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angle-left Excellus BCBS Updates on COVID-19 (Coronavirus) – 3/5/20

Excellus BCBS Updates on COVID-19 (Coronavirus) – 3/5/20

For Immediate Release:  2020-03-05

Contact:  Jim Redmond, (585) 238-4579, jim.redmond@excellus.com

Excellus BlueCross BlueShield is monitoring developments involving novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and what it may mean for those we serve.

Given that the COVID-19 situation is rapidly evolving, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website remains the best resource for up-to-date health information, especially if you are planning to travel or have just returned from traveling.

Information about COVID-19 can also be found at the New York State Department of Health’s website. If you live outside of New York state, please check with your state’s health department.

Your local county health department is also a resource to check.

Excellus BCBS is in contact with local, state and federal health officials and is aware that New York state is drafting a regulation aimed at removing cost as a barrier to care for members. We will implement that requirement when the regulation becomes effective.

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General guidance regarding health insurance coverage for COVID-19 testing for Excellus BlueCross BlueShield members (individual benefits may vary)

  • Members who are in fully insured commercial plans will have the cost of coronavirus testing by an in-network provider covered with no out-of-pocket expense to them. If an in-network provider is not available, the Health Plan will cover testing at an out-of-network provider with no out-of-pocket expense to the member.

  • Members who are part of a self-funded employer group should check with their employer’s benefits department to confirm your benefits. 

  • Members who are enrolled in Medicaid Managed Care, HARP or Child Health Plus will have the cost of coronavirus testing by an in-network provider covered with no out-of-pocket expense to them. If an in-network provider is not available, the Health Plan will cover testing at an out-of-network provider with no out-of-pocket expense to the member.

  • Medicare members - Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance) covers a test to see if you have Coronavirus. This test is covered when your doctor or a health care provider orders it, if you get the test on or after February 4, 2020. Members usually pay nothing for Medicare-covered clinical diagnostic laboratory tests.

General guidance regarding the effect of COVID-19 on prescription drug coverage

We are closely monitoring the supply of medications that are available during the outbreak of this respiratory disease.

If a state of emergency is declared for a specific state or region, we will implement any necessary early refill overrides and/or extended-day supply requirements for prescription medications for members living in those specific areas.

Right now, no prescription drug shortages are being reported, and a state of emergency has not been declared in New York state.

Emergency prescription drug overrides are available as part of our standard exception process on an individual member basis.

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The CDC recommends taking everyday preventive precautions to help prevent exposure this virus and others like it by:

  • Avoiding close contact with people who are sick.

  • Not touching your eyes, nose and mouth.

  • Staying home when you are sick.

  • Covering your cough or sneeze with a tissue and throwing the tissue in the trash.

  • Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

  • Following the CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask.

  • Washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds if hands are visibly dirty and especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.

Practicing good health habits every day helps to keep our community healthy.

A telemedicine visit is also an option to do initial screenings, and telehealth services are covered under all product lines.

This information is intended for educational purposes only and should not be interpreted as medical advice. Please consult your doctor for advice regarding changes that may affect your health.

For more information on how to prevent the spread of flu-like viruses, click to view a downloadable infographic from Excellus BCBS.

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Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, is a nonprofit health plan with 1.5 million upstate New York members. The company's mission is to help people live healthier and more secure lives through access to high-quality, affordable health care. Its products and services include cost-saving prescription drug discounts, wellness tracking tools and access to telemedicine. With more than 3,500 employees, the company is committed to attracting and retaining a diverse workforce to foster innovation and better serve its members. It also encourages employees to engage in their communities by providing paid volunteer time off as one of many benefits. To learn more, visit ExcellusBCBS.com.