The Division of Insurance's Offices are CLOSED. Click Here to Reach Staff. The Division of Insurance's offices are closed. All staff are working out of their homes for the next few weeks due to the COVID-19 pandemic. If you are trying to reach division staff, please email them at: Lori Wing-Heier Director Anna Latham Deputy Director Shauna Nickel Consumer Services Supervisor Temporary Phone Number: 907-269-7903 Alex Romero Fraud and Investigations Chris Murray Producer/Licensing Section Rebecca Nesheim Taxes & Audits Kelli Patterson Administrative Section (JNU) Sian Ng-Ashcraft Administrative Section (ANC) Sarah Bailey Life & Health Section Joanne Bennett Property & Casualty Section David Phifer Financial Exams & Compliance Division of Insurance Regulating the insurance industry to protect Alaskan consumers Lori Wing-HeierDivision Director Lori Wing-Heier was appointed Director of the Division of Insurance in February 2014. Director Wing-Heier has approximately 30 years of experience in the insurance industry, including as a broker and agent. She most recently served as Director of Risk Management at a large Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) corporation where she designed and implemented a comprehensive enterprise-wide risk management program. She also served as senior vice-president at a national brokerage, working with Alaskan entities throughout the state, and as president of the Alaska Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers, Inc. Governor Dunleavy Praises the Division of Insurance's COVID-19 Response “The Division of Insurance is unique, in that it is responding to the COVID-19 pandemic from both the health care angle and the economic crisis aspect,” said Governor Mike Dunleavy. “I am pleased that in coordination with the incident command team, Director Wing-Heier is finding solutions to return premiums and reduce payments for Alaskans – providing help now.” Press Release Alaska Leads the Nation in Protecting Insurance Consumers During the COVID-19 Crisis: Insurance Director Lori Wing-Heier Steps Up on Behalf of Last Frontier Consumers Headlines Temporary phone number for Consumer Services: 907-269-7903 Alaska Department of Public Health COVID-19 Situation Overview COVID-19 Health Mandates Health Mandates Issued by Governor Mike Dunleavy, DHSS Commissioner Adam Crum, and Chief Medical Officer Dr. Anne Zink COVID-19 Testing Information-Healthcare Providers and Hospitals This is not a recommendation or endorsement of any facility, provider, payer, organization, or entity. It is only an accommodation for consumers and medical professionals to provide relevant information about the COVID-19 pandemic. Drive-through COVID-19 testing available Drive-Thru Testing Site. Providence Alaska Medical Center is partnering with Alaska Native Medical Center, Alaska Regional Hospital and Anchorage Neighborhood Health Center to offer free drive-through COVID-19 testing to the community. The testing is available beginning March 16 at 4115 Lake Otis Parkway, near the intersection of Lake Otis and East 42nd Avenue. People must have a referral before being tested; those without a referral will not be tested. Referrals can be obtained during a live, phone or virtual appointment with a clinician. Testing involves collecting a swab from the nose, which is then sent to a lab for testing. People will be contacted with results as soon as they are available. Hours: 9 a.m.-7 p.m. seven days a week; photo ID required. For the safety of you and others, please follow marked traffic directions at the test-collection site. We’re all in this together. Nothing highlights the most enduring and redeeming characteristic of our humanity than in times of crises. When people are afraid, hurting or in need, the ability and desire for of us to come together and help one another is beautiful and the deepest reflection of our divine nature. This crises gives us an opportunity to be an uplifter and help others overcome their fear and pain by reminding them what is good and right in the world, to focus on the constructive and the affirmative. We all have the power to make a positive difference and bring light into the world. Thank you for your partnership and your willingness to be such an important part of this solution. Take care of yourself and your family, both physically and mentally. Wash your hands, go for a walk, read a book, play a game, clean your closets, laugh with each other. We will get through this together! Pacific Health Coalition (PHC) Participating Groups "We have been working with our vendor-partners on ways to best support you and your participants during this period of uncertainty surrounding COVID-19. The situation is changing day-to-day, but following are the most recent updates:" Alaska Regional Hospital – Message from ARH For Alaska Regional Hospital: We Are Ready! Alaska Regional Hospital is fully prepared to meet the needs of our community and patients. It is “all hands on deck.” We are updating staff daily and screening patients and visitors for symptoms of illness. We are working closely with the municipality, state, CDC, and our corporate partners to ensure that we have the latest news and are following the most recent guidelines. We are collaborating with our community partners, such as Providence, Alaska Native Medical Center and Anchorage Neighborhood Health Center to ensure we have a cohesive response to this crisis. We have taken measures to have a more controlled environment that limits entry into our hospital and we have instituted health-screening checks for all hospital visitors. Masks are provided to those with respiratory symptoms who come to the hospital seeking care. Messaging to Employees/Individuals. It’s important that people understand this virus so they can make wise decisions and prevent the spread of infection. Here is some suggested messaging for you to share. The emergence of COVID 19 has complicated our usual flu season by presenting in very similar ways. It is spread by respiratory droplets which are produced when we cough, sneeze, and to a certain extent even while talking – this is why the concept of Social Distancing is so frequently discussed. These tiny particles travel about 1 meter, or three feet, from us. CDC is recommending we stay about 6 feet apart for this reason. These tiny droplets can also land on surfaces, which we touch, and then may inadvertently inhale after touching our own face. Wash your hands often and try not to touch your face. COVID-19 is not known to spread by the airborne route, but healthcare providers who perform certain respiratory precautions may be seen in the media using additional masks and PPE. Prevention is best handled through hand washing, avoiding friends or coworkers who are sick, cleaning of surfaces and frequently used items (like our phones), and taking good care of ourselves by eating and sleeping well so that our immune system is functioning its best. Alaskans who have symptoms of flu (cough, achiness, “head cold”) that are not severe should stay home and contact their primary care provider or 211 for guidance on whether testing for flu, COVID 19, or other reasons is indicated, and what they can do to alleviate their symptoms. Alaskans who are seriously ill should go to the Emergency Department. If they have a cough, fever, or shortness of breath, we will offer them a mask immediately upon entering the hospital. Alaskans who want to minimize their chance of exposure should review the CDC website and follow their suggestions under the heading “How