Carnegie Mellon University

Benefits and COVID-19

The following updates have been made to the CMU Medical Plans in response to the COVID-19 emergency.

COVID-19 Testing*

Testing is covered 100% for CMU employees and their dependents enrolled in CMU medical plans:

  • Active employee medical plans
  • Local 95 medical plan
  • Medicare Advantage Plans (Retiree Medical)

Testing guidelines:

  • Coverage applies to the diagnostic testing of COVID-19 as well as antibody testing.
  • There are currently no limits to the number of tests; however, the testing is based on medical necessity (diagnosis or suspicion of exposure to COVID-19).
  • You must have a physician referral for testing. Most testing sites are also by appointment only.
  • Please refer to the carrier links below for more information on COVID-19 testing and locations in your area.

*subject to change due to updates to CMS guidelines

Telemedicine and Virtual Medical Provider Visits**

Due to COVID-19, carriers are waiving member co-payment/cost share for telemedicine, telephonic and virtual provider visits (i.e., any non-physical visit with your medical provider including primary physician, pediatrician, specialists, etc.):

  • Visits do not need to be related to COVID-19 to have co-payments/cost share waived. 
  • Members should work with their existing provider to set up a visit via phone or virtual meeting service such as Zoom or FaceTime.

Carrier Information:

  • Aetna:
    • $0 co-payment for all telemedicine/virtual visits until August 31, 2021
  • Highmark:
    • Member co-payment/cost share waived on all telemedicine/virtual visits with in-network providers until August 31, 2021
  • UPMC Health Plan:
    • Member co-payment/cost share waived on all telemedicine/virtual visits with in-network providers until August 31, 2021

**Dates subject to change/extension

For more information from the CMU medical plan carriers, please refer to the COVID-19 resources listed on the plan websites:

As the COVID-19 outbreak and its impact continue to evolve, we are taking steps to provide assistance to CMU faculty and staff members with their Spending Account Plans:

Health Care Flexible Spending Accounts (HCFSA)

  • As a result of the CARES Act, which allows changes to HCFSAs, the CMU HCFSA plan has been updated to make over-the-counter drugs and medicines eligible for reimbursement from HCFSAs without a prescription. In addition, menstrual products are now considered a qualified medical expense. These changes are effective for purchases made after December 31, 2019.
  • The coverage grace period for the 2020 HCFSA plan year has been extended through December 31, 2021. This means that any HCFSA-eligible expense incurred between January 1, 2020 and December 31, 2021 can be paid for using your 2020 plan year funds.
    • The deadline to submit claims for eligible expenses for the 2020 plan year has also been extended. You now have until June 30, 2022 to submit claims using the 2020 plan year HCFSA. 
    • If you elected to enroll in the HCFSA for 2021, the 2020 plan year balance will be used before your 2021 HCFSA funds are used for reimbursement.
  • In the event that your 2021 HCFSA plan year election is affected by circumstances related to the COVID pandemic, you may contact the HR Service Center to request a change. In order to be eligible, you must provide documentation of the facts and circumstances of your situation to ensure that the change falls within the permitted guidelines. 

Dependent Care Reimbursement Accounts (DCRA)

  • The coverage grace period for the 2020 DCRA plan year has been extended through December 31, 2021. This means that any DCRA-eligible expense incurred between January 1, 2020 and December 31, 2021 can be paid for using your 2020 plan year funds.
    • The deadline to submit claims for eligible expenses for the 2020 plan year has also been extended. You now have until June 30, 2022 to submit claims using the 2020 plan year DCRA. 
    • If you elected to enroll in the DCRA for 2021, the 2020 plan year balance will be used before your 2021 DCRA funds are used for reimbursement.
  • Changes to DCRAs in the middle of the plan year resulting from the closure of childcare centers or the inability of home childcare providers to attend to children due to COVID-19 can be allowed. If your dependent care expenses are affected, you may contact the HR Service Center to request a change. In order to be eligible, you must provide documentation of the facts and circumstances of your situation to ensure that the change falls within the permitted guidelines. 

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