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Opening your workplace doors again has its challenges — what steps can you take to combat Coronavirus concerns? How do you keep everyone safe? Where do you even start? And the one big question that seems to be on everyone’s mind: Should you screen or test your employees before they come back?
Coronavirus tests have been suggested by some public sources as a must-have step in returning back to the workplace.
However, based on expert guidance from the CDC, OSHA, and the clinical team at Allegheny Health Network, as well as the current test options available — Highmark is not currently covering widespread Coronavirus tests as part of a back-to-the-workplace strategy. If government regulations change, our coverage may change, too. We will keep you informed if that’s the case.
On the other hand, we do believe that screenings can be a useful tool to help prevent sick employees from coming to work.
There are many precautions you can take and protocols you can put into place to help improve workplace safety.
To help keep your employees and customers safe and healthy, consider these steps:
But — everyone keeps mentioning screenings and tests.
As we said, based on expert guidance from the CDC, OSHA, and the clinical team at Allegheny Health Network, as well as the current test options available — we aren’t currently covering widespread testing. And, we aren’t using it as a back to the workplace strategy ourselves.
That said, we want to make sure you have information on hand to make your own decision. Let’s break down the testing options.
This test is used to diagnose patients suspected of having Coronavirus and requires a quick swab of the nose.
Very sensitive and specific to Coronavirus. Standardized testing available, with many vendors and labs receiving FDA emergency use authorization.
This test identifies a prior Coronavirus infection by detecting antibodies in the blood. It is done through a blood draw or a quick finger prick to obtain the blood sample.
As you can see, with so many shortcomings, testing isn’t an effective “back-to-the-workplace” strategy. Instead, consider the precautions we outlined above to keep your workplace safe and your employees healthy.
At this time, Highmark doesn’t cover widespread employee tests and screenings as part of an employer back-to-the-workplace strategy. However, COVID-19 testing for an employee who is a Highmark member is covered.
Still thinking about those screenings and tests?
Then this chart may help. While Highmark isn’t using tests as part of our own back to the workplace strategy, you may still be interested or live in a state that is requiring them.
Highmark will continue to monitor the situation closely. If expert guidance, clinical studies, and testing innovations change, our coverage may change, too. As always, we’ll keep you looped in.
There have been no change in federal requirements regarding the proper handling of protected health information (PHI). We are monitoring communications from the Department of Health and Human Services on this subject and will adjust our current practices as needed if deviations from current requirements are authorized.
Can Highmark share the names of covered members who have been tested for COVID-19?
Yes. Highmark can provide group health plan administrators with the names of their members who have been tested, presuming we have received claims for the tests and can identify them. You will be invoiced for the claims and have the right to know the identities of individuals for whom you are paying claims in order to properly administer their plans.
Can Highmark share COVID-19 test results?
No. Highmark cannot provide any test results, positive or negative. If we receive corresponding claims for any COVID-19 hospitalizations or other treatments we cannot provide anything more than what you would receive in the course of your usual invoicing process.
Through December 31, 2021, Highmark is waiving member cost-share for in-network, inpatient hospital care for COVID-19 for fully-insured groups. This includes any deductibles, co-insurance and co-pays.
Self-funded groups may opt in to one of the cost-share waiver options.
This website is accurate as of the date referenced but may change pursuant to regulatory mandates, updated guidance, or in response to changing business needs. The information in this document is based on information published in official guidance, by associations and organizations, or discussed in articles on the subject. Information compiled in this document is presented for your consideration only as each workplace and locality is different. Highmark makes no representation or warranty related to the information compiled in this document. The information in this document is not intended to situate Highmark as a provider of medical services or dictate the diagnosis, care or treatment.