LifeWise Assurance Company Student Insurance Response to COVID-19

  • LifeWise Health Plan of Washington is here to support members, employers, and healthcare providers during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

    Updates as of May 6, 2021

    • The federal Public Health Emergency was extended another 90 days to July 20, 2021. See the key date grid for more information.
    • Washington State revised vaccine eligibility to include everyone over the age of 16 effective April 15, 2021. See the vaccine section for more details.
    • LifeWise is waiving cost shares for all COVID-19 related testing and treatment. Learn More

    COVID-19 Key Dates

    COVID-19 Coverage
    (See related FAQ section for more coverage details.)
    End Date
    Allowance for certain procedures to be handled through tele-dentistry became policy (LifeWise initiative) Policy effective April 1, 2021
    Waiver of prior authorization requirements for home health care or long-term facility services (Washington State OIC mandate) May 30, 2021
    Prescription 'refill too soon' override (LifeWise initiative) June 30, 2021
    Cost share waivers for treatment related to COVID-19 diagnosis waived through (LifeWise initiative) June 30, 2021
    Antibody tests covered when done in an inpatient setting; late illness onset, or outpatient inflammatory syndrome in children. Cost shares waived if criteria met. (CDC and EEOC guidelines)

    Policy effective July 1, 2020

    (Cost share criteria through July 20, 2021*)

    Cost share waivers for FDA-approved COVID-19 diagnostic testing other virus/respiratory testing tied to a COVID-19 diagnosis (Federal Families First Act and Washington State OIC mandate) July 20, 2021*
    Applied behavioral analysis (ABA) available through telehealth (LifeWise initiative) December 31, 2021
    PHP and IOP available through telehealth became policy:
  • Partial hospitalization programs (PHP) for mental health and substance use disorders
  • Intensive outpatient programs (IOP) for mental health and substance use disorders
  • Policy effective January 1, 2021

    *HHS announced that the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE) will likely remain in place for the entirety of 2021. However, a PHE declaration is limited by law to a 90-day period that can be terminated early or extended. LifeWise will extend federally mandated benefits every 90 days upon official renewal of the PHE by HHS Secretary. The HHS will provide 60-day notice if it decides to terminate PHE or allow it to expire.


    Frequently asked questions about COVID-19 and health plan coverage

    COVID-19 and waivers

    Is COVID-19 testing covered?

    The new Families First Coronavirus Response Act requires all group health plans, including self-funded plans, to provide coverage for diagnostic testing, including U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved COVID-19 diagnostic testing products and items and services related to testing furnished during an office, telehealth, urgent care center or emergency room visit. We have removed the group waivers that were previously in place to comply with this mandate.

    LifeWise follows state and federal mandates related to end dates for these services. See COVID-19 Key Dates section in this FAQ for current dates.

    Commercial and Medicare Supplement Members: We're waiving in-network cost shares (coinsurance, copays, and deductibles) for members requiring FDA-authorized diagnostic COVID-19 and influenza testing. Per WA OIC Washington state Office of the Insurance Commissioner (OIC) requirements, we're also waiving in-network copays, cost shares, and deductibles for other virus/respiratory testing tied to a COVID-19 diagnosis. All other treatments and services including hospitalization not related to a COVID-19 diagnosis will be subject to the usual benefits and cost shares. The waivers apply for testing and the related provider visit at in- and out-of-network facilities and laboratories.

    Pre-authorization isn't required for medically necessary and FDA-authorized COVID-19 testing. If a member requires testing and treatment for COVID-19 and there isn't an in-network provider within a reasonable distance to perform those services, the claims will be paid as in-network.

    Note: Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE) will likely remain in place for the entirety of 2021. However, a PHE declaration is limited by law to a 90-day period that can be terminated early or extended. LifeWise will extend federally mandated benefits every 90 days upon official renewal of the PHE by HHS Secretary. The HHS will provide 60-day notice if it decides to terminate PHE or allow it to expire.


    Are serology tests covered?

    Our Benefit Coverage Guideline is effective for serology tests for dates of service July 1, 2020 and forward. LifeWise will reimburse for serology tests that are for the purpose of supporting a COVID-19 diagnosis as part of the treatment or management of a patient's medical condition. Serology tests provided on an inpatient basis are presumed to be for diagnostic purposes. Tests performed on an outpatient basis require records confirming that the test is for the diagnosis of the disease or condition of a patient.