to Protect Yourself”. Currently, they are recommending: Avoiding close contact with others as much as possible. This may mean avoiding crowded places, handshaking, or even not traveling if you are over 60 years old or have medical illnesses. Good self-care—handwashing (soap and water are best, but if that is not available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol), staying up to date with your immunizations, and healthy habits. Take steps to protect others – stay home and wear a facemask if you’re sick, cover coughs and sneezes, clean and disinfect surfaces. Elective Surgeries. Yesterday it was recommended that hospitals cancel or delay elective surgeries to preserve acute hospital capacity should the need arise. We respect the position the government is in and recognize they are taking this stance out of an abundance of caution. We are grateful they chose not to mandate this position and are trusting providers to make decisions based on needs of their patients and resources available. Important to note is the definition of “elective”, which simply means that it is a scheduled surgery rather than an emergency. These scheduled “elective” surgeries can include vitally important life-saving procedures such as replacement of a faulty heart valve, removal of a serious cancerous tumor, or a pediatric hernia repair. Fortunately, as a member of the HCA family with over 2,000+ facilities across the country, our access to supplies is strong and lessons learned from markets ahead of us abundant. We are confident we have our finger on the pulse of COVID-19 activity and will make adjustments accordingly as conditions change. Drive-Thru Testing Site. As stated before, we are working very closely with Providence, ANMC and Anchorage Neighborhood Health Center to ensure coordination and collaboration across the community to the greatest extent possible. This includes a drive up testing site, located at 4115 Lake Otis (see attached press release for more information). We made a purposeful decision as a group to support one location and direct patients there that meet criteria/ have an order for COVID-19 testing. For ease in processing, patients will be registered as “Providence” and results sent to the primary care provider of record. We also plan to have a follow up system in place to ensure results get back to the patient and provider as quickly as possible. Important to note: people coming for testing need to have a referral from their physician or 211. They will not test the worried well. We’re all in this together. Nothing highlights the most enduring and redeeming characteristic of our humanity than in times of crises. When people are afraid, hurting or in need, the ability and desire for of us to come together and help one another is beautiful and the deepest reflection of our divine nature. This crises gives us an opportunity to be an uplifter and help others overcome their fear and pain by reminding them what is good and right in the world, to focus on the constructive and the affirmative. We all have the power to make a positive difference and bring light into the world. Thank you for your partnership and your willingness to be such an important part of this solution. Take care of yourself and your family, both physically and mentally. Wash your hands, go for a walk, read a book, play a game, clean your closets, laugh with each other. We will get through this together! Date of update: 3/18/20 BridgeHealth – Message from BridgeHealth For BridgeHealth: To Our Valued Customers: As you are aware, the novel COVID-19 health event is rapidly evolving, and the ultimate extent and duration of its impact are still largely unknown. At BridgeHealth, the health and safety of our members is foremost in our minds as we monitor and navigate this unchartered territory together. We take seriously our responsibility for all our members, especially those who may currently be planning to travel for elective surgery. Given the current risks, and with an abundance of caution, we have determined that it is in the best interests of our members, our customers, and the healthcare system as a whole, to re-evaluate our travel policy. As a result, BridgeHealth will be pausing our practice of traveling patients for the next thirty days. We will continue to monitor the situation and adjust as changes and updates warrant. For those members impacted by this policy, we will be working with each of them on an individual basis with the goal of rescheduling their surgeries for after June 1st. If a member, in consultation and coordination with their surgeon, determines that the benefits of an immediate surgery outweigh the risk associated with travel, we will help facilitate travel for that scheduled surgery on an exception basis with their employer’s approval. At this time, local surgeries, the majority of which can be conducted in an outpatient setting, will continue as planned. Our quality team is continuing to monitor the situation and are tracking advisories from the CDC and WHO on a daily basis. We will continue to update and adjust our policies and practices to best serve our members and our clients. If you have any questions or concerns, or if you wish to discuss this further, please reach out to your account manager. Beginning Monday, March 16th, you may also find additional information and updates on our website at www.BridgeHealth.com/news. We will continue to keep you updated as this situation evolves. Date of update: 3/16/20 Coalition Health Center – Message from Coalition Health Center For Coalition Health Center: During this national crisis, Beacon has been working diligently to manage the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic while delivering the highest level of service to our clients and patients. The Coronavirus has mandated that we make difficult decisions to preserve the health of the medical community and to reduce the spread of COVID-19. As the leading resource for medical operations across the North Slope of Alaska Beacon must also be a leader at our clinics here in Anchorage. Based on the pandemic’s trending we feel it necessary for us to proactively take the following steps at the Coalition Health Center: Effective Tuesday, March 17th we will not accept walk-in visits at our Anchorage and Fairbanks locations. This will allow our dedicated provider more time to provide telephonic consults. Effective Saturday, March 21st we will stop all Saturday appointments until further notice. During this unprecedented time, it is important to allow our team members adequate time for rest, self-care and support for their families. Appointments currently scheduled will be rescheduled promptly for a weekday appointment. Patients experiencing flu like symptoms, upper or lower respiratory symptoms, sore throat, fever, etc., should call the clinic to speak directly to a provider. Provider will assist with necessary triage or care plan. All telephonic visits will include follow-up calls to check-in on the patients and adjust care plan or triage based on improvement or progression of symptoms. Coalition Health Center appointments will focus on physicals, annual/routine medical care, follow-up care, chronic disease management, minor in office procedures and injuries. Anyone with travel history to a CDC Category 3 area in the past 14-days or known exposure to positive COVID-19 patient or someone under investigation for COVID-19 will need to call to cancel their appointment. Coalition Health Center will not be able to see them in the clinic until 14-days post travel or exposure and free of any respiratory symptoms. Coalition Health Center will be monitoring the community resources established for Coronavirus testing and utilize those when possible. This plan is being put in place to reduce exposure to our patients and to our medical team and to streamline care and testing. We appreciate your understanding and support of these actions necessary to manage exposure to the Coronavirus. Beacon is confident that these changes are temporary, and we will re-open our walk-ins and Saturday’s appointments as quickly as possible. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact Rachel Lawler at (907) 375-4334 or email@example.com. Date of update: 3/16/20 LabCorp Information about LabCorp's efforts involving testing for COVID-19 Assistance Options for Homeowners Impacted by COVID-19 There are hardship programs in place to help homeowners who have been directly or indirectly affected by the coronavirus and are struggling to make their mortgage payments. The Federal Housing Finance Agency, which oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, encourages homeowners adversely impacted by the coronavirus who are having difficulty paying their mortgages to reach out to their mortgage servicers as soon as possible. As the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau advises, “you can find the number for your mortgage servicer on your monthly mortgage statement or coupon book." FHFA has established a dedicated webpage with relevant updates and resources available here: www.fhfa.gov/coronavirus Additionally, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have their own dedicated webpages for homeowners, with online tools for determining if your mortgage is owned by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac: Fannie Mae: Coronavirus (COVID-19) Help Use Fannie Mae’s Loan Lookup Tool Or call 1-800-2FANNIE (1-800-232-6643) Freddie Mac: Extending Help to Homeowners Impacted by COVID-19 Use Freddie Mac’s Loan Lookup Tool Or call 1-800-FREDDIE (1-800-373-3343) Telehealth Information for Health Care Providers The Division of Insurance has received numerous calls and emails regarding telehealth services during the public health disaster emergency declaration related to COVID-19. The following information is intended to address these questions. HB29 – AS 21.42.422 Telehealth insurance mandate HB29 became effective March 17, 2020. This legislation permanently expands the telehealth insurance mandate (previously limited to mental health services) to include medical services. The law was not intended to include every medical procedure as some covered health care services cannot be provided remotely. For example, it may not be clinically appropriate for chiropractic manipulations to be provided over audio-visual technology. The statute is applicable in-network and out-of-network. No in-person visit is required prior to using telehealth services and so new patients are eligible for telehealth services. The Division also notified insurers in bulletin 20-07 that the statutes does not require health care providers to use a particular technology platform in order to have telehealth services covered. Health care providers are encouraged to contact insurers or other payers to verify telehealth coverage for services. The insurers maintain clinical guidelines under which a service would be covered (e.g. Medicare, Medicaid, etc.). For Physical therapy, occupational therapy and other therapies, the provider should confirm coverage for services as some insurers may cover evaluations, but not treatments offered via telehealth. For mental health services, the statute change did not affect the offering and coverage of telehealth services. Health care providers should be aware that the law does not provide for parity of payment between in-person and telehealth services. It should also be noted that title 21 of the Alaska Statutes only apply to insured plans which account for about 15% of the health care market. Many patients may be covered by health plans that are not required to comply with AS 21.42.422. For example, large employers may be self-funded and exempt from the telehealth mandate. COVID-19 Expanded Services During the COVID-19 pandemic, insurers are following the lead of the Federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in providing unprecedented flexibility for telehealth services. We are seeing such flexibilities as telehealth services via audio only, expanded lists of covered codes for telehealth services, and increased reimbursement levels. Some insurers recognize that some visits normally would only be provided in-person and are paying telehealth services at the same rates as in-person visits. Health care providers and their billing staff should carefully review communications from insurers related to billing for such services. Some insurers request that providers bill using the relevant telehealth code. Other insurers are requesting that in-person codes be used even if the service is provided via telehealth. Health care providers may have additional flexibility during the COVID-19 pandemic to provide services through alternative communication means through the suspension of penalties under HIPAA issued by the Office of Civil Rights. However, providers should confirm coverage with a payer. Insurers have been called upon to provide greater flexibility and coverage during the COVID-19 pandemic. Services that can appropriately be offered through telehealth in order to avoid unnecessary exposure to the virus and prevent regression of symptoms are expected to be covered by insurers. Insurers should be communicating these expanded coverages to providers and consumers as soon as possible. Additional Resources The Division encourages health care professionals to review the COVID-19 resources on the ASHNHA website including the Alaska Quick Start Guide to Telehealth. If health care providers receive insurance denials for reasonable telehealth services, they are encouraged to contact the Division of Insurance to complete a provider complaint. Consumer services can be reached at 907-269-7903. What is Coronavirus (COVID-19)? Coronavirus Fact vs. Myth: Rumors can easily circulate within communities during a crisis. FEMA setup a website to help the public distinguish between rumors and facts regarding the response to the coronavirus pandemic. On January 9, 2020, the World Health Organization reported that a novel (new) coronavirus had been preliminarily identified by Chinese authorities. The virus is associated with an outbreak of pneumonia that started in late December 2019 in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China, which has resulted in thousands of confirmed cases in China, including cases outside of Wuhan City. Additional cases have been identified in a growing number of other international locations, including the United States. If you think you have COVID-19, call ahead and make an appointment before seeing a clinician. This will help the health care provider’s office take steps to keep other people from getting infected or exposed. When you call, make sure you tell the provider if you think you may have been exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19, either through travel or with a case of the disease. Stay up to date through reliable resources: Alaska Department of Health and Social Services: 2019 Novel Coronavirus Outbreak (COVID-19) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) NAIC: Protecting Yourself from the Coronavirus Information