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Is COVID-19 Testing Covered for Business Health Trust Members?

Business Health Trust is proud to offer competitive insurance benefits to small and mid-sized businesses in Washington state. We partner with major carriers so that our members can provide competitive employee benefit programs that support healthy, productive employees.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic first hit, our medical partners at Premera Blue Cross and Kaiser Permanente have continued to adapt to take care of members’ needs and help keep the community safe.

In most situations, COVID-19 testing is covered for members enrolled in medical through Business Health Trust:

Kaiser Permanente: Testing and diagnosis at Kaiser Permanente are available at no cost to members. If you decide to get tested at an outside lab, you’ll need to pay for your test, but you can file a claim form for reimbursement. Please note that Kaiser Permanente will cover the cost of testing only if it was conducted by a licensed provider.

Read more about COVID-19 testing for Business Health Trust members enrolled in Kaiser Permanente.

Premera Blue Cross: Testing is covered when a doctor orders the test. The test is covered with no out-of-pocket cost with a doctor’s order. However, keep in mind that most plans don’t cover COVID-19 testing for:

  • Return to work or school
  • Caretaker work requirements
  • Contact tracing
  • Travel requirements
  • Community management
  • Government requested

Read more about COVID-19 testing for Business Health Trust members enrolled in Premera Blue Cross.

Safe Start Kits from Business Health Trust are in the News

As small businesses struggle to reopen amid a shortage of face masks, hand sanitizer and other personal protective equipment (PPE), Business Health Trust has proved itself a trusted source for employers by coordinating the distribution of Small Business Safe Start Kits throughout King County.

More than insurance, Business Health Trust has a core value to be a resource to employers, which has taken on a new meaning since the COVID-19 pandemic began impacting our small business community.

Business Health Trust has worked to keep members safe and healthy with frequent communications highlighting important updates, sourcing PPE from local vendors and much more, which you can read about in our article “What Does Your Health Insurance Do For You?

This month, Business Health Trust cast an even wider safety net by partnering with regional chambers, business organizations and King County to offer the Safe Start Kits, which continue to be available via shipping or contactless pickup through July 24.

If you are located in King County and in need of a Safe Start Kit – which includes cloth face masks, disposable face masks and hand sanitizer – you can place an order via the Business Health Trust site.

Read more about Business Health Trust and the Small Business Safe Start Kits in The Stranger and KOMO News, as well as the July edition of Healthy Living with Business Health Trust.

Man wearing mask trying on glasses.

Ask an Eye Doc: How Your Eye Exam May Look Different

From our wellness partners at VSP Vision Care Inc.

Business Health Trust partner VSP Vision Care Inc. is partnering with network eye doctors to help ensure a healthy return to routine eye care services. What are some of the changes you might see when you return to your eye doctor?

On this latest episode of Ask an Eye Doc, VSP network eye doctor Gabriela Olivares, OD, from Ft. Lauderdale, FL, shares a few common things VSP is seeing practices implement. “Many things are different,” she tells us, “but one thing does remain the same: your eye doctor’s commitment to your safety.”

How to Prepare for Your Eye Doctor Visit
  1. Don’t go if you’re feeling sick. If you wake up with a cough or a sore throat, it’s probably best to reschedule your appointment and call your primary physician. Your routine eye exam can wait. Don’t be surprised if someone takes your temperature upon arrival to ensure safety for everyone.
  2. Fill out forms in advance. If possible, fill out your intake forms online before your appointment. This will limit your face-to-face contact and your overall time within the office. Any additional information that’s requested by your doctor can also be done over the phone
  3. Follow social distancing guidelines. There may be new procedures in place to help with social distancing, from markers on the ground indicating where to stand, to a limited number of people allowed in certain areas. You will likely need to call from your car to check in. Every office is different, so be sure to check with your doctor’s office about their requirements.
  4. Go alone to your appointment. Most offices are only allowing the patient to enter the office, with the exception of those who require a caregiver or a guardian to attend the appointment with them. This limits the amount of people going in and out of the office, and helps maintain a more sterile, clean environment.
  5. Wear a mask to your appointment. Depending on your state, a mask may either be mandated or highly recommended when you are in public places. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention highly advises people to wear a mask covering their nose and their mouth in order to help stop the spread of COVID-19.
  6. Ask before trying on frames. Lastly, if you need glasses, your frame selection experience might be somewhat different than before. Frames that patients try on will be disinfected prior to returning them to the frame board so that you feel safe and comfortable. Be sure to ask office staff prior to trying on any frames. This will ensure that the eyewear remains sanitary. In addition, don’t be surprised if there is an acrylic barrier between you and your optician. This might allow you to try on your frames mask-free. Be mindful that procedures are modified as needed and each doctor’s office might have a slightly different approach to ensuring everyone’s health and safety.

