chicago – the blue cross blue shield association (bcbsa) announced today that its network of 36 independent and locally operated blue cross and blue shield (bcbs) companies will waive prior authorizations and increase coverage for covid -19 as described below. Blue Cross and Blue Shield (BCBS) companies will also increase access to prescription drugs, enhanced telehealth, and other clinical support systems. bcbs is making these changes to ensure that its members can quickly access the right care in the right setting during the outbreak. bcbs companies are also ready to share data and expertise with local public health departments to support the needs of the communities we serve.
The comprehensive measures taken by the BCBS companies mean that millions of Americans across the country will have easier access to a variety of medical services they may need should they become ill with COVID-19. The announcement reflects the ongoing efforts of the individual BCBS companies who remain committed to ensuring better health for people in their local communities.
full details of this coverage commitment include:
- bcbs will waive prior authorizations for diagnostic tests and for covered services that are medically necessary and consistent with cdc guidance for members if diagnosed with covid-19 bcbs companies will also create dedicated clinical staff available to deal with queries related to medical services, ensuring the timeliness of responses related to covid-19.
- bcbs will cover medically necessary diagnostic tests that are consistent with cdc guidance related to covid-19 at no member cost share bcbs companies will cover, at no member cost share , the medically necessary diagnostic tests for covid-19, where they are not covered as part of the public health service response. any care needed once a covid-19 diagnosis has occurred will be covered in accordance with the standard provisions of the member’s health benefits.
- bcbs will increase access to prescription drugs by removing early refill limits on 30-day maintenance prescription drugs (according to a member’s benefit plan) and/or encouraging members to to use your 90 day mail order benefit the bcbs companies will also ensure the flexibility of the form if there are shortages or access problems. patients will not be responsible for additional charges resulting from obtaining a non-preferred medication if the preferred medication is not available due to shortages or access issues.
- bcbs will expand access to telehealth and nurse/provider hotlines given the nature of the covid-19 outbreak, seeking medical care in person can lead to further spread of the virus. bcbs companies will encourage the use of virtual care and also facilitate member access and use of nurse/provider hotlines.
“It is important that our members feel secure knowing they can get the proper care and testing they need to protect their health during this time of concern,” said Vincent Nelson, M.D., vice president of medical affairs and interim medical director of bcbsa. “whenever and wherever our members need medical care related to coronavirus, bcbs companies are there with them.”
bcbs companies have significant experience managing previous international disease outbreaks, including sars and swine flu, and continue to work closely with local, state and federal governments during the coronavirus outbreak to ensure members get the information, tests and care they need.
these actions will apply to fully insured, individual and medicare members in all 36 us states. uu. and bcbs companies headquartered in puerto rico. We are committed to working with state Medicaid and chip agencies to ensure beneficiaries have access to necessary testing and services.
More Information: For more information, visit bcbs.com or the cdc coronavirus home page.