Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona Expands Support for Coronavirus Services and Care, Waives Telehealth Cost Share for Members
PHOENIX – March 11, 2020 – Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona (BCBSAZ) announced expanded support today in an effort to combat the spread and impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19). BCBSAZ will seek to minimize barriers for testing and treatment, including waiving prior authorizations for members with COVID-19, eliminating member cost share for telehealth sessions, increasing access to prescription drugs, and enhancing other clinical support systems.
“Our top priority is protecting the safety and well-being of our members and Arizonans,” said Pam Kehaly, president and CEO of BCBSAZ. “As the coronavirus continues to spread, we’re taking comprehensive steps so that our members will have easier access to medical services if they become ill with COVID-19. We’re also actively sharing preparedness guidance, prevention tips and other resources with our members to help them stay healthy and address any concerns with trained medical professionals.”
BCBSAZ is taking the following steps to assist members:
- Waiving Prior Authorizations: BCBSAZ will waive prior authorizations for medically necessary covered services that are consistent with CDC guidance for members diagnosed with COVID-19. BCBSAZ will also make dedicated clinical staff available to address inquiries related to medical services.
- Covering Medically Necessary Diagnostic Tests: Members will pay no cost-share for medically necessary diagnostic tests related to COVID-19 and consistent with CDC guidance (when services are not covered as part of the Public Health Service response).
- Eliminating Cost Share for Telehealth Sessions and Expanding Hotline Services: BCBSAZ will waive the member cost share for telehealth sessions, and expand access to telehealth and nurse/provider hotlines. Given the nature of the COVID-19 outbreak, seeking in-person medical care may lead to further spreading of the virus. BCBSAZ will encourage the use of virtual care and will also facilitate member access and use of nurse/provider hotlines.
- Increasing Access to Prescription Medications: BCBSAZ will increase access to prescription medications by waiving early medication refill limits on 30-day prescription maintenance medications (consistent with a member’s benefit plan) and/or encouraging members to use their 90-day mail order benefit. BCBSAZ will also work with members to find alternative covered medications if there are shortages or access issues. Patients will not be liable for additional cost share for a non-preferred medication if the preferred medication is not available due to shortage or access issues.
BCBSAZ is closely monitoring the updates on COVID-19 and reviewing the data daily so that it is prepared and able to respond quickly as the situation changes. Additionally, BCBSAZ is working with the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) to offer ongoing consultation and support, including translation services, and funding “Go Kits” with thermometers, masks, and information for travelers returning to Arizona.
These coverage enhancements apply to fully-insured group, individual, and Medicare members of BCBSAZ. Although employers that self-fund their health plans make their own decisions whether to cover these services, we are strongly encouraging them do so.
About Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona (BCBSAZ) is committed to helping Arizonans get healthier faster and stay healthier longer. With a focus on connecting people with the care they need, BCBSAZ offers health insurance and related services to more than 1.7 million customers. Through advanced clinical programs and community outreach, BCBSAZ is inspiring health in Arizona. BCBSAZ, a not-for-profit company, is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association. The company, and its subsidiaries, employ more than 2,400 people in its Phoenix, Chandler, Flagstaff, and Tucson offices. To learn more, visit azblue.com.
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