Last updated Friday, April 17, 2020
With the novel coronavirus (recently named COVID-19) in the news, we are monitoring the developments and what it means for the Kansas City community and those who are insured by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City (Blue KC). We encourage anyone looking for the most up-to-date information to visit the CDC website.
As a result, Blue Medicare Advantage Member Meetings and Medicare Seminars are cancelled.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), older adults and people who have severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung, or kidney disease seem to be at higher risk for more serious COVID-19 illness. We want you to stay healthy, and if you get sick, we want you to know what to do to get the care you need quickly.
The following coverage changes are in place until further notice. Keep checking this page for the latest updates. Blue KC will continue to evaluate based on COVID-19 developments.
- Removing cost-sharing for the COVID-19 test.*
- Removing prior authorizations for COVID-19 diagnostic tests and covered services that are medically necessary and consistent with CDC guidance if diagnosed with COVID-19.
- Expanding our benefits to cover telehealth services. Members will pay $0 for telehealth visits until June 30, 2020, at which time we will re-evaluate based on COVID-19 developments.
- Removing early medication refill limits, prior authorizations and step therapy requirements.
- Prescription refills from out-of-network pharmacies are available, but members will need to submit a Pharmacy Direct Member Reimbursement form.
- If a COVID-19 vaccine becomes available, we will cover the vaccine with no cost-sharing under your Part D benefit.*
IMPORTANT: Members are responsible for deductibles, co-pays, co-insurance and any other cost sharing as outlined in their Evidence of Coverage for covered inpatient and outpatient medical services, excluding medical visits related to the evaluation of a COVID-19 diagnosis and/or administration of COVID-19 laboratory test.
*Cost share means deductible, copayments and coinsurance.
Precautions to Protect You and Your Family
- Stay home when you're sick. That includes staying home from work, 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.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid crowds, especially in poorly ventilated spaces.
- 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.
- The CDC is issuing new travel guidance regularly as developments occur.
- Older adults and travelers with underlying health issues should avoid situations that put you at increased risk for more severe disease.
- Visit the CDC Travel page for all travel-related updates.
- The CDC recommends that you put off all cruise ship travel worldwide, particularly if you also have underlying health issues.
- If you have recently traveled to a high risk area or plan to do so, follow the recommendations on the CDC website regarding self-monitoring for infection and self-quarantine.
We want to give you access to tools that will help you stay COVID-19 free. Telehealth visits allow doctors to provide care to patients at home via phone or online video consultation, minimizing the spread of infection in the provider’s office.
We will cover telehealth visits with no fees for our members until June 30, 2020, at which time we will re-evaluate based on COVID-19 developments.
Telehealth Through Your Provider
Your doctor may encourage you to participate in telehealth visits as an alternative to certain office visits that don’t require in-person services. This includes but is not limited to urgent/sick visits and yearly wellness visits. Telehealth visits through your provider are now covered.
Blue KC Virtual Care App (COVID-19 related visits only)
Blue KC Virtual Care is an app that connects you with doctors via online video, and it can be used on your mobile device or computer. For COVID-19 related visits only, Blue Medicare Advantage members also have access to the Blue KC Virtual Care app. The app is available on the Apple App Store and Google Play or at www.BlueKCVirtualCare.com.
Blue KC’s Virtual Care doctors have undergone additional training for COVID-19. With increased use of virtual care, please understand the wait time may be longer.
The following video will help you get started with the Blue KC Virtual Care app.
24-Hour Nurse Line
Our Blue Medicare Advantage 24-Hour Nurse Advise Line is always here to help you navigate uncertainties related to health issues including COVID-19. If you have questions or concerns, give us a call at 1.833.546.9354 (TTY 711).
A Registered Nurse is available 24-Hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year at no cost to you. The nurse will ask you a few questions and give you information to help you determine next steps.
Reasons to call the NurseLine:
- Decide when to visit your doctor or go to an urgent care or ER
- Understand your medications
- Learn about preventative care
If you are experiencing an emergency, call 911 immediately.
- Missouri Department of Health & Senior Services
- City of Kansas City
- National Council on Aging (NCOA)
Stay Connected, Manage Anxiety, and Cope with Stress:
- New Directions Behavioral Health – Important Resources When Dealing with a Crisis
- Harvard Health Publishing – Coping with Coronavirus Anxiety