    The Benefit Coverage Guideline follows CDC guidance on scenarios in which serology testing can be used for diagnostic purposes:

    • Serologic testing can be offered as a method to support diagnosis of acute COVID-19 illness for persons who present late. For persons who present 9-14 days after illness onset, serologic testing can be offered in addition to recommended direct detection methods such as polymerase chain reaction.
    • Serologic testing should be offered as a method to help establish a diagnosis when patients present with late complications of COVID-19 illness, such as multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children.

    Serological tests will not be covered when provided as the sole basis of diagnosis for current infection with COVID-19.

    We will be covering claims with dates of service June 30, 2020 or earlier.


    Is treatment covered? Are there any limitations for COVID-19 care?

    LifeWise is waiving member cost shares including copays, deductible, and coinsurance for treatment of COVID-19 or health complications associated with COVID-19, including hospitalizations and medical transportation when needed, FDA-approved medications administered inpatient for both in- and out-of-network providers. All other treatments and services including hospitalization not related to a COVID-19 diagnosis will be subject to the usual benefits and cost shares.

    This benefit applies to members of individual, grandfathered, non-grandfathered, and associations. This includes qualified high deductible plan participants.
    See COVID-19 Key Dates section in this FAQ for current dates.

    You can check eligibility and benefits on our website.


    What's being waived for treatment?

    LifeWise will waive member cost shares including copays, deductible and coinsurance for treatment of COVID-19 or health complications associated with COVID-19, including hospitalizations and medical transportation when needed, FDA-approved medications delivered inpatient for both in and out of network providers.

    Note: HHS announced that the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE) will likely remain in place for the entirety of 2021. However, a PHE declaration is limited by law to a 90-day period that can be terminated early or extended. LifeWise will extend federally mandated benefits every 90 days upon official renewal of the PHE by HHS Secretary. The HHS will provide 60-day notice if it decides to terminate PHE or allow it to expire.


    Can I offer and bill for drive-through testing? Is that covered?

    Yes. Drive-through testing for COVID-19 is covered and cost shares will be waived as they are for in-clinic testing.


    Are there specific codes for COVID-19?

    The following summary of coding instruction is provided by the CDC, WHO, and CMS related to COVID-19. We urge you to use this COVID-19 coding for patients so cost shares may be waived appropriately

    There are two new HCPCS codes for lab tests to detect COVID-19:

    1. Code for U0001 for the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) test panel
    2. Code U0002 for other tests

    In addition, two additional COVID test HCPCS codes U0003/U0004 for high throughput technologies are covered.

    The American Medical Association added a new CPT code for reporting the novel coronavirus tests:
    87635: Infectious agent detection by nucleic acid (DNA or RNA); severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) (Coronavirus disease [COVID-19]), amplified probe technique.

    Per the CDC, a new ICD-10 emergency code, U07.1, 2019-nCoV acute respiratory disease, has been established by the WHO for reporting the virus, effective with the next update, October 1, 2020. LifeWise is accepting this code and encourages you to use it.

    To identify patients in the interim who have tested positive for COVID-19, current CDC guidance instructs to code first for the presenting illness followed by B97.29 - Other coronavirus, as the cause of diseases classified elsewhere.

    For the new serology (antibody) tests, the AMA created new CPT lab test codes: 86328 and 86769. Use these codes when submitting a claim for the antibody test.

    As of January 1, 2021, new specific diagnosis codes must be used for all claims related to COVID-19 testing, treatment, and vaccines.

    You can learn more about the codes through the following Centers for Disease Control (CDC) resources:


    New guidance from the AMA provides special coding advice during the COVID-19 public health emergency. One resource outlines COVID-19 coding scenarios to help healthcare professionals apply best coding practices. The scenarios include telehealth services for all patients.

    Examples specifically related to COVID-19 testing include coding for when a patient:

    • Comes to the office for an Evaluation and Management (E&M) office visit and is tested for COVID-19
    • Receives a telehealth visit regarding COVID-19
    • Is directed to come to a physician's office or physician's group practice site for testing
    • Receives a virtual check-in/online visit regarding COVID-19 (not related to an E&M visit)
    • Is directed to come to a physician's office for testing

    There is also a quick-reference flowchart that outlines Current Procedural Terminology (CPT®) reporting for COVID-19 testing. A new web page on the AMA site also outlines CMS payment policies and regulatory flexibilities related to COVID-19. Check the AMA COVID-19 resource center to stay up to date and for additional resources.


