HomeAdvocacyExcellus BlueCross BlueShield working to respond to COVID-19 pandemic

Excellus BlueCross BlueShield working to respond to COVID-19 pandemic

UTICA, NY – Excellus BlueCross BlueShield is working to help its members receive the care they need, reduce the administrative burden on physicians and hospitals and help employers continue to provide health insurance coverage during the COVID-19 pandemic.


“The health and well-being of our 1.5 million members are at the heart of everything we’re doing,” said Christopher C. Booth, president and CEO of Excellus BCBS. “Information about the COVID-19 response is changing rapidly, which is why we’ve created a special landing page on our website that is updated as necessary.”


For the latest information on the health plan’s response, members, providers and employers are encouraged to visit: https://www.chooseexcellus.com/covid19.


If you have recently lost coverage from your employer due to the public health emergency, Excellus BCBS has several free and low-cost healthcare options available. Loss of coverage due to job loss is considered a qualifying event allowing people to sign up for coverage without waiting for open enrollment.


The State of New York has also announced a Special Enrollment Period due to the COVID-19 public health emergency. Uninsured individuals can enroll in Qualified Health Plans between March 16 and April 15 to have coverage effective starting April 1, 2020.


Individuals can enroll in other state-sponsored programs – Medicaid, Essential Plan and Child Health Plus – at any time.


To help people retain coverage, Excellus BCBS is working with employers on strategies to continue coverage or help facilitate enrollment in COBRA. Excellus BCBS also has facilitated enrollers available for individuals who have lost their coverage. These enrollers can present all coverage options and help find the plan that best meets the individual’s needs.


Member out-of-pocket costs such as copayments, co-insurance and deductibles have been waived on all COVID-19 related testing and diagnosis where medically necessary and consistent with federal guidelines. This includes the cost share for the office visit, urgent care visit or emergency room visit.


The member out-of-pocket expense is also being waived for all telemedicine visits during the state of emergency for plans that have a telemedicine benefit. Telemedicine is alternative way to access care if a person can’t reach their physician.


Excellus BCBS is also encouraging local physicians to expand their use of telemedicine services and is educating them on how to do so.


To reduce the administrative burden on physicians and hospitals, Excellus BCBS has also waived preauthorization requirements for diagnostic tests and for covered services that are medically necessary and consistent with CDC guidance for members diagnosed with COVID-19. It is just one of many steps taken to support physicians and hospitals during this state of emergency. For a more complete list of the steps taken, visit https://provider.excellusbcbs.com/coronavirus.


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