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Mass. health insurers offer help during coronavirus crisis

The companies, led by Harvard Pilgrim, have collectively donated millions of dollars over the last two weeks.

Tom Croswell is the CEO of Tufts Health Plan.
Tom Croswell is the CEO of Tufts Health Plan.David L. Ryan/Globe Staff/David L Ryan, Globe Staff

The state’s biggest nonprofit health insurers are waiving copays and deductibles for COVID-19 treatments. But they’re also giving back to their communities in numerous ways, to help individuals and organizations deal with the financial repercussions of the coronavirus pandemic.

In the past two weeks, the state’s four largest insurers have collectively unveiled millions of dollars in community relief efforts.

Wellesley-based Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, for example, said its foundation is giving more than $3 million to COVID-19 relief efforts, spread across four New England states. That figure includes $1 million to local community service groups, to help them respond to the pandemic, and $500,000 to local nonprofits that assist older adults. Another $1 million is going to grants to provide food, transportation and other essentials.

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Tufts Health Plan, based in Watertown, said its foundation committed $1 million to various organizations affected by the coronavirus outbreak across four New England states. The first wave of recipients, totaling nearly $500,000, was identified last week; it includes a number of food banks and agencies that serve older people.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, based in Boston, committed $100,000 to the Boston Resiliency Fund and another $150,000 to similar relief efforts across the state, as well as $50,000 to various organizations with whom Blue Cross had to cancel employee volunteer projects. Among other things, Blue Cross launched an online giving platform for employees who want to contribute to COVID-19 efforts, and will match those gifts, dollar-for-dollar. Blue Cross is also redirecting $1.4 million of its existing 2020 charitable giving, toward COVID-19 support efforts, for a total of nearly $1.7 million so far.

Fallon Health, the smallest of the state’s four major nonprofit insurers, said it is pledging $25,000 to people and groups affected by the pandemic in the Worcester area, its home base, through the Worcester Together initiative.

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Jon Chesto can be reached at jon.chesto@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @jonchesto.