for Insurers: Bulletin B20-03 Preparations for Covid-19 (Coronavirus) Including Consumer Prescription Drug Supplies Providing consumers access to early refills Evaluating utilization review requirements and other procedures Communicating with and serving consumers COVID-19 is a new viral respiratory disease. While we are still learning how it spreads, the severity of illness it causes, and to what extent it may spread in the United States. It is important that we all take action to protect ourselves and others, prevent the further spread of the disease throughout our communities, and prepare. How does COVID-19 spread? The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person, between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet). Through contact with respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. By touching a contaminated surface or an object that has the virus on it and then touching the mouth, nose or eyes. Watch for symptoms Reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death for confirmed COVID-19 cases. The following symptoms are likely to appear 2-14 days after exposure: fever cough shortness of breath What Should I Do If I Feel Sick? If you think you have been exposed to COVID-19 and develop a fever or cough or have difficulty breathing, call your healthcare provider immediately. Learn what to do if you are sick. Call ahead before you visit your doctor or go to the hospital If you believe you may have been exposed to COVID-19 and have a medical appointment or plan to visit a hospital, call the healthcare provider before you go and tell them that you may have COVID-19. This will help the healthcare provider’s office take steps to keep other people from getting infected or exposed. Keep the emergency room for emergencies Hospitals are working hard to provide care for an increasing number of people. If you need non-emergent medical advice or attention, consider other options before you visit the emergency room. Call your doctor’s office to discuss your symptoms and recommended next steps. Talk to a doctor by phone or video through Teladoc. Call Aetna’s 24-Hour Nurseline at (800) 556-1555. What You Can Do to Keep Yourself, Your Family, and Your Community Healthy: Prevent, Protect, Prepare Take steps to prevent the spread of disease Clean your hands often Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands. Avoid close contact Avoid close contact with people who are sick Put distance between yourself and other people if COVID-19 is spreading in your community. This is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick. Take steps to protect yourself and others Clean and disinfect. Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks. If surfaces are dirty, clean them: Use detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection. Stay home if you’re sick. Stay home if you are sick, except to get medical care. Learn what to do if you are sick. Cover coughs and sneezes. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow. Throw used tissues in the trash. Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, clean your hands with a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Take steps to prepare for COVID-19 Stay informed. Stay calm and share accurate information. Follow updates from state, national, and local health organizations for the most current information. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Alaska Department of Health and Social Services If you live outside Alaska, consult your state or local health department for updates. Check your emergency kit. Whether for a pandemic, earthquake, or some other disaster, Alaskans should have an emergency kit. Include supplies like soap, hand sanitizer, tissues, and any medications you or your family member need. Have nonprescription drugs and other health supplies on hand. Have a plan. Have supplies on hand in case there is an outbreak of COVID-19 in your community and you need stay home for a prolonged period of time. Stay in touch with others by phone or email. You may need to ask for help from friends, family, or neighbors if you become sick. Determine who can provide you with care if your caregiver gets sick. Think about how you can stay active if you need to remain isolated. Who is at Higher Risk? 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. Please consult with your healthcare provider about additional steps you may be able to take to protect yourself. If you are at higher risk of becoming seriously ill from COVID-19, you should: Take everyday precautions to keep space between yourself and others. When you go out in public, keep away from others who are sick, limit close contact, and wash your hands often. Avoid crowds as much as possible. Have a plan for if you get sick. Avoid non-essential travel. During a COVID-19 outbreak in your community, stay home as much as possible to further reduce your risk of being exposed. What Your AlaskaCare Health Plan is Doing for You In response to the national public health emergency associated with the COVID-19 disease outbreak, the Commissioner of the State of Alaska Department of Administration directed the Division of Retirement and Benefits to take the following steps: Medication Preparation Effective Tuesday, March 3, 2020, the AlaskaCare employee and retiree plans lifted restrictions on early medication refills. Members may obtain an additional 90-day supply of valid prescriptions. This does not apply to opioid medications. Teladoc Effective March 9, 2020, AlaskaCare retiree health plan members will have temporary access to Teladoc general medical services with a $0 copay. This service is already available to AlaskaCare employee health plan members. Teledoc doctors can evaluate your risk for COVID-19 and help with next steps when necessary. Teladoc can also fulfill other health care needs unrelated to COVID-19 and is a convenient and affordable way to receive care whenever you need it from wherever you are within the United States. Using telemedicine can help you and your family members avoid unnecessary contact. Register: Online: Teladoc.com/Aetna Mobile App: Teladoc.com/mobile Phone: (855) TELADOC (835-2362) Diagnostic Testing Effective March 9, 2020, the AlaskaCare employee and retiree health plans are waiving member cost share (e.g. deductible, co-insurance) for laboratory tests ordered to diagnose and treat COVID-19 including: respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), influenza A & B, viral respiratory panel, and COVID-19 testing. To qualify for waived deductible and co-insurance, laboratory tests must be deemed medically necessary under the terms of the plan and they must be FDA-approved. The co-insurance and deductible are also waived for the office visit if the primary diagnosis code for the visit is COVID-19 or any of the above diagnostic tests are billed with the office visit. Influenza vaccine (flu shots) Effective March 9, 2020 the AlaskaCare retiree plans will cover Trivalent and Quadrivalent influenza vaccines received at an in-network pharmacy. If a retiree plan member receives an influenza vaccine from a healthcare provider, the standard deductible and coinsurance will apply for the vaccine and the office visit. Aetna Crisis Response Line Aetna is providing support for AlaskaCare employee and retiree health plan members through the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) during the COVID-19 public health event. EAP staff is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. To speak with a counselor