Insurance Updates Regarding COVID-19

March 17, 2020

Alaska issued two Bulletins in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, which apply to health insurers providing coverage through health care insurance plans to Alaska residents.

On March 3, 2020, the Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development, Division of Insurance, issued Bulletin 20-03. In anticipation of possible quarantines in response to the outbreak, this Bulletin expects applicable insurers to allow consumers to obtain emergency supplies or refills without applying additional authorization requirements, and to allow consumers to refill their prescriptions at a local pharmacy without penalty, even if they normally do so by mail. Insurers are allowed to observe normal processes when prescriptions contain opioids.

Bulletin 20-03 also encourages insurers to review and update their claims and utilization review policies in light of guidance issued by the CDC and the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services.

On March 6, 2020, the Division of Insurance issued Bulletin 20-04. The Bulletin requires applicable insurers to waive any cost sharing for laboratory diagnostic testing for COVID-19, as well as for respiratory syncytial virus, influenza, and respiratory panel tests. However, in order to qualify for this waiver, patients must meet criteria set forth by the Alaska Division of Public Health/Epidemiology and the CDC at the time of service.

Bulletin 20-04 also encourages the liberal use of telehealth services as a way of minimizing the spread of COVID-19. Insurers are asked to review their telehealth programs so that they are ready to handle increased demand.

Employers with policies regulated by Alaska should be aware of these developments.

Bulletin 20-03 »
Bulletin 20-04 »