BLOOMFIELD, Conn., March 23, 2020 — Cigna is making it easier for hospitals to transfer patients to long term acute care hospitals (LTACHs) and other subacute facilities to help manage the demands of increasingly high volumes of COVID-19 patients.
“By accelerating the transfer of non-COVID patients out of hospitals and into long term acute care hospitals, we can free up space and beds, preserve supplies and ensure medical staff are available to treat COVID-19 patients that require immediate hospital care,” said Steve Miller, MD, Chief Clinical Officer, Cigna. “We are focused on taking quick, decisive actions to increase flexibility for hospitals and their teams of medical professionals, who are working tirelessly to help ensure all patients get the care they need during this unprecedented time.”
Effective today, Cigna will waive prior authorizations for the transfer of its non-COVID-19 customers from acute inpatient hospitals to in-network LTACHs. In place of prior authorizations, Cigna will require notification from the LTACH on the next business day following the transfer. This policy will remain in place through May 31, 2020 and applies to Cigna commercial and Medicare Advantage plans. Cigna has also waived prior authorizations for the transfer of its patients to other in-network subacute facilities, including skilled nursing facilities and acute rehab centers.
This additional measure is an expansion of Cigna’s previous efforts to protect customers against COVID-19. In the past two weeks, Cigna has already committed to the following actions through May 31, 2020:
- Waiving cost-sharing for the COVID-19 diagnostic test when recommended by a health care professional
- Waiving cost-sharing for office visits related to COVID-19 testing
- Waiving cost-sharing for telehealth screenings for COVID-19
- Making it easier for customers to be treated virtually by their own physicians
- Offering free home delivery of up to 90-day supplies for Rx maintenance medications available through the Express Scripts Pharmacy and 24/7 access to pharmacists.
- Providing supportive resources for customers, clients and communities for managing anxiety, fear, stress and improving resiliency
- Offering a 24-hour toll-free help line (1-866-912-1687) available to the general public to speak with qualified behavior health clinicians who can provide one-on-one support
This enhanced coverage for COVID-19 diagnostic testing, office exams, telehealth screenings and virtual care applies to customers in the United States who are covered under Cigna’s employer/union sponsored insured group health plans, insured plans for globally mobile individuals, Medicare Advantage, Medicaid and the Individual and Family insurance plans. Self-insured group health plans administered by Cigna have an opportunity opt out of these benefits.