Frequently Asked Questions

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COVID-19 Vaccine

Q1. When can my family and I receive our COVID-19 vaccines?

As of May 12th, 2021, all Hawaii residents age 12 and older are eligible for COVID-19 vaccinations. If you are under 18 years old, you will need parental/guardian consent and you may be limited to a certain type of vaccine that you are authorized to take. Please refer to the Hawaii Department of Health COVID-19 vaccine page for updates.

HDOH Phase 2 announcement

Source: hawaiicovid19.com/vaccine

For the most detailed and up-to-date information, please see hawaiicovid19.com.

Q2. How will my family and I get the vaccine?

Please refer to the HDOH COVID-19 vaccine registration page for links to help you find a location you can take your vaccination and how to register. You can also search for available appointments by vaccine type here.

Q3. Someone I know is a kupuna who qualifies for the COVID-19 vaccine but is uncomfortable with the online registration system. How else can they make an appointment?

 The HDOH has a new service for kupuna that simplifies the COVID-19 vaccination registration process. View the Department of Health news release here.

  • Seniors or family caregivers can call 2-1-1 to reach Aloha United Way’s team of trained specialists. This service is available seven days a week for those age 65 and older. Call 2-1-1 for personalized assistance in navigating the registration process and securing appointments. The team can also help eligible individuals arrange for transportation to a vaccination provider.
  • Aloha United Way’s 2-1-1 team is responsible for the initial intake process. Information is then securely electronically transferred to the St. Francis Healthcare System call center team. St. Francis will follow up with kupuna who have called AUW’s 2-1-1 within 24 to 48 hours.

Q4. Could my employer require me to take the vaccine?

For more information, please see your human resources manager or other company executive.

Q5. Could my children’s school require them to take the vaccine?

Schools are likely to have their own policies, so please contact your children’s principal. We also encourage you to talk to your children’s pediatrician, who will provide guidance knowing their health and medical history.

Q6. Are there side effects from the vaccine?

For information on potential side effects, please see cdc.gov. We also highly encourage you to talk to your primary care physician, who knows your health and medical history.

Q7. Will there be a co-pay?

No. There is no co-pay to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, even from an out-of-network provider. As with the flu shot, this critical vaccine will be provided at $0 co-pay.

Q8. I had COVID-19 and recovered, so should I take the vaccine when it’s made available to me?

We highly encourage you to talk to your primary care physician, who knows your health and medical history.

Q9. I have concerns about the safety of the COVID-19 vaccine. How can I know that it is safe?

The FDA has approved the COVID-19 vaccines. For more information, please see cdc.gov. We also highly encourage you to talk to your primary care physician, who knows your health and medical history.

Q10. Where can I learn more about COVID-19 and vaccine developments?

For the most comprehensive and up-to-date information, please see the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention at cdc.gov.

Q11. Where can I learn more about Hawaii’s vaccination plans?

Please see the HDOH at hawaiicovid19.com/vaccine.

An executive summary of the State of Hawai‘i’s draft COVID-19 vaccination plan is available here or view the full draft plan here.

COVID-19 Testing: Stay up to date with the latest CDC guidelines

Q1. What if I have been in close contact with a COVID-19 infected person?

If you have been in close contact with someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19, whether you are fully vaccinated or not, you should first be evaluated by your healthcare provider and be tested for COVID-19 if indicated to do so.

Q2. Will UHA cover COVID-19 testing if I currently show no COVID-19 symptoms (am asymptomatic)?

UHA will cover COVID-19 diagnostic testing when the test is, at the time of service, in accordance with updated CDC guidelines. Coverage is subject to change contingent upon evolving CDC guidelines. UHA will not cover non-diagnostic testing.

Q3. Under what circumstances should I obtain a COVID-19 test?