    Can I bill for the added cost of PPE?

    On April 16, 2021, Washington SSB 5169 went into effect mandating that PPE for medical providers be covered as a separate expense up to $6.57 for each individual patient encounter. This coverage is for in-person medical provider visits only. Claims may be billed using the American medical association's current procedural terminology code 99072 or as subsequently amended. Note that claims for PPE for patients that are part of a self-funded group will be denied per the bill. Patients may not be billed for provider PPE. This bill is not retroactive; providers may not bill for any PPE costs prior to the effective date and is limited to the covered service according to the terms and conditions of the health benefit plan and does not apply to an expense for personal protective equipment. This bill is now in effect for dates of service beginning April 16, 2021 for the duration of the federal public health emergency related to COVID-19.

    You can find the full bill here.

    As of November 1, 2020, Personal protective equipment (PPE) will no longer be separately reimbursable effective for dental or pharmacy visits as it's considered part of the practice expenses included in the main dental or pharmacy related procedure rendered to a patient.

    Review additional details in the Personal Protective Equipment payment policy.


    Is testing covered for personal or work-related travel?

    COVID tests for travel aren't covered typically by the plan. Normal plan benefits apply in this situation for our members. You can check eligibility and benefits on our website.


    Will LifeWise cover return-to-work/ return-to-school testing?

    We won't include testing coverage (molecular/antigen or antibody tests) for return-to-work/ return-to-school just as we don't cover drug testing for employment purposes, as an example. The EEOC has clarified (see A.6) that any mandatory medical test is job related and consistent with business necessity. They have also recommended that employees consent in writing acknowledging that a molecular test done for return-to-work or school purposes is not a diagnostic test.

    Return-to-work/school COVID tests aren't covered by the plan. The member may want to check with their employer on whether they will reimburse the member for this expense or bill directly to the employer.


    Are physician oversight fees from labs covered as part of the testing?

    Some lab companies are charging members a $10 non-refundable service fee for "physician oversight services" when a member orders testing directly through a lab. The $10 fee is for an independent physician who orders test for the member. The member also has the option to consult with this physician to discuss their results. This fee is not submitted to insurance for reimbursement by the lab service or the physician. This type of service fee and claim are not covered by the medical plan. To avoid this type of service fee, members should use their own provider or clinic when requesting COVID-19 testing.


    Are home testing kits, including the ones I get at the pharmacy, covered?

    FDA-authorized COVID-19 home test kits are only covered when ordered by a licensed physician orthrough December 31, 2020 pharmacist. Home test kits will not be covered if used for non-diagnostic purposes (e.g. travel, return to work, etc.). Members may submit claims for reimbursement for in-home tests only when they are ordered by a physician or pharmacist. There may also be tax implications for using HSA funds to purchase in-home tests that are used for purposes other than diagnostic.


    COVID-19 vaccines

    Note: We're updating our vaccine FAQs as information becomes available. Information about vaccines and distribution will continue to evolve.

    Do providers and pharmacies need to do anything to be able to administer the COVID vaccine?

    Yes. If you want to enroll in your state Medicaid program, reach out to your representative from the State Medicaid Agency Provider Enrollment Contact List (PDF).

    For commercial plans, to receive/administer COVID-19 vaccine, constituent products, and ancillary supplies, vaccination provider facilities/organizations must enroll in the federal COVID-19 Vaccination Program coordinated through their jurisdiction's immunization program. Enrolled COVID-19 vaccination providers must be credentialed/licensed in the jurisdiction where vaccination takes place, and sign and agree to the conditions in the CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Program Provider Agreement. These conditions are detailed in the agreement itself.

    Washington state has developed a draft plan for COVID-19 Vaccine preparedness addressing a variety of topics. That includes phases of distribution and allocation, identification of critical populations and initial plan for prioritization of administration to different groups.

    In Washington, to receive and administer the COVID-19 vaccine, providers have to enroll in a federal vaccine distribution program, coordinated through the state immunization program (unless they are part of a national chain registered directly with the CDC [eg, major retail pharmacy chains). Washington state providers can enroll as COVID-19 vaccine providers.


    When will a vaccine be available?

