Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Posted March 5, 2020
Updated July 6, 2021

Information and Resources for AlaskaCare Members

What Your AlaskaCare Health Plan is Doing for You

What AlaskaCare is Doing for You

In response to the COVID-19 national public health emergency declared on January 31, 2020 and the State of Alaska public health disaster emergency declared on March 11, 2020 by Governor Mike Dunleavy, the Division of Retirement and Benefits has implemented temporary plan changes and suspensions in the AlaskaCare health plans. Please note, these temporary changes are the result of Federal and State health mandates, suspension orders, and other guidance. The Division's compliance with these various requirements is temporary in nature and does not create a vested benefit in relation to these changes. All temporary administrative changes will be automatically rescinded upon the expiration of relevant enabling documents.

The Division of Retirement and Benefits is monitoring the status of COVID-19 in Alaska and will continue to provide updates regarding the effective dates of the temporary changes when more information becomes available. The Division will provide members with as much advance notice of the end of the temporary changes as is administratively possible.

The following benefits are permanently available to all AlaskaCare retiree and active employee plan members.

  • COVID-19 Testing: If you receive laboratory tests to diagnose or treat COVID-19, AlaskaCare is waiving your deductible and coinsurance. To qualify, your laboratory tests must be deemed medically necessary under the terms of the plan and they must be FDA-approved.

  • COVID-19 Vaccines:The AlaskaCare health plan covers the cost for FDA approved COVID-19 vaccines, subject to recognized charge, under both the medical and pharmacy plans, at any authorized site of care. AlaskaCare members receive the vaccine at no cost.

The following temporary benefits have updated effective dates.

  • AlaskaCare Retiree Plan Coverage for Flu and Pneumonia Shots: Available through December 31, 2021

    What does this mean for you?
    • In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, retiree plan members have been provided temporary coverage for flu (influenza) and pneumonia (pneumococcal) shots.
    • To receive AlaskaCare coverage for your flu or pneumonia shots before December 31, 2021:
      • Visit your local network pharmacy and AlaskaCare will cover 100% of the cost. Call OptumRx at (855) 409-6999 if you need help locating a network pharmacy.
      • If you get your shots at an out-of-network pharmacy, you will need to pay for the shot up-front and submit a claim to OptumRx to be reimbursed for the plan’s portion of the cost.
      • If you get your shots at your doctor’s office, the standard deductible and coinsurance will apply.
    • In 2019, AlaskaCare expanded coverage for vaccines covered by Medicare Part D for all AlaskaCare retiree plan members. Flu and pneumonia vaccines are covered by Medicare Part B and therefore are not included in the regular AlaskaCare plan benefits. Common vaccines that have been added to the AlaskaCare retiree pharmacy benefit include shingles, diphtheria, tetanus, measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), polio, hepatitis, and HPV.

  • The following temporary benefits are still in effect.

    • Expanded Coverage of Telemedicine: AlaskaCare is making it easier for you to connect with your regular health care providers remotely during the COVID-19 public health emergency. Effective March 4, 2020, through the end of the public health disaster, the AlaskaCare employee and retiree health plans are temporarily expanding coverage of telemedicine services delivered by your regular providers in alignment with coverage temporarily expanded by Medicare. If you or your provider are unsure which telehealth services are eligible for coverage, please contact Aetna at (855) 784-8646 for more information.

    • COBRA Suspension of Disenrollment: Worried about paying your premiums? We will work with you to help you keep your healthcare coverage.
      • Effective April 1, 2020 in accordance with federal guidelines, AlaskaCare is temporarily suspending disenrollment for members continuing their coverage under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) who fail to pay health benefit COBRA premiums timely. Please contact the Division to learn about your options. All missed premium payments are due in full 60 days following the termination of the national public health emergency per IRS regulations

    • Crisis Response Line: We know that the uncertainty around COVID-19 may cause stress and anxiety. If you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health crisis, please know that help is available. Aetna is providing support for AlaskaCare employee and retiree health plan members through the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) during the COVID-19 public health event. EAP staff is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. To speak with a counselor contact AlaskaCare EAP at (855) 417-2493. You can also contact Alaska’s suicide prevention and someone-to-talk to line at (877) 266-help or text 4help to 839863.

    The preceding temporary administrative changes are prospective in nature and shall remain in effect until earlier of the date of: 1) the termination of the suspensions contained in the applicable COVID-19 Disaster Order of Suspension; 2) the termination of the Declaration of Public Health Disaster Emergency issued by Governor Mike Dunleavy; or 3) the national public health emergency is terminated by the Secretary of Health and Human Services; including any extensions or amendments thereof. The temporary administrative changes listed above are in response to a State of Alaska and federally recognized health emergency and do not provide a vested right to coverage for any individual. The Division of Retirement and Benefits retains the sole discretion to rescind or modify these temporary administrative changes depending on the circumstances.

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