To know exactly what to expect during your appointment, call your doctor’s office to find out how to best prepare for your visit. If you need to connect with a doctor but don’t have one, VSP can help!

This article was reviewed by Gabriela Olivares, OD.  

Information received through VSP Vision Care channels is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice, medical recommendations, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your eye doctor, physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. 

Screenshot of BHT PPE Site

COVID-19 Health and Safety Supplies Now Available Via New Business Health Trust Site

In its ongoing efforts to help small businesses obtain resources while the state struggles with the impacts of COVID-19, Business Health Trust has partnered with PrintNW to help the public purchase personal protective equipment (PPE) and other COVID-19 health and safety supplies.

The new website BusinessHealthTrust.GearNW.com features PPE including face masks, gloves and safety glasses, along with signage that can help companies encourage social distancing and other safety practices.

“We are dedicated to providing resources to companies across Washington,” said Sarai Childs, executive director of Business Health Trust. “In this time, we know that businesses are looking for supplies and signage to help support re-opening, which is why we are excited that PrintNW has put together an easy site for businesses to access these items.”

Business Health Trust offers health insurance and other employee benefits, and is also a source to help small business navigate the complex world of health insurance and employee benefits.

To read more about how Business Health Trust has been reaching out to members throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, please see the article, “What Does Your Health Insurance Do for You?

To learn more or get a quote, contact info@businesshealthtrust.com or 425.201.1972.

woman on cell phone with coffee and laptop

Digital Mental Health Support Just a Click Away Through myStrength

With the start of Mental Health Month comes a new resource for Business Health Trust members enrolled in one of the many medical plans available through Kaiser Permanente.

On May 1, 2020, Kaiser Permanente introduced the myStrength digital mental health app, available at no additional cost to enrolled adults. myStrength provides resources for emotional well-being, including help with stress, anxiety, depression, sleep, parenting and more. The personalized program includes interactive exercises, in-the-moment coping tools, and inspirational resources.

This resource is particularly valuable while social distancing remains in effect though Washington state’s extended Stay Home, Stay Healthy order.

To access myStrength, make sure you have an active kp.org/wa account, then follow the easy three-step directions on the myStrength flyer.

For more information on how Kaiser Permanente supports members’ mental health and wellness, go to wa.kaiserpermanente.org/html/public/specialties/mental-health/mental-health-wellness.

If you are not yet a member of Business Health Trust and would like to learn more, please fill out our Request a Quote form.

Video chat with male doctor

Telehealth Access Expanded for Business Health Trust Members Enrolled in Premera Blue Cross

Many recreational activities have already reopened as we begin Phase 1 of Washington state’s plan to lift the Stay Home, Stay Healthy order on May 31. But even as we’re better able to get outside and enjoy the spring weather, social distancing means many of us will continue to connect virtually with colleagues, family and friends.

In the meantime, that is also the best way to communicate with your health care providers for non-emergency care, especially if you think you may have been infected with coronavirus (COVID-19).

For Business Health Trust members enrolled in Premera Blue Cross, the telehealth options available are better than ever to help accommodate increased demand and to help members access the specialized care they need.

As always, members have virtual care access to:

  • 24-Hour NurseLine, accessible at no charge; phone number is listed on the back of members’ Premera Blue Cross ID card
  • Teladoc® – Talk to a board-certified doctor via phone, video or mobile app
  • Talkspace – Online behavioral therapy with a licensed clinician via private message and live video

Premera also has announced a temporary enhancement of in-network virtual providers that goes beyond primary health care to include additional options for mental health and substance use disorder. New providers include:

  • 98point6 – On-demand, text-based primary care
  • Doctor On Demand – Video-based primary care and mental health therapy
  • Boulder Care – Video-based treatment for opioid use disorder
  • Workit Health – Video-based treatment for alcohol use disorder

Member cost shares are waived for all telehealth services. Access to these new providers and the waiving of member costs shares are available through December 31, 2020.

If you are not yet a member of Business Health Trust and would like to learn more, please fill out our Request a Quote form or read more about the resources and services available to members during the COVID-19 pandemic in the article “What Does Your Health Insurance Do For You?

