Waterbury Health joins the trend

Waterbury HEALTH in Connecticut recently became part of an integrated delivery network set up by Brighton Health Plan Solutions, a New York-based company that brokers health care services between providers and employers.

In an integrated delivery network, or IDN, employees can receive their medical care exclusively from one health system. “IDNs have been around for some time,” said Robin Brand, senior director of research for The Advisory Board, a best practices research firm for the health care industry. “There’s been more interest in them in the past couple of years.”

One key feature of an IDN is that a patient’s care is better coordinated between providers that belong to the same network. From the patient’s perspective, it feels like a very different experience and the care is more integrated. And “if you have better coordination, you’re going to have fewer repeat tests or a lack of follow-up that could end up in higher costs down the line,” Brand said.

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Antibody Testing Options

Antibody testing is a way to find out if you had COVID-19 and recovered. (Learn more about antibody testing.) If you’re interested in getting tested for COVID-19 antibodies, here are your best options:

Primary Care Doctor

Your doctor may offer to do the blood draw in the office. Please be sure to request that the sample be sent to a free-standing lab participating in your health plan, not to a hospital lab. There is no member cost share for the blood test or the accompanying provider visit.

Free-Standing Labs

You can visit an in-network, free-standing lab (such as a BioReference Laboratories, Labcorp, or a Quest Diagnostics patient service center) for the blood draw. A prescription is required. To obtain a prescription, contact your primary care doctor. If you do not have a primary care doctor, you can contact any primary care doctor in the MagnaCare or Create network (depending on your plan). There is no member cost share for the blood test or the accompanying provider visit.

Self-Pay Testing

Otherwise, you can choose to self-pay and schedule an antibody test directly through LabCorp or Quest Diagnostics or other self-pay providers. You are responsible for the full cost at the time of the test if you choose this option. These direct-to-consumer options are NOT covered under health plans, including the MagnaCare or Create health plans, and cost significantly more than the insurance rates. There are no FDA-authorized antibody home testing kits at the moment.

While urgent care centers and hospitals do also offer antibody testing, keep in mind that these providers cost the plan significantly more to cover. You may also have more exposure to people sick with COVID-19 at urgent care centers or hospitals. For these reasons, we encourage you to instead call a primary care doctor for the prescription and visit a free-standing lab to safely get tested for COVID-19 antibodies.

Why more companies are switching to self-funded health plans

As health care costs continue to spiral out of control, employers are increasingly looking to self-fund their employee health care benefits.

With fully insured health plans, you pay a monthly premium to a health insurance company. Once the insurance company wins your business, it’s not unusual to be hit with a double-digit premium rate increase the following year. That explains why employers shop around for a new health insurer every three years, on average.

Self-funded health plans are not health insurance. You don’t pay premiums to an insurance company, and you don’t submit your claims to them. Rather, you set aside a certain amount for funding your employees’ health care claims. And you purchase stop-loss insurance to cover unanticipated high claims costs. Typically you would use a third party administrator (TPA) to manage your claims and advise you on your health plan.

5 advantages of self-funding over fully insured health plans:

1. Full transparency

Self-funded groups can access IT tools and services that makes it easy to analyze claims data. Having a direct window into the claims you are funding guides you to timely and targeted decisions that can improve your members’ health and well-being and control costs.

2. Cost savings

Self-funded benefit plans reduce your premium tax, immediately saving you 2-3% on the cost of the plan. Self-funded plans are subject only to the federal Employee Retirement and Income Security Act (ERISA) so there are no state mandate costs. Your TPA will negotiate fees with providers, and will arrive at reasonable reimbursements for services that offer significant savings over an employer’s typical fully insured plan. TPAs will also audit bills and implement other cost-saving programs. For example, MagnaCare’s innovative Redirection of Care programs find more convenient, lower cost, high-quality sites of service for your health plan member to receive the care they need.

3. Flexibility over covered services

Fully insured groups are subject to the insurer’s discretion and their specific population’s needs may not be met. In contrast, self-insured employers have the authority at any time to make informed changes to their covered services to ensure their population receives the care they need. This capability has proved especially helpful in times of change or economic downturn.

4. Better control over finances

With a fully insured plan, you pay the full premium regardless of actual claims. If claims don’t materialize, you don’t receive a refund. But with self-funded plans, you pay only for services received by your employees. And when eligible medical claims for a plan year do not exceed a predetermined limit, the plan keeps those dollars and they can be used to offset the following year’s expenses or reduce contribution levels.

5. Easier administration and lower operational costs

Your TPA approves or renegotiates claims, decides appeals, and handles other time-consuming administrative tasks. Overall administrative costs for a self-funded program handled by a professional TPA such as MagnaCare are usually lower than costs charged by the insurance carrier.

Contact us to see how much your company can save by self-funding your health care benefits. We’ll design a plan tailored to your employees’ needs. Our team of health care actuaries will work with you to help you determine the level of coverage you require, based on your historical claims data.

A Path to a Return to Normal

As we continue to adjust to the COVID-19 pandemic, I am regularly impressed by displays of our clients’ dedication to their members’ health and safety. Return-to-work, or continue-to-work, can pose challenges. But with the right precautions in place, organizations can build their path to normal.

The CDC offers a number of recommendations for workplaces to prevent and reduce transmission among workers, including:

  • Educate employees about how to protect themselves at home, at work, and when commuting
    to work, and inform them of any new workplace policies or procedures.
  • Actively encourage sick employees to stay home and notify their supervisor if sick or have been
    exposed to someone who is sick.
  • Consider conducting private, daily, in-person or virtual health checks for symptoms or a
    temperature screening before employees enter a facility. Conduct them safely, respectfully,
    and in accordance with social distance guidelines, local and State public health guidelines, and
    guidance from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
  • Identify where and how workers might be exposed to COVID-19 at work and limit the spread
    of the virus by looking at an appropriate combination of engineering controls, regular cleaning
    and disinfection, workplace administrative policies, face coverings, and personal protective equipment.
  • Separate sick employees who appear to have symptoms when they arrive to work or become sick during the day from others and send them home or to a healthcare provider safely.
  • Take action to disinfect and close of any areas used by an employee suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19 and inform impacted employees about their possible exposure, but maintain employee confidentiality.

Check the CDC for more information on their recommendations. You can also refer to OSHA which has prepared detailed guidance for employers with steps to take according to the exposure risk.

As another sign of the region reopening, we are now seeing hospital claim volume picking back up as hospitals resume normal operations and reinstate elective surgeries in regions cleared to do so by the Department of Health. In the New York metro area, Westchester, Rockland, Suffolk, and Nassau County hospitals, in addition to many counties in upstate New York, have restarted elective procedures and ambulatory care this month, after these counties met the State’s criteria. New Jersey hospitals will be allowed to resume elective surgeries and invasive procedures on May 26. In all cases, procedures will resume according to policies issued by each individual State.

MagnaCare and BioReference Laboratories Bring COVID-19 Antibody Testing to New York Labor Groups

Collaboration supports return-to-work planning for key workforce groups

NEW YORK, May 18, 2020 – MagnaCare, today announced a collaboration with BioReference Laboratories, Inc., an OPKO Health company (NASDAQ: OPK), to bring COVID-19 antibody testing to their Labor clients in the New York metropolitan area. Through this collaboration with BioReference Laboratories, MagnaCare will offer on-site antibody blood testing to Labor members, delivering valuable information as the city, employers and individuals plan return-to-work strategies.

“As New York’s coronavirus outbreak has continued to unfold, our Labor partners have been eager for information and guidance on COVID-19 antibody testing — particularly since skilled trade groups will be among the first to return-to-work and begin re-energizing the local economy,” said MagnaCare President Michelle Zettergren. “Antibody testing can support decision-making about back-to-work procedures and safety measures for protecting workers and the public. We’re proud to bring this service to our clients so they have more knowledge, and hopefully some peace of mind, in this challenging environment.”