    The FDA Vaccine Advisory Committee voted to approve the Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine for those 18 and older. The CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommended use of the Moderna vaccine. The Scientific Safety Review Workgroup, made up of members from Washington, Oregon, Nevada, Colorado and California, met and voted to recommend the vaccine for immediate use. Earlier in December the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for those 16 and older was given an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA).


    How many vaccines are there?

    Two vaccines have made it through all the required trials and have received EUA from the FDA.  AstraZeneca vaccine is expected in the first quarter of 2021.

    Johnson and Johnson (J&J) submitted an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) application for their COVID-19 vaccine on February 4, 2021. The FDA Vaccine Advisory Committee (VAC) is scheduled for February 26 to discuss the J&J COVID-19 vaccine EUA. J&J intends to provide the purchased 100 million doses in the first half of 2021, however initial supplies are expected to be extremely limited.


    How soon can the public get a vaccine?

    The CDC Director has approved additional phases of the COVID-19 vaccination program. Note that each state can vary who is included in each phase or accept the CDC recommendations.

    Phase 1a: Health care personnel and residents/staff of long-term care facilities

    1. Health care personnel. Health care personnel are defined as paid and unpaid persons serving in health care settings who have the potential for direct or indirect exposure to patients or infectious materials.
    2. Residents and staff of long-term care facilities. Long-term care facility residents are defined as adults who reside in facilities that provide a variety of services, including medical and personal care, to persons who are unable to live independently.

    Phase 1b: Frontline essential workers and Persons age 75 years or older

    Phase 1c: Persons aged 65-74 years, persons aged 15-64 with high-risk conditions, essential workers not recommended in Phase 1b.

    The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) and the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) will provide guidance on who gets the vaccine first when one is available via Emergency Use Authorization or FDA approval.


    Do we know what other states are doing with the phases?

    Each state can determine if they'll follow the CDC guidance on each phase. States have their own Department of Health websites that will be tracking information, providing updates on available vaccine doses, who is eligible to administer the vaccine, and who is included in each phase. The CDC website has information on each state. Go to "How do I get a vaccine?" and select your state.


    How is Washington applying phases for vaccines?

    Governor Inslee also announced all Washington residents age 16 and older are eligible for the vaccine beginning April 15, 2021.  

    View additional Washington state guidance.

    Use the Washington Department of Health Vaccine Locator Tool to find locations offering the COVID-19 vaccine in your area and to see eligibility information. 


    Are there vaccine resources for those who are homebound?

    If you need homebound vaccination services or know of someone who needs this service in the state of Washington, check out these resources:

    • Call your local health jurisdiction for homebound vaccination services
    • Call Washington state’s COVID-19 Assistance Hotline to let them know you need homebound vaccination services. Call 800-525-0127 or 888-856-5816, then press #. Phone interpretation is available.
    • Use this survey link to complete a registration form that will connect you to available county and/or state mobile vaccine teams.

    Are there specific codes to use when administering the vaccine?

    After the emergency use authorization (EUA) or licensure of each COVID-19 vaccine product by FDA, CMS will identify the specific vaccine code(s), by dose if necessary, and specific vaccine administration code(s) for each dose for Medicare payment. CMS and the American Medical Association (AMA) are working collaboratively on finalizing a new approach to report use of COVID-19 vaccines.

    Codes are now available for the Pfizer, Moderna and Astra-Zenica. Use the links below to ensure the new codes are in your system to facilitate efficient claims processing.

    COVID-19 Vaccine codes (Medical)

