First things first:
Anthem has launched a new symptom checker app called Sydney Care, on the App Store and Google Play. This app allows you to:
- Assess your risk for free based on CDC guidance
- Get personalized guidance about what to do next
- Connect with doctors via text chat or video
- Read curated information from authoritative sources
- Fast and Free—takes as little as 4 minutes to answer questions on your symptoms
If you think you have been exposed to COVID-19 and develop a fever and symptoms, such as cough or difficulty breathing, call your healthcare provider for medical advice.
If you are a close contact of someone with COVID-19 or you are a resident in a community where there is ongoing spread of COVID-19 and develop symptoms of COVID-19, call your healthcare provider and tell them about your symptoms and your exposure.
Your doctor will decide whether you need to be tested, but keep in mind that there is no treatment for COVID-19 and people who are mildly ill may be able to isolate and care for themselves at home. IF you meet ALL the criteria the doctor will direct to you where to go to be tested. Members cannot self-direct themselves to be tested.
People at higher risk for serious illness from COVID-19 should contact their healthcare provider early, even if their illness is mild.
Older adults and people who have severe underlying chronic medical conditions like heart or lung disease or diabetes seem to be at higher risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19 illness.
If you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19 get medical attention immediately. Emergency warning signs include*:
If you are very sick - get medical attention immediately
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
- New confusion or inability to arouse
- Bluish lips or face
*This list is not all inclusive. Please consult your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning.
PHBP Coronavirus Relief Package
For the full announcement, please read the PHBP Coronavirus Relief Announcement from March 24, 2020. A summary of policy adjustments:
Effective immediately for a three-month duration except as noted:
- Freelance Eligibility: All Qualification Periods Ending March 31, 2020 through February 28, 2021 will be extended for 3 months. What this means: You will not lose your insurance because you failed to requalify for coverage due to lost work in March, April or May. This effectively extends coverage for three months for all currently covered Freelancers to prevent a lapse in coverage during the extended Qualifying Period. For those not currently covered but working to attain eligibility, a 13th, 14th or 15th month of ‘look back’ will be added to the reviewed Qualifying Period to accommodate missed work opportunities in March, April and May, thus providing an equal opportunity to qualify for the coming year. The Board will continue to assess the situation during the next three months and determine if further action is warranted.
A) John’s current Qualification Period ends May 31st. His current Coverage Period ends July 31st. Due to the current crisis and resulting lack of work, the Plan is extending John’s Qualifying Period and current Coverage Period by 3 months. Therefore, the end of his current Qualification Period will push from May 31st to August 31st. The end of his current Coverage Period will push from July 31st to October 31st. If John requalifies for coverage by August 31st, his next 12 month coverage period will start November 1st.With the highest annual premiums and lowest member out-of-pocket costs, this is the richest of all our medical options.
B) Jane’s current Qualification Period ends November 31st. Her current Coverage Period ends January 31st, 2021. Due to the current crisis and resulting lack of work, the Plan is extending Jane’s Qualifying Period and current Coverage Period by 3 months. Therefore, the end of her current Qualification Period will push from November 31st to February 28th, 2021. The end of her current Coverage Period will push from January 31st to April 30th. If Jane requalifies for coverage by February 28th, her next 12 month coverage period will start May 1st, 2021.
- Freelance Fees: The Plan will waive the following recurring monthly fees for all covered freelancers for three months starting with fees due for April coverage: Dependent Fees, Bridge Payments and Buy-up Fees.
- Furloughed or Laid Off Staff Employees: The Plan will allow any furloughed or laid off covered staff employee to remain on their employer’s staff coverage through May 31, 2020. Coverage must be offered on a uniform, non-discriminatory basis across the board to all furloughed or laid off employees and the employee’s share of premium contributions must be the same or less than those contributed prior to the layoff. Additionally, any new Employees hired prior to May 31, 2020 will not be subject to a waiting period.
- Reduced Hours of Full-Time Staff Employees: The Plan will allow any currently covered full-time employee whose hours are reduced to part-time status with the same employer to remain on their employer’s staff coverage for three months, as long as the monthly premium payment is received; this temporarily waives the Plan rule that only full-time employees working at least 30 hours per week are eligible employees for staff coverage. Coverage must be offered on a uniform, non-discriminatory basis across the board to all employees and the employee’s share of premium contributions must be the same or less than those contributed prior to the reduction in hours.
- COBRA Continuation Coverage: The Plan will apply a 20% discount on the medical only portion of COBRA costs. This discount applies to the cost of COBRA coverage in April, May and June 2020 and includes all eligible staff employees who may be laid off and eligible for COBRA benefits as well as those staff and freelance employees currently on COBRA coverage.
- Online Banking: Effective immediately, all PHBP invoices, for employers and freelancers alike, may be paid online, including credit card payments. Check your invoice for payment details.
- Note: All employers are responsible for adding or removing employees from their staff coverage using the Employee Navigator portal. Please go to the Employer section of phbp.org for detailed instructions.
Anthem Benefits with PHBP
For the most updated information, PHBP participants should check the CDC’s Dedicated Coronavirus (COVID-19) Page.
Anthem’s Coronavirus Information Section contains detailed information on commonly asked questions, including Prevention & Treatment and how Anthem benefits will work. A few key take away points:
- Medically necessary COVID-19 testing and the associated office visit is covered at no out of pocket costs
- Covered PHBP Participants can use Anthem’s LiveHealth Online at no cost until June 14, 2020. This includes visits with a mental health professional. This tool is a great way to minimize the risk of spread from a physical clinic setting.
- Where permitted, Anthem is relaxing prescription refill limits to refill a 30 day supply of most maintenance medications early. Anthem’s home delivery prescription service can deliver a 90 day supply as well; talk to your doctor for more information.
- Anthem’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is offering COVID-19 specific resources including updated articles and online seminars to manage participants’ rising stress and anxiety. The resource flyer is available in both English and Spanish.
As a reminder, Mobile Health Consumer, on the App Store and Google Play, allows you to access information on all of your PHBP benefits, including the closest in-network urgent care facilities and digital versions of your ID cards. You can also Log In to your Anthem Account for complete details on your medical plan.
Participating Employer Business Affairs
Participating Employers should visit the AICP Coronavirus Resource Page for business affairs inquiries and additional information, including CA State Benefits for Employers and Workers. Due to the rapidly evolving nature of policy response on a state basis, participants should check directly with their local municipality and state for more details.
Think HR is an online Human Resource compliance tool that provided a HR Guidance and Best Practices presentation on 3/19. You may view their Webinar Recording and Presentation Deck, as well as their Summary of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.
Participants may view their Webinar Recording and Presentation Deck from their COVID-19 HR Guidance and Best Practices presentation on 3/19. They also have their Summary of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.
**The Department of Managed Health Care-Coverage Options fact sheet outlines additional resources for those who do not have a source of health care coverage or recently lost their employer-sponsored health care coverage.**