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What HealthSelect participants need to know about the coronavirus and COVID-19

03/23/2020

Coronaviruses have been around for decades and are best known for causing sickness like the common cold, with symptoms like coughing, sneezing and other upper respiratory issues. In late 2019, a new coronavirus was discovered. COVID-19 is the disease caused by the new coronavirus. According to recent reports from the U. S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the immediate health risk from the coronavirus is low at this time.

The best source of information on the coronavirus and COVID-19 is the CDC website and the Texas Department of State Health Services . If you plan to travel internationally, visit the U.S. State Department website for travel alerts.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas (BCBSTX) is closely monitoring the potential impact of COVID-19. BCBSTX stands ready to help doctors, hospitals and public health organizations in serving HealthSelect participants in understanding, preventing and potentially treating people who have been affected by the virus. If the need arises, BCBSTX will work with providers and federal, state and local health authorities to help HealthSelect participants get the care and services they need.

What can I do to keep myself and others healthy?

According to the CDC, there is no vaccine to prevent COVID-19 at this time. The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. The CDC recommends everyday preventive actions to help stop the spread of respiratory diseases, such as:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
    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 eaning spray or wipe.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
How do I know if I have COVID-19?

Illnesses from the virus range from mild symptoms to severe. Symptoms may appear two to 14 days after you are exposed to the disease. The CDC lists these symptoms of COVID-19:
  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
Human coronaviruses can sometimes cause lower-respiratory tract illnesses, such as pneumonia or bronchitis. This is more common in people with heart-lung disease, people with weakened immune systems, infants and older adults.

What should I do if I think I might have the virus?

If you think you might have been exposed to a human coronavirus, you should make an appointment with your health care provider. But other than your doctor visit, you should stay home so that you don’t expose others. Do not go to work, school or other public areas.

As a HealthSelectSM participant, if you think you may have COVID-19, you have options for your health care. A virtual visit might be a good choice if you suspect you have COVID-19. By staying home for a virtual visit, you may be able to avoid spreading the disease. A virtual visit doctor can help decide if you are at high-risk for developing more serious illness or if your symptoms are serious enough that you need a higher level of care. There is no cost for medical virtual visits if you are enrolled in HealthSelect of Texas®, HealthSelectSM Out-of-State or HealthSelectSM Secondary. If you are enrolled in Consumer Directed HealthSelectSM, you must first meet your annual deductible, and then coinsurance applies. Learn more about virtual visits.

If you make an in-person appointment with a health care provider, call the provider before your visit and tell them that you think you may have COVID-19. This will help the health care provider’s office take steps to keep other people from getting infected or exposed.

Will my HealthSelect plan pay for care if I get the virus?

Generally, the HealthSelect plans cover hospital stays and standard treatment for viruses and treatment of any related infections just like they cover care for the flu. Coverage of all services is subject to medical necessity and contract limitations.

What do I do if I need health care while traveling outside of Texas, but within the United States?

If you are traveling out-of-state but within the United States, make sure to take your BCBSTX medical ID card with you. Outside of Texas, you have access to the same level of benefits you get in-network as long as you visit in-network providers. HealthSelect of Texas participants will still need a referral from their primary care physician for specialist visits, and prior authorization is required for inpatient hospital stays, high tech radiology and certain other services.

To find an in-network provider while traveling, call a BCBSTX Personal Health Assistant toll-free at (800) 252-8039 or use the Provider Finder® tool.

Another convenient and low-cost option for non-emergency care while traveling within the United States is a virtual visit. With medical virtual visits, you and your covered dependents can consult a doctor online for your urgent health care needs. Medical virtual visits give you access to a licensed board-certified doctor 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, including weekends and holidays.

What do I do if I need health care while traveling outside of the United States?

If you’re traveling internationally, make sure to take your BCBSTX medical ID card with you. Before you leave, check the State Department website to see if there are any travel alerts for the country you’re visiting. If there are, you may want to reconsider your plans.

If you need medical care while you’re out of the country, Blue Cross Blue Shield Global® Core allows you to see providers abroad for covered health services at the out-of-network benefit level. If you have a true emergency, the cost of your care will be covered at the in-network level, but some providers may require you to pay for your care up front and submit a claim with Blue Cross Blue Shield Global Core for reimbursement.

If you have questions or need to find a provider outside of the U.S, call Global Core customer service toll-free at (800) 810-BLUE (2583). You can also find providers using the international Provider Finder tool at www.bcbsglobalcore.com.

If you have questions about your coverage, call a BCBSTX Personal Health Assistant toll-free at (800) 252-8039, Monday – Friday, 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. and Saturday, 7 a.m. – 3 p.m. CT.

A Division of Health Care Service Corporation, a Mutual Legal Reserve Company, an Independent Licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

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