“Minnesota’s nonprofit health plans’ No. 1 priority is to safeguard the health and safety of their members,” said Lucas Nesse, president and CEO of the Council. “COVID-19 is having a deep economic impact on our state, so health plans are finding ways to bolster their support for enrollees, as well as the broader community.”
According to a study from America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), the average cost to treat a hospitalized patient with COVID-19 is around $30,000 and can often exceed this figure depending on the patient’s condition. By continuing to waive the standard cost-sharing requirements, Minnesota’s nonprofit health plans are supporting easier access to care during the national health crisis.
Member organizations of the Minnesota Council of Health Plans have taken the following additional steps in response to the COVID-19 pandemic:
- Treatment: To the extent permitted by law, health plans are extending waivers for cost sharing for in-network COVID-19 hospitalization on fully insured, individual and group health plans through Dec. 31, 2020. Health plans are continuously assessing all aspects of care from diagnosis to hospitalization, as well as any other requirements, such as prior authorization or pre-certification requirements to ensure timely access to appropriate care. Plans are also following developments closely and monitoring rapid changes in testing protocol, possible treatments in clinical trials and the emerging development of several possible vaccines. Plans that have committed to this extension include:
- Blue Cross and Blue Shield/Blue Plus of Minnesota
- Hennepin Health
- Provider assistance: In effort to support their provider partners, health plans have offered providers financial assistance. This includes grants to provider groups and community clinics for enhancements to provide care in a COVID-19 environment and accelerated claim payments to providers to address their immediate financial concerns brought on by COVID-19.
- Community giving: Health plans also continue to play a key role in community outreach efforts to curtail the impacts of the pandemic. Collectively, health plans and their foundations have provided significant financial assistance related to social isolation, mental health, telehealth, food insecurity, domestic abuse and personal protective equipment needed during the pandemic. Organizations receiving financial and other support from health plans include Second Harvest Heartland, Greater Twin Cities United Way, People Serving People, YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities, the University of Minnesota Department of Family Medicine, NorthPoint Health & Wellness and many others.
Established in 1985, the Minnesota Council of Health Plans is an association of licensed nonprofit health insurers that includes Blue Cross and Blue Shield/Blue Plus of Minnesota, HealthPartners, Hennepin Health, Medica, PreferredOne, Sanford Health Plan of Minnesota and UCare.