contact AlaskaCare EAP at (855) 417-2493. The preceding temporary administrative changes are prospective in nature and shall remain in effect until the national public health emergency is terminated by the Secretary of Health and Human Services or upon the expiration of the 90-day period beginning on the date on which the determination is made by the Secretary, whichever occurs first. The temporary administrative changes listed above are in response to a federally recognized national health emergency and do not provide a vested right to coverage for any individual. The Division of Retirement and Benefits retains the sole discretion to rescind or modify these temporary administrative changes depending on the circumstances. Additional information is available at: AlaskaCare.gov The Division will continue to monitor events and will make additional changes as necessary. The Division is implementing these measures very quickly. We appreciate our members' patience and ask that they contact the Division directly if they encounter any problems. Where Can I Get More Information on COVID-19? The COVID-19 outbreak is an emerging, rapidly evolving situation. More information is available from these resources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Alaska Department of Health and Social Services What is the State of Alaska Doing to Prepare? The State of Alaska has been working to prepare for the spread of COVID-19 since January 2020. On March 11, 2020, Governor Mike Dunleavy issued a public health disaster emergency declaration for COVID-19 to take a proactive approach to accessing all necessary resources. The Alaska Department of Military and Veterans Affairs has established a unified command and has activated plans to coordinate activities statewide. In addition to setting up the unified command, the declaration permits the Department of Health and Social Services commissioner to exercise state statutes related to isolation and quarantine measures, and makes it easier for the state to purchase supplies, hire temporary staff, and access disaster relief funds for public assistance. For the latest information on Alaska’s response to COVID-19, please visit coronavirus.alaska.gov. Don't let COVID-19 Infect you with Insurance Fraud! Fraud & Scam Protection: The Department of Justice is remaining vigilant in detecting, investigating, and prosecuting wrongdoing related to the crisis. Find out how you can protect yourself and helpful resources on DOJ’s Coronavirus Fraud Prevention website. The Federal Trade Commission has also established a website with helpful information to help consumers avoid coronavirus-related scams. Consumer Alert Tips to Protect Yourself Against COVID-19 Scams COVID-19 Related Expanded Health Benefits and Resources This is not a recommendation or endorsement of any facility, provider, payer, organization, or entity. It is only an accommodation for consumers and medical professionals to provide relevant information about the COVID-19 pandemic. Aetna – Extra benefits to help you We’re here to help with resources for Members, Employers, and Providers Medicare COVID-19-related inpatient treatment update Available resources for Aetna members Frequently-updated COVID-19 Resource Center "Resources for Living" Temporarily Expanded to non-Aetna Members Aetna has expanded its Resources for Living program to non-Aetna members during the COVID-19 outbreak. Liberalized services include: For Individuals: In-the-moment phone support to help callers cope with the emotional impact of the event Informational brochures about dealing with a crisis Community resource referrals including local support services in the local area For Employers: Management consultation to help organizations respond to the needs of their employees, even if they’re not RFL customers Employers may contact our specialized support line at 1-800-243-5240 Onsite services are available on a fee-for-service basis for companies to help their employees recover from the impact of these events on the workplace Individuals without Aetna benefits should call 1-833-327-2386. Individuals with Aetna benefits (like AlaskaCare members) should call the number on the back of their Aetna card as they may be eligible for additional services. Actions to Support Health Care Providers CVS Health announces actions to support health care providers during the COVID-19 pandemic. April 6, 2020, WOONSOCKET, RI – CVS Health today announced several steps to support Aetna-contracted health providers and their patients in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. “We’re committed to helping providers, plan sponsors and our members navigate through this unprecedented time,” said Karen S. Lynch, President, Aetna Business Unit and Executive Vice President, CVS Health. “The actions we’re announcing today are designed to offer relief to our community of health care providers and clinicians facing financial and administrative strain, allowing them to focus on delivering high-quality patient care.” Actions include: Commitment to prompt and accurate claim payments. CVS Health and Aetna business continuity plans ensure timely and accurate payment of claims. Provider payments will continue to be made without disruption even while Aetna supports plan sponsors with financial flexibility through this challenging economic environment. Helping hospitals prioritize COVID-19 patients. Aetna changed prior authorization requirements for post-acute care hospitals and long-term acute care hospitals nationally, helping hospitals and emergency rooms make room for more patients, especially those suffering from COVID-19. Enabling greater capacity with healthcare providers. Aetna is streamlining its provider credentialing process so there can be more health care professionals caring for patients. Enhancing telemedicine policies to enable more providers to visit patients virtually. Aetna reimburses all providers for telemedicine at the same rate as in-person visits for applicable telehealth codes, including for mental health care services. Ensuring full provider reimbursements for waived member cost-sharing for COVID-19 testing and treatment. Aetna will pay the amount of the cost-sharing the member would have ordinarily paid related to COVID-19 testing or inpatient treatment so there is no financial impact on the provider. Providing behavioral health support. Frontline health care workers, first responders and other essential workers are playing a pivotal role helping individuals and communities through the pandemic. Resources for Living®, Aetna’s employee assistance program, is offering support to solve housing and childcare issues, facilitating group counseling and providing materials on the importance of self-care, safety, and mindfulness. These steps build on previously announced efforts to help Aetna members access the care they need during the COVID-19 pandemic, including cost-sharing and co-pay waivers for diagnostic testing and telemedicine visits, in-patient treatment and expanding patient access to medications. The company is providing the latest information on its response through its frequently-updated COVID-19 resource center. Anyone presenting symptoms compatible with COVID-19 should contact their health care provider immediately. Delta Dental of Alaska – Available Resources for our Members On March 19, the State of Alaska mandated that all dental professionals suspend and postpone all elective and non-essential oral health procedures for a period of 30 days. We encourage members who are experiencing a