Mountlake Terrace, Wash., April 08, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Premera Blue Cross, a leading health plan in the Pacific Northwest, is providing up to $100 million in financial support in the form of advance payments of claims to medical, dental and behavioral health providers facing significant financial pressures due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the company announced today.

“We are committed to supporting our health care providers who are critical in serving our members through this unprecedented crisis. They are on the front lines of this pandemic, facing risk of illness and experiencing increased professional stress and significant financial uncertainty. We have heard from many in our provider community who are experiencing lower revenue because patients are staying home and need financial help to get through this crisis,” said Dr. John Espinola, executive vice president of health care services of Premera Blue Cross. “We are providing this cash advance to do our part in helping the providers in our communities, and we look forward to continuing to work closely with them after this pandemic passes.”

Thousands of primary care providers, specialists, behavioral health providers and dentists in Washington state and Alaska could be eligible for the program. These funds will be recouped by Premera as a percentage of claims over the course of nine months beginning Jan. 1, 2021. Healthcare providers can contact Premera about the program at providerrelief@premera.com.

Additional steps Premera has taken to support its providers during the COVID-19 pandemic include the following:

  • Removing prior authorization for skilled nursing facility admissions and expediting or removing prior authorizations for services required to discharge patients
  • Extending medical and pharmacy prior authorization effective dates to reduce the need for resubmission after the COVID crisis and lifting restrictions on early medication refills
  • 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
  • Removing member cost share for COVID-19 testing and medically proven treatment during the crisis
  • Delaying recoupment of overpayments during the healthcare crisis

Learn more about Premera's response to the COVID-19 outbreak for our customers.

About Premera Blue Cross
Premera Blue Cross is a leading health plan in the Pacific Northwest, providing comprehensive health benefits and tailored services to about 2 million people, from individuals to Fortune 100 companies.

Dani Chung
Premera Blue Cross
4253613021
dani.chung@premera.com