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This page offers all of Delaware Public Media's ongoing coverage of the COVID-19 outbreak and how it is affecting the First State. Check here regularly for the latest new and information.

Insurance Commissioner Navarro 'considering all options' to deal with COVID-19 crisis

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Delaware’s Department of Insurance says it’s considering all options to help Delawareans who lose insurance coverage during the novel coronavirus outbreak. 

Insurance Commissioner Trinidad Navarro says it’s difficult to know at this time how many people are losing coverage as a result of Gov. John Carney’s state of emergency order, which closes all businesses considered “non-essential.” 

Navarro says he is looking into the possibility of opening the Delaware Health Exchange to all Delawareans, but conversations with federal agencies have yet to occur. 

“We’re reviewing those options to see if we can potentially open up the exchange, but that’s something that is sort of just being tossed about at this point,” he said. “It has not happened. It requires, potentially, cooperation with our state, local and federal officials as well. That’s potentially another option.” 

Navarro points out many insurance plans are still providing coverage through the end of the month, and that there are options for those seeking to renew coverage while the emergency order is in effect.

“If they have a qualified health plan and they lose that plan through their employment, then they are eligible for either COBRA through their employer or signing up through the exchange, because it’s a ‘life changing event,’” said Navarro.

Navarro’s department also issued a bulletin last week requesting Delaware health insurers waive all prior authorization requirements for lab testing and future treatment of COVID-19. 

A number of insurance companies have taken that step to remove paperwork requirements and speed up the testing and treatment process. 

The bulletin also asks insurers to consider ceasing policy cancellations or nonrenewals when customers fail to pay during Delaware’s State of Emergency.

A spokesperson for Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield Delaware said in the midst of the constantly changing situation, Highmark intends to follow DOI guidance.