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.
If you’re experiencing mild to severe respiratory symptoms, including a cough and difficulty breathing, a fever or diarrhea, consult with your doctor over the phone so they can determine next best steps. If they determine you do need to be tested, through June 1 the test is $0 for all members and we’re waiving the cost share for the treatment of those with a positive COVID-19 diagnosis, including in-patient and observation hospital admissions. You can also 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.
Also, during this challenging time, 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 May 31. 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!
As we’ve made some changes to make it easier for you to get tested and treated for COVID-19, 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 800-926-6565. 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 800-926-6565. 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 1-800-926-6565. 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 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 800-926-6565.
Florida Blue Centers. In support of the Department of Health and CDC guidelines of limiting contact through social distancing, face-to-face access is temporarily unavailable at our Florida Blue Centers and we’ve transitioned to virtual support and services. Members can still count on our neighborhood nurses, community specialists and local service specialists to provide personalized support by calling 1-877-352-5830.
Attend Our Webinars to Learn More About Coronavirus
We’re hosting free live webinars with Dr. Kelli Wells, if you’re interested in learning more about the coronavirus. Wells is the senior medical director for medical affairs at Florida Blue. Click here to register for 5-6 p.m., March 31, and here to register for noon-1 p.m. April 7.
Frequently Asked Questions About COVID-19
What is the Risk of Contracting COVID-19?
The risk of contracting COVID-19 in Florida is low. Most of the people who contract COVID-19 recover in a matter of days, oftentimes at home, according to health officials. Symptoms can be more serious for older adults and people with underlying health conditions.
What Are the Symptoms?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a fever, cough and shortness of breath may appear two to 14 days after you’ve been exposed to the coronavirus. 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.
Filed under: Health Education