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COVID-19 Health Plan & Leave Information

If you are a participant in the AU medical plan, both Kaiser Permanente and CareFirst are offering waivers for expenses that are related to the diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19.

Kaiser Permanente

COVID-19 Vaccines

Updated December 14, 2020

After many months, a COVID-19 vaccine seems to be on the horizon. As we wait for the first vaccine to become available, please continue taking necessary steps to stay safe and healthy. Meanwhile, you can hear a recorded message in English and Spanish regarding the latest COVID-19 vaccine information by calling the Kaiser Permanente National COVID-19 Hotline, 1-855-550-0951, anytime, day or night. 

COVID-19 Vaccines FAQs

Will Kaiser Permanente be doing its own evaluation of the safety and effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccine?

Yes. When a COVID-19 vaccine receives an Emergency Use Authorization from the FDA, that vaccine will also be released with safety and efficacy data that will be closely reviewed by our infectious disease and other clinical experts, along with state and federal public health officials.

Who will be eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will oversee distribution of the vaccine throughout the United States and will make recommendations about which groups of people should get it first. State officials will use the CDC’s guidelines to decide which groups will get the vaccine first in their states.

Federal officials have announced that health care personnel and residents of long-term care facilities should be prioritized for the first vaccinations.
There will be a limited supply available when the first vaccine is approved. We’ll offer it to people who meet the criteria in each phase of the prioritization process.

Will there be a cost to Kaiser Permanente members for the COVID-19 vaccine?

No. Kaiser Permanente won’t charge its members for the vaccine. 


  • CareFirst Coronavirus Resource Center
  • Telemedicine: Options and resources for telemedicine are based on a provider's office capabilities. Your provider’s practice has been advised by CareFirst to use its own telemedicine capabilities (audio/video) during this time.
  • Advice nurse: 1-800-535-9700
  • Video calls: Visit to register

COVID-19 Vaccines

Updated December 14, 2020

The FDA has authorized the emergency use of the first COVID-19 vaccine, manufactured by Pfizer. Here’s what we know now.

  • Initial supplies of the vaccine will be limited. Most states will distribute it in phases, with high-risk populations like healthcare workers and nursing home residents addressed first. As the vaccine becomes more readily available, each state will communicate when and where it is being offered. 
  • Once it is available to the general public, employees will pay nothing for any authorized COVID-19 vaccine.

CareFirst will update AU as more information becomes available.

COVID-19 Cost Share Waiver Information for Participants

Effective Date
for duration of pandemic
Service Cost Share Waiver
must be related to COVID-19? 
In-Network Out-of-Network
2/4/2020 Diagnostic test for COVID-19 YES Member costs waived for deductibles, copays, and coinsurance CareFirst/AU pays 100% up to the allowed amount, but member can be balance billed
2/4/2020 Visits associated with diagnostic testing, regardless of setting YES Member costs waived for deductibles, copays, and coinsurance CareFirst/AU pays 100% up to the allowed amount, but member can be balance billed
2/4/2020 Treatment of COVID-19, regardless of setting YES Member costs waived for deductibles, copays, and coinsurance CareFirst/AU pays 100% up to the allowed amount, but member can be balance billed
3/16/2020 CareFirst Video Visits NO -
Applies to all services
Member costs waived for deductibles, copays, and coinsurance N/A - Care received through CareFirst Video Visit is considered in-network
3/16/2020 Telephone consultation with PCP, OB/GYN, family practice, pediatrics, nurse practitioner NO -
Applies to all services
Not subject to deductibles, copays, or coinsurance Not covered

Express Scripts for CareFirst Participants

Express Scripts is granting CVS and Walgreens (via their Walgreens Express™ delivery program) a limited out-of-network delivery exceptions and will permit these retail pharmacies to provide free home delivery of prescriptions to Express Scripts members in a manner that would otherwise be prohibited.

This agreement is solely due to the COVID-19 pandemic and will be in place for 30 days, upon which time it will be revisited by Express Scripts to determine if it is still necessary.

The exception went into place for CVS the week of March 16 and for Walgreens the week of March 23. All CVS and Walgreens retail locations have been notified.

How can a member request delivery from their CVS or Walgreens retail pharmacy?


