With employers facing serious financial pressure associated with COVID-19, insurer Harvard Pilgrim Health Care has announced that it is providing premium relief by giving $32 million in credits to all its fully-insured employer groups, as well as to Medicare Supplement members.
Fully-insured employer groups, regardless of size or location, will receive a 15% credit on their September premium invoice ($30 million total).
Medicare supplement members will receive a 15% credit on their September invoice ($2 million total).
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In addition, the nonprofit New England-based health plan is donating $3 million each to independent primary care physicians and community health centers. Both physicians and health centers have been hit hard by COVID-19 and are important access points for care, Harvard Pilgrim said.
The money for the independent primary care practices will assist them in reopening their practices.
The money for the community Health Centers, which focus on providing care to predominately Black and brown communities and vulnerable populations, will help support equity and equality in accessing healthcare, and address health disparities.
The insurer will also waive all primary care and specialty care copays for office visits for Medicare Advantage members through the end of the year.
WHY THIS MATTERS
During the pandemic, Harvard Pilgrim has waived COVID-19 testing and treatment cost-share waiving and offers telehealth at no out-of-pocket expense.
These services will continue to be provided through September 30.
Harvard Pilgrim said it would reassess these policies as circumstances warrant.
It is awaiting regulatory approval in Connecticut, which it expects to receive shortly.
Additionally, the insurer is awaiting regulatory guidance for the potential of issuing relief for 2020 individual health plans.
The health plan will continue to evaluate claim trends and may implement additional actions to provide premium relief, as well as additional support initiatives throughout the remainder of the year.
THE LARGER TREND
Since the start of the pandemic, the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation has donated close to $4 million to nonprofit organizations throughout the region to help provide food, transportation assistance and other support services to older adults and low-income families impacted by the pandemic.
In August 2019, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care and Tufts Health Plan announced their intent to combine their nonprofit organizations.
The transaction is anticipated to close sometime in the second or third quarter of 2020, according to Tufts Health Plan.
ON THE RECORD
"Harvard Pilgrim's commitment to our members, customers, communities and provider partners has never been stronger," said Michael Carson, president and CEO of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care. "The actions we are announcing today are a continuation of our broad-based COVID-19 support. Our first phase of relief included over $40 million in payment advances to provider organizations across New England, nearly $4 million in community support grants and a number of member-focused cost share waivers for COVID-19 testing, treatment and the advancement of telehealth services."
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