At the onset of the COVID-19 crisis, Highmark launched several new programs designed to help seniors get through the COVID-19 crisis – and to help them be prepared to get back to life and health once the crisis passes.
Throughout the pandemic, Highmark employees have been making proactive phone calls to the most vulnerable Highmark Medicare members who may live alone, have health issues or be homebound and unable get out for food or medications. Members were also given pertinent information on the virus, and ways to stay safe and active.
“Our employees have been making phone calls for a few months now to check on our vulnerable members, and if needed, connect them to community or medical services,” said Alexis Miller, Highmark market president, senior markets.
On a recent outreach call, a member confided that she was afraid to go out of her home for grocery shopping. Employees worked with her to help arrange for a package of essential items including toilet paper, paper towels and hand sanitizers to be delivered to her home.
Highmark employees have also recognized while making the outreach calls that some Medicare members are facing issues with social isolation during the pandemic. Even though friends and family were stopping by to deliver food and other necessities, they were not able to come inside and visit.
The Highmark Helpers program was launched to match those members with Highmark employee volunteers who have committed to reach out to them weekly over the phone to help ensure they have someone to talk to and they are doing all right.
“I have heard from employees who have volunteered for this program that it has been very rewarding, and helped them feel more connected while they are being quarantined and working from home,” said Miller.
Highmark also has been sending regular information on the virus and ways to stay healthy and access care through telemedicine to all Medicare members through the mail, text messaging and social media since March.
“I am really proud of all of our employees,” said Miller. “Throughout this crisis, they have shown how much they really care about our members.”
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Highmark Health Plan has taken many proactive measures through coverage expansions; increased options for access to care; support for its communities, providers and customers; and resources to access help and information to ensure that members, employees and communities are safe and can continue to receive care. Initially, Highmark expanded benefits to cover telehealth and inpatient, in-network COVID-19 treatment with no cost-sharing; it has now extended that until Wednesday, Sept. 30.