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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.

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.

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.

 

 

Governor Jay Inslee announces stay at home order for Washington State and closes many Washington businesses.

Washington State’s Stay at Home Order and Protecting Your Essential Employees from COVID-19

List of Ideas for Employers to Prevent Spread of Coronavirus and Protect their Essential Employees

While the President, Governor, and CDC have encouraged working from home, we know many workers have still been going into work because their responsibilities demand it. On March 23rd, however, Governor Jay Inslee announced a stay-home order that will close many more businesses and increase pressure on businesses to have their employees working from home.

Are you a business owner or manager and still have employees out and about as your business is considered an essential business in this time? Below are some ideas. Stay safe!

Facemasks/Surgical Masks. Should we get them?

No, donate them to a local hospital. The CDC has repeatedly said these should be saved for medical workers and those with symptoms. There is currently a shortage and healthcare workers are even resorting to making their own.

Meetings

In general, skip meetings or make them remote. If you must have in-person meetings, remember your social distancing etiquette and stay 6 feet apart.

Wear gloves so long as healthcare workers have theirs

Even non-sterile gloves can help your hands stay clean.

Hand washing

Require frequent handwashing throughout shifts, before and after shifts, or whatever milestones make sense in your business model.

Phones

Remind employees and partners to sanitize their phones.

Start times

Stagger start and stop times of shifts as to reduce amount of people commuting (via public transportation) at any given time.

Door handles

Prop restroom doors open slightly (when appropriate) to avoid touching handles.

Increase paper towels in bathroom so people can use the paper towels to open door handles.

Evangelize

Create a culture where teammates, partners, clients are all reminded to wash their hands when in the field or on the job.

Signage

Post “handwashing” signs throughout your facility.

Sanitize regularly

Wipe down products and surfaces often.

SBA to Provide Disaster Loans for Coronavirus-Related Economic Disruptions

Business Health Trust is more than just your source for employee benefits. We advocate for small business insurance needs in Washington state, and are vigilant about staying on top of changes in the small business health insurance market.

As the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak continues to impact small businesses in Washington and nationwide, we would like to offer resources in light of an announcement from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) that it will provide economic injury disaster loans for coronavirus-related economic disruptions.

Please view the SBA’s Fact Sheet as the loans pertain specifically to the COVID-19 impact in Washington state.

To determine whether your small business might qualify, the SBA’s Three-Step Process PDF outlines steps to apply and other details. You may download the following forms to apply for the loan:

For additional detailed information, please view a PDF presentation from the SBA.

More information also is available on the SBA’s Disaster Assistance website.

Tips to Stay Focused and Efficient While Working from Home

In the gig economy, working from home is already the norm for many Americans. But for workers more accustomed to a scheduled 9-5 office job, it can be a challenge to find work-life balance from a home office.

Whether you’re working on a laptop or a home computer, it’s important to create a space that puts you into work mode. It may be obvious that means turning off the TV and finding activities in advance for your kids, but your home likely offers a wealth of distractions you haven’t even thought of.

If you’re among the many Washington residents — and soon possibly the entire nation — in search of normalcy from your new home office, we’ve put together a few resources to help you remain focused and efficient when you’re on the clock.

Start with a Clean House

With both spring and potentially COVID-19 in the air, you’ll want to prioritize your annual spring clean if you haven’t already.

To properly clean and disinfect surfaces, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says most common EPA-registered household disinfectants will work, or you can make a bleach solution with 5 tablespoons bleach per gallon of water, or an alcohol solution of at least 70 percent alcohol.

Once your household is spic and span, try to keep it that way so cleaning doesn’t turn into a distraction during work hours. In the article 5 spring-cleaning tips for a healthier home, Kaiser Permanente recommends you set a schedule for upkeep so you can limit your tidying to a few minutes a day.

Get Up, Get Ready and Go

It may be tempting to throw on some sweats and grab a cup of coffee before plopping in front of your computer, but maintaining your normal morning routine also triggers a working mindset that can help improve productivity.

That means going to bed and waking up at a reasonable hour, and dressing appropriately for the workday, especially if there’s the potential for videoconferencing.

Be sure to also prepare any snacks or meals in advance so you’re not distracted by your growling stomach throughout the day!

Take a Break

If you’re the kind of person who has a hard time stepping away from your computer, find balance by setting a schedule that includes regular breaks from your desk and especially your screen.

