Coronavirus update: Florida Blue Increasing Access to Health Care Services for Medicare Members to Aid in Treatment

Posted on May 10th 2020 by Florida Blue

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This information is for Florida Blue Medicare members. Click here to get COVID-19 information for other Florida Blue members.

Your health and the health of the communities we serve is our top priority. As we adjust our lives in these times, please know we are here to help you find the care you need.

The list of COVID-19 symptoms to be aware of has grown over time. They include mild to severe respiratory symptoms, including a cough and difficulty breathing, as well as a fever, diarrhea, chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat and new loss of taste or smell. Consult with your doctor over the phone if you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, so they can decide next best steps.

Florida Blue is waiving cost-sharing for members who must undergo testing and treatment for COVID-19 through Aug. 1. That includes in-patient hospital admissions. There are no FDA-approved vaccines or medications for outpatient treatment of COVID-19. When they become available, they will be covered based on your benefit plan.

If your payment becomes past due or is already late, you’ll have through June 30 to make payments. You can pay by credit card, debit card, check, money order and cash. Log in to your account at floridablue.com if you want to change your payment method.

If you have questions about the coronavirus, have symptoms, need help finding a doctor to do a COVID-19 test or any other concern, call us at 1-800-926-6565. You can call the Florida Department of Health’s 24/7 COVID-19 call center at 1-866-779-6121 or email COVID-19@flheath.gov. Also, check out our COVID-19 site, which makes it easy to see the latest information, connect to Florida Blue resources and support, view a list of testing locations and much more.

We’ve also increased access to other health care services, including:

Strongly encouraging members to take advantage of virtual care options in their plans for less serious medical issues. A virtual visit allows you to protect yourself by staying out of a crowded doctor’s office for non-emergency illnesses and being able to talk to a doctor from your home or wherever you are.

  • Medicare Advantage members will have $0 cost share for virtual visits with Teladoc through December.  Virtual care is available 24/7 and is ideal for conditions such as sinus infections, sore throats, allergies and upset stomachs. You need to set up a Teladoc account, including sharing your medical history. If you haven’t done that yet, take a few minutes to create your account so it’s ready when you need it. For faster Teladoc support, we encourage you to use teladoc.com or download Teladoc’s app from the Apple App or Google Play stores. If you have questions, call us at 1-800-926-6565. Please note: You cannot get a referral for the coronavirus test from Teladoc. Talk with your local doctor by phone for a referral and local COVID-19 testing locations. These tests must be completed in person. If you need help finding a doctor, call us at 1-800-926-6565. You can also use our online provider directory by logging into your account on floridablue.com/medicare.
  • Sanitas Medical Center patients can have a virtual visit using the mySanitas Chat app. Doctors are available 7 a.m.-8 p.m. seven days a week. Patients can download the app from Apple App or Google Play stores. Care is available in English and Spanish.
  • During this time, all members can use Florida Blue Medicare network providers who offer virtual visits. This allows you to get care from primary care providers, behavioral health providers and specialists. You’ll pay the regular office visit cost share for the virtual visit.

Increasing access to necessary medications. We’re waiving early medication refill limits on 30-day prescription medications and are encouraging members to use the 90-day mail order benefit. If you need help with mail order, call us at 1-800-926-6565. Please say “Pharmacy” when you call.

Offering counseling for members feeling stress related to the coronavirus. In partnership with New Directions Behavioral Health, you can talk to specially trained behavioral health counselors 24/7 at no cost. You can talk with a counselor by calling the toll-free helpline at 1-833-848-1762. The counselors will not be able to assist with questions about COVID-19 testing or treatment, so for those questions, please call us at 1-800-926-6565.

Florida Blue Centers have gone virtual. Due to government guidelines of limiting contact through social distancing, we’ve transitioned to virtual support and services. Members can still count on our nurses, community specialists and service specialists to provide support by calling 1-877-352-5830.

Frequently Asked Questions About COVID-19

What is the Risk of Contracting COVID-19?

The risk of contracting COVID-19 in Florida remains low. Most of the people who contract it recover in a matter of days, often at home, according to health officials. As with other viruses, people who are elderly and/or have underlying health conditions are more at risk.

What Are the Symptoms?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, symptoms include mild to severe respiratory symptoms, including a cough and difficulty breathing, as well as a fever, diarrhea, chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat and new loss of taste or smell. People who are elderly and/or have underlying health conditions are more at risk. You should get immediate medical attention if you begin to develop these emergency warning signs for COVID-19: difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion or inability to wake up or bluish lips or face.

How is the Virus Spread?

The CDC says the virus is mainly spread person-to-person, particularly when they are in close proximity to one another. That’s why there’s been a wide call for social distancing, which means staying out of crowded places and keeping at least six feet away from other people. Taking proactive steps to slow the spread will help keep our health system from becoming overwhelmed.

Another way the spread occurs is when a person touches a surface where the virus is, then touching his or her own mouth, nose or eyes. Click here for more information on how the virus can be spread. 

How Can You Protect Yourself and Your Family?

There is no vaccine to prevent infection from COVID-19. The best way to protect yourself is to avoid being exposed to the virus. Here are some prevention tips:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. Also, wash your hands when you touch things in public like elevator buttons, doorknobs and office telephones.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Avoid contact with people who are sick and stay home when you are sick.
  • Surgical masks should be reserved for caregivers, health care personnel and people with symptoms and under suspicion for COVID-19. As of now, masks are not covered by Florida Blue Medicare health plans.
  • Make sure you have enough nonperishable food for a week or so in case you get sick, just as you would if you had the flu.
  • Follow government travel restrictions.

Resources

Here are several websites you can use to find the latest details about COVID-19 :


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