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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.

The voluntary, expanded COVID-19-related benefits announced for certain Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield and Health Advantage fully insured health plans and individual policies will be extended to align with the federally mandated COVID-19 coverage provisions as specified in the FFCRA (Families First Coronavirus Response Act) and CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security) Act. The federal mandate currently runs through January 21, 2021.

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.

Following is a summary of the benefits that have been extended.
Temporary benefit changes include:

  1. We will cover (at no cost to our members) COVID-19 diagnostic tests (ordered by healthcare providers).

    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 cost-sharing for medical services for our fully insured members whose primary diagnosis is COVID-19.

    This includes COVID-19-specific visits to an in-network medical clinic, urgent care center and/or emergency room, and inpatient treatment where COVID-19 is the primary diagnosis.

  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 practitioners and physician assistants. This includes wellness/preventative visits. To schedule a telehealth visit with a physician, members should contact the physician office to see if she/he is seeing patients via telemedicine. Members who do not have a physician may visit and select Find Care to choose a physician.

    Similarly, we have added coverage (without copays, deductibles and coinsurance) for teledentistry.

    Our fully insured health plans includes virtual health, powered by MDLIVE. With virtual health, members can visit with a doctor 24/7/365 via smartphone or computer. During this health crisis, copays, coinsurance and deductibles for virtual health visits are being waived. Members can visit to sign in or register for virtual health through our My Blueprint online member portal.

  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 are being waived at this time.