Our response to COVID-19
Actions we're taking as a company
The health of our members and the safety of those who deliver care are our top priorities. We are taking a number of steps to support members, providers and communities during COVID-19. Highlights of these key actions are summarized below.
COVID-19 testing and treatment
Testing for COVID-19 is important to slowing the spread of COVID-19. We encourage you and your health care provider to use FDA-authorized tests. There are 2 types of COVID-19 tests:
- Diagnostic tests determine if you are currently infected with COVID-19. There are 2 types of these viral diagnostic tests: nucleic acid amplification and antigen tests.
- Antibody tests, also known as serology tests, may determine if you might have been infected with the virus. According to the FDA, antibody tests should not be used to diagnose a current infection.
Medically-appropriate COVID-19 tests have $0 cost-share during the national public health emergency period, currently scheduled to end Oct. 17, 2021. Medically-appropriate COVID-19 tests must be FDA-authorized or approved, and be ordered or reviewed by a health care professional to either 1) diagnose if the virus is present in a person due to symptoms or potential exposure, or 2) help in the treatment of the virus for a person. This coverage applies to in-network and out-of-of-network tests for Medicare Advantage, Exchange, Individual and Employer-sponsored health plans. For individuals enrolled in UnitedHealthcare Community Plans, state variations and regulations may apply during this time.
UnitedHealthcare health plans generally do not cover COVID-19 surveillance testing, which is testing used for public health or social purposes such as employment (return to workplace), education, travel, or entertainment. And like other over-the-counter health products, COVID-19 tests purchased over-the-counter—without a prescription or doctor’s involvement through a clinical lab—are generally not covered by your benefits plan. You will be responsible for any cost, and may use your health savings account (HSA), flexible spending account (FSA) or health reimbursement account (HRA). If your doctor or other health care professional provides a prescription or order for the over-the-counter COVID-19 test as part of clinical care, you may submit a claim for reimbursement with both the prescription and detailed receipt to UnitedHealthcare. State variations and regulations may apply.
If you think you might have COVID-19 or may have been exposed to the virus, talk to your network health care provider. If you have questions about your benefits plan, call the phone number on your UnitedHealthcare member ID card.
If you get sick with COVID-19, your health care provider may prescribe treatments. For COVID-19 treatment, cost-sharing will be according to the member’s benefit plan. You will be responsible for any copay, coinsurance, deductible or out-of-network costs. This coverage applies to Medicare Advantage, Exchange, Individual and Employer-sponsored health plans. For members enrolled in UnitedHealthcare Community Plans, state provisions and regulations may apply during this time.
Outpatient monoclonal antibody treatment
The FDA has issued emergency use authorization for a number of monoclonal antibody treatments. According to the CDC, monoclonal antibody treatments may be recommended by your provider if you test positive for COVID-19, and are at risk to get very sick or to be admitted to the hospital. This treatment can help the body respond more effectively to the virus. If used, the treatment should be administered as soon as possible after diagnosis and within 10 days of symptom onset. Your health care provider will help determine if this treatment can help your body respond more effectively to the virus.
A summary of coverage for FDA-authorized monoclonal antibody treatment is below. Sign in to to your online UnitedHealthcare member account for more details.
- Exchange, Individual and Fully Insured Employer-sponsored plans: For monoclonal antibody treatment with network providers, cost-sharing will be according to the member’s benefit plan. You will be responsible for any copay, coinsurance or deductible. Coverage for out-of-network services will be determined by your benefit plan.
- Medicare Advantage plans: For monoclonal antibody treatments, you will have $0 cost-share with in-network and out-of-network providers in outpatient settings through 2021. You might need your red, white and blue Medicare card, because Medicare is paying for this treatment in 2021.
If you have questions about your benefits, sign in to your health plan account or call the number on your member ID card.
COVID-19 vaccines are an important step in slowing the spread of the disease. And it will take time to make enough vaccines for everyone. Due to the initial limited supply, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state and local health departments are coordinating who should get vaccinated first and where vaccines are available. We are committed to providing helpful vaccine information, resources to support you and $0 cost-share on COVID-19 vaccines through the national public health emergency period.
Due to limited supply, COVID-19 vaccination is occurring in phases. People at highest risk are getting vaccines first. Vaccine availability and eligibility may vary locally.
