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Florida Blue Waives Cost-Sharing for COVID-19 Treatment

Posted By Charlotte Gill, Wednesday, April 1, 2020

 Florida Blue Waives Cost-Sharing for COVID-19 Treatment

Insurer offering personalized support for members hospitalized for treatment


JACKSONVILLE, Fla., March 31, 2020 – Florida Blue, the state’s leading health insurer, announced today it will waive cost-sharing through June 1 for its members who must undergo treatment for COVID-19, including in-patient hospital admissions.


The announcement impacts all Florida Blue members with Affordable Care Act, Medicare Advantage (excluding Part D drug plans) and other individual plans, as well as all fully insured employer group health plans. Florida Blue is also working with its self-funded ERISA employers to assist them in meeting the needs of their employees during the health crisis.


“Florida Blue is dedicated to the health of our members and the communities we serve. Many in our state are already facing financial uncertainty due to this health crisis, and we do not want the fear of health care costs preventing them from seeking potentially lifesaving treatment for COVID-19,” said Pat Geraghty, Florida Blue president and CEO.


Florida Blue is also offering personalized support from its Florida Blue Care Team at no additional cost to all members who are hospitalized for treatment of COVID-19. The Care Team will aid in the transition to home from the hospital by working hand-in-hand with physicians to ensure members receive the care and support they need at home. Florida Blue members will have dedicated nurses and other clinical professionals focused on helping them access community resources that help with transportation, food, finances and other social concerns.


For Medicare Advantage members, Florida Blue has a team of clinicians, community health workers and support staff to assist its members return safely to home after a hospital stay, ensuring they have the needed home health, the appropriate medications, follow up appointments, necessary transportation and support in accessing the full range of their benefits, including post-discharge meal delivery. 


The company is waiving prior authorization requirements for patients being transferred from inpatient acute hospital settings to post-acute care facilities (Long Term Acute Care Facilities, Skilled Nursing Facilities and Inpatient Rehabilitation) to help hospitals accelerate appropriate discharges and support bed capacity. Timely notification and review is still required from the post-acute facility to determine medical necessity of continued stay and ensure Florida Blue can assist with discharge planning for its members. Additionally, Florida Blue will work closely with providers and physicians to try to shield its members from being balanced billed (surprise billed) for any services related to COVID-19 treatment.


Virtual Member Support at Florida Blue Centers

Florida Blue Centers are available to provide virtual support to members or persons who have recently lost health coverage due to job loss. Neighborhood nurses, community specialists and local sales and service consultants are available to help with questions about COVID-19, testing site locations, community resources, navigating the health care system, finding virtual care options, checking enrollment eligibility and other concerns by calling 877-352-5830, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. local time, Monday through Friday, and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday.


Florida Blue members can also visit for the latest information on coronavirus or call the phone number on the back of their member ID card or 1-800-352-2583. Medicare members can call 1-800-926-6565 or visit


Premium Grace Period Extended Until May 31, 2020

Last week, Florida Blue announced it was implementing an extended grace period through May 31, 2020, for customers unable to pay premiums as a result of the COVID-19 health crisis that would otherwise have been subject to termination of coverage. The grace period applies to Affordable Care Act, Medicare Supplement, and other individual health plan members, as well as most of its employer group health plans.


Increased Access to Virtual Health Care

Florida Blue also increased virtual health access for its members in response to COVID-19. The insurer added no-cost access to Teladoc for its Medicare Advantage members and waived all copays for all its Affordable Care Act members and many employer group health plan members. Teladoc provides 24/7 virtual health care via phone, video or mobile app for non-emergency medical concerns.


Florida Blue has expanded its network of primary care doctors and specialists who are able to treat patients through a virtual visit at the regular office visit cost share during the crisis. Members can call their doctor to see if they offer virtual visits.


About Florida Blue

Florida Blue, Florida’s Blue Cross and Blue Shield company, has been providing health insurance to residents of Florida for more than 75 years. Driven by its mission of helping people and communities achieve better health, the company serves more than 5 million health care members across the state. In total, Florida Blue and its affiliated companies serve 27 million people in 35 states. Headquartered in Jacksonville, Fla., it is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. 


