COVID-19-Related Guidance

The Division of Insurance issued a number of bulletins addressing the COVID-19 crisis. Those bulletins are summarized here:

  • Special Enrollment Period for Exchange: On March 12, 2020, Commissioner Anderson released Bulletin 2020-03, announcing a special enrollment period on the Commonwealth Health Insurance Connector. Currently uninsured Massachusetts residents can enroll in coverage on the Connector through April 25, 2020. Employers with employees in Massachusetts should be aware of this option should employees need to enroll in a plan on the exchange due to the termination of their employment or eligibility under the employer’s plan.
  • Emergency Measures to Address and Stop the Spread of COVID-19: On March 16, 2020, Commissioner Anderson released Bulletin 2020-04, intending to expand the use of telehealth to treat medically necessary health conditions in order to impede the transmission of the coronavirus. The bulletin modifies Bulletin 2020-02 by requiring carriers to forego any prior authorization requirements or cost sharing for COVID-19 treatment via telehealth. The bulletin also requires carriers to cover telehealth services as if the service is provided on an in-person basis.
  • Flexibility in the Issuance and Administration of Insurance: On March 23, 2020, Commissioner Anderson released Bulletin 2020-05, directing carriers to take steps to help address concerns about maintaining coverage and preserving the insurance market during the COVID-19 crisis. The Commissioner requests that carriers communicate and allow flexibility as it pertains to payment of premiums and continuation of coverage. Specifically, carriers should explain grace periods that are available, work with employers and individuals experiencing financial hardships, and explore ways to relax due dates for premiums.
  • Administration of Prescription Drug Benefits During COVID-19 Crisis: On March 26, 2020, Commissioner Anderson released Bulletin 2020-06, requesting that carriers take steps to help address concerns about prescriptions. Carriers are expected to work with pharmacies to limit the spread of the coronavirus by being flexible with signature requirements and allowing for mailed prescriptions and early refills, where appropriate. The bulletin also expects carriers to establish prior authorization systems to prevent the hoarding of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine.
  • Making Consumer Information Available During COVID-19 Crisis: On March 26, 2020, Commissioner Anderson released Bulletin 2020-07, notifying carriers that they should make appropriate information available via consumer phone lines and their websites. Specifically, they should be prepared to provide resources that describe coverage benefits and to ensure that providers and vendors are aware of the benefits and services that are available to address COVID-19.

Much of this guidance is directed towards insurance carriers. However, employers based in Massachusetts should familiarize themselves with this guidance as they contend with participants being affected by COVID-19.

Bulletin 2020-03 »
Bulletin 2020-04 »
Bulletin 2020-05 »
Bulletin 2020-06 »
Bulletin 2020-07 »