Expansion of telehealth access
With virtual visits, you can talk to a health care provider online 24/7 for urgent care needs, like seasonal flu, allergies, pink eye and more. Urgent care visits are available through our preferred telehealth partners, including Teladoc, American Well, Doctor On Demand and others.
For many Individual and Group Market health plan members, you can access the Virtual Visit benefit offered through one of the UnitedHealthcare preferred telehealth partners. Virtual Visits not related to COVID-19 testing will be covered according to your plan benefits. If your Virtual Visit is related to COVID-19 testing, your cost-share is $0 through the national public health emergency period, currently scheduled to end Oct. 17, 2021.
For Medicare Advantage and Medicaid members, you can continue to access your existing Virtual Visit benefits offered through one of our preferred telehealth partners without cost-sharing.
UnitedHealthcare is committed to helping you get the care you need outside of the doctor’s office with virtual visits.
UnitedHealthcare Exchange, Individual and Employer-sponsored health plans:
- Cost-share for COVID-19 testing-related virtual visits: For COVID-19 testing-related virtual visits, you will have $0 cost-share with in-network and out-of-network providers through the national public health emergency period, currently scheduled to end Oct. 17, 2021.
- Cost-share for COVID-19 treatment via virtual visits: Coverage for in-network and out-of-network virtual visit services related to COVID-19 treatment will be determined by your benefit plan. You will be responsible for any copay, coinsurance, deductible or out-of-network costs, according to your benefits plan.
- Coverage for virtual visits not related to COVID-19: Members may have virtual visits from their home with their network providers. Coverage for in-network and out-of-network virtual visits not related to COVID-19 will be determined by your benefit plan. You will be responsible for any copay, coinsurance, deductible or out-of-network costs, according to your benefits plan.
Please note that state-specific rules, regulations and emergency periods do apply and can be found on the UnitedHealthcare provider website. These may vary from federal regulations. If no state-specific exceptions apply, UnitedHealthcare guidelines will apply. Some employer-insured health plans1 have different coverage policies; if you have questions, please check with your human resources benefits team.
UnitedHealthcare Medicare Advantage plans:
- Cost-share for COVID-19 testing-related virtual visits: For COVID-19 testing-related virtual visits (telehealth), you will have $0 cost-share for in-network and out-of-network visits through the national public health emergency period, currently scheduled to end Oct. 17, 2021.
- Cost-share for COVID-19 treatment via virtual visits: You will be responsible for the cost-share (copays, coinsurance or deductibles) for COVID-19 treatment via virtual visits. Most UnitedHealthcare Medicare Advantage plans have $0 copays for covered virtual visit services. Check your plan materials for cost-share details.
- Expanded access for virtual visits not related to COVID-19: For in-network and out-of-network providers, you will have expanded access to virtual visits through the national public health emergency period, currently scheduled to end Oct. 17, 2021.
Cost-share for virtual visits not related to COVID-19 testing will be determined by your benefit plan. Most UnitedHealthcare Medicare Advantage plans have $0 copays for covered virtual visit services. Check your plan materials for cost-share details.
Medicaid health plans: For individuals enrolled in UnitedHealthcare Community Plans, state variations and regulations may apply during this time. Please review the UnitedHealthcare Community Plan website and your state’s site for the latest applicable information. If no state-specific exceptions apply, traditional UnitedHealthcare plan guidelines will apply.
Expansion of member resources
We provide updated information, programs and support to help our members manage during the national public health emergency.
UHC.com and UHCprovider.com are the information hubs for the latest details on care, support and resources, including access to health plan accounts for personalized digital care. On UHC.com, we are providing COVID-19 information that supports our members and their families. From talking to children about COVID-19 to how to access care and understand changes in benefits, members can expect ongoing updates to help them stay informed.
On UHCprovider.com, we are committed to providing the latest information for health care professionals. From provider policy changes and telehealth access to credentialing, coding and administrative policies, health care professionals can turn to this resource for support with patient care.
Members have access to their health plan account, where COVID-19 coverage details, resources and access to care are readily available. This personalized digital care platform provides up-to-date information about prevention, coverage, access to care and support that may be needed such as a 24/7 telehealth visit with their provider, talking to a nurse, refilling or scheduling home delivery for prescriptions, and accessing emotional support care 24 hours a day.