The CDC recommends the following individuals should obtain COVID-19 diagnostic testing:

  1. People who have symptoms of COVID-19 who are fully vaccinated with the COVID-19 vaccine should first be evaluated by their healthcare provider and be tested for COVID-19 if indicated to do so.
  2. People without symptoms of COVID-19 who are not fully vaccinated with the COVID-19 vaccine: 
    • who have been in close contact with someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19, should first be evaluated by their healthcare provider and be tested for COVID-19 if indicated to do so.
    • who have taken part in activities that put them at higher risk for COVID-19, such as travel, attending large social or mass gatherings, or being in crowded indoor settings.
    • who have been asked or referred to get tested by their school, workplace, healthcare provider, state, tribal, local, or territorial health department.

Please review the remaining questions and answers as to whether UHA will provide coverage for a COVID-19 test in specific situations.

Q4. Does UHA cover employer requested or required COVID-19 “screening?”

No. A screening test for COVID-19 is not covered by your UHA plan. A “screening test” for COVID-19 is a test administered to someone with no symptoms. The HDOH and CDC do not currently recommend testing for people who do not have symptoms.

Q5. How do I get COVID-19 testing?

Start with a call to your doctor. If you’re sick and experiencing flu-like symptoms, such as cough or difficulty breathing, and think you have been exposed to COVID-19, call your doctor (primary care physician / PCP) for medical advice. If you’re able, monitor and report your temperature. Your doctor will determine whether you should be tested and can best instruct you on next best steps, including the most appropriate care location to visit and testing protocols.

Q6. Is COVID-19 testing covered by UHA?

Yes, UHA covers 100% for appropriate, medically necessary testing for COVID-19. The guidelines for testing are provided by the CDC and HDOH. Current CDC guidelines can be found here.

Q7. Does UHA cover COVID-19 antibody testing now that it’s available?

UHA covers antibody tests (serology) when medically necessary and only if one of these CDC guideline criteria are met under the guidance of a provider:

  1. You have been ill for 9 to 14 days and CDC guidelines call for an antibody (blood) test plus the standard COVID-19 (nose swab) test for a more conclusive diagnosis.
  2. Your child has complications that his or her physician determines is related to COVID-19, such as an inflammatory syndrome in children (e.g., as Kawasaki disease or an illness similar to toxic shock).

The test is not currently designed to test individuals wanting to know if they have been previously infected with COVID-19.

Furthermore, the American Medical Association has taken a position on not using serology testing for the sole determination of immunity to COVID-19 secondary to testing limitations along with potential false positive and/or negative results. Read their guidance here.

Therefore, UHA will not pay for antibody tests if the test is solely to show immunity to COVID- 19.

Q8. Does UHA cover COVID-19 testing for travel purposes?

No. UHA does not cover COVID-19 testing for travel purposes.

Q9. When does UHA cover at-home COVID-19 tests?

COVID-19 tests intended for at-home testing are covered when the test is ordered by an attending health care provider who has determined that the test is medically appropriate for the individual based on current accepted standards of medical practice and the test otherwise meets federal statutory criteria. The guidelines for testing are provided by the CDC and HDOH. Current CDC guidelines can be found here.

Q10. Will UHA reimburse me for the cost of an at-home COVID-19 test?

Assuming your purchase of the COVID-19 at-home test meets the criteria described above in Q9, UHA will cover 100%. Contact Customer Services for assistance with filing your claim. For additional details on UHA’s claims process click here.

COVID-19 Coverage: General Questions

Q1. Does my coverage include telehealth (phone or video) visits with my physician?

UHA covers telehealth visits with participating providers at 100%.* We encourage you to seek care from your primary care physician first. Your own doctor will know your medical history and needs best. If your physician is not a participating provider, UHA may cover some costs but you will be responsible for any additional charges that exceed UHA’s standard rates.

Visit our Telehealth page to learn more.

*Telehealth covered at 100% of eligible charges with no copay or deductibles when rendered by a participating provider in UHA’s network. This level of coverage is valid only for the duration of the federal COVID-19 state of emergency. The conditions for the coverage of telehealth copays can be found in UHA’s current Telehealth Services payment policy. Or call UHA to find out more.

Q2. How else can I get virtual care during this time?

