COVID-19

Resources

PERSONNEL DEPARTMENT/EMPLOYEE BENEFITS DIVISION
COVID-19 RESOURCE PAGE
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

 

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Up-to-date questions and answers for your COVID-19 resources involving:

  1. Health & Vision Benefits
  2. Support Plus
  3. Dental Benefits
  4. Disability & Life Insurance Benefits
  5. Tax-Advantaged Accounts
  6. Periods of Absence (leaves from work) & Reduced Hours
  7. Wellness 

 

 

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HEALTH & VISION BENEFITS

 

 

HEALTHCARE PROVIDER QUESTIONS

How do I access services from the City’s LAwell Program healthcare providers, Kaiser and Anthem?

Kaiser members should call 1-833-574-2273 if they have COVID-19 symptoms or believe they may have been exposed to the virus; they can go to kp.org/coronavirus for information and updates.

Anthem members should call their physician if they have COVID-19 symptoms or believe they have been exposed to the virus; members can visit https://www.anthem.com/ca/cityofla/ for information, updates, and guidance regarding accessing services from their network of providers. 

 

Do Kaiser and Anthem offer telehealth services and how are they using these services to support COVID-19 support?

Yes.

Kaiser provides phone and video appointments at no cost to the member. In order to increase the number of patients they can treat, they’re offering more video and phone visits. Kaiser members can also complete an e-visit from the comfort of your home if you think you have COVID-19 symptoms or have been exposed. It will allow you to get quick guidance and online care from a Kaiser Permanente provider, including some prescriptions and 24/7 self-care advice — without a trip to your doctor’s office. Click here for more convenient ways to get care, or visit kp.org/getcare

Anthem offers LiveHealth Online providing online video visits with a doctor 24/7 through a smartphone, tablet, or computer with a webcam; no appointment is needed. Anthem also offers a Coronavirus Assessment on the Sydney Care mobile app (App Store or Google Play), which members can download at no cost. The Coronavirus Assessment is based on CDC and NIH guidelines and designed to help individuals quickly evaluate their symptoms and assess their risk of having COVID-19. Based on the results, Anthem members will be able to connect directly to a board-certified doctor via text or secure two-way video via the Sydney Care app who can then recommend care options. Anthem is also waiving costs for all telehealth visits for 90 days. Lastly, Anthem PPO members can also access same-day vide doctor visits using the Heal mobile app. Heal is only for Anthem PPO members and is not currently available to HMO members.

View our Telehealth flyer here

 

What services will the City’s health plans cover related to COVID-19 testing and care? 

Both Kaiser and Anthem cover the care individuals get if they’re diagnosed as having COVID-19. They’ll also cover testing for COVID-19. Members are not charged any out-of-pocket member expenses for testing.

Where can I find up-to-date information on COVID-19 from LAwell healthcare providers? 

Both Kaiser and Anthem have provided up-to-date information on COVID-19 resources through their websites, direct member communications, and network physicians. Employees can access updated information on COVID-19 through the following Kaiser and Anthem websites:

Anthem: anthem.com/blog/member-news/how-to-protect

Kaiser: https://healthy.kaiserpermanente.org/health-wellness/coronavirus-information

 

VISION PROVIDER QUESTIONS

Can I still access my vision coverage benefits through EyeMed while COVID-19 stay at home and social distancing measures are in place? 

Filling orders for existing prescriptions can still be performed through online and telephonic services. Visiting a physical provider for routine eye exams may vary in availability by provider and location. Read EyeMed's COVID-19 update for more details

 

Where can I find up-to-date information on COVID-19 from EyeMed? 

Log on to your personal EyeMed account or visit EyeMed's website at eyemed.com/en-us/coronavirus

 

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SUPPORT-PLUS EMPLOYEE AND FAMILY ASSISTANCE PROGRAM

 

What COVID-19 related support can I receive from Support-Plus Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP)?

In addition to the free counseling services available to all LAwell members (see additional questions below), Support Plus provides a free emotional support public crisis help line(866) 342-6892. This line is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to anyone for public crisis emotional support services.

Support Plus has also posted recorded sessions of their Traumatic Event and Stress seminars on their website for anyone to view for free: www.liveandworkwell.com/en/member/spotlights/traumatic-event.html

 

What is the Support-Plus Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP)

The Support-Plus EFAP offers a broad array of resources and services for LAwell Program members, including:

 

How does Support-Plus EFAP work?

LAwell Program members are eligible for up to five face-to-face and/or web-video consultations per person, per incident. Same day counseling services are available for emergencies.

 

How do I access Support-Plus EFAP?

You can access Support-Plus EFAP representatives 24/7 at 800-213-5813 (access code: CityofLA). You can also visit their website at www.LiveAndWorkWell.com/CityofLA  to access a variety of educational resources. The website provides a special resources page focused on COVID-19 support.

 

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DENTAL

 

Can I still access my dental coverage benefits through Delta Dental while COVID-19 stay at home and social distancing measures are in place? 

