Important Howard University COVID-19 Employee Benefits Updates

This page is summary of resources related to employee physical and mental health. Please also visit:

Important Cigna Directives

  • Effective August 1st, 2020, Cigna’s standard policy is to not cover COVID-19 antibody (serology) tests when used for non-diagnostic purposes, such as surveillance or return-to-work. This means if the test is not being done because the customer is symptomatic, or has been exposed, it is not considered medically necessary.  If the lab is contracted with the plan, you should not be billed for the denial. If you receive a bill please ensure that you review your explanation of benefits (EOB) for the claim and your EOB should state that there is no customer liability.
  • Through October 31, 2020, we will make it easier for customers with immunosuppression, chronic conditions or who are experiencing transportation challenges to be treated virtually by in-network physicians with those capabilities.
  • For those enrolled in the Consumer Driven Health Plan with a Health Savings Account - We will ensure delivery of your medications – there is no need to order refills earlier than usual, or to stock up. Cigna is providing free home delivery up to 90 day supply for RX maintenance medications available through Cigna's Home Delivery and all customers have 24/7 access to speak directly to a pharmacists if they have any questions or needs around their prescriptions.
  • During times like these, many may experience feelings that can become overwhelming. That’s why Cigna is providing resources free of charge for all customers, clients, and communities to help manage high stress and anxiety. We’ve opened a 24-hour toll-free help line (1-866-912-1687) to connect people directly with qualified clinicians who can provide support and guidance. More information can be found on

You can call Cigna anytime:

  • Cigna is available at any time to answer your calls, provide support, and assist you with any questions you have about your coverage or prescription by calling Cigna 24/7 at: 800.233-4076
  • As always, for questions about benefits and coverage, customers may visit or call the toll-free number at 800.233-4076for one-on-one direct access to assistance any time day or night.




Early Intervention Screening Tool

Cigna launched, through a partnership with Buoy Health, an early intervention screening tool to help customers and members understand their personal risks for COVID-19.  The digital tool immediately triages symptoms and recommends next steps for care, while also relieving demand on an over-burdened health care system.   This is a convenient “first step” action for customers with questions about potential COVID-19 symptoms.  The Symptom Checker tool incorporates guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to help categorize people’s risk level as low, medium, or high and make the appropriate recommendations.


Cigna customers can also access the free tool by visiting and

"COVID-19 is putting unprecedented strains on patients, providers and health systems," said Andrew Le, MD, CEO and Co-founder, Buoy Health. "These partnerships are designed to help ease these capacity strains – connecting with individuals before they seek care and ensuring they are triaged appropriately to improve the patient and clinician experience and connectivity to care."


Cigna Pharmacy Readiness

Cigna is well prepared to ensure we can meet the medication needs of our members so they can stay healthy.

  • We are able to mitigate shortages with our long-established risk monitoring tool that maps the origins of drug products around the globe and allows us to monitor supplies and adjust our inventory procurement.
  • Customers can use free home delivery for up to a 90-day supply of prescription maintenance medications. No need to go to the pharmacy.
  • Pharmacists are available 24/7 to answer questions, offer counseling and support, and assist with prescription orders.
  • Members are encouraged to refill their medications responsibly. No need to refill prescriptions early.
  • Effective immediately, we are extending prior authorizations for covered medications. Customers with an active Cigna Pharmacy prior authorization, for traditional or specialty medications with expiration between April 1 and June 1, 2020, will automatically have the prior authorization extended for 90 days.

Telemedicine with Cigna

Telemedicine (MDLive and AmWell) –

Cigna is making it easier for customers to be treated virtually for routine medical examinations by in-network physicians.  Available 24/7, this medical care can be received via your mobile device or computer without an appointment.  You can get a prescription sent directly to your local pharmacy if needed.  Appointments take approximately 15 minutes and are a effective, efficient and safe way to receive non-emergency medical care (ex: allergies, asthma, bronchitis, cold & flu, diarrhea, ear infections, fever, gout, infections, migraines/headaches, pink eye, sore throat, stomach ache and migraines/headaches) without having to leave your home.

In addition, if you have cold-like symptoms and are not sure if you could have COVID-19, a virtual medical visit can assist with reviewing your symptoms and advise you about appropriate treatment or next steps. 

As a Cigna member, Telehealth is offered through two providers and the cost is the same as an office visit co-pay (or $55 if you have not met your deductible and you are enrolled in the H.S.A plan).  You can register and make an appointment on, on the myCigna app, or by calling:

  • MDLive – (888) 726-3171 
  • AmWell  - (855) 667-9722

Virtual Visits with Cigna

Cigna is also making it easier for our participating in-network physicians with virtual care capabilities to help Cigna customers who are chronically ill or immunosuppressed to transition from in-person visits to virtual care through the standard office visit benefit. By expanding this support, Cigna is taking enhanced measures to protect our most vulnerable patients by mitigating exposure risks and alleviating transportation barriers.

