Coronavirus Alert Update
March 20, 2020
BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina will immediately expand benefits for virtual visits for all members
Telehealth visits provide convenience for people to access care at home. This will also help slow the spread of COVID-19 by limiting exposure, mitigating the surge of demand on our health care system and helping protect health professionals on the front lines.
What we are doing:
Members can connect with a doctor virtually through Blue CareOnDemand, if that benefit is covered through their policy.
Our provider telehealth policy has been expanded effective March 17, 2020, and for 30 days thereafter. After that, the policy will be reevaluated for extension or modification.
- Telephone visits: Services delivered over the phone to existing patients will be covered. Providers offering these services must already be credentialed in the BlueCross system.
- Telehealth services: HIPAA-compliant telehealth services (process and technology using both audio and video) will be covered at the same benefit level as office visits. This includes visits with new patients and current patients for providers already credentialed by BlueCross to offer telehealth services. Other providers will need to apply to BlueCross to use these telehealth services in their practices.
- Members are encouraged to call their doctor and ask for a virtual visit. These virtual visits must be medically necessary and meet qualifying criteria. Please note that the members copay and coinsurance will still apply.
In addition to expanding virtual access to health care providers, BlueCross has taken the following steps to help our members as it monitors COVID-19. These steps include:
Prior authorization waivers
- BlueCross will waive prior authorization requirements for diagnostic tests and for covered services that are medically necessary and consistent with CDC guidance for members if diagnosed with COVID-19. We will make dedicated clinical staff available to address inquiries related to medical services, ensuring timeliness of responses related to COVID-19.
- 100% coverage on testing
- BlueCross will increase access to prescription medications by encouraging members to use their 90-day mail order benefit. We will also ensure formulary flexibility if there are shortages or access issues. Patients will not be liable for additional charges that stem from obtaining a non-preferred medication if the preferred medication is not available due to shortage or access issues.
It is important to understand that the waiver or all cost sharing is solely for the COVID-19 test and not the associated physician office visit and other services. These services will still be subject to office copay, deductible and coinsurance.
Where to find more information
Check out the latest email containing materials employers can share with their employees about preventing the spread of coronavirus.
For the latest information, please visit our COVID-19 Updates page.