Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona (BCBSAZ) announced today that it will waive cost sharing for insured members who receive care for COVID-19 related treatment from in-network providers through May 2020. This impacts BCBSAZ fully insured groups, individual policies, and Medicare members. Many BCBSAZ self-funded employer customers have expressed interest in waiving cost shares for their employees for COVID-19 treatment, and BCBSAZ is making this option available to them as well.
“These uncertain times are taking physical, mental, and financial tolls on our community,” said Pam Kehaly, president and CEO of BCBSAZ. “Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona is committed to supporting our members and ensuring they receive the care and resources they need. Eliminating cost sharing related to COVID-19 treatment will greatly assist our members, so they don’t need worry about the healthcare expenses for treatment related to the virus and can focus on their well-being and recovery.”
This decision builds on a series of steps that BCBSAZ has taken to assist members during the global health emergency, such as:
Waiving prior authorizations: BCBSAZ waived prior authorizations for medically necessary covered services consistent with CDC guidance for members diagnosed with COVID-19. BCBSAZ also has dedicated clinical staff available to address inquiries related to medical services.
Waiving initial prior authorizations on hospital transfers to skilled-nursing facilities for all diagnoses: This helps free up hospital beds in Arizona.
Covering medically necessary diagnostic tests: BCBSAZ eliminated members’ cost share for medically necessary diagnostic tests related to COVID-19 and consistent with CDC guidance (when services are not covered as part of the Public Health Service response).
Eliminating cost share for telehealth video sessions and expanding hotline services: In addition to complying with the Governor’s Executive Order for Telemedicine, BCBSAZ previously removed member cost share for video telehealth sessions, including services unrelated to COVID-19, and expanded access to telehealth and nurse/provider hotlines.
Increasing access to prescription medications: BCBSAZ provided members with easier access to prescription medications by removing early medication refill limits on 30-day prescription maintenance medications (consistent with a member’s benefit plan). BCBSAZ is also helping members to find alternative covered medications if there are shortages or access issues.
BCBSAZ is also working with organizations across the state to help Arizonans during the pandemic, including:
• Supporting the Arizona Department of Health Services with funds for much-needed supplies for “Go Kits” that include thermometers and masks.
• Collaborating with local and state agencies, and investing in COVID-19 testing together with community partners like Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen), including funding assistance for a drive-through test collection site in Northern Arizona.
• Contributing to Governor Ducey’s Arizona Together Coronavirus Relief Fund and other community resources that are providing essential services, such as access to food.