    Code Description
    91300
    (Pfizer Vaccine)
    Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARSCoV-2) (Coronavirus disease [COVID-19]) vaccine, mRNALNP, spike protein, preservative free, 30 mcg/0.3mL dosage, diluent reconstituted, for intramuscular use
    (Report with administration codes: 0001A-First administration and 0002A-Second administration). Eff. 12/11/2020
    0001A
    (Admin1)
    Immunization administration by intramuscular injection of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) (Coronavirus disease [COVID-19]) vaccine, mRNA-LNP, spike protein, preservative free, 30 mcg/0.3mL dosage, diluent reconstituted; first dose.  (Report with administration of Pfizer vaccine 91300)
    0002A
    (Admin2)
    Immunization administration by intramuscular injection of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) (Coronavirus disease [COVID-19]) vaccine, mRNA-LNP, spike protein, preservative free, 30 mcg/0.3mL dosage, diluent reconstituted; second dose.  (Report with administration of Pfizer vaccine 91300)
    91301
    (Moderna Vaccine)
    Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARSCoV-2) (Coronavirus disease [COVID-19]) vaccine, mRNALNP, spike protein, preservative free, 100 mcg/0.5mL dosage, for intramuscular use
    (Report with administration codes: 0011A-First administration and 0012A-Second administration) Eff. 12/18/2020
    0011A
    (Admin1)
    Immunization administration by intramuscular injection of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) (Coronavirus disease [COVID-19]) vaccine, mRNA-LNP, spike protein, preservative free, 100 mcg/0.5mL dosage; first dose. (Report with administration of Moderna vaccine 91301)
    0012A
    (Admin2)
    Immunization administration by intramuscular injection of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) (Coronavirus disease [COVID-19]) vaccine, mRNA-LNP, spike protein, preservative free, 100 mcg/0.5mL dosage; second dose. (Report with administration of Moderna vaccine 91301)
    91303
    (Janssen /Johnson & Johnson Vaccine)
    Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) (coronavirus disease [COVID-19]) vaccine, DNA, spike protein, adenovirus type 26 (Ad26) vector, preservative free, 5x1010 viral particles/0.5mL dosage, for intramuscular use. Eff. Date: 2/27/2021
    0031A Immunization administration by intramuscular injection of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) (coronavirus disease [COVID-19]) vaccine, DNA, spike protein, adenovirus type 26 (Ad26) vector, preservative free, 5x1010 viral particles/0.5mL dosage, single dose. Eff. Date: 2/27/2021

    It's recommended that providers download the new release of PC-ACE (PDF). This release includes the coding structure, currently comprised of both a HCPCS Level I CPT code structure issued by the American Medical Association (AMA) and a HCPCS Level II code structure issued by CMS. This code structure was developed to facilitate efficient claims processing for any COVID-19 vaccines and monoclonal antibody infusions that receive FDA EUA or approval. CMS and the AMA are working collaboratively regarding which codes to submit for COVID-19 vaccines and administration. Most of these codes are not currently effective and not all codes will be used. Specific code descriptors will be issued in the future. Effective dates for the codes for Medicare purposes will coincide with the date of the FDA EUA or approval.

    New for dental providers: There are specific CPT Medical COVID-19 Vaccine Codes that are used when administering COVID-19 vaccines. There are separate codes for each dose when administering either the Moderna or the Pfizer vaccines, and a single code for the Janssen vaccine. Although there were recent ADA Dental codes created, for faster claim adjudication, we recommend you use the appropriate medical codes for vaccine administration (see the code list above) and submit them on a CMS-1500 Professional claim form instead of a Dental claim form. Submitting vaccine claims using dental codes (noted below) will delay your payment:

    COVID-19 Vaccine codes (Dental use only)

    ADA Code ADA Code Description
    D1701 Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine administration–first dose SARSCOV2 COVID-19 VAC mRNA 30mcg/0.3mL IM DOSE 1
    D1702 Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine administration–second dose SARSCOV2 COVID-19 VAC mRNA 30mcg/0.3mL IM DOSE 2
    D1703 Moderna Covid-19 vaccine administration–first dose SARSCOV2 COVID-19 VAC mRNA 100mcg/0.5mL IM DOSE 1
    D1704 Moderna Covid-19 vaccine administration–second dose SARSCOV2 COVID-19 VAC mRNA 100mcg/0.5mL IM DOSE 2
    D1705 AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine administration–first dose SARSCOV2 COVID-19 VAC rS-ChAdOx1 5x1010 VP/.5mL IM DOSE 1
    D1706 AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine administration–second dose SARSCOV2 COVID-19 VAC rS-ChAdOx1 5x1010 VP/.5mL IM DOSE 2
    D1707 Janssen Covid-19 vaccine administration SARSCOV2 COVID-19 VAC Ad26 5x1010 VP/.5mL IM SINGLE DOSE

    Dental COVID-19 codes (Lab tests only)

    ADA Code ADA Code Description
    D0606 Molecular testing for a public health related pathogen, including coronavirus

    Get the most up to date list of billing codes, payment allowances and effective dates.


    Who can I contact if I'm a pharmacy having difficulty billing for the vaccine?

