Last Updated | July 10, 2020

Measures we're taking to support Members

We are taking the following steps to ensure our members continue to receive the care they need during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Find COVID-19 information specific to our Blue Medicare Advantage members.

Topics

  • What to know about your Blue KC Coverage during COVID-19 outbreak
  • Accessing Blue KC Virtual Care
  • FAQs

Blue KC will waive early medication refill limits.

Early medication refill limits will be waived on 30-day prescription maintenance medications (excluding opioids and controlled substances). This is consistent with the CDC recommendation to have a one-month supply of medication on hand. Member cost sharing will apply as normal. This policy will remain in place through July 25, 2020.

Blue KC will eliminate prior authorizations for COVID-19 services.

Prior authorizations will be waived for diagnostic tests and for outpatient covered services that are medically necessary and consistent with CDC guidance if diagnosed with COVID-19. Blue KC will also make dedicated clinical staff available to address inquiries related to medical services, ensuring timeliness of responses related to COVID-19. This policy will remain in place through July 25, 2020.

Blue KC will cover certain COVID-19 tests with no cost share for Blue KC members.

You should contact your primary care physician or healthcare provider if you are experiencing COVID-19 like symptoms.

There are two kinds of tests are available for COVID-19: viral tests and antibody tests.

  • A viral test tells you if you have a current infection.
  • An antibody test tells you if you had a previous infection

An antibody test may not be able to show if you have a current infection, because it can take 1-3 weeks after infection to make antibodies. The CDC does not know yet if having antibodies to the virus can protect someone from getting infected with the virus again, or how long that protection might last.

The COVID-19 viral and antibody tests will be covered with no cost share if your physician orders the test.

Important: In accordance with federal guidance, these tests will not be covered to screen for general work place health and safety (such as employee ”return to work” program(s) or for public health surveillance for SARS-CoV-2 or for any other purpose not primarily intended for individualized diagnosis or treatment of COVID-19.

In addition, effective March 18, 2020, covered services and items furnished during the office visit, urgent care visit or emergency room visit that results in the ordering or the administration of a covered COVID-19 test will also be covered with no cost sharing.

Important: Please note that for services provided prior to March 18, 2020, any cost sharing will apply for an office visit, urgent care or emergency room visit that resulted in ordering a COVID-19 test. In addition, other diagnostic tests during the office visit and those tests and services will also be subject to normal cost sharing.

Learn more about public health testing.

You can access care from home.

There’s no reason to leave home. You can access a video (face-to-face) visit right from your smartphone, tablet or computer with a virtual care doctor who’s been trained to evaluate for COVID-19. Both Urgent Care Visits and Behavioral Health Therapy visits provided in the Blue KC app are at no cost until July 25, 2020. Download the app on the Apple App Store and Google Play or go to www.BlueKCVirtualCare.com.

With increased use of virtual care, please understand the wait time may be longer.

In addition, until July 25, 2020 you can see your in-network providers, at no cost for virtual (face-to-face), telephone, e-mail or text visits for medical services or behavioral health therapy.

Cost sharing* still applies to physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy.

*Deductibles, co-payments and coinsurance

Blue KC will cover inpatient hospital admissions with no cost share to the member.

Effective April 1, Blue KC is waiving cost sharing and copayments for inpatient hospital admissions due to the diagnosis of COVID-19 for individuals fully insured by Blue KC. Some employers may have different contracts* with Blue KC which may affect your coverage levels. Please call the customer service number on the back of your Blue KC membership card with questions. This policy will remain in place through July 25, 2020.

*Minimum Premium/Cost-Plus, and ASO

FAQs

Blue KC will continue to monitor COVID-19 developments and update the following FAQ as additional information becomes available.

What is COVID-19?

Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases (for example, SARS is a coronavirus). This novel (or new) coronavirus, or COVID-19, is a strain that has not been previously identified in humans. You may see "coronavirus" and “COVID-19” used interchangeably in news reports.

How can I protect myself and my family?

  1. Check the CDC website for up-to-date information.
  1. Practice good health habits. Everyday actions like handwashing can help to prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including COVID-19.
    • Stay home when you're sick. That includes staying home from work, school, errands and travel.
    • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer when washing isn't an option.
    • Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
    • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
    • Put distance between yourself and other people outside of your home.
    • Cover a cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
    • If you don't have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve or elbow, not your hands.
    • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces, such as phones, keyboards and doorknobs.
    • Get plenty of sleep, exercise, drink a lot of fluids and eat nutritious food.

