Blue Cross eliminates out-of-pocket costs related to COVID-19 treatment
Published 4:46 pm Tuesday, April 14, 2020
FROM STAFF REPORTS
BIRMINGHAM – Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama is working closely with state and local governments, as well as partners within the health care system, to address local needs from the COVID-19 outbreak. As a result, Blue Cross is waiving cost-sharing for treatment of COVID-19. This includes coverage for testing and treatment administered, including for inpatient hospital stays.
On March 1, Blue Cross began waiving all member cost-sharing for COVID-19 diagnostic testing, treatments and the related in-person or telehealth office visit, urgent care visit, emergency room visit or behavioral health visit for our members with fully insured individual, employer-based, Federal Employee Program and Medicare Advantage Plans.
In addition, inpatient deductibles, copays and coinsurance for our fully insured employer customers are being waived if a member is admitted to an in-network hospital with a COVID-19 related diagnosis.
Self-funded employer customers have the option to also implement these COVID-19 related benefits.
“We want our members to be assured that we are here for them as we navigate through this unprecedented time,” said Tim Vines, President and CEO, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama. “For our members diagnosed with COVID-19, we want them to have peace of mind knowing they have access to the care they need.”
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama’s decision to waive cost-sharing for treatment is in addition to steps supporting the essential needs of members and providers:
-Waiving prior authorizations for diagnostic tests and covered services that are medically necessary and consistent with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance for members if diagnosed with COVID-19.
-Increasing access to prescription medications by waiving early medication refill limits on prescriptions and encouraging members to use their 90-day retail or mail order benefit.
-Expanding access to telehealth for in-network providers with no member cost-sharing. In addition to office visit consultations by physicians, physician assistants and nurse practitioners, telehealth also includes physical, speech, and occupational therapy (subject to provider capability), and behavioral health. This is applicable for members who wish to receive their care remotely and wish to limit their exposure. It can also serve as an initial screening for members who need to be tested for COVID-19.
-Dedicating staff to be specifically available to address inquiries related to medical services, ensuring timely responses related to COVID-19.
If members have questions, they can call the customer service number located on the back of their ID card or visit AlabamaBlue.com/Coronavirus.