Will I be able to get refills on my prescriptions early?
Health New England is ensuring access to prescription medications by allowing early refills consistent with guidance from federal, state and local governments. In addition, Health New England has a 90-day maintenance medication benefit available to members for both retail and mail-order.We will have formulary flexibility if there are shortages or access issues, or if new treatment options become available.
Learn more about other coverage information.
(Applies to members who have prescription coverage through Health New England.)
If I don’t have health insurance or lose my insurance coverage through my employer because of COVID-19, what can I do?
What is coronavirus and COVID-19?
If you or your company is impacted by COVID-19, you may qualify for state or federal health insurance programs including Health New England plans through the Health Connector (the Massachusetts Exchange), an intermediary (HSA Insurance), or MassHealth (Massachusetts Medicaid).
The Massachusetts Health Connector and the Division of Insurance are extending the newly created Special Enrollment Period (SEP) for currently uninsured Massachusetts residents from April 25 to May 25, 2020. This SEP applies to On Exchange through the Health Connector and Off Exchange through HSA for uninsured residents to enroll into Individual coverage (see below for contact information).
Massachusetts Health Connector and MassHealth
Call Center: 1-877-MA-ENROLL (1-877-623-6765)
TTY: (877) 623-7773 for people who are deaf, hard of hearing, or speech disabled
HSA Insurance (intermediary)
Customer Service: (781) 228-2222
Toll-Free: (877) 777-4414
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that may cause illness in animals or humans. In humans, several coronaviruses are known to cause respiratory infections. The most recently discovered coronavirus causes coronavirus disease COVID-19, which is a highly infectious respiratory disease.
Since its discovery in December 2019, COVID-19 has spread to 185 countries worldwide, including more than 850,000 confirmed cases in the United States. According to the CDC, person-to-person transmission of COVID-19 is currently widespread across the U.S.
On March 23, Governor Charlie Baker issued an emergency order requiring all businesses not offering "COVID-19 Essential Services" to close their facilities and, on March 24, issued a statewide Stay-at-Home Advisory. One week later, on March 31, Governor Baker extended both advisories through May 4.
For up-to-date information about the coronavirus, visit the CDC website.
What are symptoms of coronavirus?
According to the CDC, symptoms can develop within 2 to 14 days of exposure. Common symptoms include:
- Shortness of Breath
Many people infected with coronavirus may only experience mild symptoms. In serious cases, the virus can cause respiratory illness such as pneumonia in older people and those with pre-existing conditions. No vaccine currently exists for coronavirus.
Free Coronavirus Symptom Checker Available:
Massachusetts recently announced a statewide resource called Buoy, a free web-based symptom checker and triage tool. Buoy is available at no cost to all Health New England members. Read these
Frequently Asked Questions to learn more, and to access Buoy, go to buoy.com/mass or mass.gov/online-health-tool.
Do you need to talk to a doctor?
Members should call their primary care provider (PCP) first. PCPs may have the ability to evaluate members over the phone (telehealth) in order to limit potential exposure in physician offices. If a PCP isn’t available, most Health New England members* have access to Teladoc
® for non-emergency medical issues.
During the COVID-19 state of emergency, Health New England is covering costs for telehealth services for all conditions with providers, and for members with access to Teladoc
®, our telehealth platform.* Our 24/7 Nurse Advice Line at (866) 389-7613 is available for free to all members as well.
While there is no specific treatment for coronavirus at this time, most symptoms of the virus can be managed at home under the direction of your PCP or a Teladoc physician. Go to
https://www.teladoc.com/coronavirus/ for more information about Teladoc and to schedule a virtual visit.
*Teladoc services apply to members with Health New England's Teladoc benefit. Please check your plan materials or ID card to verify you have the Teladoc benefit.
What can you do if you are experiencing mental health challenges with the COVID-19 situation?
In just a few weeks, the world has changed dramatically due to coronavirus (COVID-19). It can be difficult to face both personal and professional changes. If you are experiencing mental health challenges due to this pandemic, you are not alone.
As your local health plan, we would like to remind you of some resources that may be able to provide assistance:
- Ask your employer or human resources department if they offer an Employee Assistance Program (EAP), which can provide confidential assistance with a variety of challenges, including mental health.
- Access behavioral health care services from one of our in-network providers. Search for behavioral health providers or call our Member Services team for assistance finding a provider at (800) 310-2835.
- Contact Teladoc® for behavioral health care services.* For more information, visit https://healthnewengland.org/bhteladoc or call 1-800-Teladoc (835-2362).
*Teladoc Behavioral Health Services apply to fully funded groups and Health Connector members. Not all employer groups participate in this benefit. Please check your plan materials for details. Cost sharing applies to Teladoc Behavioral Health Services.
- Call the Disaster Distress Helpline at (800) 985-5990, which is a 24/7, 365-day-a-year, national hotline dedicated to providing immediate crisis counseling for people who are experiencing emotional distress related to any natural or human-caused disaster, including disease outbreaks like COVID-19. This toll-free, multilingual, and confidential crisis support service is available to all residents in the United States and its territories.
How do you prevent the spread of coronavirus and other illnesses?
Coronavirus is spread through coughing and sneezing. The CDC recommends taking a number of preventive measures that help prevent the spread of germs:
- Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- If unable to use soap and water, use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol content.
- Wash your hands before eating and after blowing your nose or sneezing.
- Avoid contact with people who appear to be sick.
- Avoid touching your mouth, eyes and nose.
- Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that are frequently used.
If you suspect that you’ve been infected, the CDC urges you take the following steps:
What should you do if you suspect you’ve been infected with coronavirus?
- People with COVID-19 or with other flu-like symptoms should stay home and follow all quarantine procedures.
- Avoid public areas and public transportation.
- Distance yourself from people and animals in your home.
- Avoid sharing household items.
- Wear a facemask when around other people.
If you have more significant symptoms, contact your health care provider, urgent care or the emergency room and follow their instructions.
Will a flu shot prevent coronavirus?
No, the flu shot does not prevent you from getting coronavirus. The flu shot does prevent the common flu, which causes thousands of deaths and hospital admissions each year. It can also help prevent serious complications if you do get the flu, like pneumonia.
What is Health New England’s business continuity plan?
We are prepared to operate effectively under conditions of increased absenteeism or quarantine by utilizing our technological capabilities for associates to work from home, if necessary.
Although the precautions to avoid the spread of COVID-19 may impact where staff works, we will still maintain full infrastructure capacity. This means we do not have to reduce critical functions because our day-to-day member and provider operations capabilities can be operated remotely minimizing impact to services and needed care.
If I am a Health New England member, where can I get information about premium assistance or the hardship process?
- For Commercial members who get their health coverage through their employers, you should work directly with your employer if you have a hardship.
- For Connector members who get their health coverage through the Exchange (Massachusetts Health Connector) or through HSA Insurance (intermediary), you should contact the Connector or HSA directly if you have a hardship. (Contact information is listed on this page above.)
- For COBRA, Medicare Advantage or Medicare Supplement members who pay premiums directly to Health New England, please view our FAQs about our COVID-19 Premiums/Hardship process.