Harvard Pilgrim Extends Policy To Waive Member Cost-sharing Related To COVID-19 Treatment And Diagnostic Testing

WELLESLEY, Mass., June 9, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Harvard Pilgrim Health Care today announced that it will extend its existing policy that waives…

WELLESLEY, Mass., June 9, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Harvard Pilgrim Health Care today announced that it will extend its existing policy that waives member cost-sharing for COVID-19 treatment at in-network facilities and out-of-network emergencies, as well as for COVID-19 diagnostic testing facilitated by a health care provider, through September 30, 2020. Additionally, the health plan will continue to waive member-cost sharing for telehealth services. This comes as the nonprofit health plan has seen a dramatic increase in telehealth usage by members across the region since February 2020. Harvard Pilgrim will reassess these policies in the fall as circumstances warrant.

“Barrier-free access to COVID-19 testing and treatment continues to be critical for our members and communities. The pandemic has dramatically shifted telehealth from an infrequently used service to one that is now a necessity to meet everyday health needs, and we need to use this opportunity to make telehealth more affordable and more accessible in a post-COVID-19 world,” said Michael Carson, president and CEO of Harvard Pilgrim. “Telehealth services are especially useful for those who are considered high risk, like the older adult population or people with pre-existing medical conditions, as well as those in rural communities. It is important that we extend our policy to cover the out-of-pocket costs associated with telehealth services, as well as the costs associated with COVID-19 diagnostic testing and treatment for our members.”

A recent study from The Alliance of Community Health Plans (ACHP) found that 72% of U.S. consumers have drastically changed their use of traditional health care services due to COVID-19, and 28 percent report using some type of virtual care in the past three months.

Harvard Pilgrim Health Care telehealth figures are equally significant:

  • Fully insured commercial telehealth use in March and April 2020 increased by 4,604% compared to the same timeframe last year
  • 97% of those who utilized telehealth services in March and April 2020 were new telehealth users that did not do so during the first two months of 2020
  • Since February 2020, use of telehealth has increased in every state that Harvard Pilgrim Health Care serves:
    • Massachusetts: 8,954%
    • Maine: 6,817%
    • New Hampshire: 7,199%
    • Connecticut: 6,148%
  • From February 2020 to April 2020, use of telehealth for behavioral and substance use increased in every state that Harvard Pilgrim Health Care serves:
    • Massachusetts: 6,834%
    • Maine: 4,791%
    • New Hampshire: 6,732%
    • Connecticut:  7,202%

For updated information, members should visit harvardpilgrim.org or refer to their health plan materials.

About Harvard Pilgrim Health Care

Harvard Pilgrim and its family of companies provide health benefit plans, programs and services to more than 3 million customers in New England and beyond. A leading not-for-profit health services company, we guide our members – and the communities we serve – to better health.    

Founded by doctors over 50 years ago, we’re building on our legacy. In partnership with our network of more than 70,000 doctors and 182 hospitals, we’re improving health outcomes and lowering costs through clinical quality and innovative care management. 

Our commitment to the communities we serve is driven by the passion of the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation. Through its work, low- and moderate-income families are gaining greater access to fresh, affordable food—a cornerstone to better health and well-being.

To learn more about Harvard Pilgrim, visit www.harvardpilgrim.org

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SOURCE Harvard Pilgrim Health Care