DURHAM – Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina is extending measures put into place at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic to ensure members have access to the care they need, when they need it. This includes waiving cost-sharing for testing and treatment related to COVID-19, covering virtual visits and removing administrative tasks for providers to help speed care.
“As COVID-19 cases rise and the pandemic continues to unfold, we are committed to making sure cost is not a barrier to our members getting the care they need, now and in the future,” said Dr. Tunde Sotunde, CEO of Blue Cross NC.
The following measures have been extended:
• Waiving Cost-Sharing for COVID-19 Testing
Blue Cross NC will continue waiving member cost-sharing (copays, deductibles and coinsurance) for COVID-19-related clinical visits and testing until the public health emergency is over. This measure applies to Blue Cross NC’s fully-insured, Medicare Advantage (including Experience Health) and Federal Employee Program members and ASO groups that did not opt out. Members should contact the Blue plan listed on their ID card for information about their COVID-19 benefits.
• Waiving Cost-Sharing for COVID-19 Treatment
Blue Cross NC will continue waiving member cost-sharing (copays, deductibles and coinsurance) through March 31, 2021, for COVID-19-related treatment that is medically necessary and consistent with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This measure applies to all fully-insured, Federal Employee Program, and Medicare Advantage plans offered or administered by Blue Cross NC, including Experience Health. Self-funded employer groups, including the State Health Plan, have the option to apply these changes to their employees' plans.
• Waiving Prior Authorization for COVID-19-Related Services
Blue Cross NC will continue waiving prior authorization requirements through March 31, 2021, for COVID-19-related services, allowing providers to more quickly admit and treat COVID-19 patients. This measure applies to all Blue Cross NC commercial plans and Medicare Advantage plans offered and administered by Blue Cross NC, including Experience Health.
• Expanded Telehealth (Virtual Care) Policy
Blue Cross NC is extending its expanded reimbursement policy for doctor visits by video or phone, through June 30, 2021, and will continue covering these telehealth visits the same as face-to-face visits. This measure applies to all Blue Cross NC commercial plans and Medicare Advantage plans offered and administered by Blue Cross NC.
Blue Cross NC has been covering telehealth for more than 20 years and will continue to do so after the pandemic. COVID-19 is driving long-term changes in how doctors and patients use and value telehealth. Blue Cross NC will use data and insights gained from this period of increased virtual visits to update its telehealth policy later in 2021 to best serve its members. This review period will ensure that telehealth remains a tool that improves health, increases access to health care, and lowers costs for members.
Blue Cross NC has committed more than $600 million in support of members, employers and providers, and will continue to closely monitor the COVID-19 pandemic and re-evaluate policies, as necessary. The COVID-19 crisis is requiring everyone in the health care community to work together and do their part. For more information, visit BlueCrossNC.com/Coronavirus.
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