    If you are having difficulty billing for the COVID vaccine, you can contact the Express Scripts help desk at 800-922-1557.


    How are the vaccines being distributed?

    Washington received its first allotment of the Pfizer vaccine on December 14 and began administration of the vaccine to high-risk workers in health care settings, high-risk first responders, and patients and staff of long-term care facilities. It's estimated around 500,000 people in Washington will be eligible for the vaccine in phase 1a. The Moderna vaccine shipment is currently expected in the next week and vaccinations will begin shortly after distribution.

    CVS Pharmacy, which is preparing to begin vaccinations in long-term care facilities, said that December 21 would be the earliest vaccine administration can start in the facilities.

    The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is a two-dose vaccine given 21 days apart. The Moderna vaccine is also a two-dose vaccine given 30 days apart. The CDC will be issuing a guidance that addresses use in those with vaccine allergic reactions, are pregnant/breastfeeding, and have weak immune systems. We anticipate that broad scale vaccination across our populations (those not in the first few phases) will likely not be until mid-2021.


    Can I get my vaccination in any state or county?

    Most states are now requiring proof of residency for any COVID vaccination. That may include a driver's license or utility bill showing your current address.


    Where can I get more information about the vaccines?

    Information about vaccines and distribution will continue to evolve.

    For general questions about COVID-19 vaccines and vaccine trials, and for the CDC playbook:

    Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)
    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

    Washington state has developed a draft plan for COVID-19 Vaccine preparedness addressing a variety of topics. That includes phases of distribution and allocation, identification of critical populations and initial plan for prioritization of administration to different groups.

    The CDC website has information on each state. Go to "How do I get a vaccine?" and select your state. In Washington state, you can use the Phase Finder tool.

    The CDC conducts webinars on the vaccines and safety measures. View the latest CDC safety webinar: What Every Clinician Should Know about COVID-19 Vaccine Safety


    How much will it cost?

    The federal government has mandated that the cost of the vaccine will be $0 for everyone in the U.S. The cost for administering the vaccine will be covered by insurance, for those with coverage, or waived for those without coverage. Providers may bill an insurance company for administrative costs.


    How will the vaccine be billed?

    The cost of the actual vaccine is being covered by the government currently. The cost of administering the vaccine will be covered by insurers, like LifeWise. CMS has recently released expected costs for vaccine administration. We expect the vaccines will be billed by dose, similar to how other 2-dose vaccines are billed.


    Do I need a doctor's referral or prescription?

    Check with your state to determine what identification or referral may be required for each phase.


    Are these vaccines available for children?

    Not currently for those under 16. The vaccines were only tested on adults. The Pfizer vaccine is approved for those 16 and older; Moderna is approved for those 18 and older. We'll need additional studies to determine if these vaccines will be effective for those under age 18.


    What if I don't get the second dose?

    You may not be fully protected from contracting the COVID-19 virus. There are many vaccines that require more than one dose to ensure adequate immune response (i.e., antibodies) and to protect you from contracting a virus.


    Why is a second dose needed?

    For some vaccines (primarily inactivated vaccines), the first dose does not provide as much immunity as possible. So, more than one dose is needed to build more complete immunity. The vaccine that protects against the bacteria Hib, which causes meningitis, and the vaccine that protects against shingles, are good examples. If you get your second shot too early or too late, you DO NOT need to repeat the dose.


    What if I get the wrong vaccine for my second shot?

    If you accidentally get the wrong vaccine for your second shot, you DO NOT need to repeat the dose. For example, if you get the Pfizer vaccine and then for your second shot you accidentally get the Moderna vaccine, you do not need another dose of either the Pfizer OR Moderna vaccine.


    How will I know when I need to go back for my second dose? Can LifeWise track and email members about their second dose?

    You should receive a vaccine card from the provider letting you know when you'll need to get your second dose and which vaccine you received. You may also be asked to provider your email address or phone number for a reminder as well. LifeWise is looking into reminders as well, but because claims for vaccinations can come in up to 60 days after the fact, we may not be able to provide timely reminders.


    Am I required to get the COVID-19 vaccine?

    There are no requirements currently that you must get the vaccine. It is, however, highly recommended.


    Does this mean I can return to my normal activities?

    Not quite yet. According to studies, we need more than 65% of the population to get the COVID-19 vaccine in order to begin to see protection among the general population. Once you receive both doses of a vaccine, you may be able to resume normal activities. In the meantime, continue to exercise caution, wash your hands frequently, and wear a mask.