BioReference Laboratories, which recently worked with New York State and New York City to provide COVID-19 antibody testing, offers a blood test that measures SARS-CoV-2 specific antibody levels to help determine an individual’s immune response after COVID-19 infection. Although the presence of antibodies are typically associated with immunity, the scientific community is still working to understand what level of antibodies might be needed for protection from reinfection with COVID-19, and how long that protection might last.

The collaboration will begin with on-site testing for the District Council 9 of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT) on May 18-20. The on-site testing is available to DC 9 members, who must go online to pre-register and schedule their test. The cost will be fully covered by the union, and results will be emailed directly to members within 72 hours.

“Our goal is to get our members back to work with comfort and confidence,” said Joseph Azzopardi, Business Manager and Secretary Treasurer of DC 9. “We’re grateful to MagnaCare for providing a convenient testing option so we can all decide how best to move forward in the days and weeks ahead.”

MagnaCare is also working with some of its other New York-based Labor partners to establish additional on-site testing locations this month.

About MagnaCare
For 30 years, MagnaCare has been building healthy communities together with Taft-Hartley Funds, TPAs, carriers, and workers’ compensation and no-fault payors in the New YorkNew Jersey, and Connecticut tri-state area. Its broad and wholly owned network, full health plan management services, comprehensive in-house medical management, and leading outcomes-based casualty solutions offer the ultimate flexibility and customization that help customers control health care costs, improve health, and achieve exceptional value. MagnaCare is a division of Brighton Health Plan Solutions, LLC.

About BioReference Laboratories, Inc.
BioReference provides comprehensive testing to physicians, clinics, hospitals, employers, government units, correctional institutions and medical groups.  The company is in network with the five largest health plans in the United States, operates a network of 10 laboratory locations, and is backed by a medical staff of more than 160 MD, PhD and other professional level clinicians and scientists.  With a leading position in the areas of genetics, women’s health, maternal fetal medicine, oncology and urology, BioReference and its specialty laboratories, GenPath and GeneDx, are advancing the course of modern medicine.  For more information, visit www.bioreference.com.

Media Contact for MagnaCare:
Erin George
[email protected] 

Media Contact for BioReference Laboratories:
Hillary Titus
[email protected]

Staying Safe as the Region Reopens

As governments begin to lift stay-at-home orders and reopen sectors of the economy, you may be wondering how you can continue to stay safe. Practicing recommended CDC guidelines will be key to protecting your health. Please note, the information below does not substitute for medical advice.

The health care community’s understanding of the symptoms of COVID-19 has developed over the course of the pandemic. The CDC now advises people to look for the loss of taste or smell, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fever, chills, muscle pain, and/or sore throat. Some people with COVID-19 have also reported nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. These symptoms can appear as mild or severe 2–14 days after exposure to the virus. If sick, call ahead to a health care provider to review your symptoms and seek care early if you are immunocompromised, older, or have underlying medical conditions. Seek care immediately if the symptoms are severe.

The virus is spread mainly from person to person. Maintaining a safe social distance from others and wearing a cloth face covering over the nose and mouth remain important safety precautions as states reopen. Washing hands frequently with soap and water and avoiding touching the face are also essential for reducing your risk of illness.

In addition, the CDC strongly recommends routinely cleaning and disinfecting surfaces that are touched often, such as tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, phones, desks, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks. It’s important that you understand how to safely use disinfectant products, which can cause severe harm if used improperly.

Disinfectants do not work instantly and most products will recommend pre-cleaning surfaces with soap and water to improve the disinfectant’s effectiveness. The product will typically list how many minutes it must sit on a surface before you wipe it clean and which surfaces it can be applied to; bleach disinfectants are not safe on fabrics. When using bleach-based products, take safety precautions like wearing gloves and ventilating the room. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) lists on its website the products that meet its criteria for disinfecting SARS-Cov-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. The EPA also issued a memo reminding the public to never apply disinfectants to yourself or others or on food, never ingest disinfectant products, and never mix products. Read the warning label carefully and follow instructions on the EPA registered disinfectant products.

The high demand for disinfectant products has made it difficult for many people to find these products on shelves or online. If necessary, check the CDC for its instructions on how to safely make disinfectant from diluted, unexpired household bleach for use on hard surfaces. Follow instructions very carefully. The CDC, however, discourages the use of homemade hand sanitizers, which can be ineffective and cause skin burns if made incorrectly. Hand-washing is best, and if you are unable to wash, then use an FDA approved alcohol-based hand sanitizer which lists 60% alcohol on its label.

Some of you may have questions about how to safely handle packages and shopping for essentials like groceries. Packaging is not thought to be the main way that COVID-19 transmits because the coronavirus survives poorly on packaging. But if you wish, according to the FDA, wipe down packaging and the surfaces it touched and allow them to air dry. And the CDC recommends washing hands or using hand sanitizer after accepting deliveries or mail.

Avoid shopping when you are sick. When you do go shopping, prepare a list in advance and wear a cloth mask (some stores may require it). If using reusable bags, clean and wash before every use. Keep at least 6 feet between you and others and wipe down the handles of the shopping cart; avoid touching your face and use touchless payment if possible. If you must touch any uncleaned surface directly, use hand sanitizer afterward. At home, wash your hands before and after handling your purchases. For groceries, follow general food safety practices as usual, such as rinsing fruits and vegetables, immediately refrigerating or freezing perishables, and cleaning kitchen counters regularly. For more information on shopping for food, check the FDA website, and for advice on running other essential errands like getting gas and deliveries, visit the CDC.

How You Can Access COVID-19 IgG Antibody Testing

Earlier this week we shared with you some background on blood tests to detect COVID-19 antibodies. Here is some additional information about antibody testing. As always, the following does not substitute for medical advice and is for informational purposes only.

COVID-19 IgG Antibody Testing Differs From COVID-19 Diagnostic Testing In Several Important Ways

Both diagnostic and IgG antibody tests require a physician order when performed through a lab, and cost-sharing for both is waived by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. Here’s where the two tests differ:

COVID-19 Diagnostic Testing COVID-19 IgG Antibody Testing
Purpose of Test




To confirm a current, active infection



To identify those who had COVID-19 in the past. Many people have mild or no symptoms, and may not have been diagnosed.


Sample collected



Respiratory secretions from the back of the nasal cavity


Blood sample


How the sample is collected


Nasopharyngeal swab


Blood draw


Type of test






Molecular test: looks for COVID-19’s viral genetic material





Serological test: examines the blood serum for IgG antibody proteins which develop in the body a few weeks after an infection starts. IgG antibodies help fight off an infection and stay in the body for a long time after recovery.


Who the test is intended for




You believe you have COVID-19 currently or have been exposed to it recently



You are unsure if you had COVID-19 in the past



Who should not be tested







You should review your COVID-19 symptoms and exposure with a doctor to see if testing is recommended





Don’t take this test if you want to diagnose COVID-19, or you currently have symptoms of COVID-19, or you think your COVID-19 infection or exposure started within the past two weeks (the IgG antibodies take time to appear so they may not show up on the test if done too soon)


When to take the test




You are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or your doctor or a health official recommends it based on your exposure to COVID-19


Wait at least two weeks since you were last infected or exposed to COVID-19 to take the test. Required wait period may vary by lab.


What the results mean






A positive diagnostic test result indicates you have a current COVID-19 infection





A positive IgG antibody test result means you have antibodies that likely resulted from COVID-19. An antibody test given too early could come back negative even if you had the virus because of the time it takes for the IgG antibodies to appear.



The antibody test does not tell you if you have an active infection. So, regardless of the result, you will still need a diagnostic test to confirm an active infection. Please note, the testing labs may have different testing requirements than those listed above.

Ways Members Can Access Antibody Testing

There are several antibody testing options currently available. A prescription is necessary for the test so if you want to get tested for antibodies you should contact your doctor for a test script.

