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null Excellus BlueCross BlueShield waives COVID-19 cost sharing – Extended to 9/7/20

Excellus BlueCross BlueShield waives COVID-19 cost sharing – Extended to 9/7/20

For Immediate Release:  2020-06-01

Contact:  Jim Redmond, (585) 238-4579,

Excellus BlueCross BlueShield will continue to waive out of pocket costs for COVID-19 diagnosis and treatment for its fully insured employer groups, individual market qualified health plans and Medicare Advantage members through September 7, 2020.  This waives the member’s copayment or cost share for diagnosis and treatment, even if that treatment is delivered in the hospital.  The Health Plan also provides coverage in full for medically appropriate COVID-19 testing, as described below. 

Excellus BCBS will also work with self-funded customers who want to implement a similar approach, so that these members’ needs can also be met during this time of concern.

“This is the latest step Excellus BCBS has taken to help with payments, ensure continued access to care and reduce the administrative burden on providers, hospitals and other health care facilities in this time of crisis,” said Christopher C. Booth, president and chief executive officer of Excellus BCBS. 

Here is a partial list of additional steps Excellus BCBS has taken: 

  • Waived copays for medically necessary office, urgent care, and ER visits related to COVID-19, both in- and out-of-network. 
  • Coverage in full for diagnostic/viral testing as well as antibody testing that is determined to be medically appropriate for the diagnosis and treatment of an individual by an attending provider as evidenced by an order from the attending provider.
  • Expanded telehealth services to all members and trained local providers on use of the technology and increased payment levels to replace some of their lost in-office revenue.
  • Waived all member cost-share responsibility for telehealth services regardless of the nature of the medical issue.  
  • Absorbed the impact of a reduction in New York State Medicaid payments for medical services, choosing not to pass the reduction along to providers.  
  • Suspended reviews of surgeries or admissions at hospitals, and preauthorization inpatient rehabilitation admissions, home care services and skilled nursing facility admissions following a hospital stay. 
  • Waived or extended time frames for claims disputes, appeals, grievances, and audits.
  • Provide a 24/7 Nurse Line where members can contact a Health Plan nurse by phone anytime – 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Our specially trained registered nurses can provide support and education.
  • Help members navigate health insurance options, such as the Essential Plan, Medicaid, Child Health Plus, COBRA and Medicare products, for those facing unemployment.


For the latest information on the health plan’s response, members, providers and employers are encouraged to visit:

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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

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