UHA members will have expanded access to UHA’s team of RN Care Specialists and clinical team to answer questions about accessing medical care, medications or how to care for yourself at home. Call (808) 532-4006, or toll free at 1-(800) 458-4600, ext. 300, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

UHA covers telehealth visits with participating providers at 100%.* We encourage you to seek care from your primary care physician first. Your own doctor will know your medical history and needs best. If you don’t have a primary care physician, you may access virtual care from the resources below. Standard benefits apply when members have a telehealth visit with a non-participating provider.**

*Telehealth covered at 100% of eligible charges with no copay or deductibles when rendered by a participating provider in UHA’s network. This level of coverage is valid only for the duration of the federal COVID-19 state of emergency. The conditions for the coverage of telehealth copays can be found in UHA’s current Telehealth Services payment policy. Or call UHA to find out more.

**Unless the non-participating provider telehealth service is related to a COVID-19 diagnosis.

Virtual Care Resources

The Queen’s Health Systems COVID-19 Hotline
If you are experiencing symptoms you believe may be linked to COVID-19, talk to a Registered Nurse and get your questions answered.
Hours: 24/7
COVID-19 Infoline: 808-691-2619
(Dial 1 first if calling from a neighbor island.)
Website: www.queens.org/covid19/what-queens-is-doing

Hawai’i Pacific Health

Hawai’i Pacific Health COVID-19 Virtual Clinic for Video and Phone Visits
The Virtual Clinic’s purpose is to address patients with signs and symptoms of COVID-19 who are well enough to be evaluated without coming to the office and others who have concerns about COVID-19 exposure.

Patients should reach out to their own primary care physician (PCP) for treatment and guidance before contacting the Virtual Clinic. Patients without a PCP are encouraged to contact the Virtual Clinic directly.
Hours: 8AM – 8PM
Phone: 808-462-5430 (press option 2)
Website: https://www.hawaiipacifichealth.org/hph-covid-19-updates/covid-19-testing

MyChart
Connect with your PCP for non-COVID related health issues via MyChart. You can message your doctor or send an electronic visit request.

First Vitals
For mild to moderate symptoms of COVID-19, telehealth consults can help reduce the novel coronavirus from spreading from person to person and is a more efficient way to receive initial care. Book a 15-minute video consult with a medical professional at: http://www.covidhawaii.com.

Q3. What do I do if I develop flu-like symptoms, but don’t have a personal physician/PCP?

For those experiencing flu-like symptoms without shortness of breath and no history of serious medical problems that could compromise your health, going to an urgent care facility is appropriate. Please call the urgent care facility in advance to get any pre-arrival instructions that will help prevent spreading of your illness to others.

However, go immediately to the emergency room if you have any of the following: a rapid pulse, a temperature of over 103 degrees lasting for several days or shortness of breath.

Q4. What is the coverage for the diagnosis of COVID-19?

Effective March 1, 2020 and until the federal COVID-19 state of emergency ends, coinsurance requirements are waived for these services when related to a COVID-19 diagnosis. This includes:

  • Doctor’s office visits 
  • Urgent care facilities 
  • Emergency room 
  • Telehealth visits* 
  • Virtual check-in
  • E-visits

*Telehealth covered at 100% of eligible charges with no copay or deductibles when rendered by a participating provider in UHA’s network. This level of coverage is valid only for the duration of the federal COVID-19 state of emergency. The conditions for the coverage of telehealth copays can be found in UHA’s current Telehealth Services payment policy. Or call UHA to find out more.

Q5. If I get COVID-19 and need hospitalization, is that covered?

Yes. All copay, coinsurance, or deductible coinsurance requirements are waived and UHA will provide 100% of the eligible charge for medically necessary hospitalization with a UHA participating facility and their UHA participating providers related to a COVID-19 diagnosis. At this time, the waiver applies to all admissions with a date of service from April 1, 2020. This is a temporarily enhanced coverage of benefits which is subject to change. Coverage was extended as of January 1, 2021.

For help finding a participating provider in UHA’s network, visit the UHA Care Provider Search tool.

Q6. Am I able to get an extended supply of my medication(s)?

UHA encourages our members to limit any necessary trips to the pharmacy by utilizing their 90-day mail-order benefit or the extended fill available though most UHA-participating retail pharmacies within the Express Scripts network. Learn more here.

You can sign up for mail order delivery to your home for free. Just visit Express-Scripts.com to sign up. Once you are enrolled, they will even contact your physician when your prescription runs out.

Q7. What are UHA and Express Scripts® doing to address potential drug shortages related to the current COVID-19 outbreak?

UHA’s Pharmacy Benefits Manager, Express Scripts, is closely monitoring the global manufacturing environment. At this time, they don’t see any disruptions to the supply chain that will affect their ability to fill prescriptions for UHA members, now and in the near future. Given the fluid nature of the COVID-19 outbreak, Express Scripts will continue to monitor the situation and work with their suppliers as needed. UHA will continue to work with Express Scripts to address issues and service our members.

Q8. How is UHA ensuring the health of its own employees?

To ensure that we can be here for you, we’ve been actively working with UHA’s own associates to safeguard their health. To the extent possible, our associates have begun telecommuting and practicing several other social distancing measures so we can continue to serve our members, employers and providers.

Q9. Where can I get general information about coronavirus and COVID-19?

We recommend the following government web sites for general information about coronavirus during this time:
https://www.cdc.gov
https://health.hawaii.gov/docd/advisories/novel-coronavirus-2019/

Q10. I think there may be an error on my claim. What can I do?

The process for COVID-19 related claims is new to everyone, it’s possible there may be mistakes made. Rest assured, we will work quickly to resolve any issues. We appreciate your patience as we work through this.

If you have any questions or need assistance, please contact Customer Services.

Customer Services
Phone: (808) 532-4000
Toll free: (800) 458-4600

Q11. I have been let go or have had my hours reduced by my employer. What are my options for health insurance?

UHA is committed to your health. This pandemic has led to a multitude of changes for Hawaii’s workforce. For those who have been let go by their employers or have had their hours reduced, we have resources to help you stay informed and navigate your options.

Individual Plan Transition Resources

  • To check if you’re eligible for Medicaid and to learn more about how you can apply, visit medquest.hawaii.gov for more information.
  • For other individual health plan options and possible subsidies to help receive coverage, visit the Federal Marketplace at healthcare.gov.

If after reviewing these online resources, you find that you need further assistance, contact Customer Services to speak to a representative.

Customer Services
(808) 532-4000
1 (800) 458-4600 (toll free)
Leave us a message

COVID-19 Additional Resources for Members

Q1. What mental health resources are available if I've experienced mental or emotional hardship during the pandemic?

The HDOH developed a new program, Kū Makani—The Hawai‘i Resiliency Project, offering dedicated crisis counseling to callers facing emotional fallout related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Kū Makani has an array of services to help residents experiencing anxiety, depression, panic or just feeling overwhelmed by the challenges of the pandemic.
  • This is a FREE service.
  • To reach a trained Kū Makani counselor, call the Hawai’i CARES
    • hotline: Oahu – (808) 832-3100
    • Neighbor Islands: Maui, Kauai, and Hawaii – 1 (800) 753-6879 Kū Makani crisis counseling hours:
      • 4:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. Monday-Friday
      • 9:00a.m. –9:00 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
  • Visit the Kū Makani website and social media for detail about the program, services, upcoming events, and island- specific resources: kumakani.org
  • For non-pandemic counseling and services, including crisis support, mental health resources and substance use treatment services, you may always call the Hawai‘i CARES hotline 24/7 at 1 (800) 753-6879 or text “ALOHA” to 741741.

COVID 19: Telehealth Policy/Guidelines

Q1. What are the guidelines/criteria for Telehealth Services?

For full details, please see our Telehealth Services payment policy.

Telehealth services are covered (subject to Limitations and Administrative Guidelines) when all criteria are met as stated in our policy. The policy will cover criteria such as, but not limited to:

  • Methods of how the service is delivered (video/audio, telephone calls, platform, etc.)
  • Geographic restrictions on a patient’s or health care provider’s location

For assistance with questions regarding our policy, please email or call Customer Services at:

Customer Services
Phone: (808) 532-4000
Toll free: (800) 458-4600
Email: Customer Services Contact Form

Q2. What are the guidelines/criteria for Telehealth Services for Behavioral Health?

The services we cover for behavioral health are listed in our medical payment policy. As long as the criteria/guidelines for telehealth services are met, we will cover those specific behavioral health services.

Q3. Are we allowed to use mobile apps such as FaceTime, Skype, or Zoom for telehealth?

Yes, as long as all telehealth criteria are met.

The Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights (OCR) will exercise its enforcement discretion and will not pursue otherwise applicable penalties for breaches that result from the good faith provision of telehealth services during the federal COVID-19 state of emergency. Visit the telehealth criteria for more information.

COVID 19: Telehealth Payment, Coverage, Reimbursement, Coding

Q1. What code(s) is UHA using for a specific service?

A detailed list of accepted codes and the description of services for each are available in our Telehealth Services policy. If you do not see a service or code listed in our policy, please contact Customer Services to verify if coverage is available.

Customer Services
Phone: (808) 532-4000
Toll free: (800) 458-4600
Email: Customer Services Contact Form

Q2. Is reimbursement the same for Telehealth Services as it is for in-office services?

Reimbursement is defined in your contract terms. If you have any questions regarding reimbursement, please email Contracting Services.

Q3. How do we bill for Telehealth Services?

Please continue to submit your claims to UHA. We would prefer electronic billing. If you wish to sign up to submit your claims electronically please visit our page on Provider Claims Submission. If you are interested in receiving payments from UHA electronically, please sign up for EFT payments by following these instructions: logging into your Online Provider Services account, navigating to the “Forms” tab, and completing the Authorization for EFT Request Form and sending it to our Contracting Services department.

Q4. I think there may be an error on my claim. What can I do?

The process for COVID-19 related claims is new to everyone, it’s possible there may be mistakes made. Rest assured, we will work quickly to resolve any issues. We appreciate your patience as we work through this.

If you have any questions or need assistance, please contact Customer Services.

Customer Services
Phone: (808) 532-4000
Toll free: (800) 458-4600
Email: Customer Services Contact Form

COVID-19 Testing and Diagnosis FAQs

Q1. What codes are being used by UHA for COVID-19 diagnosis or treatment?

Claims submitted with the following ICD-10 diagnosis codes defined by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) will be identified as the diagnosis or treatment of COVID-19.

Claims without the CDC identified COVID-19 related diagnosis codes will be processed to include co-pays, coinsurance and deductibles defined in the member’s plan medical benefits guide. We appreciate you working with us to ensure those individuals and families affected by COVID-19 are not negatively financially impacted.

  • U07.1: Confirmed diagnosis (see CDC Coding Guidelines for all scenarios)
  • Z03.818: Encounter for observation for suspected exposure to other biological agents ruled out.
  • Z20.828: Contact with and (suspected) exposure to other viral communicable diseases.
  • Z11.59: Encounter for screening for other viral diseases

Reference: CDC Coding Guidelines

Q2. How can I find out if my healthcare provider is a participating provider?

UHA will cover appropriate, medically necessary diagnostic testing for COVID-19, per Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines and Hawaii Department of Health’s (HDOH) mandated coverage. Current CDC guidelines can be found here.

Q3. What is UHA’s coverage for telehealth visits related to COVID-19 diagnosis?

Regardless of the primary purpose of the visit, 100% of eligible charges with no copay or deductibles will be covered on any telehealth service rendered with a participating provider in UHA’s network during the federal COVID-19 state of emergency.

All telehealth visits are covered at 100% of eligible charge when related to COVID-19 diagnosis, effective 3/01/20. This includes visits to a doctor’s office, urgent care facilities, emergency room, telehealth visits, virtual check-in, and e-visits. This means that UHA members diagnosed with COVID-19 will have all associated copayments, coinsurance, and deductibles covered whether or not the services received are from a UHA participating or non-participating provider. However, standard benefits apply when members have a telehealth visit with a non-participating provider.*

*Telehealth covered at 100% of eligible charges with no copay or deductibles when rendered by a participating provider in UHA’s network. Benefits valid only for the duration of the federal COVID-19 state of emergency. The conditions for the coverage of telehealth copays can be found in UHA’s current Telehealth Services Payment Policy. Or call UHA to find out more.

