Humana waives cost-sharing for primary care, behavioral health visits through end of 2020 

Humana building
Humana will waive cost-sharing for primary care visits through the end of 2020. (Humana)

Humana will now waive all cost-sharing for in-network primary care and behavioral health care visits through the end of the year for its Medicare Advantage members. 

The insurer announced Tuesday that it would also deliver safety kits to all of its MA members over the next several months, including masks and educational materials, to make visits to the doctor safer.  

Cost-sharing for telehealth visits will also be waived through the end of 2020. But Humana said the goal was to ensure those who aren’t reached by telemedicine don’t defer needed care.  

William Shrank, M.D., chief medical officer at Humana, told FierceHealthcare that the insurer is tracking member behavior in this area and has gathered plenty of anecdotal evidence that patients are deferring potentially necessary care due to the pandemic. 

RELATED: Humana, NQF argue COVID-19 spotlights need for population health evolution 

The insurer has made more than 500,000 proactive calls to members to assess their individual needs and challenges, which have flagged these concerns, he said. 

“We know that in the setting of COVID, many of our members have avoided healthcare because of concerns about its safety,” Shrank said. 

“We really wanted to facilitate reengagement with primary care physicians, and for those that are experiencing exacerbations of behavioral health concerns or new symptoms we wanted to facilitate access to behavioral health care,” he added. 

The announcement builds on Humana’s previous efforts to waive the costs of testing and treatment for COVID-19. 

RELATED: CVS' Merlo was the top paid health insurance CEO in 2019. Here’s a look at what other payer CEOs earned 

Shrank said that the approach reflects the insurer’s desire to meets its members' needs in a holistic way and address issues related to COVID-19 that extend beyond symptoms of the virus itself. 

"These actions are the latest in a series of efforts we’re taking to support Humana members and help them best manage their chronic conditions and other health issues and ensure that we’re living up to our commitment to meet their needs,” CEO Bruce Broussard said in a statement. 

“By support members’ safety and lowering financial barriers, we can also help facilitate the re-opening of the healthcare system and help bolster the economy,” Broussard said.