COVID-19 UpdatesHCN News & Notes

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts to Expedite COVID-19 Testing and Care for Members

BOSTON — Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts has been monitoring and responding to the serious challenges posed by the outbreak of coronavirus strain COVID-19, and is taking immediate steps to expedite access to testing and care for members. Effective immediately:

• Blue Cross will cover the full cost of diagnostic tests for COVID-19 for all fully insured members who meet CDC guidelines for testing. Members in fully insured plans will face no co-pay, co-insurance, or deductible for these tests.

• Consistent with the guidance issued by the Massachusetts Department of Insurance, it will also cover the cost of vaccination when a COVID-19 vaccine is available, and will waive co-payments for medically necessary COVID-19 treatment at doctor’s offices, emergency rooms, and urgent-care centers. Any medically necessary treatment for coronavirus is covered under a member’s health plan within the U.S. or internationally.

• Any administrative barriers, such as prior authorizations and referrals, for medically appropriate care for COVID-19 will be removed.

• Co-pays for members with access to the telehealth platform Well Connection will be waived. Telehealth, which offers convenience as well as the opportunity to avoid potential exposure to contagion, is included in the health plans of all members with telehealth benefits, and Blue Cross will reach out to any employer accounts without the benefit to ensure they know this option is available as well. It will also promote its 24/7 nurse hotline, which is available free to all members and offers a clinical resource for minor ailments or questions.

• Access to prescription medications will be increased. Consistent with the CDC recommendation to have a one-month supply of medication on hand, members will have access to early refills of 30-day prescription maintenance medication. Blue Cross will ensure formulary flexibility if there are shortages or access issues.

• Finally, Blue Cross will educate and inform the public about how to contain the spread of the virus. It has launched a regularly updated resource center that includes information about how to stay safe, a downloadable tip sheet for employers, a video featuring a physician, and an FAQ sheet.