Q4. Does UHA cover COVID-19 antibody testing now that it's available?

UHA covers antibody tests (serology) when medically necessary and only if one of these CDC guideline criteria are met under the guidance of a provider:

  1. When an individual has been ill with COVID-19 symptoms for 9 to 14 days and a diagnosis must be established using the antibody test in addition to recommended direct detection methods such as the standard COVID-19 nose swab polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests.
  2. In evaluating a child with complications that may be related to COVID-19, such as an inflammatory syndrome in children (such as Kawasaki disease or an illness similar to toxic shock).

The test is not currently designed to test individuals wanting to know if they have been previously infected with COVID-19.

Furthermore, the American Medical Association has taken a position on not using serology testing for the sole determination of immunity to COVID-19 secondary to testing limitations along with potential false positive and/or negative results. Read their guidance here.

Therefore, UHA will not pay for antibody tests if the test is solely to show immunity to COVID-19.

COVID-19 serology (IgG or IgM) testing (commonly known as “antibody testing”) is a covered benefit only when the test meets the definition of “medical necessity.” While we completely support clinical advancements that improve diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of COVID-19, serologic testing is complicated. The antibody testing is not currently recognized by the CDC as a valid diagnostic test for COVID- 19 or a reliable test to demonstrate immunity, and serology testing is not known to be effective in improving health outcomes.

Accordingly, UHA does not endorse and will not cover tests without FDA standing and insists that the ordering provider be qualified to interpret the results in the context of the clinical situation and the public health milieu.

This is a rapidly changing situation that we will continue to monitor using the latest guidance from the CDC and DOH to determine which tests are medically necessary. As guidelines and recommendations evolve, we’ll continue to re-evaluate our policies.

COVID-19 Vaccine For Employers

Q1. When can my employees receive their COVID-19 vaccines?

Priority for vaccines has been determined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Hawaii State Department of Health (HDOH). View the Executive Summary of the Vaccination Plan here.

Recommendations from the Hawaii COVID‐19 Vaccine Allocation and Prioritization Working Group in conjunction with HDOH subject matter experts were used to identify the population groups below. Strong consideration was given to CDC Guidance and adherence to ACIP recommendations (See Figure ES‐6: Vaccine Prioritization Phases).

Source: Hawaii COVID-19 Executive Summary of the Vaccination Plan

For the most detailed and up-to-date information, please see hawaiicovid19.com.

Q2. How can my employees get the vaccine?

Those who meet the criteria for each phase will be able to get the vaccine through any approved COVID-19 vaccine provider, as supplies allow.

Q3. I have an employee who is a kupuna and qualifies for the COVID-19 vaccine but they are uncomfortable with the online registration system. How else can they make an appointment?

The HDOH has a new service for kupuna that simplifies the COVID-19 vaccination registration process. View the HDOH news release here.

  • Seniors or family caregivers can call 2-1-1 to reach Aloha United Way’s team of trained specialists. This service is available seven days a week for those age 65 and older. Call 2-1-1 for personalized assistance in navigating the registration process and securing appointments. The team can also help eligible individuals arrange for transportation to a vaccination provider.
  • Aloha United Way’s 2-1-1 team is responsible for the initial intake process. Information is then securely electronically transferred to the St. Francis Healthcare System call center team. St. Francis will follow up with kupuna who have called AUW’s 2-1-1 within 24 to 48 hours.

Q4. May I require my employees to take the vaccine?

For more information, please contact your own legal counsel.

Q5. Will there be a co-pay?

No. There is no co-pay to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, even from an out-of-network provider. As with the flu shot, this critical vaccine will be provided at $0 co-pay.

Q6. Could UHA set-up COVID-19 vaccine clinics at my organization like is often done with flu shots?

