Important COVID-19 Information for Essence Healthcare Members
Essence Healthcare is monitoring the coronavirus pandemic very closely. Aggressive federal, state and local efforts are underway to contain spread of the virus. COVID-19 is very contagious and can cause serious infection in some older adults. It is therefore important to stay informed to reduce your risk of infection and the risk to others in the community. As always, our highest priority is your health and well-being. We are working each day, reviewing the most recent information as it becomes available and partnering with your healthcare providers to respond to the coronavirus. This is a rapidly evolving situation that is changing daily. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is continually updating its guidance for patients, and this information can be accessed online.
Waiver of Member-Related Costs Associated with COVID-19
Essence Healthcare is waiving all member related costs associated with the testing and treatment of confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases from March 6th, 2020 forward. This includes any applicable co-pays, co-insurance, or deductibles that our members would have normally been responsible for. This waiver will be in effect until December 31, 2020, at which time we will reevaluate based on the status and containment of the COVID-19 virus.
Helpful resources include:
Note: The following resources are hosted on an external website. Clicking on any of the following hyperlinks will open a new browser window and direct you to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website.
Your local county and state health department will also have more information specific to your community. Per the CDC, older adults and/or people who have a serious chronic medical condition such as heart disease, lung disease, diabetes or immune system deficiencies are considered to be higher risk and should take additional precautions. Guidance from the CDC and other public health authorities remains consistent that maintaining good personal hygiene throughout each day is critical to reducing your risk of coronavirus infection:
- Wash your hands with soap for at least 20 seconds (say the alphabet)
- If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizers (at least 60% alcohol-based)
- Avoid shaking hands when possible: use a fist bump, elbow bump etc. instead
- Keep your hands away from your face (the virus can only spread through the airways)
- Disinfect surfaces and other areas that are easily contaminated
- If possible, cough or sneeze into a tissue and discard. If not available, cough or sneeze into your elbow (less ideal because viral particles can remain on clothing for several days or longer). Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer afterwards.
In addition, it is recommended that people avoid unnecessary travel. If the coronavirus is spreading in your community, social distancing by avoiding large gatherings and staying home may also be an important strategy. Additionally, the CDC suggests that if you spend time in public, you should avoid crowds as much as possible, avoid sick people, limit close contact with others and adhere to good hygiene practices. The CDC recommends taking basic steps to plan for the possibility of an extended stay at home, should this become necessary. Specifically, it recommends that you:
- Contact your healthcare provider(s) to ask about obtaining extra prescription medication or consider using mail order for prescriptions
- Ensure that you have adequate over-the-counter medications to treat symptoms (e.g., fever reducers, cough and cold medications) and supplies (e.g., tissues)
- Purchase enough routine household items and groceries in case you need to stay in place at home
If you experience fever, cough, shortness of breath or other unexplained new symptoms, contact your physician office to discuss with a healthcare professional. The Essence Healthcare customer service line is also available to help answer any additional questions you may have about your health plan.