The most cost-effective locations for testing will be through free-standing labs rather than through hospital labs. A primary care physician (PCP) can write a prescription for you to visit a lab’s patient service center (such as a BioReference Laboratories, Labcorp, and Quest Diagnostics patient service center) for the blood draw. Some PCPs may do the blood draw at their office and send the sample to a lab for analysis; you should request that it be sent to a free-standing, MagnaCare-participating lab rather than a hospital lab which will be much higher in cost.

If you do not have a PCP, you can contact a PCP in the MagnaCare network, a telemedicine vendor you have in your plan, or a self-pay telemedicine vendor like those listed here.  Keep in mind that antibody tests ordered or drawn at urgent care centers, hospital-affiliated providers or hospital-affiliated labs will cost the plan more than those ordered by a PCP and sent to a free-standing participating lab.

Otherwise, you can choose to self-pay and schedule an antibody test directly through LabCorp or Quest Diagnostics. You would be responsible for the full cost. These direct-to-consumer options are NOT covered under insurance and cost significantly more than the insurance rates. There are no FDA-authorized antibody home testing kits at the moment.

Reliability of Antibody Testing

According to the CDC, it’s unclear right now if the COVID-19 antibodies provide protection (immunity) against reinfection. Research is underway to confirm if COVID-19 antibodies offer some level of protection as expected.

Many antibody tests are appearing on the market, but they vary in their accuracy. Antibody tests available through BioReference Laboratories, Labcorp and Quest Diagnostics (MagnaCare-participating labs) are said by the labs to meet their standards for specificity and sensitivity. As with any tests, false positives and false negatives are possible.

We hope you find this information helpful as we approach the next phases of our country’s coronavirus response.

COVID-19 Antibody Testing: What You Should Know

COVID-19 diagnostic testing has now been available for several weeks to test for active COVID-19 infections. You might now be hearing about COVID antibody tests, also called serology tests. Results from this blood test might help indicate who has, and how many people have had COVID-19 in the past.

What are antibodies?

In response to an infection, your immune system creates two special proteins called IgM and IgG antibodies. IgM appears first, and then IgG. Usually, the IgG antibodies can still be found in the blood and other tissues for a long time after the infection. The next time the body is exposed to that same infection, the IgG antibodies will try to fight off that infection but there are minimum antibody levels typically needed for true immunity.

The COVID-19 IgG antibodies usually develop 1-3 weeks after infection (the timeline seems to vary depending on whether the person showed symptoms of COVID-19 or not). The COVID-19 antibody test takes a sample of your blood and looks for IgG antibodies specific to COVID-19. The blood test will identify if you have IgG antibodies and should also measure the amount of antibodies. Results are usually available within 72 hours.

What do the testing results mean?

At the moment, antibody blood testing alone should not be used to confirm an active, positive COVID-19 infection; for that you will still need a COVID-19 diagnostic swab test. According to the CDC, a positive antibody blood test result shows you have antibodies that likely resulted from COVID-19. If you have a negative antibody blood test result, it could mean a number of things: you did not have a previous COVID-19 infection, or you have a current infection and the IgG antibodies have not appeared yet in your blood (which is why the NYS DOH recommends waiting at least 21 days before testing for antibodies if you were previously diagnosed with COVID-19 from the nasopharyngeal swab test).

It’s not yet clear how much immunity from reinfection the COVID-19 antibodies provide and for how long, but the COVID-19 antibodies are expected to generally behave the same way antibodies have acted with other types of coronaviruses and offer some level of protection. Over the upcoming weeks, we expect to hear more complete information about antibody effectiveness from emerging studies on COVID-19 immunity. Check with the CDC or local Departments of Health for the latest on immunity research and current recommendations around antibody testing.

How can you get antibody testing?

Just as with COVID-19 diagnostic testing, antibody testing is covered by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act and there is no cost-sharing for the provider visit or the test.

Many commercial antibody tests are appearing on the market, but they could vary in their accuracy. The information on testing is still developing. We’ll continue to share more insights as we learn more.

Innovative Approaches to Lowering Group Health Care Costs

With the ongoing economic and business impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, many Labor Funds and employers are facing unprecedented challenges regarding their members’ health care coverage. Below are some strategies self-funded group plans can consider to continue to offer robust health care benefits:

Benefit Changes – Changes in plan design, such as including care redirection, can help lower costs.

Tiered Benefits – Tiered benefit design can also reduce your health care costs by directing members to preferred high-quality, low cost providers. With this plan design approach with MagnaCare, members still have access to all of the providers in our full 220,000+ PPO network, but they will pay lower copays and cost shares if they choose the preferred providers. Savings for organizations can be anywhere from 5-20% depending on geography, utilization, and plan design.

Low Cost Limited Benefit Plans – Minimum Essential Coverage (MEC) are low-cost plans that give organizations an affordable path to providing health care coverage. MagnaCare MEC comes in three customizable varieties:

  • Basic MEC offers preventive coverage, such as well visits and screenings.
  • MagnaCare Enhanced MEC also covers preventive care, as well as urgent care visits, x-rays and labs.
  • MagnaCare Mini-Med plans include all the benefits of Enhanced MEC, plus ER, outpatient, and inpatient benefits.

Enhanced MEC and Mini-Med also give the option to add telemedicine, dental, and vision benefits. These limited-benefit, lower cost, alternative coverage plans can be offered to the members you choose, in conjunction with current plan options, or they can replace current benefits.

Contact us about these and other cost-saving approaches to your group health plan.


Creative Ways to De-stress and Stay Occupied during COVID-19

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread, it has completely transformed our normal routines. Though we’re mostly confined to our homes, there are still ways to stay active and maintain social connections throughout the upcoming weeks. We have compiled a few ideas for activities and ways to stay connected with people to help you take care of your health and well-being during these trying times.

The following list is not exhaustive, but we hope it fuels your imagination. Please note, MagnaCare has no affiliation with, nor implies endorsement of, the organizations and resources listed below. The resources below do not substitute for medical advice. It’s important to consult with a health care provider if you are concerned about your physical and/or mental health and well-being.

Ideas and activities to try:

