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COVID-19: The New Coronavirus

During these difficult times, while many things feel uncertain, we want to provide reassurance that Nippon Life Benefits continues to stand behind its members and partners by continuing to operate and provide access to important benefits and assistance in navigating the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nippon Life Benefits is well prepared for the challenges brought on by the pandemic. In an effort to protect our staff and best serve our customers, we have implemented processes and procedures that include remote work capabilities. These changes will ensure our clients and insureds continue to receive an uninterrupted and high level of service to which they are accustomed. Below you will find a link to a service letter from our CEO with information on steps Nippon Life Benefits is taking to be able assist during the pandemic, along with an Employer FAQ.

Service Letter

Employer FAQs

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Please continue to check this page frequently. We will keep you informed of additional steps we take to protect our customers and employees.

To view and download more information on the Coronavirus and how claims will be handled, choose one of the following language versions below:

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Updated April 7th, 2020

What is covered under my health plan?

Testing:

Nippon Life Benefits will waive in-network and out-of-network cost-sharing (including, but not limited to, co-pays, deductibles and co-insurance) for screening and testing for COVID-19. This waiver of cost-sharing also applies to in-network and out-of-network hospital, emergency department, urgent care and provider office visits where the purpose of the visit is to be screened and/or tested for COVID-19.

Treatment:

For covered persons who require a hospital stay related to COVID-19, Nippon Life Benefits will waive in-network cost sharing, through 5/31/2020. For the treatment of those insureds that may not need a hospital stay, we will also cover the treatment of COVID-19 in accordance with and governed by the insured person’s Nippon Life Benefit’s booklet-certificate and applicable law - notably, if we do not have a health care provider in an insured person’s network with the appropriate training and experience to meet the particular health care needs of the insured, an insured may visit an out-of-network provider at the in-network cost-sharing level, in accordance with the insured person’s booklet-certificate.

Medication Access through CVS Health

In an effort to ensure necessary medications are provided as needed, members can access short-term resources through CVS/Caremark.

As of March, 9th, 2020, all Nippon Life Benefits members will have access to a 90-day supply of maintenance medication prescriptions, and early refill limits will be waived on 30-day prescriptions at all in network pharmacies. In addition, CVS Pharmacies will waive charges for home delivery of prescription medications to help patients avoid visiting their local CVS Pharmacy. Members can contact CVS/Caremark for more information.

https://cvshealth.com/newsroom/press-releases/cvs-health-response-coronavirus-outbreak

Teladoc®

Given that COVID-19 is a communicable disease, in an effort to limit group interaction, we encourage the use of Teladoc® in place of in-person office visits when possible.

Teladoc® doctors can answer questions about the virus, evaluate your risk, and provide support by a phone or video call if you develop symptoms or have concerns. Doctors are available 24/7 by phone or video to support and advise you.

Nippon Life Benefits values member health above all. Therefore, effective March 1st, 2020 through May 31st, 2020, if a member has a plan that includes a fee for Teladoc®, Nippon Life Benefits will be waiving said associated fees regardless of diagnosis. If a charge has been paid, the member will be automatically reimbursed. No action is required from the member to receive the reimbursement.

Simplify Your Teladoc® Visit

Due to an increase in demand at both in-person health care sites and at Teladoc, members may experience higher-than-normal wait times. Teladoc has provided some tips to help you prepare and simplify your visit.

  • Start by visiting the Teladoc website for information and frequently asked questions at https://www.teladoc.com/
  • Download the Teladoc mobile app on the App Store or Google Play for the fastest service
  • Teladoc requires users to share medical history before the first virtual visit. Complete this step in advance and get access to care sooner
  • Utilize the Call-Back feature that enables you to hold your place in line and receive a call back from a representative to help register, request a visit, or get support
  • After a visit request is initiated, you are encouraged to be available and ready to promptly answer our callbacks, as requests will be considered cancelled after two unanswered callback attempts by a doctor. In unique circumstances where a doctor is unable to connect with you after at least one callback attempt during a 10-hour period, we will cancel the visit request and communicate that change to you by email.
  • On the web and app, users can visit the wait time estimator to determine an expected time for callback from a doctor

 

Telemedicine

Nippon Life Benefits encourages members to explore remote healthcare options, including Telemedicine visits in addition to our Teladoc® vendor supported benefits. In addition to covering COVID-19 testing related visits with no member cost share, beginning with services on 3/15/2020 we will also be covering all member’s in-network telemedicine visits with their providers that are unrelated to COVID-19 testing at the member’s normal plan benefits such as copay, deductible and coinsurance. For specific details regarding telemedicine and how it relates to your specific plan coverage, including out of network coverage, please see your booklet-certificate.

