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COVID-19 Update for Members covered by Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield and Health Advantage (fully insured health plans)

Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield and Health Advantage are committed to the safety and well-being of our members. We are working closely with the state and federal government during the coronavirus outbreak to help our fully insured members get access to the care they need during the coronavirus outbreak.

These changes are in effect for our fully insured members through May 15, 2020, and could be extended after that, if circumstances warrant.

Please note: Decisions about coverage changes for members of self-funded health plans served by BlueAdvantage Administrators of Arkansas or Health Advantage are made by the employers or plan sponsors who fund those self-funded programs. If you have questions about your coverage, please call the number on the back of your card.

Details of Arkansas Blue Cross and Health Advantage’s coverage commitment for fully insured members include:

  1. We will cover (at no cost to our members) COVID-19 diagnostic tests ordered by providers that meet primary coverage criteria consistent with CDC guidance.

    Arkansas Blue Cross and Health Advantage will cover, with no cost share to the member, the diagnostic testing services that meet primary coverage criteria for COVID-19 as defined by the CDC and ordered by the member’s healthcare provider. Currently, the only recommended screening test for COVID-19 is the RT-PCR Test, which involves swabbing the nose and/or mouth. We also will ensure patient testing is done in close coordination with federal, state and public health authorities.

  2. We will waive the costs for medical services for our fully insured members whose primary diagnosis is COVID-19.

    This includes any COVID-19-specific visit to an in-network medical clinic, urgent care center and/or emergency room, and inpatient treatment where COVID-19 is the primary diagnosis. This went into effect on April 1, 2020, and will last through May 15, 2020 at which time the situation will be reassessed.

  3. We are temporarily enhancing access to maintenance prescription medications and extending prior authorizations on many medications for 90-day supplies.

    Arkansas Blue Cross and Health Advantage will also work to implement prescription drug formulary flexibility to respond to medication shortages or access issues.

  4. We are encouraging our members to access virtual health and nurse/provider hotlines.

    Given the nature of the COVID-19 outbreak, seeking in-person medical care may lead to further spreading of the virus. We are encouraging the use of virtual health and will also facilitate member access and use of nurse/provider hotlines.

    Usual member costs (copays, coinsurance and deductibles) are temporarily being waived for telemedicine visits with in-network physicians (M.D.s, D.O.s), advance practice nurse practitioner and physician assistants. This includes wellness/preventative visits. To schedule a visit with your physician, contact the physician office to see if she/he is seeing patients via telemedicine. If you do not have a physician, visit arkansasbluecross.com and select “find care.”

    Your health plan also includes virtual health, powered by MDLIVE. With virtual health, you and your covered family members can visit with a doctor 24/7/365 from your smartphone or laptop. During this health crisis, you can see a virtual health doctor with no copay, coinsurance or deductible. Visit myvirtualhealth.com to sign in or register for My Blueprint, our self-service member website.

  5. We are providing access to an in-network, statewide panel of almost 2,300 behavioral health professionals already credentialed and ready to serve their emotional/mental health needs via virtual access.

    We are extending this new, temporary insurance benefit for counseling by in-network behavioral health professionals. Specifically, we will pay for telemedicine counseling to our fully insured members by any in-network psychiatrist, clinical psychologist, advance practice nurse practitioner, licensed clinical social worker or licensed professional counselor. Copays, coinsurance and deductibles for these services have been waived through at least May 15, 2020.

If you have questions about these new benefits or your health plan, call our customer service at 1-800-238-8379.

We want our members to have helpful insurance benefits when they need them most and be aware of how to access them, especially during a public health emergency like the COVID-19 outbreak.

If you are experiencing symptoms or have questions about your health, contact your primary care doctor first. For additional information about COVID-19 and what you can do to prepare, please use the link below.

What you should know

(https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/index.html)

Preventive actions:

Take these everyday actions to prevent the spread of respiratory viruses.

  • Avoid close contact with sick people.
  • While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible.
  • Stay home if you are sick.
  • Cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze with the inside of your elbow (not your hands). Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that are frequently touched or may be contaminated with germs.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Hint: sing the “Happy Birthday” twice. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub with at least 60% alcohol.