  • De-stress and practice mindfulness. The anxiety caused by the uncertainty of this pandemic is understandable. Take breaks from news on COVID-19 and exercise your mind by starting or finishing the craft project you’d set aside, cooking something new or special, reading those books you’ve been meaning to get to, tackling that 1000 piece puzzle you bought a year ago, tending to an indoor garden, or trying any other pursuit that you enjoy. Meditation and mindfulness practices are another way to practice self-care, by encouraging you to become more aware of your thoughts, emotions, and breathing. Here are just a few of the free tools available to you now, to help you stay calm and resilient during this crisis:
    • Deepak Chopra and Oprah are currently offering 21 free days of meditation.
    • The Mindful Movement channel on You Tube offers free meditations, yoga classes, and Pilates classes.
  • Stay physically active. Physical exercise can not only help you stay fit, but it can also help you cope with stress. Ask your gym or studio if it is offering live video streaming options. Check out fitness companies and apps that you’ve always wanted to try and see if they are offering a free trial or extending their typical free trial period for online classes. A couple of the companies offering on-demand or live streaming classes today:
    • Orange Theory – Daily 30 minute workouts using household objects.
    • Barry’s Bootcamp – Tune into Barrys Instagram for twice-daily 20 minute at-home workouts on Instagram Live.
    • Nike Training Club – Nike has made all of its Training Club premium home workouts free until further notice.
  • Connect with friends and family. Social distancing doesn’t mean you can’t gather with friends and family for birthdays, coffee, or game night. In fact, staying connected, even if it’s through virtual interactions, is more important than ever to minimize the emotional strain of isolation. There’s no lack of apps and services that allow you to meet up in groups, each of which offers unique capabilities and limitations. Here are just a few:
    • Add up to 32 callers using Group Facetime on Apple devices.
    • Whatsapp video group chats can be made over Wi-Fi with up to four callers.
    • Go face-to-face with Facebook Messenger with up to six callers on video chat.
    • Chat on video with up to 50 people on Skype.
    • Google Duo supports up to eight person group video calls.
    • Leave video messages and revisit conversations on Marco Polo.
    • The Houseparty app allows you to put together a virtual party with up eight guests with whom you can chat and play games and quizzes.
    • If you’re missing your movie nights with friends, host a watch party, and try the Chrome plugin Netflix Party which lets you group chat while watching a show together.
  • Learn a new language. Picking up a new skill can help your pass the time and keep you mentally active.
    • Duolingo: A language learning app that’s free to use with upgrades at a cost.
    • Babbel: K-12 and college students can use the learning app for free for three months.
  • Fill your craving for culture. Visit your favorite museum’s website to see what they are offering to the public during this crisis. Several museums and galleries are showcasing their collections online, such as those listed below.
  • Travel around the world without stepping outside.
    • Take virtual tours of iconic sites and landmarks around the world.
  • Couch surf the outdoors.
  • Peek into zoos and aquariums. See what your favorite animals are up to behind closed doors.
    • Live webcam focused on the Georgia Aquarium’s habitats for underwater animals such as beluga whales and sea lions.
    • Live videos of some of the San Diego Zoo’s favorite animals, including elephants, tigers, and more.
  • Take an online course. Online learning is a productive way for you to pass the time, learn something new, or accelerate your career. Access free and paid courses from top universities across the country through online learning platforms like Coursera or Edx. Several of their courses allow you to audit (follow along for free). If you’d like a verified course certificate and/or want to participate in assignments and receive a grade, fees may apply.
  • Distance learning for your kids. With schools closed for weeks or months, you may be finding yourself in the difficult position of working, parenting, and teaching all in the same space. Here are some resources to keep your children entertained and learning something new:
    • Check with your local library to see if it is one of the many that are streaming virtual story hours.
    • Scholastic’s Learn at Home websiteoffers up 20 days of articles, stories, videos, and learning challenges that can be completed anytime, in any order.
    • PBS KIDSand PBS LearningMedia are offering tools to help support learning at home, including educational videos and games, and skill-building offline activities.
    • The Ranger Rick children’s magazine of the National Wildlife Federation is making its website free to all visitors through the end of June.
    • Audible, the audiobook service from Amazon, is currently offering a collection of its stories for free to stream for all ages, including children’s titles and adult literary classics.
  • Free meals for those in need. For Long Island and New Jersey families and healthcare workers in need, check out this list of restaurants stepping up to support their communities during the pandemic.
  • Access counseling and emotional support. This is unquestionably a difficult and unpredictable time for you and your loved ones. If you need help or know some who does, contact health care professionals in your provider network, or check out the CDC’s website, which lists tips as well as national helplines. Both the NY and NJ Department of Health offer counseling and support services to help its residents cope with the strain of COVID-19.
    • New Yorkers can call the COVID-19 Emotional Support Hotline at 1.844.863.9314 for mental health counseling.
    • The New Jersey Mental Health Cares Helpline offers telephone counseling, emotional support, information, and assistance in helping individuals to get behavioral health services. Call the toll-free, confidential number: 866-202-HELP (4357)

For more information and resources on COVID-19, visit the CDC, the New York State Department of Health, or the New Jersey Department of Health. You can also find information on MagnaCare’s  coronavirus resource hub.

Maneras creativas de aliviar el estrés y mantenerse ocupado durante el COVID-19

Mientras la pandemia de COVID-19 se sigue propagando, ha transformado completamente nuestras rutinas normales. Aunque en general estamos confinados en nuestras casas, aún hay maneras de seguir activos y mantener las relaciones sociales durante las próximas semanas. Hemos compilado algunas ideas de actividades y modos de permanecer conectados con otras personas, para ayudarle a cuidar de su salud y bienestar durante estos tiempos difíciles.

La siguiente lista no es exhaustiva, pero esperamos que estimule su imaginación. Recuerde que MagnaCare no está afiliada ni respalda a ninguna de las organizaciones y los recursos que se muestran a continuación. Los siguientes recursos no sustituyen a la atención médica. Es importante que consulte a un proveedor de servicios de salud si le preocupan su salud y bienestar, tanto físicos como mentales.

Ideas y actividades que puede probar:

  • Alivie el estrés y practique la conciencia plena. Es comprensible que sienta ansiedad ante la incertidumbre de esta pandemia. Tómese descansos de las noticias sobre el COVID-19 y ejercite su mente comenzando o terminando el proyecto de manualidades que tenía planeado, cocinando algo nuevo o especial, leyendo los libros que desde hace mucho tiene separados, armando ese rompecabezas de 1000 piezas que compró hace un año, cultivando un jardín interior o probando cualquier otra actividad que le interese. La meditación y las prácticas de conciencia plena son otra manera de cuidar de sí mismo, al animarlo a estar más consciente de sus pensamientos, emociones y respiración. Estas son solo algunas de las herramientas gratuitas que ya tiene disponibles para ayudarle a mantenerse tranquilo y resiliente durante esta crisis:
    • Deepak Chopra y Oprah actualmente ofrecen 21 días gratuitos de meditación.
    • El canal Mindful Movement de YouTube ofrece clases gratuitas de meditación, yoga y Pilates.
  • Mantenga su actividad física. El ejercicio físico no solamente puede ayudarle a mantener su condición física, sino a lidiar con el estrés. Pregunte en su gimnasio o curso si ofrecen opciones de video en línea. Consulte a las compañías y aplicaciones de ejercicio que ha querido probar y vea si ofrecen un período de prueba gratuito o si han extendido su período de prueba gratuito normal a las clases en línea. Un par de compañías que ofrecen clases bajo demanda o con transmisión en línea ahora:
    • Orange Theory – Rutinas de ejercicio de 30 minutos diarios con objetos del hogar.
    • Barry’s Bootcamp – Conéctese a la cuenta de Instagram de Barrys para ver videos con 20 minutos de ejercicios para el hogar, dos veces al día, por Instagram Live.
    • Nike Training Club – Nike está ofreciendo de manera gratuita todas las rutinas premium de ejercicio en el hogar de su Training Club hasta nuevo aviso.
  • Conéctese con amigos y familiares. El distanciamiento social no implica que no puede reunirse con amigos y familiares para celebrar cumpleaños, tomar un café o disfrutar una noche de juegos. De hecho, es más importante que nunca mantenerse conectados, incluso si es por medio de interacciones virtuales, para minimizar la tensión emocional del aislamiento. No faltan aplicaciones y servicios que le permiten organizar reuniones en grupo, y cada una tiene capacidades y limitaciones únicas. Estas son solo algunas de ellas:
    • Añada hasta 32 participantes usando Group Facetime en dispositivos Apple.
    • Los videochats en grupo de Whatsapp pueden conectarse hasta con cuatro participantes por Wi-Fi.
    • Converse cara a cara con Facebook Messenger, hasta con seis participantes en videochat.
    • Organice un chat con video hasta para 50 personas en Skype.
    • Google Duo soporta videollamadas hasta con ocho personas.
    • Deje mensajes y vuelva a escuchar sus conversaciones en Marco Polo.
    • La aplicación móvil Houseparty le permite organizar una fiesta virtual con hasta ocho invitados, con los que puede conversar y jugar juegos.
    • Si extraña sus noches de películas con amigos, organice una fiesta de video y pruebe el complemento Netflix Party para Chrome, que le permite conversar con su grupo mientras ven un programa o una película juntos.
  • Aprenda un nuevo idioma. Adquirir una nueva habilidad puede ayudarle a pasar el tiempo y mantener activo su cerebro.
    • Duolingo: Una aplicación para aprender idiomas que es gratuita, y ofrece mejoras con costo.
    • Babbel: Los estudiantes de jardín de niños hasta 12.° grado pueden usar gratis la aplicación móvil de aprendizaje durante tres meses.
  • Satisfaga sus ansias de cultura. Visite el sitio de internet de su museo favorito para ver lo que le está ofreciendo al público durante esta crisis. Varios museos y galerías están exponiendo sus colecciones en línea, como los siguientes.
  • Viaje alrededor del mundo sin salir.
  • Haga excursiones desde el sofá.
  • Asómese a zoológicos y acuarios. Vea lo que hacen sus animales favoritos tras bambalinas.
    • Cámara web en vivo, enfocada en los hábitats de animales submarinos del Acuario de Georgia, como ballenas beluga y leones de mar.
    • Videos en vivo de algunos de los animales favoritos del Zoológico de San Diego, como elefantes, tigres y otros.
  • Tome un curso en línea. El aprendizaje en línea es una manera productiva de pasar el tiempo, aprender algo nuevo o acelerar su carrera. Acceda a cursos gratuitos o con costo de las principales universidades del país usando plataformas de educación en línea como Coursera o Edx. Varios de sus cursos le permiten asistir como oyente (escuchar el curso sin pagar). Si desea un curso certificado con validez oficial o participar en las tareas y recibir una calificación, podría tener que pagar una cuota.
  • Educación a distancia para sus niños. Con las escuelas cerradas por semanas o meses, quizá se encuentre en la difícil situación de trabajar, cuidar a los niños y enseñarles, todo en el mismo espacio. Estos son algunos recursos para mantener a sus niños entretenidos y lograr que aprendan algo nuevo:
    • Consulte a la biblioteca local para ver si es una de las muchas que están transmitiendo horas del cuento virtuales.
    • El sitio de internet de educación en casa de Scholastic ofrece hasta 20 días de artículos, historias y desafíos educativos que puede completar en cualquier momento y en cualquier orden.
    • PBS KIDS y PBS LearningMedia ofrecen herramientas para ayudar con la educación en casa, incluyendo videos y juegos educativos, y actividades para formación de actividades sin estar conectados a internet.
    • La revista para niños Ranger Rick de la National Wildlife Federation ha puesto su sitio de internet a disposición de todos los visitantes, de manera gratuita, hasta que termine junio.
    • Audible, el servicio de audiolibros de Amazon, está ofreciendo una colección de historias para todas las edades de manera gratuita, incluyendo títulos para niños y clásicos literarios para los adultos.
  • Comidas gratuitas para quienes las necesitan. Para las familias y los trabajadores médicos de
    Long Island y New Jersey que lo necesiten, consulte esta lista de restaurantes que se están esforzando por ayudar a sus comunidades durante la pandemia.
  • Acceso a terapia y apoyo emocional. Sin duda usted y sus seres queridos están enfrentando una etapa difícil e impredecible. Si necesita ayuda, o conoce a alguien que la necesite, comuníquese con profesionales médicos de su red de proveedores o consulte el sitio de internet del CDC, donde hay recomendaciones y líneas telefónicas de ayuda a nivel nacional. Los Departamentos de Salud de NY y NJ ofrecen servicios de terapia y apoyo para ayudar a sus residentes a afrontar el estrés del COVID-19.
    • Los neoyorquinos pueden llamar a la línea de apoyo emocional para COVID-19 al 1.844.863.9314 para recibir apoyo de salud mental.
    • La línea telefónica de ayuda de cuidado de la salud mental de New Jersey ofrece asesoría, apoyo emocional información y asistencia para ayudar a las personas a recibir servicios de salud conductual. Llame al número gratuito y con servicio confidencial: 866-202-HELP (4357)

