing care management programs to reach out to members who are most at risk for coronavirus. According to the statement, care managers will speak to members about how to protect themselves, where the best sources for information are, and where and how they can get tested.
Aetna’s Medicare Advantage will be extended to virtual evaluation and monitoring visit benefits for Aetna Commercial members. This is expected to allow members with other unrelated conditions who need follow-up care to visit health care providers without having to physically visit a provider’s office and risk exposure to the coronavirus.
For its part, CVS Health is initiating several programs to educate members about the coronavirus, in addition to mitigating and related anxiety and stress:
- Opening Crisis Response Lines for Aetna and Caremark members who may be experiencing coronavirusrelated anxiety;
- Expanding 24/7 access to the Aetna Nurse Medical Line for all members;
- Providing Aetna plan sponsors with a Resources for Living toolkit that includes materials developed for members who are experiencing coronavirusrelated anxiety.
The statement concluding by saying that anyone who is presenting with symptoms that align with coronavirus—such as fever and dry cough—should contact their health care provider immediately.
Notably, Washington state has responded to the coronavirus outbreak by requiring all insurance to pay for diagnostic testing.