Members are urged to postpone dental treatments whenever possible. Urgent dental care procedures can still be performed. Contact your dental office directly for current availability of procedures. Contact Delta Dental for additional support 

 

Where can I find up-to-date COVID-19 information from Delta Dental? 

Visit Delta Dental's COVID-19 resource page here: https://www.deltadentalins.com/individuals/guidance/covid-19-updates-and-resources-for-enrollees.html

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DISABILITY & LIFE INSURANCE BENEFITS

 

Will disability insurance benefits cover an employee who is off work due to COVID-19?

An employee is eligible to file a disability insurance claim for an illness related to COVID-19. All LAwell program members are eligible for the City’s base disability insurance benefits or, if elected when hired or during Open Enrollment, supplemental disability coverage which pays a higher benefit. Click here to learn more about your disability insurance benefits.  To start a disability claim, call 844-505-6025

Group Life, Accidental Death & Dismemberment and Disability coverage normally ends when you lose eligibility because you are no longer working the required minimum number of hours or you are on an unpaid leave of absence.

However, as an accommodation to insured members during this time of uncertainty, subject to continued payment of premium, your coverages can be continued through June 30, 2020, while you are not working due to a partial or full furlough or temporary layoff that started on or after March 1, 2020. The Standard is continually monitoring the situation and we will update the potential extensions beyond June 30, 2020 as needs evolve.  

What if I’m quarantined but have not been diagnosed with illness?

There are a wide variety of scenarios under which you may be quarantined, ranging from a voluntary self-quarantine without a COVID-19 diagnosis to a mandated quarantine with a diagnosis.

If an individual is quarantined as directed by a licensed health care professional or government agency, Standard will assess a claim for benefits as follows: 

• If the individual has been diagnosed with COVID-19 and is unable to work from home, they will remain insured and eligible under the group STD policy.

• If the individual has not been diagnosed and is unable to work from home, they will retain coverage and eligibility under the STD policy should they eventually become disabled.

It is important to remember that under most STD policies a covered individual must be unable to work, either at their place of employment or from home, and must experience a loss of income to be eligible for STD benefits in all cases

Where can I find more information?

Visit the City of Los Angeles microsite for Standard Insurance Company's Disability and Life Benefits: https://www.standard.com/employee-benefits/city-los-angeles

 

 

 

 

 

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TAX-ADVANTAGED ACCOUNTS

What changes have occurred as a result of COVID-19 ?

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act allows over-the-counter drugs and medicines without a prescription along with menstrual care products purchased on or after January 1, 2020 to be eligible for reimbursement from a healthcare flexible spending account (HCFSA).

What can I do?

If you have an active HCFSA account and purchased an over-the-counter drug or a menstrual care product on or after January 1, 2020, you may submit a reimbursement claim to WageWorks. If you previously submitted a claim for these items and were denied, you may either resubmit the claim or contact WageWorks about appealing the denial.  Contact Wageworks online at wageworks.com or by phone at 877-924-3967.

How can I find more information on CARES Act changes?

Enrolled 2020 HCFSA account holders received an announcement email from Wageworks explaining the CARES Act change. Additional information on the change is provided through HeatlhEquity (Wageworks’ parent company) here: www.healthequity.com/cares

 

 

 

BENEFITS COVERAGE DURING PERIODS OF ABSENCE OR A REDUCTION OF WORKING HOURS

 

 

What happens to my health and other benefits if I’m off of work due to illness?

The LAwell Program provides subsidies for your health, dental, vision, basic disability, and basic life insurance benefits. An employee must have minimum of compensated hours (40 hours for full-time employees and 20 hours for half-time employees) per pay period for the LAwell Program to continue to pay subsidies. Compensated hours include hours worked, banked sick or vacation time, and other qualifying hours. Employees may pay additional amounts for health, dental, disability, and life insurance if they have elected benefit coverages above the LAwell Program’s subsidies.

In most instances during periods of short-term absence, so long as an employee has compensated hours, coverage will continue. However, if an employee is off due to illness, has filed a disability claim and had that claim approved by the City’s disability insurance provider, The Standard Insurance Company, City subsidies will continue through the LAwell Program’s Benefit Protection Plan.  The Benefits Protection Plan continues subsidies for any LAwell medical, dental, vision and basic life insurance coverage an employees had as an active employee for up to two years of disability. Employees are required to pay the coverage cost they paid as an active employee, if any, plus any costs for dependent coverage. The Benefit Protection Plan is not for work-related injuries or for individuals who have terminated or retired from City service for any reason.

Additionally, employees who have a department-approved Family Medical Leaveunder the federal Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), will continue to have City subsidies applied to their benefits during the duration of their approved FMLA status, regardless of their amount of compensated hours. Employees must apply for FMLA with their department’s Human Resource section.  

What happens to my health and other benefits if I’m off of work without either (a) sufficient compensated time; (b) approved disability claim/Benefits Protection Plan coverage; or (c) Family Medical Leave coverage?