Para obtener más información y recursos sobre el COVID-19, visite al CDC, el New York State Department of Health, o el New Jersey Department of Health. También puede encontrar información en el centro de recursos sobre coronavirus de MagnaCare.


COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions

As it grapples with COVID-19, the US health care system is currently experiencing unprecedented strain on its resources. Understanding the precautions you can take now, symptoms to watch out for, and when to get tested – and when not to, will help health care workers on the frontlines focus on the most in need. It will also help you avoid unnecessarily exposing yourself to coronavirus or other illnesses.

Below are some important reminders and resources available to you and your members based on current guidelines, which are subject to change as new data emerges:

  • What is “Social Distancing”: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “social distancing” – deliberately increasing the physical space between people by avoiding crowds or crowded spaces – along with basic health precautions, is the most effective way to slow the spread of COVID-19 by reducing opportunities for the virus to transmit from person to person. Examples of social distancing include maintaining at least six feet distance from others, not shaking hands or contacting a person during a greeting, limiting visitors, avoiding gatherings, working at home, and remote learning.
  • What is “Flatten the Curve”: Flattening the curve refers to how the rate of infection, instead of rising exponentially, will decelerate or “flatten out” if people practice social distancing. By reducing the number of people who get sick at the same time, social distancing helps stagger the number of new cases over a longer period. This avoids overburdening the health care system’s workers, facilities, and equipment at any one time. A flattened curve helps providers, many of whom already operate close to capacity, get people the care they need whether they have coronavirus or not.
  • What is “Self-quarantine”: Health experts recommend that people who have been exposed to COVID-19 or who are at risk practice self-quarantining for 14 days from the last day of possible exposure, enough time for you to know whether or not you are ill and/or contagious. Self-quarantine includes practicing standard hygiene and frequent hand-washing, not sharing things like towels and utensils, staying at home, not having visitors, monitoring your symptoms, and keeping safe distance from others in your household.
  • What is “Self-isolation”: For people who test positive for COVID-19 and do not have severe illness, doctor-advised isolation at home can protect others in your household and in your community.
    • CDC recommends those with mild illness stay home except to get medical care, stay in touch with their doctor, stay away from others, avoid public transportation, limit contact with pets and animals, wear a facemask if sick, wash hands frequently, cover coughs and sneezes, avoid sharing personal household items, clean surfaces often, and monitor symptoms.
  • Who is at risk for infection: While people of all ages can get infected with COVID-19, the CDC states that older adults and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions – such as chronic lung disease, moderate to severe asthma, heart disease with complications, compromised immune systems, including people undergoing cancer treatment, severe obesity, diabetes, renal failure, or liver disease – are at higher risk for more serious complications from COVID-19.
  • How can I protect myself: The respiratory illness COVID-19 spreads from person to person through small droplets from the nose or mouth when the person coughs or exhales. These droplets can land on surfaces later touched by another person or be breathed in by someone in close proximity. In addition to social distancing, wash hands often and thoroughly with soap, sneeze and cough into a tissue and discard it immediately or sneeze into your elbow, avoid touching your face, and clean surfaces that are touched often. The CDC now recommends to all individuals the use of cloth face coverings when in public, especially in settings where social distancing may be difficult to practice (grocery stores, for example) and in communities where there is a high rate of transmission.
  • Should I get tested/what are the symptoms: Both the CDC and the New Jersey Department of Health (DOH) offer an interactive symptom self-checker to help you determine if testing is recommended, and New York DOH has issued its guidelines for testing. Bear in mind, testing capacity is limited at this time and not necessary for everyone. Unnecessary testing increases your exposure to coronavirus and places additional strain on a health care system already operating at full capacity. Some people may become infected but don’t develop symptoms and don’t feel unwell. About 80% recover from COVID-19 without needing special treatment. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure.
    • The CDC recommends individuals stay home and call ahead to your provider if you develop symptoms such as fever, cough, and/or difficulty breathing, particularly if you have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19 or have recently traveled from an area with widespread COVID-19 infection. Your provider will be able to evaluate your symptoms for coronavirus or the common cold, allergy, influenza or other possible causes. This helpful chart compares the symptoms of these conditions; consult your doctor with questions.
    • For individuals with severe underlying medical conditions or those who are immunocompromised, CDC advises you to seek care early if you suspect exposure to coronavirus, even if your symptoms are mild.
    • If the symptoms are severe – such as trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in chest, new confusion or inability to arouse, bluish lips or face – you should seek care immediately.
    • Individuals without severe symptoms or illness should avoid the emergency room to limit inadvertent exposure to coronavirus.
  • How can I get tested: Many doctors can determine if testing is necessary through an in-person or virtual visit and direct you to the best location for specimen collection (a nasopharyngeal swab which takes a sample through the nose from the back of the nose and throat to detect the virus in the upper respiratory tract). The specimen is then sent to an approved lab for analysis.
    • Call ahead to your provider to confirm they have the resources to conduct diagnostic testing and to help the office protect themselves and their patients.
    • Individuals without severe illness should avoid the emergency room to minimize the risk of inadvertent exposure to coronavirus or other illnesses.
    • As of today, BioReference Laboratories, LabCorp, and Quest Diagnostics, our in-network labs, are receiving specimens from providers, but please note that they do not perform the specimen collection.
  • Where can I get tested: The best place to start is by calling ahead to your regular doctor who may be able to give a consultation virtually.
    • If you don’t have a primary care doctor, the next best option is a telehealth vendor, which allows you to consult a provider from the safety of your home. Livehealthonline.com as well as telehealth services from health systems are two vendor options that members can use today. They will be responsible for the fee at the time of the visit. Payment is by credit card. View more information and a list of health system telehealth resources
    • Alternatively, check with your local DOH. While you may have heard about drive-through testing, it’s important to note that these locations are prioritizing high-risk individuals and require appointments. The goal of these sites is to increase the number of tests conducted and minimize the spread of infection at health care facilities.
    • Call or visit the New York State DOH at 888-364-3065 or New Jersey DOH at 211 or 1-800-962-1253 for more information on testing and other COVID-19 matters.
  • Where can I get more information: The CDC, the New York State Department of Health, and the New Jersey Department of Health are good resources for the most current Federal and State guidance on COVID-19. You can also find information on MagnaCare’s new coronavirus resource hub on our website.

