This article was revised on June 24, 2020, to include information about pulse oximetry devices and to update the effective timeline.
Independence is committed to providing our members with access to the care they need. As COVID-19 has escalated into a pandemic, we are working to make sure that our members can receive appropriate testing and treatment for the virus causing COVID-19 if needed.
We encourage all Independence members to visit our dedicated COVID-19 webpage regularly for the latest news and updates. We will continue to evaluate member needs as the situation changes.
Respiratory equipment and related supplies
From March 6, 2020, through July 31, 2020, Independence will provide coverage for respiratory equipment (e.g., ventilator, respiratory assist device) and supplies to support ongoing acute care respiratory services in the home setting. Quantity limits for medically necessary respiratory supplies will be waived during the COVID-19 public health emergency.
Independence is temporarily suspending prior authorization requirements for continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) devices, bi-level (Bi-PAP) devices, and all supplies.
A complete list of codes for ventilator, respiratory assist device/CPAP device, home oxygen, and supplies can be found within the policies outlined in the News Article, Respiratory Equipment and Related Supplies (updated June 11, 2020), found in the Commercial and Medicare Advantage News & Announcements sections of our Medical Policy Portal.
Consumer grade pulse oximetry devices
From June 1, 2020, through July 31, 2020, Independence will provide coverage for consumer grade pulse oximetry devices for use in the home setting for patients under investigation or with a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19. The patient must be under the care of a professional provider and meet these criteria:
- The individual presented with symptoms consistent with COVID-19 (e.g., congestion or runny nose, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, fever or chills, muscle or body aches, headache, sore throat, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea, new loss of taste or smell).
- The consumer grade pulse oximeter is ordered by a professional provider.
- The individual or a trained caregiver has the physical and cognitive capacity to monitor their symptoms and to understand the importance of seeking medical guidance should symptoms progress.
The patient’s medical record must reflect the medical necessity for the care provided. These medical records may include but are not limited to: records from the professional provider’s office, hospital, nursing home, home health agencies, therapies, and test reports.
Waivers and exclusions
Independence has waived member cost-share* (i.e., copayment, deductible, and coinsurance) and referral requirements (HMO and POS members) for consumer grade pulse oximetry devices subject to the requirements set forth herein. Cost-share and referrals are waived when the device is supplied by an eligible participating provider. A list of our dedicated participating durable medical equipment (DME) suppliers is provided below.
FEP (Federal Employee Program) members are excluded from this new coverage position.
*Self-funded customers can choose to opt out of the cost-share waiver.
Dedicated pulse oximetry providers
Independence is working with several dedicated participating pulse oximetry providers to supply equipment to our members.
If a patient satisfies the clinical coverage criteria in a facility (i.e., ED visit), the discharging physician should provide a prescription to the member with the contact information for one of our dedicated DME suppliers. The member – or medical personnel on behalf of the member – should call the DME supplier directly to arrange home delivery of the pulse oximeter.
Independence’s dedicated participating DME suppliers are:
- Apria (1-888-492-0010)
- Better Living Now (1-877-290-5186)
- Complete Medical Supplies (1-866-748-5151)
- Montgomery Medical (610-630-6357)
- Specialty Medical Products (610-644-1370)
Providers who supply consumer grade pulse oximetry devices for use in the home setting must report Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System (HCPCS) code E0445 along with Modifier NU (new durable medical equipment purchase) and the COVID-19 diagnosis code or diagnosis codes consistent with the symptoms of COVID-19.
Consumer grade pulse oximetry devices may be considered eligible for reimbursement, when supplied by a dedicated participating DME supplier, professional provider, or home health agency.
A complete list of codes for consumer grade pulse oximetry devices can be found within the policies outlined in the News Article, Respiratory Equipment and Related Supplies (updated June 11, 2020), found in the Commercial and Medicare Advantage News & Announcements sections of our Medical Policy Portal.
For more information about Independence’s position on COVID-19, please review the following resources: