July 24, 2020 at 2:00 PM CT

COVID-19 Updates

With the 90-day continuance of the national public health emergency announced by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, UnitedHealthcare is extending our temporary COVID-19 measures. Visit our COVID-19 website for full details.  Please also refer to the Summary of COVID-19 Dates by Program and COVID-19 Testing and Treatment Billing Guide for coding and other billing guidance.

COVID-19 Information for Empire Plan Network Providers

Last update: April 10, 2020, 10:45 a.m. CDT

The Empire Plan is a health insurance option available to those eligible to participate in the New York State Health Insurance Program (NYSHIP)  ̶  primarily New York State government employees, retirees, and their dependents. Nationwide, the plan covers over one million members.

The top priority of UnitedHealthcare and The Empire Plan is the health and well-being of the people we serve. A team of experts is working quickly to make sure our members and their care providers have what they need to respond to the COVID-19 public health emergency. We understand the urgency and sensitivity during this time and want to do everything we can to support your needs. Be sure to check back here and at UHCprovider.com often for updates.

As with any public health emergency, UnitedHealthcare and The Empire Plan will work with and follow all COVID-19 guidance and protocols issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), and state and local public health departments. For the latest news and guidance on the virus, please visit cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov.

For Empire Plan members, UnitedHealthcare will provide coverage and waive member copays for:

  • COVID-19 testing performed at approved locations and following CDC guidelines. For coding and payment information, see COVID-19 Testing, Coding and Reimbursement.
  • COVID-19 testing-related visits at the following locations, including through telehealth:
    • In-network provider’s office
    • In-network urgent care center
    • Emergency department of a hospital
    • Any other in-network outpatient provider setting able to diagnose COVID-19
  • All in-network services delivered through telehealth when such service would have been covered under the policy if it had been delivered in person. Telehealth means the use of electronic information and communication technologies, including the telephone, to deliver health care services.when the health care professional and the insured member are in two different locations. This telehealth coverage is in effect during the state of emergency declared by the New York State governor relative to (COVID-19) and applies to any covered diagnosis.  For additional information regarding telehealth, please see COVID-19 Provider Telehealth Policies.

We’re listening.

We’re committed to keeping you up to date on COVID-19 – we’re monitoring your inquiries and working hard to answer your questions. Let us know how we’re doing.

We’ll be making daily updates to this site. Be sure to check back often for the latest information. 

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The Empire’s policyholder is the State of New York, and each aspect of the plan (hospital, prescription drugs, medical, behavioral health) is awarded separately via a Request for Proposal process, meaning multiple carriers are involved in plan administration. The UnitedHealthcare portion of the plan includes a non-hospital based PPO component for in-network benefits. In addition to use of UnitedHealthcare’s nationally contracted providers nationwide, UnitedHealthcare’s Options PPO network providers serve as the participating providers for the in-network component in:  Arizona, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois (Chicago and surrounding counties), Maryland, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia, Washington D.C. and West Virginia. UnitedHealthcare’s Empire Plan Network Management based in Kingston, NY, manages a standalone Empire Plan Network for all other states, with the primary population of those providers located in New York.