As of this time, we do not anticipate setting up vaccine clinics in our members’ place of business because of a number of unprecedented challenges, including requirements for storage and temperature monitoring equipment, as well as other issues.

Q7. I have concerns about the safety of the COVID-19 vaccine. How can I know that it is safe?

The FDA has approved the COVID-19 vaccines. For more information, please see cdc.gov.

Q8. Where can I learn more about COVID-19 and vaccine developments?

For the most comprehensive and up-to-date information, please see the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at cdc.gov.

Q9. Where can I learn more about Hawaii’s vaccination plans?

Please see the HDOH at hawaiicovid19.com/vaccine.

An executive summary of the State of Hawai‘i’s draft COVID-19 vaccination plan is available here or view the full draft plan here.

COVID-19 Testing: Stay up to date with the latest CDC guidelines

Q1. What if my employees have been in close contact with a COVID-19 infected co-worker?

If your employee has been in close contact with someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19, whether they are fully vaccinated or not, they should first be evaluated by their healthcare provider and be tested for COVID-19 if indicated to do so.

Q2. Does UHA cover COVID-19 testing of those who are asymptomatic?

UHA will cover COVID-19 diagnostic testing when the test is, at the time of service, in accordance with updated CDC guidelines. Coverage is subject to change contingent upon evolving CDC guidelines.  UHA will not cover non-diagnostic testing.

Q3. Under what circumstances should my employees obtain a COVID-19 test?

The CDC recommends the following individuals should obtain COVID-19 diagnostic testing:

  1. People who have symptoms of COVID-19 who are fully vaccinated with the COVID-19 vaccine should first be evaluated by their healthcare provider and be tested for COVID-19 if indicated to do so.
  2. People without symptoms of COVID-19 who are not fully vaccinated with the COVID-19 vaccine:
    • who have been in close contact with someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19, should first be evaluated by their healthcare provider and be tested for COVID-19 if indicated to do so.
    • who have taken part in activities that put them at higher risk for COVID-19, such as travel, attending large social or mass gatherings, or being in crowded indoor settings.
    • who have been asked or referred to get tested by their school, workplace, healthcare provider, state, tribal, local, or territorial health department.

Please review the remaining questions and answers as to whether UHA will provide coverage for a COVID-19 test in specific situations.

Q4. Does UHA cover employer requested COVID-19 testing or testing for employment purposes?

No. Testing requested by employers or testing to screen for general workplace health and safety (such as an employee “return to work” program),or testing for employment purposes are not covered by UHA plans. This aligns with UHA’s Medical Benefits Guide (MBG) and the guidance recently issued by the federal tri- agencies (U.S. departments of: Labor, Health and Human Services, and Treasury).

Eligibility and Premiums

What is ARPA?

The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA) was signed by President Biden in March 2021. It includes a number of provisions designed to assist workers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

How does ARPA affect COBRA or impact my company?

Among the provisions of this new law is a COBRA premium subsidy that pays for 100% of the applicable COBRA premium for eligible individuals for coverage periods beginning April 1, 2021 and ending September 30, 2021.

If your group health plan is subject to COBRA, there are new COBRA notice requirements for employers and additional COBRA election opportunities for assistance-eligible individuals starting April 1, 2021.

How can I find out more about ARPA’s COBRA subsidy and this new law?

Every employer’s situation is unique, so you must consult with your business and/or legal counsel for specific advice for your company. Please note that when contacted by any members who will be impacted by this new law, we are directing them back to their former employers. Please contact your former employer.

We also suggest that employers check the U.S. Department of Labor website regularly for updates should they become available.

I may need to furlough my employees or reduce their work hours. Can I continue to provide health coverage to my employees if they fall below the minimum required hours for eligibility?

Yes, UHA will allow for continuation of coverage due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Please contact your Client Services Liaison or Coordinator at (808) 532-4000, ext. 358 or toll free 1-(800) 458-4600, ext. 358 or email [email protected].

Can the 4-week waiting period be waived for employees who re-enroll at the end of a furlough or if they are rehired?

