CHICAGO, April 21, 2020 -- The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA) today announced that the network of 36 independent and locally-operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield (BCBS) companies and the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Federal Employee Program® (FEP®), have committed nearly $3 billion to date in support of members, health care workers and local communities to aid in the ongoing fight against COVID-19.
Support includes community funding to better care for the needs of members and all Americans, broad support of nurses, doctors and hospitals through the donation of medical supplies and shared resources, and BCBS companies' commitments to expand telehealth, and waive cost-sharing for COVID-19 testing and treatment.
"We are grateful to all of those on the front lines in the ongoing battle against COVID-19 who are fighting to ensure Americans can get and stay healthy during this unprecedented global pandemic," said Scott Serota, BCBSA president and CEO. "As local, independent organizations that have long served and met the unique needs of their communities, Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies are well positioned to understand what each community needs most and are working alongside local officials, health care professionals and hospitals to ensure they have access to the resources and support they need to help improve the health of America."
The deep local experience and relationships BCBS companies have are vital to meeting the unique needs of their communities during the ongoing pandemic. For example, by:
- Supporting public health tracking through ongoing work with local officials to manage COVID-19 cases and allocate resources appropriately
- Building out COVID-19 testing infrastructure
- Providing more than four million dollars in personal protective equipment (PPE) to health care workers, first-responders and others
In addition, BCBS companies, alongside community partners, are working to address ongoing social issues amplified by this pandemic, such as food scarcity, by collectively donating millions of meals through local food banks, emergency food boxes, and various charitable initiatives.
Beyond the local support and community giving, BCBS companies have made several commitments to help members dealing with COVID-19, including:
- Waiving of cost-sharing for treatment of COVID-19, including coverage for testing, treatment administered, and inpatient hospital stays.
- Waiving prior authorizations for diagnostic tests, and related covered services, that are medically necessary and consistent with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance for members if diagnosed with COVID-19.
- Covering, with no cost to members, the appropriate medically necessary diagnostic tests for COVID-19, where it is not covered as a part of the Public Health Services response, and covering any subsequently needed care once a COVID-19 diagnosis occurs, consistent with the standard provisions of the members' health benefits.
- Increasing access to prescription medications by waiving early medication refill limits on 30-day prescription maintenance medications (consistent with members' benefit plans) and/or encouraging members to use their 90-day mail order benefit.
- Expanding access to telehealth and nurse/provider hotlines.
These commitments apply to fully-insured group and individual products, and Medicare members. BCBS companies are committed to working with self-funded employer groups, state Medicaid and CHIP agencies to ensure that beneficiaries have access to needed testing and services as well.
Members should check with their local BCBS company for a full understanding of benefits, services and network coverage, which may vary.