dental emergency or who require urgent dental care to contact their dental provider’s office. If they do not have a dental provider, they should contact our customer service department for help finding care. Dental providers are able to provide limited oral evaluations completed via tele-dentistry during this time in lieu of an in-person visit. Contact your dental provider to see if this is something that is offered. Moda Health – What you need to know in Alaska Moda has received questions and concerns about the novel coronavirus (respiratory illness), COVID-19 and would like to keep you informed with the most-up-to-date information as it relates to your health and benefits. Visit our website at: www.modahealth.com/community/covid-19 Premera Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alaska - Help to get the care you need Premera Blue Cross to Waive Costs Related to COVID-19 Treatment Premera Blue Cross to Waive Costs Related to COVID-19 Treatment Premera Blue Cross, a leading health plan in the Pacific Northwest, today announced it is waiving consumer cost shares and deductibles for treatment related to COVID-19 for all fully insured, Medicare and individual market customers through Oct. 1, 2020. Premera and LifeWise Health Plan of Washington customers will pay nothing out of pocket for treatment of COVID-19 or health complications associated with COVID-19, including in-patient and out-patient hospital admissions, urgent care and emergency room visits, medical transport when needed, and FDA-approved in-patient medications for both in and out of network providers. The company previously announced that it would waive cost shares for COVID-19 testing. For group and individual customers, this includes any claims received since January 1, 2020, related to COVID-19, which will be reprocessed to waive all cost shares and deductibles. For Medicare customers, claims received since Feb. 4, 2020, related to COVID-19, will be reprocessed to waive all cost shares and deductibles. “We are deeply committed to our customers and communities in the Washington state and Alaska markets, and to protecting and supporting our customers and provider partners in the midst of this pandemic,” said Jeff Roe, CEO and President, Premera Blue Cross. All Premera fully insured, Medicare and individual market customers are eligible under this policy. Premera will work with self-funded customers who want to implement a similar approach. Customers should check their benefit plans first. This is the latest step Premera has taken to continue supporting its customers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Previous actions include the following: Waiving cost shares and deductibles for COVID-19 testing and related office visits and suspending prior authorization requirements on COVID-19 testing and treatment. Increasing access to prescription medications by waiving early medication refill limits on 30-day prescription maintenance medications as well as encouraging customers to access their 90-day mail order benefit. Waiving all telehealth cost shares and deductibles for virtual health services from both virtual vendors and brick-and-mortar providers offering telehealth services, as well as rapidly expanding its telehealth offerings with 98point6 and Doctor on Demand to meet increased demand for at-home virtual visits, at little to no cost. Contributing $500,000 to community foundations and nonprofit organizations across Washington and Alaska to support our communities’ vulnerable populations, through Premera Social Impact, the corporate social giving arm of the company The group is also actively working with existing nonprofit partners to meet short- and long-term needs in response to COVID-19. Learn more about Premera's response to the COVID-19 outbreak for our customers. Premera Blue Cross Expands Telehealth Offerings Mountlake Terrace, Wash. — (April 8, 2020): Additional steps Premera Blue Cross has taken to support its providers relating to Telehealth include: Implementing CMS guidance on place-of-service billing for telehealth claims during the public health emergency Expanding and encouraging use of telehealth access and removing cost shares for those services To see this entire press release visit: www.premera.com/visitor/press-releases/2020-04-08 Premera Blue Cross expands telehealth offerings at little to no cost to members during COVID-19 pandemic Mountlake Terrace, Wash. (March 24, 2019) Premera Blue Cross, a leading health plan in the Pacific Northwest, today announced a major expansion of its telehealth services at little or no cost to its members in response to the unprecedented demand for virtual care ignited by the COVID-19 pandemic. The company has signed agreements with 98point6 and Doctor on Demand to deliver text- and video-based virtual care to nearly all 2.3 million Premera and LifeWise Health Plan of Washington members for at least 90 days. “Demand for virtual healthcare services has skyrocketed and will only continue to increase as the pandemic continues. Our goal is to relieve some of the anxiety our members may face by giving them access to care at little or no cost from the safety and comfort of their homes,” said Rick Abbott, VP of Product and Market Solutions for Premera. The services will be available to members who purchase their health insurance through their employers as stipulated in their plan or to members who purchase their insurance on the individual market. Cost shares will be waived for all medically necessary COVID-19 treatment telehealth services, as well as all telehealth appointments for members enrolled in PPO plans. Outside of this, cost shares will be waived where appropriate, per IRS guidance. As legislative and regulatory agencies continue to revise their guidance to meet the evolving needs of the crisis, Premera will quickly apply such direction to meet the needs of our customers. On behalf of Premera Blue Cross, 98point6 and Doctor on Demand are independent companies which provide telehealth services to Premera customers. In addition to this, traditional providers in Washington state and Alaska are expanding their own telemedicine services to offer virtual appointments, when possible. Contact your primary care provider to learn about their offerings. Learn more about Premera's response to the COVID-19 outbreak for our customers. Premera wants to help you get the care you need for the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. Advanced Payments to Providers: www.premera.com/visitor/press-releases/2020-04-08 Information for Employers: www.premera.com/ak/employer/coronavirus-19-faq Getting Care for COVID-19 www.premera.com/ak/visitor/outbreaks State Farm – We stand ready to help Dear Valued Customer: In a time of so much uncertainty, it is common to look for a sense of reassurance as well as sources of strength. At State Farm we exist to help you manage the risks of everyday life and recover from the unexpected. During this unprecedented time, we stand ready to help. If this situation has created financial strain, your State Farm agent is the best place to start regarding your accounts. Many agent offices are running virtually and can assist you via phone or email. Check statefarm.com® for agent contact information. Many of our associates are now working at home to serve you while doing our part to reduce the spread of COVID-19. We appreciate the patience you’ve already shown during higher than normal hold times. We know damage to your car or loss in your home can make things even more stressful