Preguntas frecuentes sobre el COVID-19

Al enfrentar el COVID-19, el sistema de salud de Estados Unidos está sufriendo una presión sin precedentes sobre sus recursos. Al entender las precauciones que puede tomar desde ahora, los síntomas a los que debe estar pendiente, y cuándo acudir a hacerse una prueba (y cuándo no), puede ayudar al personal médico que está en las trincheras a concentrarse en quienes más necesitan ayuda. También le ayudará a evitar exponerse innecesariamente al coronavirus o a otras enfermedades.

A continuación se presentan algunos recordatorios y recursos importantes, basados en los lineamientos actuales, que están sujetos a cambios conforme se conozca nueva información.

  • Qué es el “distanciamiento social”: De acuerdo con los Centros para el Control y la Prevención de Enfermedades (CDC, por sus siglas en inglés), el “distanciamiento social” (que consiste en aumentar deliberadamente el espacio físico entre las personas al evitar las multitudes o los espacios abarrotados), aunado a las precauciones sanitarias básicas, es la manera más eficaz de ralentizar la propagación del COVID-19 al reducir las oportunidades para que el virus se transmita de una persona a otra. Algunos ejemplos de distanciamiento social son mantenerse al menos a seis pies de distancia de otras personas, no saludar de mano ni tocar a otras personas al saludarlas, limitar sus visitantes, evitar reuniones, trabajar desde casa y usar aprendizaje remoto.
  • Qué es “aplanar la curva”: Aplanar la curva se refiere a cómo la tasa de infección, en vez de aumentar exponencialmente, se desacelerará o “aplanará” si las personas practican el distanciamiento social. Al reducir la cantidad de personas que se enferman al mismo tiempo, el distanciamiento social ayuda a distribuir la cantidad de casos nuevos a lo largo de un período más prolongado. Así se evita abrumar a los trabajadores, las instalaciones y los equipos de los sistemas de salud en un momento determinado. Una curva más plana ayuda a los proveedores, muchos de los cuales ya operan casi a su capacidad máxima, a brindar a las personas la atención que necesitan, sin importar si tienen coronavirus.
  • Qué es la “autocuarentena”: Los expertos en salud recomiendan que las personas que han estado expuestas al COVID-19 o que estén en riesgo de infección practiquen una autocuarentena de 14 días a partir del último día de posible exposición, que es suficiente tiempo para saber si está enfermo o es contagioso. La autocuarentena implica seguir prácticas estándar de higiene y lavarse las manos con frecuencia, no compartir objetos tales como toallas y utensilios, quedarse en casa, no recibir visitas, monitorear sus síntomas y mantenerse a una distancia segura de otros miembros de su hogar.
  • Qué es el “autoaislamiento”: En el caso de las personas que resultan positivas en una prueba de COVID-19 y no sufren una enfermedad grave, el aislamiento médico en casa puede proteger a otros miembros de su hogar y su comunidad.
    • El CDC recomienda que quienes sufren una forma leve de la enfermedad se queden en casa excepto para recibir atención médica, se mantengan en contacto con su médico, se mantengan alejados de otras personas, eviten el transporte público, limiten el contacto con mascotas y animales, usen una mascarilla si están enfermos, se laven las manos con frecuencia, se cubran el rostro al toser y estornudar, eviten compartir artículos de uso personal, limpien las superficies con frecuencia y monitoreen sus síntomas.
  • Quiénes están en riesgo de infección: Si bien personas de todas las edades pueden infectarse con COVID-19, el CDC indica que las personas de la tercera edad tienen un mayor riesgo de sufrir complicaciones más graves del COVID-19, al igual que las personas de todas las edades que tienen enfermedades subyacentes graves como enfermedad pulmonar crónica, asma de moderado a grave, enfermedad cardiaca con complicaciones, sistemas inmunitarios deficientes, incluyendo a las personas que reciben tratamiento contra el cáncer, obesidad grave, diabetes, insuficiencia renal o enfermedad hepática.
  • Cómo puedo protegerme: La enfermedad respiratoria COVID-19 se propaga de una persona a otra en pequeñas gotitas despedidas de la nariz o la boca cuando la persona tose o exhala. Estas gotitas pueden caer en superficies que después toca otra persona, o pueden ser inhaladas por alguien que se encuentra cerca. Además del distanciamiento social, lávese las manos con frecuencia y minuciosamente usando agua y jabón, estornude y tosa en un pañuelo desechable y tírelo de inmediato o estornude en su codo, evite tocarse la cara y limpie las superficies que se toquen con frecuencia. El CDC ya recomienda el uso de cubrebocas de tela cuando salga a lugares públicos. Sin embargo, la precaución más importante que puede tomar es quedarse a casa excepto cuando le resulte esencial salir.
  • Debo acudir a hacerme la prueba/cuáles son los síntomas: El Departamento de Salud de New Jersey (DOH, por sus siglas en inglés) ofrece una herramienta interactiva para verificar sus síntomas y determinar si se recomienda que se haga la prueba, y el DOH de New York ha publicado sus lineamientos para la realización de pruebas. (Seleccione la opción de traducir en cada sitio para leerlos en español).
    • El CDC recomienda que las personas se queden en casa y llamen antes a sus proveedores si presentan síntomas como fiebre, tos y dificultad para respirar, especialmente si han estado en contacto cercano con una persona que saben que tiene COVID-19 o han estado recientemente en un área donde haya infección extendida de COVID-19. Su proveedor podrá evaluar sus síntomas para determinar si puede ser coronavirus, o bien el resfriado común, alergia, influenza u otras posibles causas.
    • En el caso de personas con enfermedades subyacentes graves o que sean inmunodeficientes, el CDC recomienda buscar atención médica lo antes posible si hay sospechas de exposición al coronavirus, incluso si sus síntomas son leves.
    • Si los síntomas son graves, como problemas para respirar, dolor persistente u opresión en el pecho, confusión de nueva aparición o incapacidad para despertar o tono azulado en los labios o el rostro, debe buscar atención médica de inmediato.
    • Las personas sin síntomas ni enfermedades graves no deben acudir a la sala de emergencias, para evitar exponerse accidentalmente al coronavirus.
  • Cómo puedo hacerme la prueba: Muchos médicos pueden determinar si se necesita una prueba en una consulta presencial o virtual e indicarle cuál es el mejor lugar para tomar sus muestras (un hisopado nasofaríngeo, en el que se introduce un hisopo por la nariz para tomar una muestra de la parte trasera de la nariz y la garganta, con el fin de detectar el virus en las vías respiratorias superiores). La muestra después se envía a un laboratorio aprobado para su análisis.
    • Llame previamente a su proveedor para confirmar que tenga los recursos para realizar las pruebas de diagnóstico y para ayudar al personal del consultorio a protegerse a sí mismos y a sus pacientes.
    • Las personas sin enfermedades graves no deben acudir a la sala de emergencias, para minimizar el riesgo de exponerse accidentalmente al coronavirus o a otras enfermedades.
    • Hasta hoy, BioReference Laboratories, LabCorp y Quest Diagnostics, nuestros laboratorios de la red, están recibiendo muestras de proveedores, pero tome en cuenta que no toman las muestras.
  • En dónde puedo hacerme la prueba: El mejor lugar para comenzar es llamar a su médico regular, quien puede ofrecerle una consulta virtual.
    • Si no tiene un médico de atención primaria, la siguiente opción es un proveedor de servicios de telesalud, que le permite consultar a un proveedor desde la seguridad de su propio hogar. Livehealthonline.com y los servicios de telesalud de los sistemas de salud son dos opciones de proveedores que nuestros miembros ya usan. Los miembros deben cubrir los honorarios al momento de la consulta. El pago se hace con tarjeta de crédito. Ver más información y una lista de recursos de telesalud de los sistemas de salud
    • Otra alternativa es consultar al departamento de salud de su localidad. Aunque puede haber oído de las pruebas sin bajarse de su automóvil, es importante recordar que en estos locales les dan prioridad a las personas con alto riesgo y requieren cita. El objetivo de estos centros es aumentar la cantidad de pruebas que se hacen y minimizar la propagación de la infección en los centros de salud.
    • Llame o visite al DOH del Estado de New York al 888-364-3065 o al DOH de New Jersey al 211 o 1-800-962-1253 para obtener más información sobre las pruebas y otros asuntos relacionados con COVID-19.
  • En dónde puedo ver más información: El CDC, el Departamento de Salud del Estado de New York y el Departamento de Salud de New Jersey son buenos recursos para ver la información más reciente de las autoridades federales y estatales sobre el COVID-19.


