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We’re answering member questions about coronavirus (COVID-19) coverage

Update, March 30:

For the latest information about the COVID-19 pandemic and how we’re supporting our members, visit BCBSTupdates.com/member-faq.

Update, March 17:

If your pharmacy benefits are covered through BlueCross, we’re allowing early refills on most medications, and we also encourage 90-day fills for chronic medications.

Update, March 12:

We’re offering members who have our PhysicianNow service no-cost consultations now through April. 30. This allows you to see a provider without leaving your home during the COVID-19 health risk. For members of self-funded groups, check with your employer about your copays.

Update, March 9:

Four COVID-19 diagnoses have now been confirmed in the state of Tennessee. Cases in Shelby County (Memphis area) and in Davidson County (Nashville area) were confirmed this weekend, and another in Middle Tennessee on Monday.

BlueCross will cover vaccines developed and approved to treat COVID-19 when available. Member cost-sharing may apply based on benefit plan.

For the latest updates, visit the Tennessee Department of Health’s website

Update, March 6:

If you’re a BlueCross member in insured group, individual, Medicare Advantage and Medicaid plans, you can be tested at no cost to you if your provider approves FDA-approved COVID-19 testing. Employers who offer self-funded plans have the option to include COVID-19 testing as a preventive benefit without cost-sharing for their employees.

If you show symptoms of COVID-19, remember to contact your provider first before visiting their office or an emergency room to lower the risk of infecting others.

Original story, March 5:

Plan members have access to the care they need

It’s been more than a month since coronavirus – known as COVID-19 – was declared a public health emergency of international concern by the World Health Organization, and the number of reported cases continues to rise globally and around the United States.

Tennessee now has its first confirmed case of COVID-19, and BlueCross wants its members to know we’re here with answers and support. We’re actively working to ensure our health plan members have access to the best COVID-19 care possible. 

“Our first priority is the health of our members and the communities we serve,” says Andrea Willis, M.D., Chief Medical Officer. “We’re working to remove any barriers to appropriate testing for COVID-19. We want our members to get in touch with their doctor or PhysicianNow, our telehealth service, if they feel unwell, so they can be appropriately referred for lab tests rather than to self-refer.”

“We can’t stress getting in touch with a doctor first enough, because it is safer to take that step rather than going to an emergency room or urgent care clinic where they may infect others.”

FAQ and updates for BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee members

Q: I’m experiencing a fever, cough or trouble breathing and have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 or someone at risk of it. What do I do?

It’s best to take some safety measures. The first step is to stay home and separate yourself from other people or animals as much as possible. That’ll help keep germs from spreading until you can get advice from a doctor.

We recommend you call your provider’s office and tell them your symptoms. If they think you need to be tested, they can give you instructions where to go and what to do. That’ll help keep the risk down of others getting sick. If you don’t have a regular doctor, you can call your local health department.

Q: Will the COVID-19 test be covered by my health plan?

Yes. We’ll cover the FDA-approved test, as well as those currently pending FDA approval, if your doctor recommends it. We’re also waiving member fees for testing for our fully insured members — even if the lab is outside our network. For members of self-funded groups where your employer covers the costs of your claims, please check with them about any copay or cost share you might have in or out of network. 

Q: Where can I get tested for COVID-19?

We recommend you call your provider for a list of COVID-19 FDA-approved testing locations. It’s better for you to stay home and call them rather than visit their office, to prevent exposure to others.

Q: Is BlueCross covering the cost of treatment of COVID-19? 

Yes. We’ll cover any relevant treatment your provider recommends under your usual benefit and cost share.  Right now there’s no approved treatment or vaccine for COVID-19. But you should get care from your doctor to help relieve symptoms, just as you would with any other viral respiratory infection.

Q: Once a COVID-19 vaccine is available, will it be covered by my health plan?

Yes. We’ll cover vaccines developed and approved to treat COVID-19 when available. Member cost-sharing may apply based on benefit plan.

Q: Are there any prior authorizations required for COVID-19 treatment – and if so, will they be waived? 

No. BlueCross will not require prior authorization for the lab work needed for FDA-approved testing. If a member is admitted to the hospital, then the hospital should follow their normal processes of notification to BlueCross that they’ve admitted you.

Q: Will you waive prescription quantity/supply limits or allow for early refills so I don’t have to make multiple trips to the pharmacy and risk exposure?

Yes. If your pharmacy benefits are covered through BlueCross, we’re allowing early refills on most medications, and we also encourage 90-day fills for chronic medications. If you have talked with a health care provider and feel you need an early refill please call the number on the back of your BlueCross Member ID card. Your plan may also have mail order benefits if you don’t want to go out to a pharmacy to get your medications.

Some medications such as controlled substances and certain specialty drugs aren’t included in this.

Q: Can I use telehealth services to get care while avoiding possible transmission from the doctor’s office?

Yes. We encourage you to use your telehealth benefits for any of the common conditions that can be treated over the phone. In fact, we’re offering members who have our telehealth benefits consultations at no cost to you through PhysicianNow Powered by MDLive® from now through April. 30. This allows you to see a provider without leaving your home during the COVID-19 health risk. For members of self-funded groups with PhysicianNow where your employer covers the costs of your claims, check with your employer about your copays.

About Dr. Andrea Willis, SVP, Chief Medical Officer

A photo of the authorDr. Willis ensures that all clinical initiatives and quality endeavors support the needs of our members, and contribute to the overall health and well-being of our communities.

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