during times like these. You can always connect with us online, through our mobile app, by phone, or contact your State Farm agent. I want to express my sincere appreciation for the healthcare workers and first responders. You are truly good neighbors. Thank you for choosing State Farm. We know we will move through this challenging situation together. I invite you to follow the latest on our response via the Newsroom. Sincerely, Michael L. Tipsord President, Chairman & CEO State Farm Insurance Companies UnitedHealthCare – Expanded access to care, support, and resources We are expanding your access to care, support, and resources to help you navigate through this unprecedented time. We are committed to helping protect your health by enabling you to get access to the right care including from the comfort of your home. Advanced Payments to Providers UnitedHealth Group Reinforces Actions Taken to Provide Members and Patients with COVID-19 Support and Resources Get emotional support: Call our emotional support line any time at 866-342-6892. This 24/7 Optum Help Line is staffed by professionally trained mental health experts. It is free of charge and open to anyone. To learn more about resources available to you, visit our website at www.uhc.com/health-and-wellness/health-topics/covid-19 Insurance Licensing During the COVID-19 Pandemic On Wednesday, March 11, Governor Mike Dunleavy signed an emergency disaster declaration related to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. The Division of Insurance continues to monitor the developing situation as it relates to insurance licensing. We continue to strive for operational continuity while complying with government mandates and official recommendations. As the situation continues to evolve, we are encouraging licensees to renew their licenses as early as possible in order to avoid any potential delays in processing. Alaska insurance licensees can renew their licenses as early as ninety days prior to the license expiration date. In most cases, you can renew online at NIPR.com. To check your license expiration date, please utilize the licensee lookup tool located at statebasedsystems.com. For Alaska resident licensees, we are requesting that you complete your Continuing Education (CE) requirements well in advance of your license expiration date as Alaska approved CE providers have ten (10) days following completion of the course to report CE credits earned to the division. There are many internet-based and distance learning courses that are approved to be offered for CE in the State of Alaska. You can search for any Alaska approved CE course at statebasedsystems.com. The division is sensitive to the continually changing and challenging dynamic of the COVID-19 spread, and its potential effect on all licensees. Following the above recommendations will assist with license applications being processed in a timely and efficient manner. If you have any questions, please contact the Alaska Division of Insurance at 907-465-2515 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. NIPR Licensing Tips: Stay ahead of your licensing process Pearson VUE Limited Reopening The Division of Insurance (DOI) has been notified that our third-party insurance exam vendor, Pearson VUE, is now open at some locations and in a limited capacity. For more details, please contact Pearson VUE at 907-222-1821 or through their online form located at: www.home.pearsonvue.com/Test-takers/Customer-service/Email/Americas-regulatory.aspx. Health Insurance Enrollment for Workers Laid Off due to COVID-19 Closures In response to business closures across the state of Alaska due to COVID-19, the Division of Insurance is reminding workers who lost their jobs that they are eligible to enroll in health insurance to cover themselves and their dependents. COBRA: For businesses with more than 20 employees, employees and their dependents are typically eligible for COBRA continuation coverage under federal law. If eligible, your employer should provide information for how to continue coverage. Employees who lose job related health coverage also will qualify for Special Enrollment Period. Consumers can contact insurers directly or shop on the marketplace at Healthcare.Gov. Some workers might be eligible for premium tax credits available through Healthcare.Gov. For more information, visit Insurance.Alaska.Gov/Consumers/Health.aspx COVID-19 Health Alert Regarding Elective Health Procedures Guidance on Elective Health Procedures is changing. Elective Medical and Dental Procedures: As of April 20, 2020, health care facilities and providers will be able to resume services that require minimal protective equipment. Health care services that cannot be delayed beyond eight weeks without posing a significant risk to quality of life may resume on Monday, May 4, 2020. Certain conditions apply, please read the entire Health Mandate. COVID-19 Health Mandate 015 (Issued April 15, 2020) supersedes Mandate 005 on Elective Medical Procedures, Mandate 006 on Elective Oral Health Procedures, and affects health care providers directly addressed in Mandate 009 on Personal Care Services and Gatherings. Health Mandate 015 will go into effect in phases, with Section II going into effect April 20, 2020 and Section IV going into effect May 4, 2020; however, the State of Alaska reserves the right to amend the Mandate at any time. To view these Health mandates please go to covid19.alaska.gov/health-mandates If your procedure required prior authorization, review your health plan and/or contact your insurer to identify what prior authorization procedures may need to be redone if services are delayed. Mental Health Resources Natural disasters – including such pandemics as the coronavirus outbreak – can be overwhelming and also can seriously affect emotional health. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration’s (SAMHSA) Disaster Distress Helpline – 1-800-985-5990 (or text TalkWithUs to 66746) – provides 24/7, 365-day-a-year crisis counseling and support to anyone who is seeking help in coping with the mental or emotional effects caused by developments related to the coronavirus pandemic. Learn more about the Disaster Distress Helpline here. Social Media Resources Social Media Resources: Download the Apple COVID-19 Screening Tool. Follow the White House on Twitter and Facebook. Also follow HHS (Twitter/Facebook) and CDC (Twitter/Facebook) You can also find informational videos from Coronavirus Task Force members on mitigation, social distancing, etc. on the White House’s YouTube page. Supplemental Notice of Public Meeting: Alaska Workers' Compensation Review and Advisory Committee Notice of Proposed Regulation Changes Notice of Proposed Regulations Proposed Regulations Additional Notice Information Reference Materials: Draft Bulletin NAIC Statistical Handbook of Data Available to Insurance Regulators, 2012 Edition Uniform Property and Casualty Coding Matrix Draft 2019 Annual Report: Alaska Section 1332 Innovation Waiver R20-08: Order Amending Regulatory Order R20-06 Consumer Advisory Alert: Business Interruption Insurance Notice of Adoption of Emergency Regulations Dealing with Covered Conditions under Alaska’s Comprehensive Health Insurance Association Reinsurance Program Notice of Emergency Regulations Adoption Order 20-01 Additional Information Notice of Public Meeting: Alaska Workers' Compensation Review and Advisory Committee Alaska Section 1332 Innovation Waiver Notice of Public Forum Introduction Deck R20-07: Order Amending Regulatory Order R20-04 