As the COVID-19 pandemic makes it way around the globe, major health insurance companies are starting to respond - and not in the way you might think. Health insurers understand that we’re all in this fight together and are waiving some out-of-pocket fees. Here’s what major health insurers in Hong Kong are covering for COVID-19 patients.
This article is the second part of our coverage on COVID-19 and health insurance and we will continue to write and share updates as the situation develops. Part 1 talks about how health insurance covers COVID-19.
The COVID-19 pandemic caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus has wreaked havoc in nearly every single country on Earth since breaking out in late 2019 in Wuhan, China. There is no doubt that this virus will have severe impacts on individuals and businesses alike for many more months to come. Businesses are forced to close their doors or are seeing less sales because of this virus and as a result, many employees are being laid off as well.
The following information outlines how major health insurers in Hong Kong are updating their coverages, policies, and practices to make life easier for clients on individual plans as well as group benefits clients.
Cigna’s COVID-19 Response
With businesses and individuals suffering financially, health insurers are stepping up to do their part in helping their customers. Cigna, one of the health insurers we work with here at Trusted Union is one of those companies.
Here’s a quote from Cigna President and CEO David Cordani:
"Our customers with COVID-19 should focus on fighting this virus and preventing its spread. … While our customers focus on regaining their health, we have their backs. Our teams of experts are working around the clock to support front line health care workers, increase flexibility for hospitals, and deliver greater peace of mind to those we serve."
And this is not just lip service either. They are waiving out-of-pocket medical costs for patients receiving treatment for coronavirus including for things like hospitalizations, ambulance services, diagnostic visits, and diagnostic testing with an approved lab.
Aetna’s COVID-19 Response
Aetna is another health insurer we work with here at Trusted Union. As part of their COVID response, they are waiving shared costs for any physician-ordered coronavirus tests sent to approved labs, doctor/ER visits, and inpatient hospital admissions for hospitals in their network.
APRIL COVID-19 Response
Understanding that people may be wary of going to clinics and hospitals due to the potential for infected people to congregate there, APRIL International opened up their multilingual telehealth services to all members. Accessed through the Easy Claim app, members can schedule teleconsultations and receive second medical opinions from the comfort of their own home.
Additionally, APRIL International sought to reassure their members by clarifying how COVID 19 treatment and testing would be covered under their members’ plans.
How Other Insurers Respond
While different insurers will choose to respond differently, almost every insurer we work with are putting things in place to help affected clients. The most common changes are:
- Removing co-pays, deductibles, and coinsurance for coronavirus testing
- Removing cost-sharing for coronavirus treatment (this may be restricted to treatments taken at in-network facilities)
- Reduced pre-authorization for tests and treatments. Oftentimes you are not able to undergo treatment without preauthorization if individuals or group benefits plan members test positive for the virus.
The focus of all of these changes is to remove financial barriers for members to get tested and treated as well as streamlining the process to ensure everyone is treated in a timely fashion.
Learn More About Health Insurance in Hong Kong and COVID-19
We are happy to see many of the health insurers we work with - and indeed around the globe - step up and make these timely changes for the benefit of their insured members during this challenging time. Based on the fact that they were able to make these changes while sustaining serious business interruptions themselves - we have never been more proud to call them our partners and recommend them to our valued clients.
To learn more about how your health insurance company is responding to COVID-19 or what your coverages would be if you get sick, contact a licensed health insurance specialist at Trusted Union for help.
We will continue to post important information and relevant updates here on our website and through our email newsletter on COVID-19 as it relates to our health insurance, individual insurance, and business insurance clients.
In the meantime, stay healthy and safe everyone!
Liam Morarjee & the Trusted Union team