Insurance companies are adjusting policies, waiving fees, and bending their own rules to ease the impact of COVID-19 on their customers. Humana (HUM) has announced it is not only changing requirements for member care, but easing the burden on care providers as it relates to treatment for the disease.
As of April 2, the company announced it will be changing the claims process for care providers to make it easier to move “reimbursement payments to providers as quickly as possible and help ease their financial concerns.”
In addition to streamlining the reimbursement process, Humana announced they will be suspending the need for preauthorization or referrals, in order for a care provider to initiate treatment of a patient exhibiting symptoms of the novel coronavirus. Care providers now need only notify Humana within 24 hours of the initiation of treatment, that the care provider is working with a patient.
William Shrank, M.D., M.S.H.S., Humana’s Chief Medical Officer, stated the policy has been put in place because, “Humana is committed to supporting clinicians by providing practical solutions to help alleviate administrative burden and boost system viability during these extraordinary times.”
In addition to Humana’s change to care provider procedures, the company has also made it easier for members to receive treatment related to COVID-19.
The company has waived any member’s copay, deductible, or coinsurance for treatment related to COVID-19. And, in an extraordinary step, this applies to a wide range of clinical settings, including not only a physician’s office, but urgent care centers and even emergency departments for some members.
Humana is also waiving deductibles, copays and coinsurance for its telehealth services when using in-network care providers, and allowing members to prefill prescriptions so they can have an extra 30 to 90 day supply of needed medications.
Finally, the company is easing the administrative burden on anyone infected with the novel coronavirus, allowing them to transfer easily between appropriate facilities to receive treatment or recover from the disease.
As Dr. Shrank has stated, Humana is making a variety of moves that are “…enabling health systems and the physician community to devote as much time and resources as possible to frontline patient care.”
Humana’s stock has traded erratically, along with the overall market, since this crisis began. But, after trading down from $380 to just below $210, the stock has rebounded and is now settled right around the $300 mark. Based on its latest reported numbers, Humana’s stock now has a PE of just below 15, and a dividend yield of 0.84%.
Steven Adams’s personal position in Humana: none.
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