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Blues Plans’ Extraordinary Response to Covid-19

Since the very beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, New York State’s Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans have taken swift and aggressive action to ensure affordable and high-quality health coverage is accessible for our members.

Additionally, New York’s Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans have taken extraordinary steps to provide individuals, small businesses, hospitals and other health care providers with the resources needed to combat Covid-19, including unprecedented financial investments.

Plan Actions

  • No cost to members for Covid-19 vaccine
  • No cost to members for Covid-19 testing
  • No cost mental and emotional support services
  • Waived copays for medically necessary, urgent care or ER visits related to Covid-19
  • Expanded telemedicine services and waived copays for all insured members, regardless of the nature of the medical issue
  • Suspended preauthorization reviews of surgeries or admissions at hospitals, inpatient rehabilitation admissions, home care services and skilled nursing facility admissions following a hospital stay
  • Waived or extended time frames for claims disputes, appeals, grievances and audits
  • Increased access to prescriptions by waiving early medication refill limits on 30 or 90-day prescription maintenance medications
  • Home delivery for up to a 90-day supply of medication
  • Provided assistance navigating health insurance options for those facing unemployment
  • Provided guidance and resources for employers to access assistance programs available through the CARES Act
  • Allowed mid-year plan changes to lower-cost employer and employee plans through the public health emergency
  • Provided financial relief for small businesses experiencing hardship through a two-month premium grace period
  • Simplified administrative requirements to reduce the administrative burden on physicians
  • Created Covid-19 webpages, webinars and extensive resources

Financial Investments

  • Cash advances to providers in addition to the advance payments made under normal circumstances
  • Grants to hospitals for testing supplies and personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • Increased telemedicine coverage and increased provider reimbursement rates
  • Suspension of prior-authorization reviews, clinical editing programs and claim filing requirements
  • Mandated increase in reimbursement for Covid-19 hospital admissions
  • Waived copays and member cost sharing for Covid-19 related care
  • Medical premium refund credits to employers
  • Dental premium refund credits to employers
  • Grants for “return-to-work” kits for employers
  • Grants and sponsorships for locally based health-related initiatives
  • Grants to community based food banks and pantries
  • Funding for local domestic violence prevention organizations