Broker Check

Independence Edge: Extensions to COVID-19 Deadlines; New Telemedicine Well Visits

May 22, 2020
Share |


Independence is continuing to assess current conditions, health care for our members, and ways to help our clients and partners. We’d like to announce a new change regarding well visits via telemedicine, as well as provide updates to previously communicated information concerning treatment coverage and prior authorizations for acute inpatient admissions for any diagnosis from the emergency room.

New: Well visits via telemedicine

Independence is covering preventive well visits for commercial members and annual wellness visits for Medicare Advantage members via telemedicine (visits require audio and visual capabilities) through June 30, 2020. Note: Telemedicine visits for HMO members are included in capitation.

Extended: Primary care and specialist visits via telemedicine

Independence announced on March 6 that it would waive copays for primary care telemedicine services for eligible members. This cost‑sharing waiver is being extended through June 30, 2020. Independence is also covering specialist visits via telemedicine through June 30, 2020. In the world of specialist telemedicine, speech therapy telemedicine visits no longer require video, as they can be done via phone.

As previously communicated, members whose groups have MDLive can talk to a doctor 24/7 to assess symptoms and next steps by scheduling a same‑day appointment. All MDLive visits will also be available with no cost sharing through June 30, 2020.

Extended: Treatment coverage

Independence will waive fully insured, commercial members’ cost for in‑network, acute in‑patient treatment of COVID‑19 received between March 30 and June 30, 2020. In addition, for Medicare Advantage members, these temporary changes to our treatment policy also include coverage for out‑of‑network providers. (Note: For members with high‑deductible plans, cost‑sharing will be waived and will be covered before deductible. Also, self‑insured customers can opt‑out of coverage.)

Independence will also waive cost‑sharing for emergency department visits associated with admissions for in‑network, acute in‑patient treatment of COVID‑19 between March 30 and June 30, 2020.

Extended: Prior authorizations for all acute inpatient admissions

Independence also temporarily suspended prior authorizations for acute inpatient admissions from an emergency department at all in‑network facilities for members with all diagnoses through June 30, 2020. In addition, prior authorization requirements are temporarily suspended for transfers from acute in‑network inpatient facilities to post‑acute in‑network facilities (long‑term acute care hospitals, rehabilitation, or skilled nursing facilities) for any diagnosis. Temporary suspension of prior authorization includes waiving authorization of in‑network transportation from facility to facility. Notification from facilities is still required.