Page 18 - Work Force May 2020
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                                                                                                                       Expansion of Telehealth and Telemedicine
 There is no question; lives have been dramatically impacted and changed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Access and coverage of medical services are no exception to what has been impacted. This is an area that is continually changing with several regulations and consumer protections
being passed. With mandated
social distancing policies in place, health care providers and health plans have expanded access and coverage
of telehealth and telemedicine services.
Physician offices
have revealed restrictions
for in-office visits and are postponing non-essential medical appointments to encourage patients to remain safely in their homes. As a result, numerous physician groups
and offices have expanded telehealth visits, with more following suit, as
an alternative to in-office visits. Telehealth visits allow patients
to receive virtual care from their physician or health care provider, while maintaining continuity of care, as the provider
is familiar with the patient. Emergency
regulations passed by the
NY Department of Financial Services requires insurance companies in
New York State to waive previously
applicable cost sharing (deductibles,
copayments and coinsurance) for in-network
telehealth visits during this pandemic.
Although some provider offices now offer telehealth visits as an
alternative for patients, not all have this ability.
To expand access to medical services for members, CSEA has worked with New York State to offer a telemedicine program for enrollees and dependents of The Empire Plan.
The Empire Plan’s telemedicine program utilizes LiveHealth Online to provide virtual visits 24 hours
a day, 7 days a week with a live doctor without the need to leave home; Spanish speaking doctors are also available. LiveHealth Online services for Empire Plan enrollees are not limited to medical visits. Virtual mental health visits are also available to Empire Plan enrollees and dependents.
Like the telehealth services, The Empire Plan’s telemedicine services provided by LiveHealth Online will be provided with no out of pocket costs during this pandemic. It is currently necessary to use an Empire Plan specific coupon code to remove any required cost sharing listed for
appear to make changes impacting the Dependent Care Advantage Account (DCAA), the following information may be helpful to enrollees during this difficult time;
• DCAA enrollees can stop their DCAA deductions or change their election amounts if they experience an eligible change in status.
• A change in status could mean a change in care providers or change
in work schedule (for the employee or their spouse).
• For further information, please visit https://goer. advantage-account
• Submission of enrollment change requests should be made to https://goer.
• There is no limit to the
these services.
Additional information regarding
the Empire Plan’s new telemedicine program, including the Empire Plan specific coupon code required for covered in full visits and link to LiveHealth Online, can be found at
Empire Plan enrollees are encouraged to call the Empire Plan with any questions at 1-877-769-7447 (1-877-769-7447) and select option 2 for the Hospital Program.
                                                                                    Flex Spending Account Update
The Flex Spending Account (FSA) is a negotiated state employee benefit that helps save you money by allowing you to pay certain expenses with pre-tax dollars. The Health Care Spending Account and the Dependent Care Advantage Account are benefit programs under New York State’s FSA.
The federal CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security), which includes important provisions for users of health care spending accounts, was recently signed into law.
New York State employees who currently participate in the Health Care Spending Account will receive notice from the plan administrator regarding enhancements to the program made by the CARES Act, which include:
• Over-the-counter drugs and medicines can be paid for
or reimbursed through the flexible spending account; they no longer require a doctor’s prescription to be FSA qualified medical expenses.
• Menstrual care products (tampons, pads, liners, etc.) are now considered FSA qualified medical expenses and can be paid for or reimbursed through the flexible spending account.
WageWorks, the Health Care Spending Account program administrator, is updating its system to reflect these requirements from the CARES Act to soon enable
debit card payment at the point-of- sale. Should FSA account enrollees incur costs for qualifying medical expenses, claims can be submitted through the WageWorks app or online at
Although the CARES Act does not
number of changes an employee can submit to the DCAA during the year. Please see the website for additional information.
Reducing or stopping DCAA payroll contributions does not impact an existing
DCAA balance. Any money contributed (including the employer contribution) to DCAAs remain in the account for employees to use during the plan year.
18 The Work Force
May 2020
Any money contributed remains in your account to pay for qualified expenses until Dec. 31, 2020.
Additional information is available by calling the FSA hotline at 1-800- 358-7202 or visiting www.flexspend.

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