Note: This article was updated on May 29, 2020, to update a change in the telehealth expansion from June 30, 2020, to December 31, 2020.

WeGotThisWA Logo

Listen to Recordings of the #WeGotThisWA Webinar Series

As a trusted resource for the small business community in Washington state, Business Health Trust is playing a key role in the #WeGotThisWA Webinar Series focused on helping employers and employees members navigate questions during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in a timely and accurate manner.

You now have access to listen to the entire series, and view recaps along with updates to individual episodes via the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber Commerce, which is presenting the series and is the endorsing sponsor of Business Health Trust.

To listen to the following recorded #WeGotThisWA episodes, click the “Listen to the Webinar” link on the right (webinars work best in Chrome, not Internet Explorer):

Navigating State Unemployment in a Pandemic

March 23, 2020: Focus on Washington State Employment Security Department (ESD) and information on how to navigate these benefits, especially if your workforce includes part-time workers who are getting automatic denials as ESD works to update its system to reflect new emergency rules.
Featured speaker: Kris Bowen, Lead Policy Analyst, Washington State Employment Security Department

Stay Home, Stay Healthy

March 27, 2020: Highlights more information on what Washington’s #StayHomeStayHealthy order means for families and businesses, how King County is supporting this effort, and a look at the federal stimulus package that was working through Congress.
Featured speakers: Rachel Smith, Deputy Executive of King County; Tony Williams, Partner and Chairman at Washington 2 Advocates

Hear from Healthcare

March 31, 2020: Highlights facts on COVID-19, including what to do if you think you are sick or have been exposed, steps medical professionals are taking, some workplace safety tips, and how Kaiser Permanente is keeping its community informed.
Featured speaker: Dr. Deb Friesen, Kaiser Permanente

Managing Business Expenses

April 2, 2020: Highlights best practices for businesses talking to their landlords and banks about options for easing monthly payments during the coronavirus outbreak.
Featured speakers: Rachel Marshall, Rachel’s Ginger Beer; Jimmy Ng, KeyBank; Kerri Schroeder, Bank of America; Paul Suzman, OfficeLease

Employee Engagement and Communication

April 7, 2020: Highlights creative tactics that foster healthy and effective communication and camaraderie to keep employees engaged, productive and healthy during the coronavirus outbreak.
Featured speakers: Jane Billbe, Senior Vice President of Operations at the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce; Alicia Teel, Vice President of Marketing and Communications at the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce

COVID-19 Economic Impact Analysis

April 9, 2020: Highlights an overview of the COVID-19 Economic Impact Analysis, which the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Business Health Trust commissioned from Community Attributes. The initial analysis is a snapshot in time in a rapidly evolving situation. It also features an overview of what the Chamber is doing to support the community at this time.
Featured speakers: Chris Mefford, Community Attributes; Diana Birkett Rakow, Board Chair of the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce

Federal Stimulus Package

April 10, 2020: Highlights the federal stimulus bills and explores areas such as the Small Business Administration’s lending programs and expanded unemployment assistance, as well as looking what could be ahead in a potential future bill.
Featured speakers: Kimberly Ellis, T.A. Hawks; Matt McAlvanah, Monument Advocacy

Unemployment Update and Paid Leave Requirements

April 14, 2020: Highlights updates that have been made to unemployment benefits programs in the past few weeks, timelines, plus any additional rules that have been added. Also features new requirements around paid leave that were passed at the federal level, including how these requirements overlap with unemployment benefits.
Featured speakers: Kris Bowen, Lead Policy Analyst at the Washington State Employment Security Department; Davis Wright Tremaine

What Every Business Should Know about PPP Loan Forgiveness

April 21, 2020: Highlights how business owners can set themselves up to best utilize their PPP funds – including tips and tricks to navigating this new program and best positioning your business.
Featured speakers: Lewis Horowitz and Eric Kodesch with Lane Powell

PPP Frequently Asked Questions

April 23: Answers follow-up questions from April 21’s webinar on PPP loan forgiveness.

