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COVID-19 Update for Group Admins and Agents/Brokers

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 (COVID-19) to ensure that our members get the information and care they need.

Any illness related to the coronavirus that results in a need for standard covered medical treatment would be a covered benefit, and members who need specific information about their coverage should call the number on the back of the member ID card. Arkansas Blue Cross is following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines and other federal recommendations and will continue to support and protect the health and well-being of our members and the community.

Details of Arkansas Blue Cross’ coverage commitment for fully insured members effective immediately include:

  1. There will be no prior authorizations for COVID-19 diagnostic tests and for covered services that meet primary coverage criteria and are consistent with CDC guidance.

    Currently, the only recommended screening test for COVID-19 is the RT-PCR Test.

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

    Arkansas Blue Cross will cover, with no cost share to the member, the covered diagnostic testing services that meet primary coverage criteria for COVID-19 as defined by the CDC and determined by the enrollee’s healthcare provider, where it is not covered as part of the Public Health Service response. We also will ensure patient testing is done in close coordination with federal, state and public health authorities. Any care needed once a diagnosis of COVID-19 has occurred will be handled like any other covered treatment for a medical condition.

  3. We will increase access to prescription medications by waiving early medication refill limits on 30-day prescription maintenance medications (consistent with a member’s benefit plan) and/or encouraging members to use their 90-day mail-order benefit.

    Arkansas Blue Cross will also ensure formulary flexibility if there are 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 encourage the use of virtual health and will also facilitate member access and use of nurse/provider hotlines. Because of the high volume of calls, a longer than normal wait time should be expected. Regular copays will apply.

    In addition, UAMS HealthNow is offering free screenings for all Arkansans who have questions about whether they may have the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. UAMS HealthNow is the 24-hour digital connection to health care professionals that the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) began in January. People who have symptoms and who have been exposed to COVID-19 are urged not to visit a physician’s office, urgent care clinic, emergency room or hospital without first talking to the facility and getting instructions on how to prevent spreading the virus to health care providers and other patients. To access UAMS HealthNow, go to UAMSHealth.com/healthnow and click on the screening tool. This service will be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to patients of all ages across the state of Arkansas and can be accessed from a smart phone, tablet, laptop or computer.

These measures will be in effect through May 15 and at that time we will reevalute the situation.

To view additional details of your policy as related to COVID-19, please click here.

It is important that our members feel safe and secure knowing that they are able to pursue the proper care and testing they need to protect their health during this time of concern. Whenever and wherever our members need healthcare related to the coronavirus, Arkansas Blue Cross is there with them.

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 links 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.