Prevention is Key

  • To fight germs and keep them from spreading, cough or sneeze into a tissue, or your elbow
  • Share a smile, instead of a handshake or hug
  • Wash your hands thoroughly, for a minimum of 20 seconds, and clean shared surfaces
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick, and try not to touch your mouth, nose, and eyes

What to do when you feel Ill

  • Reach out to your health care provider. If your doctor wants you to be tested for the virus, it will be covered at no cost to anyone covered on your Cigna medical plan
  • At®, you can talk with a doctor or nurse, 24/7, without having to leave home (refer back to virtual care section and options), or if your provider provides you the option of meeting them through a virtual “office visit” this will be covered.
  • It’s important to avoid exposing others to your illness – even if you feel up to going out, you could pose a risk to someone who lacks your resilience
  • For any questions about testing, or what to do if you are ill, or any guidance you are seeking, the CDC web-site has easy to follow resources.  For example, for testing, take a look at this section on their web-site:
  • Here section on symptoms is also helpful:


Access to Testing Sites

This is the one area that there is not good communication on to directly provide information. As you are aware there is a testing shortage at this time.There is no standard way to access testing across the country. Each state, city, county has different resources and testing sites which, can include drive by off-site special locations, outside doctor’s offices, on Hospital parking lots, etc.   CDC is recommending that your first step is to call your primary provider and follow their instructions.  Not all providers can perform the test at this time but they will now where to send patients if they believe they should be tested at that time.  They are not recommending anyone walk up to a hospital and ask to be tested, especially if they are asymptomatic.  If you do not have a physician (primary doctor), you can make a virtual appointment with MDLive and AmWell, or contact your local State Department for guidance.

Best direction we are providing at this time is to visit the CDC website  


Additional Resources Through Healthy Rewards

  • Fitness: Daily BurnCigna customers can access Daily Burn’s online video library of over 1,000 workouts for 60 days (vs 30 days) for a free trial and then a reduced subscription of $14.95.  Daily Burn is a great online “fitness center” and creates a great substitute to allow people to stay active even if they can't leave their home. Customers sign up via and link into Daily Burns website.  As always, they will enroll with their credit card and no fees hit their card until after 60 days.  The 60 day offer will be available until April 20, 2020 and then revert back to the 30 day trial on myCigna.  To access: myCigna < Wellness Tab <Healthy Rewards Discounts < Exercise & Fitness Tab
  • Nutrition: Mom's MealsMom's Meals is a leading nationwide provider of refrigerated, affordable meals delivered right to your home.  Shipping is free for yourself or an Aging Family Member.  Whether you have special dietary needs or are simply trying to manage your current healthy weight, Mom's Meals is sure to deliver.  To access Cigna’s partnership with Mom’s Meals, members can go through MyCigna: MyCigna<Wellness Tab<Healthy Rewards – Discount Program<Weight & Nutrition
  •  Mental Health Support-The Behavioral Health program includes services to help manage life events; 3 face-to-face visits with a licensed mental health professional in Cigna’s EAP network, Virtual Care visits through MDLive, free veteran support line, first responder support, and lifestyle management coaching.  We also have two mental health programs for those wanting to access mobile app solutions:
    • iPrevailClinician-designed stress management therapeutics platform, interactive video lessons, and one-on-one coaching (see attached flyer).  Wellness & Incentives
    •  Happify Healthscience-based activities and games on a website and mobile app to overcome negative thoughts and stress and more than 300 guided meditations.  
    • To access both, visit<Wellness & Incentives<Scroll down to Your Total Wellness – Stress<Happify tile or the iPrevail tile


For Employees Not Enrolled in Cigna's Plan

  • Coronavirus Resource CenterMedical resources, information, and helpful links to keep you up-to-date and informed. 
  • Last week Cigna’s EAP team shared to the public a webcast “Managing Anxiety: Coronavirus Fears & Concerns” webinar.  Please share with your employees. Full webinar presentation (Viewing time 47:39)
  • YouTube videos: Cigna Coaches Corner highlights our coaches discussing different topics in a bite-sized format. These videos are great ways to introduce or promote our coaching resources and is a good time to remind employees of this free resource for members. Maybe to keep things fresh, one idea could be to share a video each week with information about how to enroll in different coaching options.
  • Informational and resource pieces for you to share with your employees. 
  • Reassuring Children about Coronavirus Flyer
  • Self-Care Strategies flyer
  • Wellness On-Demand Webcasts Flyer 2020
  • You can call MDLive or AmWell and access a telehealth visit and pay their direct-to-consumer rate of MDLive - $75 and AmWell - $69.

Additional Resources

Cigna Health Information Line Mom's Meals i-Prevail COVID-19 FAQ COVID-19 FAQs Happify Daily Burn Finding a Doctor or Dentist Know Before You Go Accessing MyCigna Reassuring Children About COVID-19 Self-Care Strategies What to Do if You are Sick with COV-ID 19 On-Demand Wellness Webcasts COVID-19 Podcast