COVID-19: Hawaii’s Health Plans Act Swiftly to Protect Hawaii
In response to the growing COVID-19 pandemic in the United States and across the world, Governor David Ige implemented a state of emergency in the state of Hawaii on March 4, 2020. The entire healthcare industry rallied to protect the health of our community, and to date Hawaii has been able to maintain low rates of COVID-19 infection. The Hawaii Association of Health Plans is dedicated to continuing to ensure the people of Hawaii stay healthy and have access to quality healthcare.
The Hawaii Association of Health Plans (HAHP) is a trade association whose members include Hawaii's state-licensed health plans. Our member organizations include AlohaCare, Hawaii Medical Assurance Association (HMAA), Hawaii Medical Service Association (HMSA), Hawaii-Western Management Group (HWMG), Kaiser Permanente, MDX Hawaii, ‘Ohana Health Plan, UnitedHealthcare (UHC), and UHA Health Insurance (UHA). A majority of Hawaii residents receive their health coverage through a plan associated with one of these HAHP organizations.
Testing and Treatment
At No Cost to Patients
For the growing number of people in our community infected or worried about being infected with COVID-19, health coverage providers are providing peace of mind. Health plans moved swiftly to proactively eliminate patient cost-sharing for COVID-19 diagnostic testing and treatment – no copay, no coinsurance required.
Health plans have committed to accelerating access to care. Prior authorization is being waived for those seeking testing or treatment of COVID-19. This will speed patients’ access to appropriate treatment.
Encouraging and Expanding
COVID-19 threatens to overwhelm our health care system. By waiving cost-sharing for telehealth services and expanding telemedicine programs, health plans are facilitating care for many in Hawaii who are at home and need care. Telehealth is especially beneficial for patients such as our kupuna who are at a higher risk when leaving home to commute to the doctor’s office.
For doctors, expanded telehealth eases the burden on our health system, allowing hospitals to care for people who need it most, while limiting the exposure of health care workers and patients to the disease. It also means the healthcare providers can stay in business and keep seeing patients who need their care. And many doctors are being paid at the same rate as an in-person visit during this national emergency to help contain the spread of the virus.
Health plans continue to collaborate with hospitals to enhance their capacity to provide care for the most vulnerable patients in the most affected and at-risk regions so they can more effectively manage an increasingly complex and uncertain environment. We have simplified and accelerated the discharge and transfer of patients from hospitals to the safest available, clinically appropriate post-acute care setting.
Hawaii’s health plans are delivering support to our community to ensure that vulnerable populations stay safe and healthy. Individual companies have made financial contributions directly to community organizations, including those working to help feed children and kupuna as well as to groups providing emergency health services for the most vulnerable.
Supporting Our Communities
As they always have, Hawaii health plans are supporting the local community – from contributing time and money to community organizations, to donating to restaurants and local businesses temporarily closed due to the COVID-19 situation, to working with banks to help small businesses find loans through state and federal programs.
Ensuring the People of Hawaii Have Health Care Coverage
The COVID-19 crisis has had a severe financial impact on many businesses, their employees, and families. Within the confines of the law, many health plans have extended eligibility requirements, lengthened grace periods, and taken other steps to help as many employers as possible continue providing health care coverage to their employees.