Your eyes will thank you for taking a 20-second break to look at something at least 20 feet away every 20 minutes, also known as the “20-20-20” rule, as described in the VSP Vision Care Inc. article on Computer Vision Syndrome. And if you need help staying on track, of course there’s an app for that: Eye Care 20 20 20.

And when your lunch break rolls around, resist the temptation to continue working and be sure to take a break, maybe even go for a walk if that is an option. Maintaining your health is a priority during these uncertain times, and giving your brain and your body breaks is an important part of your overall health.

Commute Time Now Means You Time

Remember traffic? Now that you have the time back that you used to spend commuting, consider sharing these additional precious moments with your loved ones.

With schools closed for the foreseeable future, this means extra time with your kids while you’re not on the clock to help better manage this new version of work-life balance.

And for loved ones who aren’t in your household, be sure to pick up the phone and check in regularly on them. Premera Blue Cross reminds us that social distancing doesn’t mean mentally isolating, and recommends live video or video chat conversations to keep in touch with friends and family.

COVID-19 Anticipated Economic Impacts in Seattle and Washington

Business Health Trust (sponsored by the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce) is Washington’s source for employee benefits, but we offer more than just insurance. Our core value is to be a resource to employers in Washington State to our 850+ employers in Washington State.

As part of our dedication to being a resource to employers, we partnered with Community Attributes to provide information that can aid business leaders in decision making as well as to highlight the needs of employers arising from the current COVID-19 pandemic in Washington State.

Download the analysis report here

March “Healthy Living” E-News Focuses on Coronavirus Resources

Usually during this time of year, Healthy Living with Business Health Trust turns its focus toward heading outdoors and fighting spring allergies. But with the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak continuing to impact us locally and globally, the March edition on Coronavirus Resources: Flyers, Links, Tips and More instead highlights tips to keep you safe and healthy, both at home and at the workplace.

Resources range from helpful flyers that encourage handwashing and other healthy behaviors, to links to our wellness partner including Premera Blue Cross and Kaiser Permanente, as well as information on how to access their virtual care resources.

Read more, sign up and and see past editions on our Healthy Living archive.

Coronavirus Resources from Business Health Trust Wellness Partners

Updated on March 10, 2020.

The coronavirus outbreak is evolving on a daily basis, and Business Health Trust wants to help you keep your workplace and your family healthy with updated resources from our wellness partners and beyond.

Medical professionals are advising people to take the same precautionary measures to help prevent the spread of cold and flu to also help prevent coronavirus. We’ve compiled those tips in the following flyers that can be posted at your workplace or other gathering space:

Further tips are available from wellness partner Wellspring EAP:

For day-to-day updates, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a dedicated Coronavirus Disease 2019 page that includes the latest travel guidelines and other time-sensitive information. Statewide updates are available daily on the Washington State Department of Health Coronavirus page.

Business Health Trust partner Premera Blue Cross also offers resources on a dedicated coronavirus page that is being updated as the situation continues to evolve. For Business Health Trust members enrolled in medical coverage through Premera, please take note of the following important resources should you become ill or are just looking for some peace of mind:

  • Teladoc — Talk to a doctor by phone or video anytime, day or night. Be sure to sign up today so you can get care immediately when you need it. Teladoc visits are available at $0 copay through most Business Health Trust plans.
  • Talkspace — If you need somebody to talk to about your fears of coronavirus or other issues, Business Health Trust members enrolled in Premera also have access to on-demand professional therapy through Talkspace. The in-network behavioral telehealth provider gives you access to live video appointments and text messaging with a licensed clinician — anytime, anywhere.
  • Urgent Care or ER? — Not sure which resource is best for you? Check out our article “Need care? Know where to go — and what it will cost” with details to help you decide when to use the 24-hour Nurseline, Teladoc, Urgent Care or the Emergency Room.

For Business Health Trust members enrolled in medical through Kaiser Permanente, there is a dedicated 2019 Novel Coronavirus webpage with tips and resources, including information on the many ways to get care, including:

  • Online visit — Receive a treatment plan and, if needed, a prescription — without a trip to your doctor’s office. Register today to access online visits when you need them most.
  • CareClinic — Kaiser Permanente partners with 15 Bartell Drugs locations in the Puget Sound area to offer walk-in CareClinics staffed with Kaiser Permanente board-certified physician assistants and nurse practitioners who treat minor injuries and illnesses. View CareClinic locations.

These additional tips from Kaiser Permanente on how to “Supercharge your immune system” are also a great resource to help make healthy lifestyle choices that support your immune system year-round.