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Media Contact:

Christie Hyde DeNave

Mobile 321-247-2466

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Tags:  COVID-19  Florida Blue  Healthcare 

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Member Spotlight: South Florida Science Center and Aquarium

Posted By Charlotte Gill, Friday, March 27, 2020

Learning about science doesn’t have to stop just because we are limited in where we can go during the coronavirus crisis.


South Florida Science Center and Aquarium in West Palm Beach is still open – virtually. They offer many programs on their website related to science, technology, engineering and math.


We are spotlighting the Center this month, and asked Melinda Grenz, the director of marketing, to highlight their new virtual activities.

1) Explain what the Center offers the community.


Melinda Grenz: The South Florida Science Center and Aquarium provides curious minds of all ages with an entertaining and educational journey through the latest discoveries in science and technology.


Featuring more than 100 interactive exhibits, dozens of public programs and events, a fresh and saltwater aquarium, planetarium, conservation-themed miniature golf course and the world’s most advanced human brain exhibit, the South Florida Science Center offers a mind-opening experience for all!


2) What are your operations now during the coronavirus crisis?


Melinda Grenz: Although our Center is temporarily closed, our mission “to open every mind to science” continues through our new virtual programming.


We still strive to be a STEM education resource for your family and will offer weekly live science demos, aquarium programs, exhibit tours and more. These programs are designed to keep the next generation of learners engaged and plugged into the world of science, technology, engineering and math.


Learn all about our virtual science program at


3) What do you recommend families do to keep their children interested in science while schools are closed?


Melinda Grenz: Keeping your child engaged in science while school is out doesn’t have to be a chore. We recommend utilizing the fun and exciting new virtual technologies that organizations are starting to launch in our local community and world-wide. The programs we offer are on a weekly schedule so you can plan ahead and even tag along with science experiments from your very own home!


4) How has your membership to Nonprofits First helped your organization?


Melinda Grenz: We are very excited about our new membership with Nonprofits First. We plan to benefit from their education and professional development programs, accreditation standards, grant research assistance, volunteer outreach, and more. The networking events and award ceremonies will be icing on the cake!


Learn more about the South Florida Science Center and Aquarium here:




If you know a great story about a local nonprofit, please share it with Charlotte Gill, Nonprofits First’s director of development and business strategies. Her email is:

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Tags:  Charities  COVID-19  Membership  Nonprofit  Palm Beach County  STEM  Technology  Virtual Learning 

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Department of Labor - COVID-19 - New Laws

Posted By Charlotte Gill, Friday, March 27, 2020

Department of Labor - New Laws


The Families First Coronavirus Response Act requires that notice of the Act's provisions be posted in a conspicuous place on the employer's premises where notices are customarily posted. Download and share the official poster issued by the Department of Labor today.


For employees who are working remotely, employers may consider electronically circulating the notice.

Download File (PDF)

Tags:  COVID-19  Department of Labor  Employees  Human Resources 

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Fundraising During the Corona Outbreak: Answers to 5 Pressing Questions

Posted By Charlotte Gill, Thursday, March 19, 2020

Fundraising During the Corona Outbreak: Answers to 5 Pressing Questions

Amid all the bad news, there is one bright spot: Nonprofits that have been strengthening relationships with donors, communicating clearly and openly, and making the most of technology have been preparing for a crisis like this for a while.

Prioritizing these practices — even if you start now — and staying on top of your donors’ preferences will help you respond to destabilizing events, whether an epidemic, election, or natural disaster.

To help you provide donors with consistency and a common purpose during this crisis, here are answers to some key questions nonprofits are asking.

Is it tone-deaf to ask for money now or in the coming weeks?

Most of your donors are being negatively affected — albeit to varying extents — by the crisis. Your organization is probably better off waiting for them to regain clarity and stability before asking for gift commitments.

With the exception of emergency campaigns related to the crisis, we recommend deferring major solicitations at present. During the next few weeks, check in on donors to see how they and their families are holding up and share stories about the impact your organization is having during this crisis.

