Stay-at-home orders and social isolation guidelines have been a crucial part of the public health strategy to combat COVID-19, but those strategies also led medical practices to cancel or postpone some non-emergency care in recent months.
That left some practices struggling financially as their expected patient caseloads were scaled back. Health insurers, who are a vital partner in patient care, are stepping up to help.
Capital BlueCross, a leading insurer in Central Pennsylvania and the Lehigh Valley, is offering advance payments to independent, in-network healthcare providers in an effort to address the financial strain some providers face. The program could help up to 250 healthcare practices, representing about 2,000 individual medical providers, bridge the financial gap as they gradually resume in-office visits and procedures.
Capital BlueCross President and CEO Todd A. Shamash said the advance payment program reflects the insurer’s role as a partner in improving the health and well-being of members and ensuring access to care.
“We know some practices are struggling due to the pandemic, and we want to show those providers—and the patients they serve—that we are here to help,” Shamash said. “We saw a need and we took action to address it as part of our role as a community partner in health.”
Under Capital BlueCross’ program, advance payments are available to eligible healthcare providers who had at least a 40% decrease in average payments for services provided to Capital BlueCross members during March and April, 2020. These providers can receive funding advances based on their average monthly payments from 2019.
Capital BlueCross is making advance payments available through July 15. It’s the latest in a series of provider-focused forms of assistance the insurer has rolled out during the pandemic.
Earlier this year, the insurer gave professional providers and some non-hospital medical facilities additional time to submit claims and adjustments. Also to support providers, Capital BlueCross is temporarily reimbursing providers for telehealth services at the same rate those providers would have been paid for in-person visits.