COVID-19 Insurance Updates

We are monitoring the ongoing developments for your insurance coverage options If you would like to be notified when something new comes up, click here.

Resources to Navigate Stimulus Loans & Utilize Telehealth in Your Practice

April 4, 2020

Greetings,

We are passing along a communication sent today by the Wisconsin Medical Society about two resources we are making available to members and non-members to help support their service during this pandemic.  We apologize if you are receiving this twice. 

Many of our clients have asked about help with the following: Navigating all the Federal Acts and small business loan opportunities related to COVID-19 Moving services to a Telehealth platform You can find details for both these opportunities below.

Warm Regards,

Shawna Bertalot, CIC, ACI
President
WisMed Assure

Dear Colleague,

The Wisconsin Medical Society is working to support health care professionals through this crisis. We have partnered with organizations to develop resources to help you care for your patients and manage your business. Two such opportunities can be found below.

Webinar – How the Stimulus Can Help You

As the COVID-19 crisis continues, there are wide-ranging resources available for physicians and health care professionals. However, identifying which resources would benefit your health care practice is difficult. The Wisconsin Medical Society (WisMed), gener8tor and WisMed Assure are here to help protect your practice and your employees.

Join gener8tor, WisMed and WisMed Assure for a free webinar about the government resources available to independent physicians and health care practices, as it relates to the stimulus package.

Here are just some of the great topics that will be covered:

  • Which federal grant/loan programs is my business eligible for?
  • SBA Disaster Loan (e.g. Economic Injury Disaster Loan or EIDL)
  • CARES Act and the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)

Register below to receive the link for the live webinar.

When: April 7 at 7 a.m.

The webinar will be made available as a COVID-19 resource on the Society’s website after the event.


Telehealth

The Wisconsin Medical Society has partnered with Valet Health, an innovative health care digital marketing company, to offer a streamlined – and HIPAA compliant – telehealth start-up service during the coronavirus pandemic.

As a part of this partnership, the following fully managed services are being made available:

  • Startup fee is waived ($350 value)
  • Room set-up (create a virtual waiting room, the dedicated space for where clinicians will see patients during a telehealth visit)
  • How-to documentation
  • An email communications template to educate patients about the availability of telehealth visits
  • A website banner notification for telehealth appointments for WordPress websites
  • Telehealth template page for patient education
  • $75 per month per clinician charge for continuation of service, if desired

It is imperative at this time to be inclusive in our efforts to overcome this virus; therefore, the Society is offering this service to members and nonmembers.

Please click below to learn more or contact Jim Lorence with questions.

Covid-19 Crisis Prompts OCI Guidance to Insurers

April 3, 2020

Coverage flexibility encouraged for group benefits, telemedicine and temporary providers

By Christopher A. Noffke, GBDS

Insurers are being asked to allow small employers of physicians and other healthcare workers (2 – 49 employees) to extend healthcare coverage to employees who work less than 30-hours per week or are furloughed due to Covid-19.

The Commissioner, Mark Afable, issued a bulletin on March 26 that, “encourages insurers to make available the option of maintaining coverage under the group insurance plan for employees working fewer than 30 hours to those employers who wish to do so.”

The bulletin also, “encourages insurers to work with employers to provide the option of continuing dental, vision, and prescription drug benefits when offered as separate policies.”

With a stay at home order in place until at least April 24, this is an important development for small groups. And, if insurers follow these recommendations, it will eliminate the need to change providers or incur new deductibles and cost-sharing requirements once the crisis has passed and employees return to full-time work.

Telemedicine and temporary provider professional liability coverage

In a separate bulletin issued on March 31, OCI made it clear that insurers should do everything they can to help.

“At the direction of Governor Tony Evers, Insurance Commissioner Mark Afable issued a request to medical malpractice insurers today aimed at expanding access to telemedicine during the COVID-19 pandemic and at ensuring retired and out-of-state health care workers can get the medical malpractice coverage in order to support the state’s response to COVID-19.”

Bud Chumbley, MD, MBA and CEO of the Wisconsin Medical Society said, “It is extremely important for insurers to act now as all of Wisconsin steps up to the plate to minimize the severity of this crisis.”

What next?

Both of these bulletins where prompted by inquiries made to the OCI from members of the medical community as well as a significant amount of advocacy by the Society and its insurance company WisMed Assure.

This is a fluid situation as insurers react to these recommendations. If you want to get the most up-to-date information about your insurance coverage, please contact me.