Members can request delivery in the following ways:

  1. Mobile web: Accessible through the "Order Ready" text message when a prescription is ready for pickup. The member simply clicks the link and requests delivery. Member must enroll in text messages from CVS.
  2. CVS App: Similar to mobile web, but no text messaging requirement.
  3. Call your local pharmacy: Members should note that with this option, they may experience longer-than-average wait times.


Members must be enrolled in Walgreens Express™ delivery program. The member should opt-in to receive text messages. When the prescription is ready for pickup, the member will receive a text, which will offer them the option of delivery.

Important details about the CARES Act as it relates to your health care flexible spending account (FSA)

  • Effective date: The bill is retroactively effective as of January 1, 2020.
  • Eligible items: Thelist of eligible products that can be purchased using your health care FSA has been expanded to permanently include:
    • Over-the-counter (OTC) drugs and medicines like cold medicines and fever reducers. These products no longer require a prescription to be reimbursed through a pre-tax account.
    • Menstrual care products like pads, tampons, liners, cup sponge, or similar products.
  • Merchants will need time to implement: With more than 20K new products to enter in their point-of-sale systems, merchants will likely need a little time, possibly until the end of April or beginning of May, to get their systems fully updated with the new list of eligible products.

Members can submit manual claims: In the meantime, CYC participants can submit manual claims for reimbursement if they purchase any of the newly added items. Additionally, they can re-submit previously denied claims for items purchased after January 1, 2020 that are now eligible as part of the CARES Act.

COVID-19 Benefits Email and Link Information

Following are key email, website, and phone information for our benefit plan vendors. For general questions about our benefits, please email and your question will be routed to the benefits team member who can best assist.

COVID-19 Benefits Contact Information Printable PDF

Health Plans

For questions relating to health plan benefits or claims, telemedicine services, or nurse advice assistance.


Phone: 800-628-8549
Nurse Advice: 800-535-9700

Express Scripts (Rx plan with CareFirst)

Phone: 877-486-5984


Phone: 301-468-6000
24-hour nurse line (DC): 703-359-7878
24-hour nurse line (outside of DC): 800-777-7904

Counseling and Emergency Loan Requests

For setting up a call with our FSAP counselor (Dale Rampell) or applying for an emergency loan.

Counseling Services

  • To connect with the FSAP counselor, email
  • To connect with a BHS Care Coordinator, call 800-327-2251 or visit the MyBHS portal and enter username: AU to connect via Live Chat or request services through an online form

Emergency Loan Request


Retirement Plans

For questions about your retirement account, requesting a loan or withdrawal, or scheduling a one-on-one consultation with a retirement plan consultant.


Phone: 800-343-0860
Phone consultation scheduling: 800-642-7131 or visit


Phone: 800-842-2252
Phone consultation scheduling: 800-732-8353 or visit

Leave Reporting

For reporting a COVID-19 diagnosis, questions about a need for leave, or applying to Prudential for a leave that will go beyond two weeks.

Faculty/Staff member’s COVID-19 Diagnosis reporting to AU Employee Relations team


Leave-Related Questions


Short Term Disability for absence expected to go beyond 2 weeks

Contact to alert AU:
Contact to open a claim with Prudential: 877-367-7781

Elder and Dependent Back Up Care Services

For setting up back up care for a child or adult dependent in order for you to work.

Bright Horizons

Phone: 877-242-2737

COVID-19 Leave

To request a leave donation

If you or a qualified family member, as defined in the Leave Share policy, has a flu-related illness, please contact Human Resources at 202-885-3836 or for assistance with requesting leave donations.

Leave donations are available to:

  • Full-time staff who have exhausted or is likely to exhaust their sick leave;
  • Part-time staff are also eligible for leave donations under the COVID-19 circumstances.

Check your leave balances on the myAU portal.

Short term disability

If you have a serious illness expected to last more than 2 weeks, please contact Prudential to file a claim. Notify Human Resources of your need for leave and obtain detailed short term disability benefits information by calling 202-885-3836 or emailing

Report COVID-19 Diagnosis

Faculty or Staff

If you or a family member have been diagnosed with COVID-19, or you are required to work on-site but are experiencing cold or flu symptoms, follow instructions to self-report and more on the AU Forward portal.

View AU Forward Portal

Seeking Dependent Care Resources?

Bright Horizons® provides emergency back-up dependent care when you experience a break down in your regular care. Resources include a nationwide network of child care centers and in-home care agencies, and additional family support services.

Bright Horizons' Resources