Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

As our partner in caring for EmblemHealth members, it is vital for us to keep you updated on how we are simplifying access to care, so you may advise our members who look to you for guidance.

Important Notices 

Click here for a letter to all in-network providers. 

During the COVID-19 State of Emergency, EmblemHealth will follow CMS guidance and waive the requirement that Medicare Advantage members obtain a primary care physician referral to receive specialist services.


No Member Responsibility for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Costs

According to New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS) Insurance Circular Letter No. 14 (2020), participating providers may not charge EmblemHealth members in our Commercial plans for COVID-19-related provider expenses, including sanitizing exam rooms and using personal protective equipment (PPE) such as masks, gowns, and gloves. Any money collected from members for PPE must be returned to the member. DFS has asked insurers to report back on:

  • Member(s) impacted
  • Total refunded to member(s)
  • A description of how refunds will be provided

If you charged any EmblemHealth member(s) for PPE, please complete and return this form to us for all affected members no later than October 30, 2020. Note that this directive does not affect applicable member cost-sharing for the underlying visit or health care service. 

Additionally, the New York State Department of Health says, “the Medicaid program prohibits enrolled providers from billing recipients for charges for COVID-19 protective measures, including sanitizing exam rooms and using personal protective equipment, such as masks, gowns, and gloves (collectively, "PPE"). Cost sharing for Medicaid fee-for-service and managed care members is limited to applicable copays based on federal rules, including the New York's Medicaid State Plan and 1115 Medicaid Redesign Team Waiver. Billing Medicaid recipients for PPE is considered an ‘Unacceptable Practice’ under Medicaid rules, which may result in provider sanctions up to and including termination from the Medicaid program.”


UPDATE: No COVID-19 Member Cost-Sharing

At this time, EmblemHealth members across all product lines will have no cost-sharing (including copayments, coinsurance, or deductibles) for the diagnostic visit and related lab test for the coronavirus (COVID-19).

As state and federal guidelines evolve in response to the pandemic, EmblemHealth will continue to evaluate the latest guidance and make appropriate adjustments to our policies.  We will also continue to carefully monitor utilization in support of our members’ diagnostic needs, while upholding our commitment to detecting, correcting and preventing fraud, waste and abuse. This is essential to maintaining a health care system that is affordable for everyone.


Telehealth Services

(Update: September 9, 2020) The following telehealth rules have been updated to reflect new guidance from the New York State Department of Financial Services:

Our Temporary Telehealth Policy, with allowable procedure codes, and Frequently Asked Questions provides guidance on these services for our members. Telehealth services include visits by phone, virtual check-in, or virtual visit via Skype, FaceTime, or other video exchange.

  • EmblemHealth members in our commercial line of business will have no cost sharing (including copayments, coinsurance, or deductibles) for in-network telehealth visits conducted through Nov. 9. 
  • On Sept. 9, the telehealth waiver expired for our Medicare line of business. You may begin collecting member cost shares for dates of service beginning Sept. 10.
  • Members with a benefit plan that includes the Teladoc™ program will have no cost-sharing for Teladoc visits through December 31. 
  • The telehealth cost-sharing waiver may not apply to ASO plans.

Click here to learn how you can use Telehealth to close gaps in care and get the data needed for commercial, Medicaid, and Medicare Advantage health plan risk adjustment programs.


UM and Emergency Admission Notifications

Many facilities continued to coordinate care for their patients with our EmblemHealth team over the last three months. Thank you for your partnership and care for our members during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in New York State.

To align with New York State Department of Financial Services guidance, effective June 19, 2020, EmblemHealth will resume all standard utilization review and emergency admission notifications for inpatient hospital and emergency services rendered to members with the Essential Plan and individual, small, or large group health benefit plans.  This also includes restarting these services for our Medicare Advantage plans, which EmblemHealth had voluntarily suspended.

The affected services include:

  • Preauthorization
  • Concurrent Review is permitted as of June 19, 2020 for all non-emergent inpatient hospital claims.
  • Retrospective Reviews of all claims with dates of service on or before June 18, 2020, EXCEPT emergency department and inpatient hospital services for the treatment of COVID-19 that are not subject to retrospective review during the remainder of this state of emergency.
  • All previously initiated reviews of claims for services provided before March 20, 2020.
  • Utilization review of inpatient and outpatient services at in-network mental health and substance use disorder facilities, to the extent permissible by law.

Important note:  EmblemHealth will continue to follow guidance from the New York State Department of Health that suspends utilization management for Medicaid services through the end of the New York State of Emergency on September 7, 2020.

As always, if you have questions about this guidance or your continued interactions with EmblemHealth, please contact your relationship manager. Click here for information.

Lab Testing

To address the high demand for COVID-19 testing, EmblemHealth is providing additional lab options. Quest Diagnostics is EmblemHealth’s preferred, in-network lab.


Northwell Health Laboratories Use CPT code 87635 516-719-1100
LabCorp Use test code 139900
Use CPT code 87635
Bio-Reference Use CPT code 87635 833-684-0508


If you send a specimen to a lab other than Quest, or have any collection or billing questions, please contact them at phone number above. While some of these additional labs are normally out-of-network for EmblemHealth members, we know partnering with you and providing expanded access to testing is in everyone’s best interests.

EmblemHealth does not require preauthorization for COVID-19 testing.


Screening and Coding Guidance

  • Providers should make sure to follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines.
  • New York State issued a special update on the Department of Health website: Medicaid Coverage and Reimbursement Policy for Services Related to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID–19). The state’s public information page includes daily updates and additional guidance. Providers in other states should seek out guidance from their state departments of health.
  • The CDC published the ICD-10-CM Official Coding Guideline with links to official diagnosis coding guidance for health care encounters and deaths related to COVID-19.
  • Update (Aug. 21, 2020): The New York State Department of Health has issued coding guidance for Pharmacies engaged in COVID-19 testing Medicaid recipients, including our Medicaid and HARP members.
  • (Update: Sept. 29, 2020) In accordance with State and Federal regulations, EmblemHealth is waiving members’ cost-share for COVID-19 testing as well as the diagnostic visit associated with testing. Please click here for our policy.


Prescription Coverage

Members may also have questions about their prescription coverage and having enough maintenance medication on hand. This provider update includes information we emailed to our members on March 10.


Time-Saving Ideas

Use our secure provider portal or fax. See this link for more information.

  • Electronically submit claims for faster processing.
  • Sign in to your secure portal account and make sure we have the correct email for you and your practice. If you don’t have a portal account, here is a guide for setting up your account.


Other Resources

  • EmblemHealth is providing tips and updates to its members and the public. We are regularly updating this information and posting it here. The page includes accurate, fact-based information from our medical leadership as well as city, state, and federal authorities. Feel free to share this link with your patients.
  • Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services News Alert for March 26.
  • New York State has published COVID-19 Guidance for Medicaid Providers. The state has also published Special Editions of their Monthly Medicaid Updates; here are the March and April issues.
  • The New York City Department of Health hosted a webinar on how community health centers and independent practices can be authorized to enroll patients with COVID-19 in the COVID-19 Hotels Program sponsored by the City of New York. To view a recording of the 35-minute webinar, click here.