Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield has temporarily waived its "actively at work" requrement for group policies; Native American populations, some of the nation's most vulerable, are ill-equipped to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic; rates of sexually transmitted infections increase among pregnant women.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey announced it will waive its “actively at work” requirement for group policies. The change will remain in place for the next 60 days and allows employers to continue coverage for employees who have been laid off, furloughed, or had their hours drastically reduced. Health insurance contracts usually require that employees covered by group plans must be continuously active at work. Horizon noted that the waiver may be extended as they continue to monitor the pandemic.Concerns are growing that the nation’s Native American population won’t be able to face challenges wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic. As some of the nation’s most vulnerable populations, Native Americans have some of the highest rates of chronic diseases in the country, including diabetes, heart disease and lung disease, Searchlight New Mexico reports. As of March 23, 29 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Navajo Nation, which spans 27,425 square miles of remote New Mexico. Compounding the issue, the Indian Health Service has appeared on the Government Accountability Office’s “high risk” list, due to its poor history of providing needed medical care. A new report from the CDC found rates of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) have increased in pregnant women between 2016 and 2018. STIs on the rise, including chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis, could be transferred from mothers to infants, resulting in birth and developmental complications. Specifically, rates of syphilis increased by 34%, rates of gonorrhea increased by 16%, and rates of chlamydia increased by 2%. The increases are consistent with rising prevalence of STIs in the general population, the CDC notes.