Members of New York, New Jersey or Illinois employers will have access to all in-network telemedicine visits with their providers at no cost share regardless of type of service or diagnosis. For members of NY, NJ or IL employers with HDHP plans who had telemedicine services between March 15th and March 26th not related to COVID-19, please contact the Customer Service number on your ID card for additional information.

Network Provider Considerations

We are working closely with all our provider network partners to monitor the impact to their participating providers that are rapidly adapting to emerging federal, state and local mandates. We fully expect that we will continue to see some provider offices closing temporarily or limiting office services or hours. Because of the continuous volume of changes, the Provider Locator tools of our provider network partners may not reflect the current status of each provider office. As a result, we strongly encourage you to contact the provider directly prior to any appointments to verify office hours and appointment status.

Vision Benefits through EyeMed®

Members with vision insurance through Nippon Life Benefits will still have access to those benefits during the COVID-19 pandemic. As some provider offices may be closed, it is recommended that members contact their local provider to ensure their hours haven’t changed. To reduce contact, we encourage members to utilize online benefits. Please note that online sites will require a valid prescription (within the last 24 months for eyewear and within the last 12 months for contact lenses). Online, in-network options include Glasses.com, ContactsDirect, Ray-Ban.com, LensCrafters.com, and TargetOptical.com

If a member has an eyewear emergency but is unable to visit a provider, they are encouraged to visit the EyeMed Customer Care Center to discuss benefit options. For customers who are unable to leave their home, are having difficulty locating an open provider, and do not have a valid prescription, they may be eligible to receive an emergency pair of replacement temporary emergency Adlens Adjustable Glasses at no cost (subject to availability). Likewise, if an emergency pair is needed, please visit the Customer Care Center on the member portal.

Short Term Disability Eligibility

COVID-19 related illnesses are handled the same as any other illness and will be considered according to the applicable plan provisions.

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) requires certain employers to provide employees with paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19. Nippon Life Benefits’ short term disability benefits will be coordinated accordingly, as long as the employee meets the disability requirements as designated by their plan coverage.

In order to prevent delays in claims processing, Nippon Life Benefits asks for a completed Disability Claim form which can be found at https://www.nipponlifebenefits.com/member-service/

Need someone to talk to about your stress or concerns regarding the COVID-19 pandemic?

An Employee Assistance Program* is available for all Nippon Life Benefits members at no charge. The service is designed to provide confidential and personalized assistance and aid in providing overall well-being for those facing stress and anxiety due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Help is readily available by calling the employee assistance number below:
1-833-327-2386
*Brought to our members through our partnership with Aetna Signature Administrators®, Resources For Living®.

Is there a treatment for the coronavirus?

To date, there is no vaccine and no specific antiviral medicine to prevent or treat COVID-19. However, those affected should receive care to relieve symptoms. People with serious illness should be hospitalized. Most patients recover thanks to supportive care.

In the event an immunization becomes available for COVID-19 and is recommended for children through the attainment of 19 years-of-age, we will cover the immunization at no cost-sharing for insured children through the attainment of 19 years-of-age. In the event an immunization is recommended for COVID-19 for adults who are 19 years-of-age and older, we will cover the immunization immediately for these insured persons at no cost-sharing.

What is COVID-19-The New Coronavirus?

COVID-19 is a virus that has been identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness originating in Wuhan, China1 with cases identified in Southeast Asia, Europe, Canada, Australia, and the United States.2

How does it spread?

  • Through the air by coughing or sneezing
  • Close personal contact with an infected individual3

 

Symptoms

Reported illnesses have ranged from people being mildly sick to people being severely ill and even death.
Symptoms can include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of Breath


Symptoms may appear in as few as 2 days or as long as 14 after exposure.4

This information is based on currently available data and that our understanding and approach may change as we learn more about the virus.

Reducing Your Risk

  • The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends avoiding travel to areas declared as high risk.
  • Practice social distancing by limiting non-necessary contact with others to minimize exposure. The federally recommended social distancing guidelines have been recommended through April 30, 2020. However, as these guidelines may vary by state and/or city, it is recommended to also refer to and comply with your state and local guidelines and directives.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid contact with others who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

 

CDC Recommended Strategies for Employers

Actively encourage sick employees to stay home:
  • Employees who have symptoms of acute respiratory illness are recommended to stay home and not come to work until they are free of fever (100.4° F [37.8° C] or greater using an oral thermometer), signs of a fever, and any other symptoms for at least 24 hours, without the use of fever-reducing or other symptom-altering medicines (e.g. cough suppressants). Employees should notify their supervisor and stay home if they are sick.
  • Ensure that your sick leave policies are flexible and consistent with public health guidance and that employees are aware of these policies.
  • Talk with companies that provide your business with contract or temporary employees about the importance of sick employees staying home and encourage them to develop non-punitive leave policies.
  • Do not require a healthcare provider’s note for employees who are sick with acute respiratory illness to validate their illness or to return to work, as healthcare provider offices and medical facilities may be extremely busy and not able to provide such documentation in a timely way.
  • Employers should maintain flexible policies that permit employees to stay home to care for a sick family member. Employers should be aware that more employees may need to stay at home to care for sick children or other sick family members than is usual.

 

Separate sick employees:
  • CDC recommends that employees who appear to have acute respiratory illness symptoms (i.e. cough, shortness of breath) upon arrival to work or become sick during the day should be separated from other employees and be sent home immediately. Sick employees should cover their noses and mouths with a tissue when coughing or sneezing (or an elbow or shoulder if no tissue is available).

 

Emphasize staying home when sick, respiratory etiquette and hand hygiene by all employees:
  • Place posters that encourage staying home when sick, cough and sneeze etiquette, and hand hygiene at the entrance to your workplace and in other workplace areas where they are likely to be seen.
  • Provide tissues and no-touch disposal receptacles for use by employees.
  • Instruct employees to clean their hands often with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60-95% alcohol, or wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Soap and water should be used preferentially if hands are visibly dirty.
  • Provide soap and water and alcohol-based hand rubs in the workplace. Ensure that adequate supplies are maintained. Place hand rubs in multiple locations or in conference rooms to encourage hand hygiene.
  • Visit the coughing and sneezing etiquette and clean hands webpage for more information.

 

Perform routine environmental cleaning:
  • Routinely clean all frequently touched surfaces in the workplace, such as workstations, countertops, and doorknobs. Use the cleaning agents that are usually used in these areas and follow the directions on the label.
  • No additional disinfection beyond routine cleaning is recommended at this time.
  • Provide disposable wipes so that commonly used surfaces (for example, doorknobs, keyboards, remote controls, desks) can be wiped down by employees before each use.

 

Advise employees before traveling to take certain steps:
  • Check the CDC’s Traveler’s Health Notices for the latest guidance and recommendations for each country to which you will travel. Specific travel information for travelers going to and returning from China, and information for aircrew, can be found at on the CDC website.
  • Advise employees to check themselves for symptoms of acute respiratory illness before starting travel and notify their supervisor and stay home if they are sick.
  • Ensure employees who become sick while traveling or on temporary assignment understand that they should notify their supervisor and should promptly call a healthcare provider for advice if needed.
  • If outside the United States, sick employees should follow your company’s policy for obtaining medical care or contact a healthcare provider or overseas medical assistance company to assist them with finding an appropriate healthcare provider in that country. A U.S. consular officer can help locate healthcare services. However, U.S. embassies, consulates, and military facilities do not have the legal authority, capability, and resources to evacuate or give medicines, vaccines, or medical care to private U.S. citizens overseas.

 

Additional Measures in Response to Currently Occurring Sporadic Importations of the COVID-19:
  • Employees who are well but who have a sick family member at home with COVID-19 should notify their supervisor and refer to CDC guidance for how to conduct a risk assessment of their potential exposure.
  • If an employee is confirmed to have COVID-19, employers should inform fellow employees of their possible exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace but maintain confidentiality as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Employees exposed to a co-worker with confirmed COVID-19 should refer to CDC guidance for how to conduct a risk assessment of their potential exposure.

 

Travel Restrictions

The CDC recommends avoiding all non-essential travel to the following countries:

  • China
  • Iran
  • South Korea
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Hong Kong

 

Treatment Information for Other Coronaviruses

There are no specific treatments for illnesses caused by human coronaviruses. Most people with common human coronavirus illness will recover on their own. However, you can do some things to relieve your symptoms:

  • Take pain and fever medications (Caution: do not give Aspirin to children)
  • Use a room humidifier or take a hot shower to help ease a sore throat and cough


If you are mildly sick, you should:

  • Drink plenty of liquids
  • Stay home and rest


If you are concerned about your symptoms, you should see your healthcare provider.


Please note that the information provided does not replace counsel from a physician. If you are experiencing symptoms, please see an in-network doctor. More information can be found at the links below:

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/about/index.html
https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019


1https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/index.html
2https://edition.cnn.com/asia/live-news/coronavirus-outbreak-01-30-20-intl-hnk/index.html
3https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/transmission.html
4https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/symptoms.html
5https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/prevention-treatment.html

Disclaimer

Nippon Life Insurance Company of America is continuously monitoring, and implementing policy and procedures to comply with, applicable federal and state law and directives related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This information is subject to change, at any time and without notice, by Nippon Life Insurance Company of America. Further, the policies and procedures summarized herein may vary based upon your policy situs state and/or state of residence. Please contact Customer Service for additional details.

This material and information is intended for informational purposes only – the material and information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal or medical advice.

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