The COVID-19 pandemic is unlike anything we’ve have faced in recent memory. And as part of our BlueCross mission to serve, we want to make sure our communities have the information they need – and access to testing and care.
While COVID-19 resources continue to evolve, and treatments, research and statistics update daily, we want everyone to have the information they need to keep themselves and their loved ones safe.
For the full BlueCross response to COVID-19, visit: BCBSTupdates.com.
What is COVID-19?
COVID-19 is an illness caused by a virus that can spread from person to person. While there are many types of human coronaviruses including some that cause mild upper-respiratory tract illnesses, COVID-19 is a new coronavirus, and symptoms can range from mild (or no symptoms) to severe illness.
The illness is spread through close contact, and respiratory droplets from an infected person. You may also get it from touching surfaces that have the virus on it, and then touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
There is currently no vaccine to protect against COVID-19. The best way to protect yourself is to avoid being exposed to others that are infected.
What can I do to protect myself and others?
The best way to help slow the spread of COVID-19 is to practice social distancing. We all have a role to play. Whether you are considered high-risk, low-risk or a front line or essential worker, the recommendations remain the same:
- Wash your hands often
- Disinfect frequently used surfaces
- Keep your distance from others, the CDC recommends staying 6 feet apart
- Isolate yourself if sick
- Seek care appropriately
- Reserve the emergency room only for severe symptoms
- Wear a cloth face mask if in a public space
Older adults and people of any age who have a serious underlying medical condition might be at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
Underlying conditions vary, but can include, chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma, serious heart conditions, people who are immunocompromised, have severe obesity, diabetes, chronic kidney disease and liver disease.
What should I do if I think I’m infected?
The first step is to stay home and separate yourself from other people or animals as much as possible. That’ll help keep germs from spreading until you can get advice from a doctor.
Next, call your provider’s office and tell them your symptoms. If they think you need to be tested, they can give you instructions for where to go and what to do. Most people who get COVID-19 can take care of themselves at home, and doing so will help keep down the risk of others’ getting sick. If you don’t have a regular doctor, you can call your local health department. Residents do not need a physician referral to receive testing.
You can also call the Tennessee COVID-19 Public Information Lines at 833-556-2476 or 877-857-2945, which is open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.
What is BlueCross doing in response to COVID-19?
In recent weeks, BlueCross has enhanced support for members by:
- Waiving all member cost-sharing for COVID-19 treatments, including hospitalizations, from in-network providers through May 31, 2020
- Waiving member costs for any appropriate FDA-aligned test
- Allowing early prescription refills and 90-day prescriptions to avoid increased risk of exposure
- Expanding access to telehealth services by making PhysicianNow visits available at no cost and by covering virtual visits with other network providers for many services
- Sharing key public health information, such as promoting social distancing and warning of potential scam activity
BlueCross is considered an essential business, so we’ll remain open. However, we have taken steps in the last month to help keep our employees well while ensuring our members see no lapse in service. Since March 16, 2020, the majority of our workforce has been working full time from home. We’ve not experienced any reduction in service to you, nor do we expect any.
- Centers for Disease Control’s Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Dashboard
- Centers for Disease Control’s fact sheet
- Center for Disease Control’s Coronavirus Self-Checker
- Center for Disease Control’s Testing for COVID-19
- Centers for Disease Control’s People Who Are at Higher Risk for Severe Illness
- World Health Organization’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) Dashboard
- World Health Organization situation reports
- Tennessee Department of Health COVID-19 Webpage
- Local Health Department Shelby County COVID-19 Updates
- NPR CDC Hospital Date Point to Racial Disparity in COVID-19 Cases
- NPR Who’s Hit Hardest By COVID-19? Why Obesity, Stress and Race All Matter
- McKinsey Report COVID-19: Investing in black lives and livelihoods
- Forbes How to Protect Yourself From Coronavirus If You Work An Essential Job
BlueCross is here for you during this unusual time. It doesn’t feel good, but together we’ll get through this.
Our members are our priority, and we’re here to answer your questions. We’ve heard from many across Tennessee and across the country, and we’re sharing these topics to help all of our members.
- Will my plan cover the COVID-19 test?
A: Yes. We’ll cover and waive member costs for the FDA-approved test, as well as those currently pending FDA approval. We’re also waiving member copays and deductibles for the visit to your provider, urgent care center or emergency room related to the test, as long as the provider is in your network.
- Will my health plan cover treatment of COVID-19?
A: Yes. If you’re diagnosed with COVID-19, we’ll cover any relevant provider treatment. We’ll also waive your costs for COVID-19 treatment at in-network facilities and with in-network providers through May 31, 2020.
- I’m experiencing COVID-19 symptoms – fever, cough or trouble breathing – and fear I’ve been exposed. What do I do?
A: The first step is to stay home and separate yourself from other people or animals as much as possible. That’ll help keep germs from spreading until you can get advice from a doctor. Next, call your provider’s office and tell them your symptoms. If they think you need to be tested, they can give you instructions for where to go and what to do. That’ll help keep down the risk of others’ getting sick. If you don’t have a regular doctor, you can call your local health department.
- Someone came to my door to sell testing and preventive medicine for coronavirus. Is this a scam?
A: Yes. This is a scammer trying to take advantage of people. Testing is done at approved sites with doctor’s orders, and there’s no medicine to prevent or cure the virus and illness currently.
- Where can I get tested for COVID-19?
A: The Tennessee Department of Health has a COVID-19 assessment site map. Locations are added as they become available.
- Have you done anything for people in the state who might not have BlueCross?
A: Yes. The BlueCross Foundation donated $3.25 million to food banks throughout Tennessee to help local organizations fight hunger. In Memphis, a $750,000 donation was made to Mid-South Food Bank. The Foundation also gave $75,000 to Memphis and Shelby County to help with the expansion of free COVID-19 testing for residents who do not have health insurance, as well as for other health care services related to the condition
Additional FAQ Resources:
- BlueCross Member FAQ
- BlueCross Provider FAQ
- BlueCare Member FAQ
- Center for Disease Control’s FAQ
- World Health Organization Q&A on COVID-19
BlueCross Briefings: https://bcbstupdates.com/videos/
- March 3: Coronavirus Update with Dr. Willis – what you can do to protect yourself
- March 13: Coronavirus Update with Dr. Willis – what to do if you have symptoms
- March 17: How to Practice Social Distancing to Limit the Spread of COVID-19
- April 24: COVID-19: Why Minorities are Disproportionately Affected
(Video) CDC – How To Make Your Own Face Covering Video
(Video) WHO – Advice for the Public Video Library
BCBST News Center
- BlueCross Feature Articles
- What Tennesseans should know about novel coronavirus (COVID-19)
- We’re answering member questions about coronavirus (COVID-19) coverage
- A convenient, cost-free way to discuss your health with a doctor
- How to practice social distancing to limit the spread of COVID-19
- How our foundation is helping local organizations fight hunger
- Tennesseans will get through this together
- How to seek care and avoid spreading coronavirus
- BlueCross Press Releases
- BlueCross monitoring novel coronavirus developments
- BlueCross to cover full testing costs for COVID-19
- BlueCross offering telehealth visits at no cost
- BlueCross expanding telehealth access with in-network providers
- BlueCross Foundation giving $3.25 million to Tennessee food relief efforts
- BlueCross warms of coronavirus scams
- BlueCross to cover full treatment costs for COVID-19
- BlueCross foundation expands COVID-19 support in Chattanooga
- BlueCross foundation expands COVID-19 support in Memphis
- BlueCross Wellness Blog – WellTuned
Follow the BlueCross social media channels for the latest news, and coverage updates: