Premera Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alaska Provides $1.7 Million in Premium Relief to Individual Customers in Continued Response to COVID-19 Pandemic

Mountlake Terrace, Washington, UNITED STATES

Anchorage, Alaska, Nov. 04, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Premera Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alaska, a leading health plan, today announced that its individual customers will receive up to $1.7 million in premium relief funds in response to the COVID-19 crisis.

“While restrictions are lifting and our customers are now able to schedule appointments and visit their doctors, we recognize that for many months, particularly at the beginning of the crisis, our customers were restricted from accessing the care they already paid for, through their monthly premiums,” said Jim Grazko, President and General Manager of Premera Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alaska. “We believe it is important to do what we can to help our customers and our communities manage this crisis."

The relief funds are in addition to more than $166 million Premera has previously invested to support its customers, healthcare provider partners, and local communities during the pandemic. These customers can expect to see premium relief applied to their November billing cycle.

Premera has also previously announced the following steps taken to support its customers:

  • Providing up to $65 million in premium relief funds and premium MLR rebates to its commercial and individual customers across Washington and Alaska.
  • 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, Doctor on Demand, Workit Health and Boulder Care to meet increased demand for at-home virtual primary care, mental health care and substance use disorder treatment visits, at little to no cost
  • Contributing more than $500,000 to community foundations 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

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

  • 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 pandemic
  • 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 Blue Shield of Alaska
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.


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