Kentucky Health plans continue to respond to COVID-19

Published 2:34 pm Friday, May 22, 2020


Health insurance providers meeting the moment through boosted coverage for patients, additional supports for hospitals/clinics and charitable giving to at-risk communities

FRANKFORT, Ky. (May 20, 2020) – The COVID-19 pandemic has presented unprecedented challenges for Kentucky, and the members of the Kentucky Association of Health Plans (KAHP). Made up of the Commonwealth’s Medicaid Managed Care Organizations (MCOs) and commercial health insurance providers, KAHP is providing support to patients using care management programs that ensure providers have the highest quality, real-time data to identify, diagnose and treat Kentucky’s most vulnerable patients.

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KAHP and its member plans have been engaged at the federal and state level as well as with partners in the health delivery system, helping to identify, reduce, and eliminate the administrative burden for diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19.

Since then, in coordination with state officials, Kentucky’s health plans:

  • Eliminated patient cost-sharing associated with COVID-19;
  • Continued to dramatically expand access to telemedicine to keep Kentuckians #healthyathome;
  • Removed prior authorization for COVID-19 related services, including hospitalizations and office visits;
  • Are proactively reaching out to members who are most at-risk for COVID-19;
  • Are expediting claims processing to ensure that payments are paid as quickly as possible; and
  • Are expediting provider credentialing.

“Our goal has always been to work seamlessly with state government, health providers, hospitals, clinics and pharmacies to keep Kentuckians safe and healthy,” said KAHP Executive Director, Stephanie Stumbo. “We are helping to facilitate rapid response to the crisis for the now 1.4 million members of Medicaid, and on the commercial side, we are supporting Kentucky’s employers by working to keep premiums affordable,” said Stumbo.

In addition to these steps, Kentucky’s health plans have individually worked to serve patients and aid providers with innovative solutions such as:

  • Utilizing member data to identify those at greatest risk for severe COVID-19 complications and connecting them with needed medical services.
  • Allowing for early refills and waiving fees for home delivery of prescription medications except for controlled substances.
  • Offering small business loans to partner clinical operators.
  • Launching efforts to sustain communities by working to address social determinants of health and health-related social needs.
  • Increasing minutes and data provided free to Medicaid members to combat loneliness and isolation.
  • Initiating a Medical Associate Volunteer Program, which allows plan associates who are licensed and credentialed medical professionals the opportunity to take paid leave from their regular role and use their medical expertise and training to support care providers and deliver relief.

Plans are also extending helping hands to their communities through charitable giving to the tune of over $1 million to help provide essential items for families in need such as food, hygiene items, rent assistance, utility assistance, chromebooks for remote learning and more.

“Health plans are not immune to the financial impacts of COVID-19,” said Stumbo. “National estimates put COVID-19 health insurance provider costs at $251 billion− that’s more than the capital and surplus held by the entire commercial market in 2018, but our members are resolute in helping fellow Kentuckians now and after the crisis has abated.”

About Kentucky Association of Health Plans:

KAHP is the trade organization representing the Kentucky health insurance community. KAHP is a leader on issues that strengthen the accessibility, value and quality of health care in the Commonwealth. Members include Aetna, Anthem, Caresource, Humana, Passport Health Plan, UnitedHealth Group and WellCare. Follow @kyhealthplans on Twitter.