Chris Noffke GBDS                                        
Director of Group Benefits                     
WisMed Assure      

608.442.3734 direct                                       
00.975.3421 toll free                    
608.442.3811 fax                                                                        
chris.noffke@wismedassure.org  

Physicians Testing Positive for Coronavirus

March 19, 2020

Disability coverage for physician who test positive for coronavirus is available through our Association Group Long Term Disability insurance contract with MGIS/Sun Life.

We are acutely aware that all of our Wisconsin Physicians involved with direct patient care are at risk of testing positive for COVID-19. At a time when the coronavirus is causing concern for all of us, a physician’s ability to provide for their families if they could not practice because of testing positive should be the last of their worries.

So, this is to let you know that we have a special Group Long Term Disability contract for Physicians. It is the strongest in the nation with one of the strongest insurers in the market.

There is more good news for you: if you currently are not insured with Sun Life, consider switching. Because of our negotiated association contract, you will receive a lower premium with us than with any other broker.

And, of course, unlike any other Agency, our profits go directly to the Wisconsin Medical Society and are put to work for you.

The following documents from insurance carriers provide greater detail about disability coverage eligibility.

To learn more, please contact Chris Noffke or Dave Serena.

Chris Noffke GBDS                                         Dave Serena
Director of Group Benefits                          Group Disability Specialist
WisMed Assure                                           WisMed Assure
(608) 442-3734                                            (414) 238-6105
chris.noffke@wismedassure.org                dave.serena@wismedassure.org

NOTE: We also work with the “Big 5” Personal Disability Insurers (Standard, Principal, Berkshire/Guardian, Ameritas, and Mass Mutual) and have asked them if their “personal” disability policies would pay benefits.  So far, we have heard different responses from “testing positive” by itself would not be covered to responses using terms like “may” and “probably”.

Need-to-know Articles

March 19, 2020

March 19, 2020

March 19, 2020


Medical Professional Liability Insurance

March 19, 2020

An update for retired physicians, locums and telemedicine physicians stepping up to the plate.

We are currently working with MPL insurance carriers to expedite adding coverage for retired physicians, locums and telemedicine physicians. Please stay tuned to this web page for more information as it becomes available.


What’s Next for Physicians, Clinicians and Health Systems? the Coronavirus and Your Insurance.

March 17, 2020

Healthcare Insurance

Most if not all insurance companies are waving first-dollar (co-pay, deductibles, co-insurance) for diagnostic testing. Other costs will likely apply depending upon your plan and needs. We will update you if any significant changes occur.

Short-Term Disability

If you are sick and unable to work for more than the number of days specified in your policy (typical terms are 0,1,7,14 or 30 days), a Short-Term Disability claim will be approved and paid. But, if you are quarantined for more than the number of days stipulated in your policy – quarantine typically lasts two weeks – but do not contract the virus, your Short-Term Disability insurance would not pay.

Long-Term Disability

The important number here is, like Short-Term Disability, the number of days specified in your policy (the shortest is 30 days but it can be 60, 90 or more). If you contract the virus and are unable to work for longer than the number of days stipulated in your policy, you will most likely be eligible for compensation.

Workers Comp

Filing a workers compensation claim if you are unable to work because of Coronavirus quarantine or actual illness is tricky. You would have to be able to prove you actually contracted the virus at your place of work. Since it is similar to a flu, insurance companies are likely to treat it as such and your claim would most likely not be approved.

Business Interruption Insurance

Business interruption insurance is designed to replace income that is lost due to an event that causes business to be halted or interrupted due to damage to the business physical property, such as a fire or hurricane or other natural disaster.  Policies differ but most specify what kind of event would trigger coverage.  Additionally, most policies have coverage for when a civil order prevents access to the property.  Many policies “contingent business income coverage” if business cannot continue due to a loss experienced by a third party, such as a critical supplier.  None of these triggers or policy coverage language specifically address an event like we are experiencing now with COVID-19.  Ultimately, coverage will depend on how the facts are applied to the policy language.  

What’s Next?

What’s next indeed! We know physicians, clinicians and health systems are on the frontlines in this battle. That’s why we are doing everything we can to make sure we are here for you. We are actively monitoring our teams’ health and updating plans to provide best service possible if they can’t come into work.  All of our staff has the ability to work from home.

We are also actively monitoring coverage policies and watching for any changes from our insurance company partners.

Warm regards,

Shawna Bertalot, CIC, ACI,

President


To address any questions or concerns, please contact Christopher A. Noffke, GBDS

Director of Group Benefits.

608.442.3734 direct

Chris.Noffke@wismedassure.org

PS: The Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center hosts a website dynamically tracking cases around the world. Despite the increase in cases worldwide, a visit to the site shows how China was able to relatively quickly “flatten the curve” by enacting public health and safety measures. I think this is a very good indication of how quickly we will be able to eliminate this threat.


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