Planning for What’s Ahead

April 28: Highlights what immediate steps organizations need to start planning for – and taking – that will help in the long run.
Featured speakers: Barie Carmichael, Tim Smith and Kelly Stepno with APCO Worldwide

Safe Work Planning Checklist

April 30: Highlights recommendations for businesses to consider as part of re‑opening, including how to support effective screening, tracking and tracing, and how to support employees.
Featured speakers: Charlie Davis and Justin Vincent with Boston Consulting Group; Teresa Hutson with Microsoft

#WeGotThisWA Series: Work from Home Tips for Physical Well-Being

May 8: Ergonomic advice, stretches and health tips to keep you feeling good while working from home.
Featured speaker: Kerry Field, PT, DPT, a physical therapist with Peak Sports & Spine Physical Therapy

#WeGotThisWA Series: Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Considerations for Businesses

May 12: How business owners and operators should be thinking through what personal protective equipment (PPE) and other supplies they’ll need as they prepare for a new normal.
Featured speaker: Rachel Smith, Chief of Staff for the King County Executive Office

#WeGotThisWA Series: Back to Work Toolkit

May 14: Highlights the Back To Work Toolkit was designed in partnership with the Seattle Met Chamber to help save entrepreneurs and founders time in figuring out the “how” of reopening businesses.
Featured speakers: Costco Wholesale’s Patrick Callans, Alaska Airlines’ Tiffany DeHaan, Madrona Venture Group’s Katie Drucker, Boon Boona Coffee Efrem Fesaha, and Teresa Huston.

Woman handing a check

Which COVID-19 Financial Assistance Program is Right for Your Small Business?

Business Health Trust knows that many small businesses are needing help as the impacts of the coronavirus (COVID‑19) pandemic continue to develop. The CARES Act provides much-needed relief at this critical time, and as your source to help your small business navigate the complex world of health insurance and beyond, Business Health Trust also is here to help you find the best options.

If your small business is in need of financial resources — to pay rent, keep your employees on payroll and insured, among other needs — consider your options with help from Davis Wright Tremaine’s Comparison between SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) and SBA Paycheck Protection Program Loans (PPP).

You can learn more about some of the assistance programs that are available to small businesses through the CARES act with the following easy-to-follow guides and overviews:

Business Health Trust has additional resources on its dedicated Coronavirus/COVID-19 Resources for Employers page, along with earlier posts on the above programs:

Small Business Resources: Emergency Loans, Unemployment and More

Business Health Trust’s core value is to be a resource to employers, and that’s especially important now as we navigate the impacts of COVID-19 on our small-business community.

We’d like to share new information related to our previous post on the Small Business Administration’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program.

Last week, the U.S. Congress passed and President Trump signed into law the CARES Act (the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act). As a part of the new legislation, the Small Business Administration (SBA) has created a nearly $350 billion loan program called the Paycheck Protection Program. This program is available to businesses with 500 or fewer employees to help with payroll, rent, utilities, healthcare costs and more. The SBA has also expanded a number of their existing programs, including the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program.

The federal government is currently finalizing the details and protocols about how and when different programs and relief will be implemented, and how financial institutions will help facilitate the execution of these programs.

Find out if your small business is eligible and what other questions you need to know before you apply in the CARES Act Q-and-A.

Additional preparation tips include this list of documents your bank may request when you apply for the loan.

CARES Act Unemployment Insurance Benefits

Please be aware that the CARES act also includes two separate unemployment provisions, one which applies to individuals already eligible for unemployment compensation under state law, and another that creates a temporary, federally funded “Pandemic Unemployment Assistance” program, which provides benefits to individuals who would otherwise be ineligible for benefits under state or federal law.

For more information, please see the Summary of CARES Act Unemployment Insurance Benefits.

 

 

Roundup of COVID-19 Webinars from Business Health Trust Partner Associations

Looking for resources to help stay informed on the developing COVID-19 outbreak? With our core value to be a resource to employers, Business Health Trust would like to share how our partner chambers are working to stay connected with members.

Although all in-person events have been canceled for the coming weeks, our partners are utilizing their robust networks to host webinars featuring the most up-to-date information on COVID-19 among other resources. The below list is still preliminary, so please be sure to keep an eye on the different Chamber websites or sign up for alerts:

Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce
#WeGotThisWA series – free, registration required

Bellingham Regional Chamber of Commerce

Economic Alliance Snohomish County
Keeping the Lights On: A Business Resiliency Webinar – free, registration required

View upcoming webinars and sign up at https://localsnoco.com/educational-resources/

Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce
Webinar on COVID-19; free and open to all; join at https://zoom.us/j/843841095 or click below times to learn more or for more accessibility options:

Thurston County Chamber of Commerce
Thurston’s Business Leaders Share What You Need to Know; free and open to all; click below to register or learn more:

Greater Yakima Chamber of Commerce
Free informational videos can be viewed on the following topics: