Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update Center
The FDA has granted emergency use authorization for the COVID-19 vaccine. This is a positive first step in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic!
Now that a vaccine is approved, the following may help answer some questions you may have:
- Each state will determine how the COVID-19 vaccine will be distributed so most people will not be eligible to get the vaccine on the first day it’s available.
- In most states, the COVID-19 vaccine will first be made available to frontline healthcare workers and residents and staff of long-term care facilities.
- It’s important to get the COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccine has gone through rigorous testing, received emergency use authorization through the FDA, and is perhaps the best hope for ending the pandemic.
- Keep doing what you’re doing to stay safe and healthy. Even though a COVID-19 vaccine is available, following current safety guidelines is still essential. Remember to wear a face mask, continue social distancing, and wash your hands frequently.
For more information about COVID-19 topics and how the pandemic can affect you and your family, visit https://www.cdc.gov/COVID19.
Because testing kits are in short supply and resources to handle a huge volume of coronavirus tests are not available, please read this information to help determine if you need to be tested. Once you have determined that you need to be tested. Click on link below to access health departments links in all 50 states, 8 US territories and freely associated states, and the District of Columbia.
Because testing kits are in short supply and resources to handle a huge volume of coronavirus tests are not available, please read this information to help determine if you need to be tested.
Once you have determined that you need to be tested. Click on link below to access health departments links in all 50 states, 8 US territories and freely associated states, and the District of Columbia.
You and your families are our top priority. New Directions' emotional support line is available 24/7 to assist you during this time of stress and uncertainty. Call 833-848-1764 to speak to a licensed therapist. Looking for additional important resources and helpful information? Click on link below to access tips for coping with the COVID-19 outbreak and more.
You and your families are our top priority. New Directions' emotional support line is available 24/7 to assist you during this time of stress and uncertainty. Call 833-848-1764 to speak to a licensed therapist.
Looking for additional important resources and helpful information? Click on link below to access tips for coping with the COVID-19 outbreak and more.
Unfortunately, there have been many reports of fraudulent acts related to the COVID-19 Coronavirus outbreak. We want to help you stay safe and aware by informing you of some of the scams you need to be on the lookout for:
- Door-to-door solicitation for COVID-19 testing and prescribing
- Phone calls asking for your Blue Cross contract information for free testing and/or services
- Outreach from healthcare workers offering to send you an at-home test kit
- False advertisements for vaccinations or medications to treat COVID-19
- Unexplained or unauthorized lab tests or prescriptions appearing on your Claims statement (Explanation of Benefits/EOB)
- Advertisements offering health products that are unsuccessful against treating COVID-19 (i.e. herbal teas, supplements, oils or ointments)
- Fraudulent emails referencing “Coronavirus” or “COVID-19,” which contain malicious software that can damage your device
Blue Cross has made telehealth services related to COVID-19 available to members. Telehealth services can serve as an initial screening for members who need to be tested for COVID-19.
Check with your in-network provider to see if they offer telehealth services. To locate a current listing of in-network providers, login to myBlueCross and visit FindADoctor.
Tips and Advice
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer, especially after coughing or sneezing
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing, or cough or sneeze into your elbow or shoulder, not your hands
- Stay home if sick, and stay home for at least 24 hours after the last signs of fever
Download our guide here
- Stay home and away from others in your household
- Call before visiting your doctor
- Wear a face mask whenever possible
- Clean surfaces that are touched often as much as possible. Examples include counter tops, doorknobs, telephones, toys, bathroom fixtures and keyboards
- Cover your mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. Throw tissues away in a lined trash can. Immediately wash your hands afterwards
- Clean your hands often
- Monitor your symptoms
Download our "What should I do next" guide here
Frequently Asked Questions
COVID-19 is the official name for the illness caused by the newly identified coronavirus. Since the outbreak began late last year, infections have been reported in numerous international locations, including within the United States.
On January 30, the World Health Organization declared the outbreak a “public health emergency of international concern.” On January 31st, the U.S. Health and Human Services office declared a public health emergency to aid the U.S. healthcare community in responding to COVID-19.
Coronaviruses are not new, and are very common in many species of animals, including camels, cattle and bats. Occasionally coronaviruses can infect people and then spread person-to-person, as was the case with severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and now with COVID-19. Coronaviruses infect the respiratory tract and are associated with the common cold and pneumonia.
The virus that causes COVID-19 is thought to spread mainly from person to person, primarily through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. Spread is more likely when people are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet). Maintaining good social distance (about 6 feet) is very important in preventing the spread of COVID-19.
It may be possible that a person can also get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes. This is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads, but we are still learning more about this virus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends people practice frequent “hand hygiene,” which is either washing hands with soap or water or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. The CDC also recommends routine cleaning of frequently touched surfaces.
COVID-19 seems to be spreading easily and sustainably in the community (“community spread”) in many affected geographic areas. Community spread means people have been infected with the virus in an area, including some who are not sure how or where they became infected.
Some people with confirmed cases of COVID-19 experience very mild symptoms while others have experienced severe illness and death. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus and have included:
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- Sore throat
- New loss of taste or smell
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
Yes. The FDA has granted emergency use authorization for the COVID-19 vaccine. Vaccine roll-out is likely to occur in phases with initial administration targeted to healthcare workers and residents of long-term care facilities.
The CDC recommends the following best practices to avoid becoming sick with a respiratory illness:
- Avoid close contact with sick people
- Avoid touching your face with unwashed hands
- Stay home when sick
- Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue, then discard the tissue
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces
- Wash hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
People who have recently traveled to any area where there is an outbreak, or had close contact with someone infected with COVID-19 and develop symptoms, should contact their healthcare provider and make them aware of their symptoms and exposure. Their healthcare provider will advise them of the appropriate next steps.
Claims and Benefits
As a result of the Families First Act, as amended by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, both in-network and out-of-network diagnostic tests for COVID-19 and the related in-person or telehealth visit, emergency room visit, or urgent care visit are covered at 100% during the declared public national emergency. Members are not required to pay for these services.
Yes. If medically necessary, multiple diagnostic tests for COVID-19 will be covered.
Yes. As required by the Families First Act/CARES Act, COVID-19 at-home tests must be covered at 100% with no member cost sharing if that test has been approved by the FDA, received an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) or whose manufacturer has the intent to apply for an EUA, AND if the purpose of the test is for diagnosis and/or treatment of COVID-19 and NOT for surveillance purposes (such as testing required by an employer, institution or school).
International claims for medically necessary services related to COVID-19 will process at the in-network level of benefits.
Based on recent IRS guidelines, expenses related to testing and treatment, including related office visits, for COVID-19 can process pre-deductible under an HSA-qualified HDHP.
Prime Therapeutics (Prime)/Pharmacy Questions
Yes. We are working with Prime to allow members to obtain early refills of their medications. Prime will allow early refills on prescription drugs including retail, maintenance, mail order and specialty drugs until further notice.
Prime is maintaining communication with all pharmacies and notifying them how to submit early refill prescription claims. Contact your pharmacy if an early refill of your prescription medication(s) is needed.We recommend members use their 90-day retail or mail order benefit when possible.
News and Updates
A Message About the Coronavirus (COVID-19)
As the illness caused by the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, continues to spread, many are concerned about the possible impact to themselves and their families. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida is closely monitoring the situation and has prepared contingency plans to ensure business operations continue to run smoothly in the event of a widespread outbreak.
To help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, we encourage you to follow the CDC’s guidelines:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer, especially after coughing or sneezing.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing, or cough or sneeze into your elbow or shoulder, not your hands.
- Stay home if sick, and stay home for at least 24 hours after the last signs of fever.
To keep current on the latest COVID-19 developments, please visit the CDC’s website.