We also introduced a COVID-19 symptom checker that can help members review their symptoms quickly from the convenience of their own homes and then guide them to the appropriate next steps for care if they need it. In addition, an online tool is available to help members find a COVID-19 testing location in their area, if their health care provider determines testing is appropriate.
We’re also helping by:
- Supporting members in home isolation through a navigation support program.
- Offering support for high-risk Medicare and Medicaid members with a home-based management platform.
- Offering access to early prescription refills, as needed, through June 30, 2020.
- Offering an on-demand emotional support mobile app, called Sanvello, that is available to many members to help them cope with stress, anxiety and depression. Eligible UnitedHealthcare members must register using their UnitedHealthcare member card.
Offered a special enrollment period for members with fully insured employer-sponsored plans.
Additional programs to help improve access to care
Programs and communications have been developed to help inform and support our members, providers and partners and connect them to the resources they may need.
We are actively engaging with those we serve to help them feel more informed and supported. Emails, phone calls, webcasts and videos are helping to get timely information about access to care and coverage into the hands of people who may need it most.
UnitedHealthcare is easing certain contractual requirements for its fully-insured and self-funded customers and offering a one-time special enrollment period opportunity. This opportunity allows employees who did not opt in for coverage during the regular enrollment period to now enroll and get certain coverage. This one-time special enrollment period was open from March 23, 2020 until April 13, 2020.
We have allowed grace periods for employers and individuals to pay premiums to help support access to care.
Actions to support providers
We’re working to improve access to care, decrease your administrative processes and help address the short-term financial pressure that may be caused by the national public health emergency.
On April 7, 2020, UnitedHealth Group, the parent company of UnitedHealthcare, announced steps to accelerate nearly $2 billion in payments and other financial support to providers. This includes accelerated claim payments to medical and behavioral care providers in UnitedHealthcare’s Medicare Advantage, Medicaid, and Individual and Group Market fully insured health plans. Learn more about this announcement.
Our telehealth coding guide gives examples of how we might reimburse telehealth services for dates of service from March 18, 2020 until June 18, 2020. This includes telehealth sessions, virtual check-ins and electronic visits (e-visits).
We’re temporarily updating our credentialing policies to implement provisional credentialing from March 19, 2020 until June 18, 2020 for out-of-network care providers who are licensed independent practitioners and want to participate in our networks.
To streamline operations for providers, we have suspended certain prior authorization requirements for COVID-19 diagnostic radiology, post-acute care, member transfers to a new provider and site of service review for many surgical codes. Visit our COVID-19 prior authorization page for effective dates and specific details.
Claims with a date of service on or after January 1, 2020 will not be denied for failure to meet timely filing deadlines if submitted by June 30, 2020. This applies to Medicare Advantage, Medicaid, and Individual and Group Market health plan claims.
If you need help with patient discharge planning to lower levels of care settings during the national public health emergency period, such as to a skilled nursing facility (SNF), please email COVIDfirstname.lastname@example.org and one of our team members will be in touch with you.
Supporting our members and the community during the COVID-19 pandemic
Our mission to combat COVID-19
Our mission—to help people live healthier lives and to help make the health system work better for everyone—guides the work we do each day and is central to the actions we’re taking to help people through COVID-19.
We’re committed to keeping you up to date on COVID-19. We're taking note of your questions and working hard to provide answers.
- Your insurance card can help you understand if you are in an employer-insured health plan. If it says, “Administered by United HealthCare Services, Inc.” in the front, lower right corner, you are in an employer-insured plan. Your best resource for detailed health benefit information will be your human resources benefits manager.
This overview describes benefits we offer to all members in all states. They also include federal requirements. More benefits may be available in some states and under some plans. We have created rules and practices that may apply to some of our products at this time. The information is a summary and is subject to change. For more information, contact your account representative or call the number on your member ID card.
The information is a summary and is subject to change. Employer-sponsored plans are also known as UnitedHealthcare Group Market plans. This page describes benefits we offer to all members in all states. They also include federal requirements. More benefits may be available in some states and under some plans. We have created rules and practices that may apply to some of our products at this time. The information is a summary and is subject to change. For more information, contact your account representative or call the number on your UnitedHealthcare card.