JACKSONVILLE, Fla., -- Florida Blue, the state's leading health insurer, today announced additional actions being taken in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to support:
- Premium Payment Period Extended: In April, Florida Blue announced it was extending the premium due date through May for customers who needed extra time to pay premiums as a result of the COVID-19 health crisis and would otherwise have been subject to termination of coverage. The time available to pay has been extended another month through the end of June. The payment extension applies to Individual – Affordable Care Act (ACA) and non-ACA – plans, Fully Insured Employer Group health plans and Medicare Supplement plans.
- Increased Funding for 'Better You Strides' Reward Program for Individual ACA Membership: Eligible Individual ACA members can now earn up to $500 in 2020 towards health care services costs for participation in the program's health and wellness offerings, a $400 increase over the previous program. The Better You Strides online wellness program allows members to earn financial rewards for creating a path for health and wellness activities. Topics include managing health conditions, healthy snacking, planning meals, starting exercise programs and improving stress levels.
- Expansion of 'Better You Strides' Reward Program for Commercial Membership: Previously only available to Individual ACA members, the program is being expanded to provide access to eligible members of all commercial Fully Insured Employer Group health plans and eligible members with non-ACA Individual coverage. Starting June 1, eligible members can earn up to $300 in 2020 towards health care services costs. Current Florida Blue Individual ACA members can register for the Better You Strides wellness program by logging in to their Florida Blue accounts and clicking on Better You Strides link. New members to the wellness program, including all commercial Fully Insured Employer Group health plans and eligible members with non-ACA Individual coverage, will soon be able to access the program through their Florida Blue online accounts.
- Medicare Advantage Member Cost Share Waiver + Virtual Visit Benefits: All member cost share for in-network primary care office and telehealth visits, as well as behavioral health-related office, outpatient and telehealth visits, will be waived for Florida Blue's Medicare Advantage plan members through December 2020. All general medicine visits through Teladoc, our telehealth partner, will continue to be $0 cost share.
These efforts are expected to provide an estimated $100 million in health care cost relief to members of Florida Blue's Individual, Fully Insured Employer Group and Medicare Advantage health plans.
"Members have felt significant wellness and financial impacts as a result of this pandemic," said Pat Geraghty, president and CEO of Florida Blue. "It is crucial that members continue to have access to much-needed health care, while we strive to lessen the financial burden for our members."
In addition, Florida Blue is implementing additional plan and policy changes to help its members stay healthy and cope financially during COVID-19.
Extended COVID-19 Coverage:
- Waive COVID-19 Cost-Sharing Through Aug. 1.: Florida Blue will waive cost-sharing for its members who must undergo testing and treatment for COVID-19, including in-patient hospital admissions. This applies to all Florida Blue members with ACA, Medicare Advantage (excluding Part D drug plans) and other Individual plans, as well as all Fully Insured Employer Group health plans.
Increased Access to Virtual Health Care Services:
- Expanded No-Cost Access to Teladoc for Many Plans: Florida Blue is extending virtual health access for its members in response to COVID-19. No-cost access to Teladoc will continue to be available to Medicare Advantage members, ACA and non-ACA Individual members and many Employer Group health plan members. Teladoc provides 24/7 bilingual virtual health care via phone, video or mobile app for non-emergency medical concerns. Sanitas Medical Centers, which exclusively serve thousands of Florida Blue members at locations across Florida, continue to offer bilingual virtual care at a $0 cost share to its current patients via its mySanitas Chat app.
- Virtual Member Support Expanded at Florida Blue Centers: The Florida Blue Centers are furthering efforts to provide virtual support to members, or members of the community who have recently lost health coverage due to job loss or experienced other financial hardships due to COVID-19. Neighborhood nurses, community specialists and local sales and service consultants are available to help with questions about COVID-19, testing site locations, navigating the health care system, finding virtual care options and checking enrollment eligibility. Assistance can also be provided to help fill gaps with finding food, utility and rent assistance, and many other types of relief programs by calling 877-352-5830, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. local time, Monday through Friday, and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday.
All Floridians and Florida Blue members can visit floridablue.com/COVID19 for the latest information on coronavirus. Florida Blue members with specific coverage questions can call the phone number on the back of their member ID card or 1-800-352-2583. Medicare members can call 1-800-926-6565 or visit floridablue.com/Medicare/COVID19.
Florida Blue continues its partnership with New Directions Behavioral Health to offer a bilingual helpline to assist all Floridians with the stress they may feel during the COVID-19 health crisis. The toll-free helpline connects individuals with specially trained behavioral health counselors who can assist anyone experiencing feelings of stress, anxiety, trauma and grief due to the health crisis. Any Floridian, whether or not they have Florida Blue insurance, can call the 24-hour helpline at 833-848-1762.
About Florida Blue
Florida Blue, Florida's Blue Cross and Blue Shield company, has been providing health insurance to residents of Florida for more than 75 years. Driven by its mission of helping people and communities achieve better health, the company serves more than 5 million health care members across the state. In total, Florida Blue and its affiliated companies serve 27 million people in 35 states. Headquartered in Jacksonville, Fla., it is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.