Notice of Public Meeting: Alaska Workers' Compensation Review & Advisory Committee R20-06: Order to Insurers Offering Health Care Plans to Remove Restrictions on Access to Health Care Services R20-05: Order to Health Insurers During COVID-19 Disaster Emergency R20-04: Order Protecting Consumers During COVID-19 Public Health Disaster Emergency R20-03: Order Providing Premium Relief for Property and Casualty Insurers B20-12: Temporary Suspension of Certain Utilization Review and Notification Requirements B20-11: Requirements for Group Health Plans, Claims, and Telehealth Related to the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Public Health Disaster Emergency Supplemental Notice of Public Meeting: Alaska Workers' Compensation Review & Advisory Committee Notice of Adoption of Emergency Regulations Dealing with Covered Conditions under Alaska’s Comprehensive Health Insurance Association Reinsurance Program Notice of Emergency Regulations Adoption Order 20-01 Additional Information B20-10: Premium Relief due to COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus) B20-09 (supersedes bulletin B20-04): Requirements for Cost Sharing and Coverage Related to Respiratory Illnesses Including COVID-19 (Coronavirus) R20-02: Waiver of External Healthcare Review Deadlines B20-08: Fair Treatment of Consumers During State of Emergency Due to COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus) B20-07: Changes to Coverage for Telehealth B20-06: Extended Review Period for Rate, Form, and Advertisement Filings Trip Cancellation Coverage in Travel Insurance 2020 Health Insurance Survey Bulletin B20-05 Survey Instructions 2020 Health Insurance Survey (Excel file) Information for Insurers: Bulletin B20-03 Preparations for Covid-19 (Coronavirus) Including Consumer Prescription Drug Supplies B20-02: (supersedes bulletin B19-05) Non-Grandfathered Plan Extended Transition Corporate Officer and LLC Member for Workers' Compensation Where can I find basic information related to the changes affecting the coverage status and requirements for corporate officers and LLC members? To see the full text of the bill that enacted this legislation, see House Bill 79 of the 30th Legislature. Section 18 is the applicable provision of the bill. Sections 29 and 24(b) specify the effective date and applicability, respectively. The Division of Workers' Compensation's Employer Guide includes information on the change on page 4. Bulletin 19-08, jointly promulgated by the Divisions of Insurance, Workers Compensation, and Corporations, Business & Professional Licensing provides applicable information and guidance. When is this provision of the bill effective? August 1, 2019. However, see #8 below for details on applicability. Has there been any form or rule changes filed by NCCI applicable to this change that insurers must adhere to? No. However, NCCI will be updating their Basic Manual User Guide (C-1), which is not filed or approved by the Division. For more information on that change, please contact NCCI directly. Do insurers or agents need to notify policyholders prior to the change? If so, what are the requirements for the notice? Insurers and/or agents are highly encouraged to notify affected policyholders about the law change and its potential impacts. The notice should be given prior to the policyholder's next renewal date on or after August 1, 2019 with sufficient time to give policyholders the opportunity to make any changes in ownership interest they may find beneficial. However, there are no specific requirements on the content, timing, or method of notice. Can insurers or agents do a mass mailing/notice? Yes. See #4 above. However, mass notice is not required. To the extent that policyholder-specific information is known, insurers may choose to target the notice distribution and/or include descriptions of the law's impacts as they specifically relate to that policyholder. Does a mailed notice need to be certified? Does an electronic notification need a return receipt? No and no. See #5 above. Does the August 1, 2019, effective date mean that it only applies to policies that incept or renew on or after August 1, 2019? Yes, HB 79 contains a provision (Section 24(b)) clarifying that the repealed and reenacted version of AS 23.30.240 "applies to an insurance policy or contract entered into or renewed on or after" August 1, 2019. Policies in-force on August 1, 2019 (i.e. that were in effect before August 1, 2019) remain subject to the current version of AS 23.30.240 (i.e. the version in effect prior to August 1, 2019) through the end of that policy period. If an officer is currently insured but will be exempt beginning August 1, 2019, does the insurer need to return premium effective August 1, 2019? No. See #7 above. The changes apply as policies renew on or after August 1, 2019. Accordingly, any change in status due to the revised law is not applicable until the policy's renewal date and thus there should be no need for a midterm change in the terms of the policy or the policy's premium due solely to the change to AS 23.30.240. If an officer is currently waiving coverage but will be an employee beginning August 1, 2019, does the insurer need to charge additional premium beginning August 1, 2019? No additional premium need be charged until the first renewal on or after August 1, 2019 as that is when the change in status is applicable. See #8 above. Is there a specific form required for officers who elect to "opt-in" (i.e. be brought within the coverage of the business entity's insurance policy)? If not, are there specific elements required to be collected by an insurer as evidence? No and no. Does evidence of an officer's election to opt-in need to be filed with either the Division of Insurance or Workers' Compensation? No. Does an insurer need to get a new opt-in election each policy period, or is the election valid until the insurer is given notice that the officer's election has changed? The process to opt-in is not changing under the revised law, it has simply been expanded to allow the opt-in option for executive officers who will now default to exempt. The Division of Workers' Compensation's Employer Guide says the executive officer waiver will no longer be an acceptable way to demonstrate that WC coverage is not required. What is acceptable? Entity registrations filed with the Division of Corporations, Business, & Professional Licensing can be used as evidence of ownership interest to determine whether the 10% ownership threshold is met. If that ownership interest threshold is not met, the officer is required to be covered; thus there is no "acceptable way" to demonstrate that coverage is not required. Contact either the Division of Workers' Compensation or Corporations, Business, & Professional Licensing for further information on this topic. Consumers Learn about your insurance rights and how to file a complaint. Explore rates and coverage options for your auto, health, home, and life insurance. Use other consumer tools to enroll in health care, research a company or agent, take a home inventory, and more! Producers Get licensed or renew your license. Verify your compliance and continuing education requirements. Print and search licenses, add lines of authority, and other online tools. Insurers Search for companies and admissions. File amendments, annual filings, and taxes. Surplus Lines List of eligible surplus lines insurers and placement lists, applications and eligibility continuation instructions. 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