The State System COVID-19 Emergency Paid Sick Leave Program 2021
On December 31, 2020, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) expired. The State System have taken action to continue this important benefit and provide up to 10 days Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL) for reasons related to COVID-19. Those provisions were scheduled to apply​ from January 1, 2021 through December 31, 2021, or the expiration of Governor Wolf's declaration of disaster emergency, whichever occurred sooner. ​ The Governor's disaster emergency declaration has expired, and as a result, the State System COVID-19 Emergency Sick Leave Program ended effective August 1, 2021.


Important Update: Coronavirus (COVID-19) and your Health Benefits

To assist you and your family during the coronavirus pandemic, the State System is announcing important benefit coverage updates for coverage within the State System Health Plan:

Coronavirus Vaccine 
Regardless of the vaccine version selected​ or the location that you receive the vaccine, there is no cost to members enrolled in a State System sponsored health plan.

Coronavirus Inpatient Treatment - Cost Sharing Waived

For those in the Highmark PPO - Members who require in-network, inpatient hospital care for COVID-19 will not incur any deductibles, coinsurance, or copays through December 31, 2021.

​For those in the UPMC HMO - Members who require in-network, inpatient COVID-19 treatment will not incur any deductibles, coinsurance, or copays through July 20, 2021.

Coronavirus Diagnostic Testing Coverage - Cost Sharing Waived

For those in the Highmark PPO - Coronavirus diagnostic testing is covered 100% when recommended by a medical professional through December 31, 2021. This means no deductible (or coinsurance, if applicable) will apply for this testing. Further information can be found on the Highmark Blue Shield Website.

For those in the UPM​C HMO - UPMC Health Plan is waiving any applicable deductibles for coronavirus diagnostic testing when ordered by a member's treating medical provider. Further information can be found on the UPMC Health Plan website.

Virtual Doctor Visits (Telemedicine)​

For those in the Highmark PPO - The Highmark Blue Shield PPO plan includes an in-network telemedicine benefit, which allows you to have a live virtual visit with a healthcare provider. Setting up a virtual visit is easy. Click here for step-by-step instructions. Through June 30,​ 2021, the $10.00 virtual visit member copay will be waived for Highmark's telemedicine vendors listed below:

For those in the UPMC HMO - Your UPMC HMO Plan already includes UPMC Anywhere Care, which allows you to have a live virtual visit with a healthcare provider. Effective immediately and through July​​ 20, 2021, UPMC HMO Plan will waive the $20.00 member copay for AnywhereCare visits.

​​Teleaddiction Services through Bright Heart Health with Specialist Copay

In response to COVID-19, Highmark has launched teleaddiction services through Bright Heart Health for members residing in Delaware, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia only.  Bright Heart is available 24x7 so members can receive treatment right in their home, by way of PCP referral, warm emergency room handoff or member self-referral.  Bright Heart and teleaddiction is intended to prevent an increase in substance use deaths from overdose or medical complications arising from the extended confinement, stressors at home and the following: 

  • Individuals who have their treatment journey interrupted by access issues to physician or methadone clinic risk relapse and overdose

  • Facilities may turn people away if they have an outbreak, placing them at risk of relapse and overdose
  • Individuals who are ready to access treatment cannot easily because of stay at home order.

Please note that even though this service is provided in a “telemedicine format" it is NOT part of the telemedicine benefit. Bright Heart Health employs addiction specialists and is considered a specialist.  As such the specialist cost sharing will apply accordingly.  Refer to the flyer  for more information.

​Phone 844-884-4474

For Employees who have the PEBTF Health Plan, please review the information directly on the PEBTF website. 

Coronavirus -​ ​Resources and Support for You and Your Family

We realize this is a difficult time for our employees and their families, and we care about your health and well-being.  We wanted to remind you of a valuable employee benefit available to State System employees.  The State Employee Assistance Program (SEAP) provides confidential support services and resources to you, your family members and anyone living in your household. 

SEAP is free and available to you and your family to help you deal with emotional or family concerns, depression, alcohol and drug abuse and other behavioral health matters. SEAP also provides free telephonic financial and legal consultation, as well as discounted legal services.  Their professional counselors are available 24/7 at 1-800-692-7459 or online at (access code: Pennsylvania).

The SEAP Specialists will provide immediate assistance, and can refer you to an in-network provider for a no-cost consultation.  All SEAP members are entitled to 4 free face-to-face sessions with a network provider, per issue, per calendar year.

SEAP also offers you the option of Virtual Visits, where you can talk with and see a counselor in the privacy and comfort of your own home.  Call 1-800-692-7459 to speak with a SEAP Specialist and learn more.

In direct response to the coronavirus situation, SEAP has added additional tools and resources on their website, including:

  • Techniques for coping with anxiety
  • Stress-reduction strategies
  • Tips for helping children cope

Please don't suffer alone – if you need support, reach out to SEAP today.

For more information about SEAP benefits, click here.