UnitedHealth Group COVID-19 Response
Posted: April 15, 2020
Coronavirus (COVID-19) is profoundly impacting the health of people around the world, as well as our global economies. The safety and health of the people we serve, our team members, their families, our stakeholders, broader communities and the reliability of our health care systems consume our resources and our focus. Actions we have taken to date include:
Care of Our Team Members
- We are employing and paying full wages to our entire workforce.
- Team members who have COVID-19, or are subject to a quarantine, are paid fully and not required to take paid time off. All costs of COVID-19 are covered fully with no cost sharing.
- Compensation for our front line clinical workforce serving in high incidence communities was increased.
- Business continuity plans and clinical safety protocols are engaged fully and effective in keeping team members safe while serving the needs of our members, patients, customers and government partners without disruption.
- Within days, 90% of our non-clinical workforce was transitioned to a work at home status while maintaining all service levels.
- More than 80 processes and protocols were developed to guide our Care Delivery Organizations for COVID-19 scenarios, CDC protocols, and state and county regulations.
Enlisting Our Resources to Serve Others
- Accelerated nearly $2 billion of payments to care providers to provide needed liquidity for the health system.
- Selected by HHS to assist in processing and distributing a portion of the $100 billion CARES Act funding to care delivery providers.
- Developed and tested a new self-administered COVID-19 swab protocol, which is now FDA approved, and the protocol has led to meaningfully improved testing efficiency, safety and protection of health care workers and reduced consumption of personal protection equipment.
- Waived all cost sharing for COVID-19 diagnosis and treatment.
- Provided unlimited telehealth visits at no cost.
- Removed all COVID-19 prior authorizations.
- Opened free access to our mental health mobile app, and 24/7 emotional support phone lines, to help all Americans cope with mental health impacts during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Expanded support for socially isolated members, coordinating access to medications, supplies, food, care and support programs.
- Provided early refills, prolonged authorizations and increased home delivery options of medication to ensure no shortages, and hours were extended at our behavioral health pharmacies to ensure medication adherence for those with mental health and substance use disorders.
- Deployed triage tools, including a symptom checker with next best action recommendations for our highest risk members. The tools provide the most up-to-date information about prevention, coverage, care and support needed to rapidly assess symptoms, schedule telehealth visits, talk with a nurse, refill or schedule home delivery for prescriptions and access to emotional support 24 hours a day.
- Deployed 700 Advance Practice Clinicians to serve members and patients on telehealth lines.
- Quickly shifted more than 4,000 OptumCare physicians to telehealth visits that would otherwise be cancelled due to COVID-19 safety concerns. These visits are essential to ensure chronically ill patients remain well cared for.
- Opened a special enrollment period to allow commercial customers to add employees who previously declined health benefit coverages.
- Facilitated coverage transitions to ensure current members maintain health insurance.
- Allowed grace periods for employees and individuals to pay premiums.
- Provided more than $60 million in support to date to those affected by COVID-19, including hot spot relief efforts, health workforce safety, seniors, homelessness and food insecurity.
- Organized our cafeteria and food service teams to make meals for those in need – more than 75,000 meals per week -- in Minneapolis-St. Paul, Greensboro, Hartford and Las Vegas.
- Allocated three senior executives to major scientific discovery and relief efforts; one to assist development of a global strategy for vaccine discovery and distribution at the World Health Organization and two to provide leadership in developing and deploying New Jersey’s field based hospital system.
- We will not request, nor do we intend to retain, any government assistance.