What are the symptoms?

According to the CDC, people with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

This list does not include all possible symptoms. Visit the CDC website to find updates.

What should I do if I’m experiencing symptoms of COVID-19?

Consider using the CDC’s Symptom Checker (located on this webpage) to help you make decisions and seek appropriate medical care.

If you are experiencing the above symptoms and you believe you may have been exposed to COVID-19 take the following action:

  1. Call your healthcare provider and share your symptoms and concerns of being exposed to COVID-19.
  1. Follow your provider’s guidance on next steps. They may:
    • Suggest you self-quarantine until you’re able to take a test.
    • Recommend you be tested for influenza or other illnesses first.
    • Provide self-care tips.
  2. Do your best to avoid close contact with others and practice safe disinfecting and cleaning behaviors including:
    • Cover your mouth
    • Wash your hands
    • Disinfect surfaces you use (kitchen and bathroom counters, tables, drawers, etc.)
  3. Monitor your symptoms and keep your healthcare provider informed of any changes.

What telehealth services are available to me?

Blue KC is temporarily expanding coverage for telehealth. Until July 25, 2020, for in-network providers the following coverage enhancements apply for services that would otherwise be covered at an in-person visit. For more information on what services apply, please see the telehealth section above.

You can also access Blue KC Virtual Care at no cost to you until July 25, 2020. The Blue KC Virtual Care app is currently available on the Apple App Store and Google Play or at www.BlueKCVirtualCare.com. For instructions on how to use Blue KC Virtual Care see the "Accessing Blue KC Virtual Care" section of this website.

I don’t have a primary care doctor. Who can I call if I’m experiencing symptoms?

Unless an emergency, consider alternatives to in-person ER visits:

Healthcare facilities and virtual care platforms may be experiencing an influx of calls from their patients during this time. You may experience longer than normal wait times when contacting your provider.

Is COVID-19 testing covered by my Blue KC health plan?

Blue KC will cover certain COVID-19 tests with no cost share for Blue KC members. Please refer to the testing coverage section above for the most up-to-date information.

What should I know about public health testing that may be available?

Some local public health departments are beginning to offer COVID-19 testing to their residents whether or not they are showing COVID-19 symptoms. Check with your county’s health officials to learn more about public health testing they may be currently offering.

How can I be sure to get my prescription drug refills?

Blue KC has waived limits on 30-day early maintenance medication refills through July 25, 2020, so you have the medicines you need on hand. You can ask your doctor to order a 90-day prescription to be filled via mail order if your plan provides mail order medication. This policy will remain in place through July 25, 2020.

Can I still visit my healthcare provider for preventive or scheduled care?

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has issued this guidance about seeking healthcare services during these times, including some of the following:

  • Do not postpone necessary care.
  • Talk with your healthcare provider about the precautions they are putting in place to keep patients safe.
  • Consider telehealth or virtual visits when possible.

I believe that I am sick with COVID-19. How should I be treated?

If you believe you may have been exposed to COVID-19, the CDC recommends that you get lots of rest and stay hydrated. If you are not sick enough to be hospitalized, you can recover at home. Follow CDC additional instructions for how to take care of yourself at home. If your symptoms worsen, contact your healthcare provider immediately to coordinate necessary care.

I believe that I am sick with COVID-19. What can I do to prevent spreading the illness to others?

The CDC recommends the following precautions to help prevent the disease from spreading to people in your home and community:

  • Isolate yourself at home. You should restrict activities outside your home, except for getting medical care. If you must go out, avoid using any kind of public transportation, ridesharing, or taxis.
  • Cover your cough and sneezes.
  • As much as possible, stay in a specific room and away from other people in your home. Also, you should use a separate bathroom, if available. You should also restrict contact with pets and other animals while you are sick with COVID-19, just like you would around other people. Although there have not been reports of pets or other animals becoming sick with COVID-19, it is still recommended that people sick with COVID-19 limit contact with animals until more information is known about the virus.
  • Avoid sharing personal items with other people in your household, like dishes, towels, and bedding.
  • Clean all surfaces that are touched often, like counters, tabletops, and doorknobs. Use household cleaning sprays or wipes according to the label instructions.

How is Blue KC prepared to continue serving members?

Blue KC is actively monitoring the development of COVID-19, especially in the Kansas City metro area. We want you to know that we have already put measures in place to ensure our business operates as usual and members get the care they need should the situation escalate.

Measures will remain in effect until further notice.

most of all, take care.