If a solicitation is in progress, ask donors how they want to proceed. If you had a solicitation planned, postpone it for four to eight weeks and then re-evaluate. When the time is right to ask, whether it is during the peak of the crisis or during recovery, here’s how to handle the conversation:

  • Begin by acknowledging the difficult situation that the coronavirus presents for all, especially those with significant investments in the financial markets.
  • Put your relationship first. Emphasize the long-term nature of your ties, and if a donor can’t commit to a gift, offer other ways to support the organization. Be prepared with specific examples such as participating in cultivation calls. Be there for them, and they will be there for you.
  • If appropriate, make your case for support, emphasize your long-term vision, and explain why your work needs support now. For instance, if you work with a vulnerable population that needs immediate help — such as the homeless or people with developmental disabilities — explain how your organization is helping.
  • Be flexible. Consider offering donors the option to defer a pledge payment or extend a payment schedule due to the economic uncertainty.

What should I do about my upcoming gala or fundraising event?

Think about how to go virtual; it could enable you to share content with a bigger audience. One organization that holds its yearly conference this month announced its first-annual "Virtual Mega Event" and touted the ability to participate from the comfort of home. The group took a gamble and announced a virtual-only conference before it had figured out all of the details. But it divided and conquered: Some staff members worked with advertisers to adapt their sponsorships and others hammered out the programming. It took just one week to convert the event.

If you planned to hold a silent auction or appeal during an in-person event, move it online using a platform such as BiddingForGood. While set-up is somewhat time-consuming, an online auction has several advantages. First, the website (and others like it) has its own pool of consumers searching for goods and services for which they can get a tax-deduction for the amount contributed that is above fair-market value. Attracting these new supporters can be a big benefit to organizations that are struggling to find new donors. Some other advantages: Virtual auctions reduce other work such as preparing signs and delivering items to a venue. Assisting with creation of a virtual auction can be a great way to engage volunteers, too.

If you do cancel an event, don’t automatically offer a refund. One synagogue handled cancellation of its communitywide holiday dinner after incurring all of the expenses. Its leaders were candid about the cost and offered three options to congregants who’d signed up: a full refund, a 50 percent refund, or a 100 percent donation. More than 80 percent of the congregation opted to donate the ticket cost.

How can I cultivate relationships when people won’t meet?

Zoom is your new best friend, or FaceTime, Skype, or WhatsApp video. Donors may view videoconferencing as more formal than a casual meet-up for coffee, so be sure to set a relaxed tone by opening your session by sharing an anecdote or by asking a few questions to break the ice. If you are not familiar with videoconferencing and feel uncomfortable, test the platform with friends or family to calm your nerves.

Continue to provide personal treatment. Consider software such as Zoom, Cisco Webex, Google Classrooms or Hangouts on Air, or Facebook Live to host virtual events and hold town-hall meetings to give key supporters updates on your work. A number of these platforms are offering premium services for free during the crisis. If your donors hesitate to use such programs, consider setting up a hotline or online chat to answer donors’ questions about using videoconferencing software.

Communicate with supporters via social media. Your donors will likely be spending more time online seeking updated news. Think creatively about how to get their attention through a mix of impact stories, polls and surveys, status updates, and entertainment.

Focus on social-media platforms or communication channels on which your nonprofit has the highest engagement. Use videos, infographics, and images online to continue demonstrating impact. Make sure your offerings look great and are functional on desktop and mobile. Repurpose and be resourceful. For communications content, not every story about impact needs to be new. Think about what your donors need from you. Reassurance? Comfort? Distraction? Use content you already have and even intersperse posts from other organizations that align with your mission.

How do I convey an ability to persevere through trying times?

Reassure donors that you still have exciting plans for the future, that your cause is operating from a place of optimism, despite the current uncertainty. While acknowledging that this crisis is unprecedented, share fiscal contingency plans to give donors confidence that you can weather a financial decline.

If your organization has a track record of persisting in the face of adversity, highlight it. A contingency plan may include tapping an endowment or reserves, partnering with other organizations to streamline services, or temporarily freezing non-essential programs. It is critical to be transparent with your donors.

Leaders should identify opportunities to address budget gaps if giving falls below anticipated levels. These contingency measures should be summarized in a short statement to be shared with donors both individually and through organizational communications. The statement should address how or whether the organization will:

  • Make up for any lost revenue or interest.
  • Pay back any loans secured or reinstate programs and services. It may ask for more from donors post-crisis.
  • Cut the budget if need be.
  • Assure donors you are making strategic choices to deliver your core programs and services.

How can I keep my donors engaged?

