Friday, May 1, 2009

New York, NAIC Offer Tips To Foil Swine Flu

Eric Dinallo, New York superintendent and the New York Insurance Department just released a notice to consumers and insurers on the H1N1 virus, also known as the swine flu. Consumers were told that they should know the answer to questions including:
--co-payments for H1N1 treatments such as Tamiflu and Relenza as well as coverage limitations such as the number of doses per prescription or per year;
--out-of-network co-payments if doctors in a network are overwhelmed with patients in a heavily affected area; and,
--whether there is a preauthorization requirement for hospital admission or other services, if needed.
For more information on New York health insurance, a consumer helpline is available at (800) 342-3736.

For insurers, the New York department’s notice recommends that companies keep their employees healthy by offering them educational tips such as washing hands more frequently and keep their companies in operation by reviewing pandemic flu plans as well as the ability to continue to pay claims in an efficient manner.

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners, Kansas City, Mo., also released consumer tips to help minimize H1N1. It recommends a checklist with items such as having a health insurance ID card handy and reviewing health insurance policy provisions.

Tips on travel insurance are “typically specific” according to the NAIC, and may not cover epidemic or pandemic situations. And, on business interruption insurance, the NAIC advises checking out triggers of coverage and notes that triggers generally do not result from epidemic or pandemic warnings or alerts from public officials. Business owners should rely on existing risk management and business continuity plans to mitigate losses, the NAIC notes.

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