    Virtual care

    Are you waiving cost shares for telehealth?

    Telehealth cost share waivers ended on January 1, 2021. Depending on benefit plan design, the expanded telehealth network continues to be available to members


    Are you expanding telehealth behavioral health and substance use disorder access during the COVID-19 health crisis?

    In addition to our existing LifeWise contracted behavioral health providers (Talkspace, brick and mortar providers, and Employer Assistance Programs), virtual access for behavioral health and substance use disorder treatment (opioid and alcohol):

    • Doctor on Demand – Doctor on Demand was added to our telehealth network. These services are available to member adults and children in all states.
    • Boulder Care - Boulder Care is a digital care provider, offering long-term support and medication-based treatment for opioid use disorder (OUD) and common co-occurring conditions for members 18 years and older. Their digital platform allows patients to connect with providers 24/7 through secure video and messaging with clinicians, care advocates, and peer coaches. Boulder Care is working towards 50 states licensure. If they aren't licensed in a certain state they will transition the member to an in-network provider for the appropriate services.
    • Workit Health – Workit is a digital care provider offering support for alcohol use disorder (AUD). Via Workit web and phone apps, members age 18 and older have a "recovery in their pocket" harm reduction and sobriety solution that provides 24/7 access to interactive therapeutic courses, online support groups supervised by licensed care teams. Workit is working towards 50 states licensure. If they aren't licensed in a certain state, they will transition the member to an in-network provider for the appropriate services.

    Additional covered telehealth services include:

    • Applied behavioral analysis (ABA)
    • Partial hospitalization programs (PHP) for mental health and substance use disorders
    • Intensive outpatient programs (IOP) for mental health and substance use disorders

    Doctor on Demand, 98point6, Boulder Care, and WorkIt Health are independent companies that provide virtual medical care services on behalf of LifeWise.


    Are there resources for people that are dealing with a mental health issue?

    Yes. LifeWise offers Talkspace for all our members. This is an online, virtual behavioral health provider resource. Many local mental health providers are also offering virtual services. Your patient should check with their provider first, or they can go directly to Talkspace at Talkspace.com/LifeWise


    Can I offer telehealth services to my patients?

    Yes. Virtual care is covered under the scope of your current contract with LifeWise, if the care provided is appropriate within the scope of the provider's licensure. This change applies to LifeWise individual and commercial members. However, some self-funded employer groups do not cover virtual care, so you'll need to check benefits for your patient before providing care

    Note: Telehealth services aren't coded like in-office visits due to different modifiers and Place of Service codes needed to identify a telehealth service. There are additional codes that can be used for online video encounters as well as telephone visits in conjunction with the office visit codes.

    For LifeWise-contracted providers, your current contract covers telehealth services if the care provided is appropriate within the scope of the provider's licensure. Note: Telehealth services aren't coded like in-office visits. Refer to your LifeWise contract for allowable information for virtual care codes. For specific coding information for LifeWise patients, see our telehealth payment policy for Washington.

    For dental providers, you may bill the following visit types via tele-dentistry adding tele-dentistry modifier code of D9995/6:

    • D0140 - Limited Oral Evaluation – Problem Focused
    • D0170 - Re-evaluation, limited problem focused (established patient, not post-operative visit): This code is appropriate when assessing a previously existing condition related to trauma, or a follow-up evaluation for continuing issues
    • D0190 – Screening of a patient. A screening, including state or federally mandated screenings, to determine an individual's need to be seen by a dentist for a diagnosis.
    • This temporary modification becomes policy on April 1, 2021.

    LifeWise wants to emphasize that this is a temporary relaxation of the rules during this nationwide public health emergency. Correct coding and notification to the patient that the provider is using non-HIPAA compliant communication tools is required


    Are there specific telehealth codes?

    LifeWise will be extending the payment of telehealth visits at the in person allowed amount, during the national public health emergency, beyond 9/1/20 as previously communicated. For providers that are delivering services via telehealth, LifeWise will require providers to continue use the correct telehealth place of service (POS) 02 with the procedure code appended with either modifier 95 or GT. Claims with modifiers indicating they were telehealth, if billed with POS 11, will be rejected up front and will require the correct POS to match the service billed. We will no longer accept POS 11 for telehealth services.

