MCOS Lift Restrictions on Care in New York and D.C.
Several health plans with consumers in the New York and Washington, D.C., regions have suspended their restrictions on care following Tuesday's attacks, the AP/Houston Chronicle reports. Injured members of Cigna Corp. do not need to obtain prior authorization for hospital care in the two cities (AP/Houston Chronicle, 9/12). Aetna Inc. and Oxford Health Plans have also said that consumers injured in the attacks should not worry about authorizations or referrals (Lau, Investor's Business Daily, 9/13). "This is an emergency situation, and we expect our members to go directly to seek emergency medical care, and we expect them not to worry about referrals," Aetna spokesperson Dave Carter said (AP/Houston Chronicle, 9/12). Aetna has "added resources and extended hours" in four of its service centers in order to process benefit payments more quickly (Investor's Business Daily, 9/13).
Empire BlueCross BlueShield, whose headquarters were located in the World Trade Center, established temporary command centers yesterday at its New York offices in Albany, Staten Island and Melville, according to Geoff Taylor, a spokesperson for the New York State Conference of Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans. Taylor said that the company did not know how many of its 1,800 employees escaped before the collapse of the twin towers. Bloomberg reports that the loss of Empire's office will "affect the company's processing of Medicare claims and the operation of its health plan for Medicare beneficiaries." However, a hotline operator at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said, "Empire processed about 55,000 claims [Tuesday] night, and we expect them to proceed under normal working conditions" (Bloomberg, 9/12).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.