If an employee is not eligible for City subsidies via any City program or benefit, LAwell Program benefits can continue if the employee pays the full premium cost for coverage. These employees will receive a bill for these costs with instructions on making payments. Timely payment of benefit premium is necessary in order to avoid termination of coverage.

What happens to my LAwell benefits if I'm working, but my work schedule changes?

An employee will receive a bill for the full premium cost in any pay period where an employee does not:

(1) maintain a minimum of compensated hours (40 hours for full-time employees and 20 hours for half-time employees)

(2) have Family Medical Leave or Benefit Protection Plan status

The City subsidy paid towards employee benefits is not eligible for any pay period where the about two conditions are not met. Employees not meeting the above criteria will receive a bill each pay period for all applicable premium costs with instructions on making payments. Timely payment of benefit premium is necessary in order to avoid termination of coverage.

As a new employee how quickly can I enroll in benefits?

Generally,most employees are able to elect their benefits in the week of their first payday for which they:

(a) have worked the minimum number of compensated hours (40 hours for full-time employees and 20 hours for half-time employees),

(b) are contributing LACERS members, and

(c) are employed in a job classification authorized to receive LAwell benefits.

If you have questions regarding your benefit eligibility as a new hire, please visit our Employee Benefits Contacts page at keepinglawell.com/contacts

If I return to regular working status, how quickly can I regain my benefits?

Employees returning to work, or resuming regular working hours, during the same calendar year are generally reinstated into their prior benefit elections automatically. This reinstatement will occur once the LAwell program confirms that all of the following benefit eligibility requirements are met:  

(a) Employee worked the minimum number of compensated hours (40 hours for full-time employees and 20 hours for half-time employees),

(b) Employee is an active contributing LACERS members, and

(c) Employee remains employed in a job classification authorized to receive LAwell benefits.

Employee reinstatement is an automatic process tied to City payroll processing. No further action from the employee is required. 

 

I received a bill. Who can I talk to?

General questions about bills can made to the call center at 833-4LA-WELL (833-452-9355) Mon-Fri 8am to 5pm

 


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THE BEST DEFENSE IS A GOOD OFFENSE!

WELLNESS SUPPORT AND TIPS FOR A STRONG IMMUNE SYSTEM 

Strategies for avoiding coming in contact with COVID-19 are important and something each one of us should observe. Equally important is supporting your overall wellness because that in turn supports your immune system – your primary defense against illness. There has never been a more important moment than this one to get serious about optimizing your personal health through common-sense wellness approaches. Following are just a few of the most important and practical tips to help support your immune system:

 

STRESS REDUCTION

Turn on your relaxation response – The human body doesn’t function well when it’s chronically stressed, and certainly these are stressful times. Stress hormones tell the body to focus on “fight or flight” rather than normal processes, like repair and defending the body against infection. If you’re feeling stress, try being intentional about turning on your relaxation response – signaling your body that it’s okay to relax. There are many ways you can do this – taking a walk, enjoying a relaxing bath, meditation, or listening to calming music are just a few of the ways to turn off the stress switch. Review this brief discussion from the American Psychological Association regarding how stress impacts our health. 

 

NUTRITION

Eat nutritious foods and boost your intake of vegetables – The human body, including the immune system, is impacted by the foods we eat. If you’re confused by dietary advice from media sources, keep it simple – focus on foods that are dense in nutrients, as close to “whole” (meaning unprocessed) as possible, and loaded with vegetables. Kaiser has a convenient resource open to all LAwell Program members,  kp.org/foodforhealth, providing valuable nutrition guidance as well as many nutritious and delicious recipes.

 

EXERCISE

Conduct a daily exercise routine – Exercising the body is great for many reasons, but one of the most valuable benefits cardiovascular exercise provides is reducing stress levels so that healing and immune-supporting functions can operate as they’re supposed to. Check out this overview from LAwell Program provider Anthem discussing how exercise can be medicine. 

 

SLEEP

Get a full night’s sleep every night - Consistently getting a good night’s sleep is one of the most powerful ways to support your immune system. The body uses sleeping time to heal, restore, and strengthen its defenses. While the necessary amount of sleep varies from person to person, most adults need seven to eight hours a day. Check out this information from the Cleveland Clinic with helpful guidance regarding getting enough sleep. 


For more health-supporting tips and resources, and to develop your own personalized wellness program, please enroll  with LIVEwell.la. This unique resource was created to provide you with a fun, web-based tool for creating your own wellness strategy. After completing a brief WellCheck questionnaire, LIVEwell.la generates a personalized set of recommended health activities, and you can choose others that other interest you as well. A community feed allows you to share information with other City employees. Stay connected and stay strong!

 

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FAQs

How do I find a Doctor?

Find a doctor, or confirm that a doctor is in your network, through member service phone numbers or online search tools provided by your health plan. You can also talk one-on-one with a healthcare member advocate by phone or email.

Visit the Medical and Healthcare Member Advocate sections of the contact page for more information.