    LifeWise wants to emphasize that this is a temporary relaxation of the rules during this nationwide public health emergency. As additional information becomes available from CMS or other state regulators, we'll adjust our policies and notify you of the change. Only claims for telehealth visits from providers who members normally see in-person, in-office will be processed in this manner, and claim costs will be no more than what would have been paid had the member been able to see their providers in person.

    This guidance is in effect for WA group plans, FEP and Individual plans. Shared Admin are excluded from this guidance.

    Refer to your LifeWise contract for allowable information for virtual care codes. For specific coding information for LifeWise patients, see our telehealth payment policy for Washington.


    What about HIPAA rules?

    Per Health & Human Services and the Office of Civil Rights, a covered physician or health care provider that wants to use audio or video communication technology to provide telehealth to patients during the COVID-19 nationwide public health emergency can use any non-public facing remote communication product that is available to communicate with patients. OCR is exercising its enforcement discretion to not impose penalties for noncompliance with the HIPAA rules in connection with the good faith provision of telehealth using such non-public facing audio or video communication products during the COVID-19 nationwide public health emergency. This exercise of discretion applies to telehealth provided for any reason, regardless of whether the telehealth service is related to the diagnosis and treatment of health conditions related to COVID-19. Additionally, the criteria that telehealth may only be used with established patients is being relaxed and new patient encounters can be billed with these codes.


    Can I see new patients using telehealth?

    Providers can care for new patients via a telehealth virtual encounter and bill those services using the appropriate CPT code for the services rendered, in addition to the telehealth modifier and place of service. Virtual care for an established patient should also be billed with an appropriate CPT code, many of which are found in our payment policy. Note that these services must also be billed using the appropriate telehealth modifier and place of service.


    Can ABA services be provided virtually?

    Yes, ABA services can be provided virtually for dates of service on or after March 20, 2020. This is temporary and is in effect until government agencies indicate that we no longer need to practice social distancing.

    Claims for services provided virtually must be submitted with appropriate telehealth modifiers using the codes currently on the ABA fee schedule (see telehealth payment policy).

    Reimbursement for virtual care will be at the same amount as if the service were provided in-person.

    This change applies to our individual and commercial members.


    How do I capture a physical exam if I'm not physically present with the patient?

    With the increasing use of telemedicine to interact and treat patients, it can be difficult to capture information and do a physical exam. Fortunately, synchronous audio and video platforms make it possible for providers to capture almost all areas of a physical exam. We've developed a tip sheet using best practices and information from Telemedicine: Conducting an Effective Physical Exam to help you conduct an effective physical exam during a telehealth visit.


    Pharmacy and prescriptions

    Can patients refill prescriptions early if needed?

    Yes. We've adjusted our refill too soon policy for medications. This allows pharmacies to override refill too soon edits during a declared emergency at the pharmacy counter. members also have access to mail order prescriptions.
    See COVID-19 Key Dates section in this FAQ for current dates.


    How is LifeWise responding to FDA warnings of potential drug shortages?

    We frequently see drug shortages in the U.S. based on manufacturer issues, raw product issues, etc. We may see new reported shortages based on the COVID-19 impact to Chinese manufacturers.

    LifeWise will respond to these shortages the same way we do today, by ensuring the following:

    • The pharmacy team will check public and industry resources to identify new shortages that may impact our members
    • We'll review medical policies to determine if adjustments are needed to ensure access to alternative medications (should we change our preferred drugs or update prior authorization criteria to account for shortages both short and long term).
    • Our review processes already account for drug shortages. If a drug we require as first-line therapy is in short supply, we'll waive this requirement based on market realities and approve coverage when preferred formulary alternatives are in short supply.

    We're also reviewing rejected claims to see if members are getting the medications they need. If we see any drug shortages, we'll seek other options to meet member needs. We'll continue to monitor the situation with our pharmacy partners, so members won't run out of needed medications.


    How is LifeWise covering the drugs used to treat COVID-19?

    Drugs that have received Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) or full FDA approval for the treatment of COVID will be covered under current policies and according to your health plan benefits.


    Prior authorizations

    Is LifeWise extending prior authorization timeframes?

    Effective March 25, 2020, the OIC's second emergency order required we waive or expedite prior authorization requirements for home health care or long-term care facility services. See COVID-19 Key Dates section in this FAQ for current dates.