If you have volunteer work that can be done remotely, such as editing, artwork, or social-media promotion, seize the opportunity. Perhaps you could build a social-media committee to help boost your content and broaden your online constituency. This could be a good opportunity to engage younger constituents and introduce fresh perspectives and creativity to your work. If you do tap supporters for this, be sure to properly thank and recognize their contributions.

While we all prefer predictability, there are times in our lives — personal, communal, and now global, when chaos encroaches. Humankind is resilient. Nonprofits exist to offer hope, help people cope, and make the world better. Let’s use this challenging time to do just that.

Rachel Cyrulnik, Chani Adams, Lauren Cotton, and Sharon Weiss Greenberg are part of the team at RAISE Nonprofit Advisors, a fundraising consulting firm.


As the coronavirus crisis deepens, The Chronicle is providing free access to our breaking-news updates on its impact on the nonprofit world. It’s your support that makes our work possible.

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Tags:  Fundraising 

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Community Resources (COVID-19 Response)

Posted By Charlotte Gill, Thursday, March 19, 2020
Dear Community Partners,
Please share these resources regarding hunger relief for school-aged children and families, the emergency business damage assessment survey, free counseling resources as well as other pertinent information regarding COVID-19 to assist during this challenging time.
Hunger Relief

Thirty (30) sites (listed below) be be open to provide breakfast and lunch to all children ages 18 years and younger from Monday, March 16, 2020 through Friday, March 20, 2020.  Meal service will be grab-and-go from 11:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m..  Students must be present to receive a meal.

Additionally, below is what a few of our partners:
  • Feeding South Florida (FSF) is working with us to provide family meal boxes of food at the 30 sites for families of our students receiving our meals. This support from FSF will be ONLY given out on Tuesday, March 17th and Friday, March 20th. Please refer to this flyer.  Direct any questions to
  • Boca Helping Hands (BHH) is maintaining a modified operations throughout this crisis and is available for qualified families to receive food through the TEFAP commodities program.  All they would need to do is to come to one of their distribution points (East Boca and Boynton Beach) and fill out a two-page form and they would be entitled to a supplemental bag of groceries and frozen meat and/or fresh produce, when available.  The East Boca location is found at 1500 NW 1st Court, Boca Raton; and the Boynton Beach location is First Baptist Church Boynton Beach, 301 N Seacrest Blvd., Boynton Beach. Hours of operation are East Boca - 9:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. from Monday through Saturday, and Boynton Beach: 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m., Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.
  • Living Hungry (Maura Plante) - she is working with small local farmers to distribute boxes of farm fresh produce to the community.  One of her lead partners is Lox Farms along with others.
IMPORTANT NOTE:  Unfortunately, the School District is not permitted by the USDA to provide meals during Spring Break as it is an anticipated closure.  There may be an opportunity to have some of these schools open for community organizations to pass food out during the week of March 23, 2020 through March 26, 2020 (Monday - Thursday).  If you are interested please email as soon as possible, and copy Mrs. Allison Monbleau as well at (
Business Damage Assessment Survey

Governor Ron DeSantis has announced the activation of the Business Damage Assessment survey to assess the impact of COVID-19 on Florida's local business operations. The survey, managed by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO), will evaluate businesses affected by COVID-19 and the impacts the virus has had on the local economy so actions to implement appropriate relief programs can begin.
"Gathering information about the impact COVID-19 has on Florida businesses and industries will be invaluable to the state's efforts in coordinating our response," said Governor DeSantis. "It is important that we understand the total impact COVID-19 has on businesses to ensure that we access the resources that may be available."

Free Counseling Support Helpline During COVID-19 Health Crisis

A bilingual, tollfree, 24-7 helpline is now open for all Floridians - no matter whether they are Florida Blue members or not - to help individuals cope with the stress and anxiety they may be feeling given the COVID-19 public health care crisis.  This is in collaboration Florida Blue's partners at New Directions Behavioral Health.
This information is also posted on the Florida Blue blog: or download the flyer here.
Other COVID-19 Related Resources

Please send us any information that you would like us to share with our community.
We will continue to provide information to you as situations arise. 
Jessica Cecere
Chief Executive Officer

Tags:  Charities  Community  Hunger Relief  Leadership  Palm Beach County  Resources 

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