Important News and Updates on Coronavirus Testing

This week, President Trump signed into law the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, effective March 18. This new law requires group health plans, regardless of grandfathered status, to waive cost-sharing (including deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance), or prior authorization or other medical management requirements for COVID-19 diagnostic testing, as well as for in-person and telehealth services related to COVID-19 diagnostic testing. MagnaCare will process claims for services performed on or after March 18, 2020 in compliance with this new law.

The information about testing is changing daily. The CDC recommends individuals stay home and call ahead to their provider if they develop symptoms such as fever, cough, and/or difficulty breathing, and have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19 or have recently traveled from an area with widespread COVID-19 infection. For individuals with severe underlying medical conditions or those who are immunocompromised, CDC advises to seek care early, even if their illness is mild. If the symptoms are severe, individuals should seek care immediately. Individuals without severe illness should avoid the emergency room to limit inadvertent exposure to coronavirus.

We recognize that you may be having challenges reaching their regular provider or accessing testing for COVID-19. Many doctors can determine if testing is necessary through a virtual visit and direct you to the best location for specimen collection. Providers will then bill for both the visit and the lab test. As of today, BioReference Laboratories, LabCorp and Quest Diagnostics, our in-network labs, are receiving specimens from providers, but please note that they do not perform the specimen collection. MagnaCare will process claims for diagnostic testing and related services in compliance with the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.

If you are concerned about coronavirus can’t reach your doctor, your local department of health is a good source of up-to-date information about coronavirus in your community. Below is some guidance for New York and New Jersey.

If you live in New York State

  • According to the New York State Department of Health, testing is free to all eligible New Yorkers as ordered by a health care provider or by calling the NYS COVID-19 hotline at 1-888-364-3065.
  • New York is also in the process of establishing mobile testing locations. The locations in New Rochelle and Nassau County are open, and several others are expected in the coming weeks.
  • However, Governor Cuomo has stressed that residents cannot just show up at these locations. You must call 1-888-364-3065 to set up an appointment.

If you live in New Jersey…

  • The NJ Poison Control Center and 211 have partnered with the State of New Jersey to provide information to the public on COVID-19. For questions regarding COVID-19 and testing, New Jerseyans can:
    • Call: 2-1-1
    • Call (24/7): 1-800-962-1253
    • Text: NJCOVID to 898-211
    • Text: your zip code to 898-211 for live text assistance
  • Trained healthcare professionals are standing by to answer questions about coronavirus. The call is free.

I am staying in close contact with our teams and we are committed to keeping you updated every step of the way. The latest information about COVID-19 is available at CDC.gov/coronavirus.

Cómo realizarse la prueba para detectar el coronavirus

El presidente Trump promulgó la Ley de Respuesta al Coronavirus de Families First, en vigencia a partir del 18 de marzo. Esta nueva ley requiere que los planes de salud colectivos, independientemente de su condición exenta, renuncien a los costos compartidos (incluidos los deducibles, copagos y coaseguros), o autorización previa u otros requisitos de gestión médica para las pruebas de diagnóstico de COVID-19, así como para los servicios presenciales y de telesalud relacionados con las pruebas de diagnóstico de COVID-19. MagnaCare procesará las reclamaciones por servicios prestados a partir del 18 de marzo de 2020 de conformidad con esta nueva ley.

La información sobre las pruebas cambia diariamente. El CDC recomienda que las personas se queden en casa y llamen antes a sus proveedores si presentan síntomas como fiebre, tos y dificultad para respirar, y han estado en contacto cercano con una persona que saben que tiene COVID-19 o han estado recientemente en un área donde haya infección extendida de COVID-19. En el caso de personas con enfermedades subyacentes graves o que sean inmunodeficientes, el CDC recomienda buscar atención médica lo antes posible, incluso si la enfermedad es leve. Si los síntomas son graves, las personas deben buscar atención médica de inmediato. Las personas sin enfermedades graves no deben acudir a la sala de emergencias, para evitar exponerse accidentalmente al coronavirus.

Reconocemos que puede tener dificultades para comunicarse con su proveedor habitual o acceder a las pruebas para COVID-19. Muchos médicos pueden determinar si se necesita una prueba a través de una consulta virtual e indicarle cuál es el mejor lugar para tomar sus muestras. Los proveedores luego facturarán tanto la visita como la prueba de laboratorio. Hasta hoy, BioReference Laboratories, LabCorp y Quest Diagnostics, nuestros laboratorios de la red, están recibiendo muestras de proveedores, pero tome en cuenta que no toman las muestras. MagnaCare procesará las reclamaciones por pruebas de diagnóstico y servicios relacionados de conformidad con la Ley de Respuesta al Coronavirus de Families First.

Si le preocupa el coronavirus y no puede comunicarse con su médico, su departamento de salud local es una buena fuente de información actualizada sobre el coronavirus en su comunidad. A continuación hay algunas pautas para New York y New Jersey.

Si vive en el Estado de New York

  • De acuerdo con el Departamento de Salud del Estado de New York, las pruebas son gratuitas para todos los neoyorquinos elegibles según lo ordenado por un proveedor de atención médica o llamando a la línea directa COVID-19 del Estado de New York al 1-888-364-3065.
  • New York también está en proceso de establecer lugares para realizar pruebas móviles. Las ubicaciones en New Rochelle y el condado de Nassau están abiertas, y se esperan varias más en las próximas semanas.
  • Sin embargo, el gobernador Cuomo ha enfatizado que los residentes no pueden presentarse en estos lugares. Debe llamar al 1-888-364-3065 para programar una cita.

Si vive en New Jersey…

  • El NJ Poison Control Center y 211 se han asociado con el estado de New Jersey para proporcionar información al público sobre el COVID-19. Para preguntas relacionadas con el COVID-19 y las pruebas, los residentes de New Jersey pueden:
    • Llamar al: 2-1-1
    • Llamar al (24/7): 1-800-962-1253
    • Mensaje de texto: NJCOVID al 898-211
    • Texto: su código postal al 898-211 para asistencia por mensaje de texto en vivo
  • Hay profesionales de la salud capacitados listos para responder preguntas sobre el coronavirus. La llamada es gratis.

En el sitio web de CDC se encuentra disponible la información más reciente sobre el COVID-19.


Important News and Guidance on Telehealth Services for COVID-19 Testing

As the COVID-19 outbreak continues to unfold, we understand many of you have questions about seeking medical advice through telehealth to either avoid inadvertent exposure to coronavirus or for its added convenience. Telehealth is a virtual visit with a medical professional either by phone or by video. Both providers and specialized telehealth vendors provide this service. A newly signed law provides requirements for group health plans as it relates to coronavirus testing and telehealth services.

On March 18, President Trump signed into law the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. This new law requires group health plans, regardless of grandfathered status, to waive cost-sharing (including deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance), or prior authorization or other medical management requirements for COVID-19 diagnostic testing, as well as for in-person and telehealth services related to COVID-19 diagnostic testing. MagnaCare will process claims for services performed on or after March 18, 2020 in compliance with this new law.

There are a number of options to access telehealth services. The first option for telehealth should be your provider. Many of your providers already offer virtual care by phone or video for many services, including those related to coronavirus. In fact, many of your providers may be temporarily switching to a virtual-only model during the current situation. The provider will typically bill the telehealth visit the same as an office visit. If the provider bills for these services as if it was a normal office claim, it will be treated as any other office visit claim, with the appropriate benefits and patient cost-sharing applied. If the telehealth service delivered is related to COVID-19 diagnostic testing, MagnaCare will process the claim in compliance with the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.

If you have access to a telehealth vendor through your employer or other plan sponsor, you can contact the telehealth vendor directly.

There are also telehealth vendors as well as virtual care services from health systems that you can use today. Livehealthonline.com is one such telehealth option for your medical, allergy, psychology, and psychiatry needs. This telehealth service is free to register. Price per visit varies by service and you will be responsible for the fee at the time of the visit. Payment is by credit card. In addition, many local and regional health systems are also offering low-cost telehealth services. For your convenience, we have compiled information about a few of those virtual care vendor options below, along with their associated price-per-visit. You will be responsible for the fee at the time of the visit. Payment is by credit card.


Health System Price Per Visit Discount Code
RWJBarnabas Health $15 with code RWJBH15
Atlantic Health System $49.00
Hackensack Meridian Health $20.00 HMH20 (NJ Residents Only)
NYU $126.00
Mount Sinai Health System $25.00
New York Presbyterian $49.00


Our company is committed to delivering the highest level of service and support to the clients we serve. We will continue to communicate important information and updates as the current COVID-19 situation evolves. Thank you for the opportunity to serve you and please do not hesitate to contact us if we can provide any further support.


Cómo acceder a los servicios de telesalud para las pruebas de COVID-19

A medida que el brote de COVID-19 continúa propagándose, entendemos que muchos de ustedes tienen preguntas sobre cómo buscar asesoramiento médico a través de la telesalud. La telesalud es una consulta virtual con un médico, ya sea por teléfono o por video. Los profesionales médicos y los proveedores de telesalud brindan este servicio.

El 18 de marzo, el presidente Trump promulgó la Ley de Respuesta al Coronavirus de Families First. Esta nueva ley requiere que los planes de salud colectivos renuncien a los costos compartidos (incluidos los deducibles, copagos y coaseguros), autorización previa y otros requisitos de gestión médica para las pruebas de diagnóstico de COVID-19, así como para los servicios presenciales y de telesalud relacionados con las pruebas de diagnóstico de COVID-19. MagnaCare procesará las reclamaciones en persona y de telesalud por servicios relacionados con las pruebas de diagnóstico de COVID-19 a partir del 18 de marzo de 2020 en cumplimiento de esta nueva ley.

Existen varias opciones para acceder a los servicios de telesalud. La primera opción para la telesalud debe ser su proveedor. Muchos de sus médicos ya ofrecen atención virtual por teléfono o video para muchos servicios, incluidos los relacionados con el coronavirus. De hecho, muchos de sus médicos y profesionales médicos estén cambiándose temporalmente a un modelo solo virtual durante la situación actual. El médico generalmente cobrará la consulta de telesalud lo mismo que una consulta presencial. Si el médico factura por estos servicios como si fuera una reclamación normal del consultorio, será tratada como cualquier otra reclamación de consulta presencial, con los beneficios correspondientes y la aplicación del costo compartido. Si el servicio de telesalud entregado está relacionado con las pruebas de diagnóstico de COVID-19, MagnaCare procesará la reclamación de conformidad con la Ley de Respuesta al Coronavirus de Families First.

Comuníquese con su empleador o plan de salud para obtener más información sobre sus beneficios de telesalud y para ver si su plan también cubre los servicios virtuales o de telesalud no relacionados con COVID. Si tiene acceso a un proveedor de telesalud a través del patrocinador de su plan de salud, puede comunicarse directamente con el proveedor de telesalud.

También hay proveedores de telesalud, así como servicios de atención virtual de sistemas de salud que puede usar hoy y pagar con tarjeta de crédito.

Livehealthonline.com es una opción de telesalud para sus necesidades médicas, de alergia, psicología y psiquiatría. La inscripción a este servicio de telesalud es gratuita. El precio por consulta varía según el servicio y usted deberá cubrir los honorarios al momento de la consulta. El pago se hace con tarjeta de crédito.

Además, muchos sistemas de salud locales y regionales también ofrecen servicios de telesalud de bajo costo. Para su comodidad, a continuación hemos recopilado información sobre algunas de esas opciones de proveedores de atención virtual, junto con su precio asociado por consulta. Usted deberá cubrir los honorarios al momento de la consulta. El pago se hace con tarjeta de crédito.


Sistema de salud Precio por consulta Código de descuento
RWJBarnabas Health $15 con código RWJBH15
Atlantic Health System $49.00
Hackensack Meridian Health $20.00 HMH20 (solo para residentes de NJ)
NYU $126.00
Mount Sinai Health System $25.00
New York Presbyterian $49.00


Business Continuity in Response to Coronavirus (COVID-19)

We are continually monitoring the rapidly evolving COVID-19 situation and want to reassure you that our business is operating as usual. Our goal is to provide the same level of service and support our clients and partners deserve and expect during these unprecedented times. We are also deeply committed to the health and well-being of our employees, who make our work possible.

Given the intensifying coronavirus outbreak affecting New York and New Jersey, effective Monday, March 16 we have transitioned the majority of our employees to work from home to minimize their risk of exposure to the coronavirus and to ensure our ability to continue to serve you during this period of uncertainty.

Rest assured, we have the infrastructure to deliver the same exceptional service you have come to expect from us. As part of our business continuity planning, we had anticipated an emergency situation arising in which we would have to shift our employees to remote work. Our staff is fully equipped, educated and prepared to run business as usual, including our ability to handle client, member and provider calls and process claims.

We’ll continue to provide you with business updates as the current circumstances unfold. In the meantime, we want to remind you of the CDC’s COVID-19 prevention tips:

  • Clean your hands often
  • Avoid close contact
  • Stay home if you’re sick
  • Cover coughs and sneezes
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched services

If there are other ways you think we can be helpful, we’re here. Please email or call your account manager.