Coronavirus Update: Florida Blue Increasing Access to Health Care Services for Members to Aid in Treatment
Your health and the health of the communities we serve is our top priority. As we all adjust our lives in these rapidly changing times, please know our team is here to help you get through the hectic pace and 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. You can call us at the number on the back of your member ID card if you need help finding a doctor. Note: Florida Blue is also working with its self-funded ASO group employers to assist them in meeting the needs of their employees during the health crisis.
We want you to take care of yourself and your family and not worry about losing your health coverage. We’ve extended the time you have to pay your premium for individual members and groups. So even if your payment becomes past due or is already late, you’ll have additional time to make payments through August 1. Individuals can also now pay by credit cards.
If you have questions about the coronavirus, have symptoms and need help finding a doctor to do a COVID-19 test or any other concern, please call us at the number on the back of your member ID card. You can also call the Florida Department of Health’s 24/7 COVID-19 call center at (866) 779-6121 or email COVIDfirstname.lastname@example.org. Also, check out our COVID-19 site, which makes it easy to see the latest info, connect to Florida Blue resources and support, view a list of testing locations, find out how to take advantage of Teladoc and New Directions services, 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 be able to talk to a doctor from your home or wherever you are.
- As long as the coronavirus continues to be a health concern, members under 65 who buy their own coverage and many members who get insurance through their employers, will have $0 cost share for virtual visits with Teladoc. If you get insurance through your employer, check with your company’s benefits administrator to see if this service is part of your health plan. 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 an 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, please call us at the number on the back of your member ID card. Medicare members should call 866-215-0539. Please note: You cannot get a referral for the coronavirus test from Teladoc. Please consult 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 the number on the back of your member ID card. Medicare members should call 866-215-0539. You can also use our online provider directory by logging into your account on floridablue.com or floridablue.com/medicare.
- Sanitas Medical Center patients can initiate a virtual visit using their mySanitas 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 network providers who are offering 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 the virtual visit.
Increasing access to necessary medications. We’re waiving early medication refill limits on 30-day prescription maintenance medications and are encouraging members to use the 90-day mail order benefit. If you need help with mail order, please call us at the number on the back of your member ID card. Medicare members should call 1-866-215-0539. 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 about any stress you may be feeling by calling the toll-free helpline at 833-848-1762. Please note: The counselors will not be able to assist with questions about COVID-19 testing or treatment, so for those questions, please call us at the number on the back of your member ID card. Medicare members should call 866-215-0539.
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. 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 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.
Here are several websites you can use to find the latest details about COVID-19 :
- Florida Department of Health updates
- Centers for Disease and Control Prevention updates
- Travel restrictions
Filed under: Health Education