UPMC Health Plan


Jeffrey Davis
UPMC Health Plan

UPMC Health Plan Creates Solutions to Meet the Needs of Medicare and Special Needs Populations Amid COVID-19 Response

Pittsburgh (April 27, 2020) – UPMC Health Plan is providing essential solutions to help UPMC for Life Medicare and Special Needs plan members understand their benefits, as well as the resources they have to help cope with the stress and anxiety caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

“Many of our members are suffering immensely from loneliness and a sense of being disconnected from friends, family, and care providers,” said April Golenor, Chief Medicare Officer for UPMC Health Plan. “Understandably, stress and isolation are high in response to our widespread social disruption as well as the uncertainty and unpredictability of these times. This has real mental and physical health impacts.”

To address both the mental and physical health challenges that can result from social distancing and staying at home, UPMC Health Plan is offering UPMC for Life members a series of phone and online events titled Staying in Touch. These events are hosted by experts on preventive medicine, mental health, and other specialties. They are designed to help participants learn how to stay healthy, manage stress, be active, and connect with their community—all from the comfort of their home. The next two events in the series are:

How to cope with depression
Tuesday, April 28 at noon
Dr. Lyndra Bills and Dr. Richard Silbert, Senior Medical Directors for Community Care Behavioral Health, will talk about how protecting your mental health enhances your physical health and immunity. They will discuss factors that raise your risk for depression, important warning signs for when you need help, and how to stay positive.
Staying connected from home
Thursday, April 30 at noon
Now more than ever, it’s important to find ways to stay connected to your family, friends, and health care providers. Ellen Beckjord, Associate Vice President of Population Health and Clinical Transformation at UPMC Health Plan, will walk through ways you can connect and engage with your family and friends using your smartphone. Michelle Palmieri, Senior Manager for Telehealth Operations/Implementation at UPMC Health Plan, will give an overview of how you can get the health care you need without leaving home. She will discuss the telehealth platforms available to you and provide instructions for how to visit remotely with your doctor or other health care providers.

Members can participate by telephone by calling 1-855-962-1209, or online by visiting www.upmchealthplan.com/covid-19/web-events. All events in the series are available online for members unable to participate in the live events.

“We know that it is critical to stay connected with our members to provide support, information and caring,” said April Golenor, Chief Medicare Officer for UPMC Health Plan. “Staying in Touch gives useful tools and advice to help people cope with these challenges and stay healthy and connected.”

UPMC Health Plan is staying in touch with UPMC for Life members in other ways as well. Clinical professionals at UPMC Health Plan are making telephone calls directly to our members who would be at high risk for COVID-19 complications should they contract this illness. Through these check-ins, UPMC Health Plan makes sure that each member at increased risk is able to speak with a clinical professional who can answer questions they have, provide education on COVID-19 symptoms and prevention, and make the member aware of the many support resources available. For other members, non-clinical UPMC Health Plan professionals are conducting similar check-ins and explaining available benefits and resources.

During these telephonic check-ins with UPMC for Life Medicare and Special Needs plan members, our staff explain the following enhanced benefits:
Telehealth Visits with $0 Cost-Sharing—
UPMC Health Plan removed deductibles, copayments, and cost-sharing for all in-network virtual visits with a health care provider, including telehealth services through UPMC AnywhereCare, until June 15. UPMC AnywhereCare provides a virtual visit with a doctor straight from a computer or smartphone, anytime, day or night. After the visit, the health care professional is able to provide a summary treatment plan, which may include a prescription.
Resources for Life Counseling Sessions—
UPMC Health Plan’s licensed, master's-level trained clinicians can provide UPMC for Life members with up to six over-the-phone counseling sessions per year. These services are provided through Resources for Life and can help with solutions to life’s problems, big or small, including caregiving support, family and relationship concerns, stress, and grief.
Health Coaching—
A UPMC Health Plan health coach can help members develop a personalized health and wellness plan to help them overcome challenges, manage stress, and stay on track toward being at their best health. Health coaches work together with individual members to set health goals, track progress, and learn new skills.
SilverSneakers® OnDemand—
UPMC for Life members have access to a library of workout videos from the comfort of their own homes. Members simply log in to silversneakers.com (or create an account) to view OnDemand workouts like SilverSneakers Classic, Yoga, etc. Members can also choose two at-home fitness kits from a variety of options that SilverSneakers will send by mail.
Personal Care Managers—
UPMC Health Plan offers UPMC for Life members access to personal care managers. A personal care manager is a registered nurse or social worker who understands health care and can work with members, their providers, and their insurance to coordinate the care they need.
MyHealth 24/7 Nurse Line—
UPMC Health Plan offers members the MyHealth 24/7 Nurse Line. This resource allows UPMC Health Plan members to speak directly with a UPMC nurse, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, when non-emergency care is needed. Our nurses can offer immediate support and advice regarding specific services members may need to assist with their care needs. UPMC Health Plan members can access the MyHealth 24/7 Nurse Line by calling 1-866-918-1591.
Reliable Education—
UPMC Health Plan updates its website with timely, trustworthy information on COVID-19, including useful resources and articles from UPMC doctors and links to other trusted sources, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

UPMC Health Plan also provides additional plan benefits to UPMC for Life membersthrough June 15 to alleviate many of the financial stresses they may feel related to COVID-19. We are waiving deductibles, copayments, and other cost-sharing for coronavirus diagnostic testing when ordered by a member’s medical provider. In addition, we are waiving cost-sharing for in-network, in patient coronavirus treatment. Finally, we are increasing member access to medications by waiving early refill limits on prescriptions filled at retail, mail and specialty pharmacies (some restrictions may apply).

UPMC for Life was recently named the best Medicare Advantage plan in Pennsylvania by U.S. News & World Report and earned a 4.5 Overall Star Rating by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) for our HMO and PPO plans for 2020. Every year, Medicare evaluates plans based on a 5-star rating system. For more information about the services UPMC Health Plan provides, you may go to www.upmchealthplan.com. For additional information on the coronavirus, you may go to www.upmc.com.


About UPMC Insurance Services

UPMC Insurance Services is owned and operated by UPMC, a world-renowned health care provider and insurer based in Pittsburgh, Pa. UPMC Insurance Services—which includes UPMC Health Plan, Workpartners, UPMC for Life, UPMC for You, UPMC for Kids, and Community Care Behavioral Health—offers a full range of health insurance and benefit management services including Medicare, Special Needs, Children's Health Insurance, Medical Assistance, Behavioral Health, Employee Assistance, and Workers' Compensation products and services to over 3.7 million members. For more information, visit www.upmchealthplan.com.