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A few more COVID-19 coverage expansions

Temporary benefit tweaks for medical services, certain ancillary health services

This morning, we will be sending an email to group administrators, making them aware of two temporary changes we are making for our fully insured groups. We wanted to make you aware of this first, in case you received any calls.

As you know, Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield and Health Advantage have already made significant changes for our fully insured groups in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which are summarized on our website here. The two changes that we are sharing with them today are temporary expansions that will be retroactive to April 1, 2020, and in effect through May 15, 2020, at which time the situation will be reassessed.

We are waiving the costs for in-network medical services for our fully insured members who have a primary diagnosis of COVID-19.

  • This includes any COVID-19-specific visit to a medical clinic, urgent care center and/or emergency room and inpatient treatment where COVID-19 is the primary diagnosis.
  • We are doing this to ease the burden of our members during the coronavirus health crisis.

We also are temporarily adding benefits to cover telemedicine access to in-network providers delivering specific services by physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech and language therapists, chiropractors, podiatrists, registered dietitians and board-certified behavioral analysts.

  • There will be no waiver of cost sharing for these services, meaning normal copays, deductibles and coinsurances will apply. All contractual limitations, conditions, policies and procedures also will apply.
  • Our team of medical directors has approved only the specific services that they believe can be appropriately delivered via telemedicine.
  • We are adding this benefit for our members because we know that many of them rely on their regularly scheduled appointments with these types of providers, and that, due to the pandemic, they may have been unable to see their providers during this time.
  • We are not adding this coverage expansion to our summary on the website, since this is very specific to people under the care of these types of providers. We expect that the providers will reach out to existing patients to let them know what services are covered.

If you have any questions about these changes, please reach out to your Arkansas Blue Cross representative.