COVID-19 Updates

Updated March 11, 2021

These are unprecedented times. As the news of COVID-19, also known as the novel coronavirus, continues to evolve, you may have questions about your coverage or what to do if you feel sick. We’ve pulled together some information and resources that can help.

For information and updates on COVID-19 vaccines, please visit the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) website at or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website at

Feeling Sick?

If you think you may be getting sick, use a symptom checker and get more information to help guide your health care decisions.

Staying Healthy

  • Prevent the spread of germs. Frequent handwashing and limiting contact with others can help limit the spread of COVID-19 and other illnesses. Learn more about how to avoid germs

  • Feeling overwhelmed? You’re not alone. Adjusting to new routines and the endless news cycle can take a toll. Take steps to manage stress

Keep Up to Date on the Latest Information

The news on COVID-19 is changing rapidly. And there’s a lot of misinformation out there. For the latest information on COVID-19, we recommend that you turn to trusted public health organizations such as:

The CDC, NIH, DHEC and WHO are independent organizations that provide health information you may find useful.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19)?

COVID-19 is a respiratory disease caused by a new coronavirus. Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that may cause illness in people. The name of this new respiratory disease is coronavirus disease 2019, abbreviated as COVID-19.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough and shortness of breath. Symptoms may also include chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat and new loss of taste or sense of smell. These symptoms may appear two to 14 days after exposure to the virus. This list is not all-inclusive. Please consult your medical provider about any other symptoms that are severe or concerning to you.

How is the virus passed from one person to another?

Someone who is actively infected with COVID-19 can spread the illness to others even if he or she has no symptoms.

The virus spreads from one person to another through respiratory droplets. These droplets are produced when someone with the illness coughs, sneezes or talks. The droplets can be inhaled, land in the mouths or noses of people nearby and can persist for up to a couple of days on some surfaces. It generally takes close (less than 6 feet away) contact to become infected.

How dangerous is the virus?

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), COVID-19 can affect anyone and can cause symptoms ranging from mild to very severe. People with high risk factors and underlying health conditions — such as heart disease, lung disease and diabetes — may be more likely to need hospitalization if they have COVID-19.

How can I prevent the spread of coronavirus or other respiratory viruses?

The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to the virus. To limit virus exposure, the CDC recommends that you:

  • Maintain good social distance (at least 6 feet) from others and avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face covering when around others. 
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after you have been in a public place, after going to the bathroom; before eating or preparing food ; and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.  
    • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry. 
    • Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

What should I do if I may have been exposed to or think I am sick with COVID- 19?

If you develop a fever and symptoms of respiratory illness, such as a cough or difficulty breathing, or if you have been in close contact with a person sick with COVID-19, contact your doctor before you attempt to see anyone in person. You can tell your health care provider your symptoms and he or she can give you instructions on how to get your medical needs addressed while minimizing the risk of exposure to yourself and others.

There currently is no cure for this virus, so managing mild symptoms at home may be your best option to prevent further spread of the disease. Of course, should you have life-threatening symptoms such as trouble breathing, call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room. If possible, put on a face mask before seeking emergency medical care.

Are the coronavirus test and treatment covered under my insurance?

If you have COVID-19 symptoms or if you have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for the virus, your doctor can order a medically necessary test at no cost to our members.

Any coronavirus testing not ordered by your doctor or that is not medically necessary will not be covered under your insurance. Public health and employment return to work testing are not considered medically necessary and will not be covered.

Could my prescription be impacted? Can I buy more than my usual refill limit to get them filled early?

BlueCross is closely monitoring any potential medication access issues to make sure our members get the medications they need in a timely manner.

BlueCross members who have mail-order pharmacy benefits are encouraged to consider using them. For members who have concerns about running out of medications we recommend they first contact their doctor or pharmacist. Members can call the customer service number on the back of their ID cards for benefit-related questions.

Will the vaccine be covered under my insurance?

BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina and BlueChoice® HealthPlan of South Carolina are closely following the latest information regarding the COVID-19 vaccines and distribution progress.

As vaccines become available to the public, the federal government will cover the cost of the COVID-19 vaccines and BlueCross and BlueChoice will cover the COVID-19 vaccine administration costs during the pandemic emergency period. Throughout the COVID-19 public health emergency, there will be no cost-share for our members. This applies whether the member receives the vaccine from an in-network or out-of-network vaccine provider. For vaccines that require more than one dose, BlueCross and BlueChoice will cover each required dose at no cost-share.

Also with the release of vaccines, education campaigns will begin in earnest. If you have questions about the safety and effectiveness of the vaccines or other clinical aspects such as potential side effects, please go to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) websites.

In addition, please continue to take safety precautions to slow the spread of COVID-19. Wear a mask, wash your hands thoroughly and frequently, practice social distancing, and get a flu shot. The vaccine will be a new and powerful tool in the fight against COVID-19, but the basic safety guidelines remain effective – and necessary.

*The CDC and DHEC are independent organizations that provide health information you may find helpful. 

More from BlueCross

Protect Yourself and Others: The Importance of Vaccines and the Flu Shot — Dec. 30, 2020 (Updated) 

Coping With COVID-19 and Seasonal Depression — Dec. 3, 2020

The Difference Between the Flu and COVID-19  — Oct. 29, 2020 

What to Know About the Flu — Sep. 10, 2020 

Drinking, Substance Use, Mental Health Issues Up During The Pandemic — Sep. 3, 2020

A Primary Care Doctor on COVID-19: What to Know — Aug. 13, 2020 

Read more on our blog.

*This link leads to a third party site. That organization is solely responsible for the contents and privacy policy of its site.

Watch Now: Our chief medical officer, Dr. Matthew Bartels, shares answers to the most common questions and clinical guidance related to COVID-19.

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