Yes, UHA will waive waiting-period requirements for members who were furloughed or displaced due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but then later return to work. Please contact your Client Services Liaison or Coordinator for details: (808) 532-4000, ext. 358 or toll free 1-(800) 458-4600, ext. 358 or email [email protected].

Can I change my medical plan to reduce costs?

Depending on your regulatory plan status, you can change medical plans during the COVID-19 pandemic. Please keep in mind that the change may increase out-of-pocket expenses for your employees. Also, please note this is a process that does take some time; UHA must approve the change in plans and be given time to make the change. We recommend at least 60 days to properly execute the change and for you to properly notify your employees.

Can I make temporary changes to my drug, vision and dental riders to reduce costs?

Please contact your Client Services Liaison or Coordinator to determine if your plan status will allow for these changes. Depending on your regulatory plan status, you may be able to make changes to your drug, vision and dental riders. We are here to guide you as current regulations may not permit the exclusion of certain riders. Call us at (808) 532-4000, ext. 358 or toll free 1-(800) 458-4600, ext. 356 or email [email protected].

What if I cannot pay my premiums by the first of the month?

Because health plan coverage begins on the 1st of the month, Hawaii law requires premium payments to be made by that date to avoid a lapse in coverage.

If you anticipate a delay in making a premium payment, please contact one of our Billing Representatives immediately to discuss your alternatives.

UHA is required to give companies 10-day advance notice that a lapse in coverage will occur if payment is not received within the notice period. Again, if you do anticipate a delay in payment or receive a notice of impending termination of your coverage, please call us immediately to discuss payment options. We recognize that the current COVID-19 situation calls for difficult decisions; we want to work with you as every organization is facing different circumstances.

Call us at (808) 532-4000, ext. 353 or toll free 1-(800) 458-4600, ext. 353 or email billing@uhahealth.com.

Where can I find information on federal and state relief funds for small businesses?

The CARES Act was signed into federal law on March 27, 2020, to provide billions of dollars in relief for American workers and small businesses. It was designed to offer multiple funding options for those seeking relief.

This act established new temporary programs to address the COVID-19 outbreak and provide several Coronavirus relief options:

  1. Paycheck Protection Program – An SBA loan that helps businesses keep their workforce employed during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis.
  2. EIDL (Economic Injury Disaster Loan) Emergency Advance – This loan advance will provide up to $10,000 of economic relief to businesses that are currently experiencing temporary difficulties.
  3. SBA Express Bridge Loan – Enables small businesses who currently have a business relationship with an SBA Express Lender to access up to $25,000 quickly.
  4. SBA Debt Relief – The SBA is providing a financial reprieve to small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

For more information, please visit the U.S. Small Business Administration website.

Beginning May 18, 2020, the City and County of Honolulu launched a COVID-19 reimbursement program for small businesses called the Small Business Relief and Recovery Fund. Please click on the link for more details.

Local applications for CARES funding can be found at the following:

We recommend that you discuss these programs with your financial and/or tax professional to determine which programs might be the best option for you and your business.

Additional Resources

What mental health resources are available if I or my employees experienced mental or emotional hardship during the pandemic?

The HDOH developed a new program, Kū Makani—The Hawai‘i Resiliency Project, offering dedicated crisis counseling to callers facing emotional fallout related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Kū Makani has an array of services to help residents experiencing anxiety, depression, panic or just feeling overwhelmed by the challenges of the pandemic.
  • This is a FREE service.
  • To reach a trained Kū Makani counselor, call the Hawai’I CARES
    • hotline: Oahu – (808) 832-3100
    • Neighbor Islands: Maui, Kauai, and Hawaii – 1 (800) 753-6879 Kū Makani crisis counseling hours:
      • 4:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. Monday-Friday
      • 9:00a.m. – 9:00 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
  • Visit the Kū Makani website and social media for detail about the program, services, upcoming events, and island-specific resources: kumakani.org
  • For non-pandemic counseling and services, including crisis support, mental health resources and substance use treatment services, you may always call the Hawai‘i CARES hotline 24/7 at 1 (800) 753- 6879 or text “ALOHA” to 741741.