What you need to know about COVID-19
Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a new disease that causes respiratory illness in people. It can spread from person to person. People of all ages can be infected. Older people and those with the following pre-existing conditions may become severely ill if infected:
- Heart disease
Coronavirus and Symptoms
What is the Coronavirus?
COVID-19 is a respiratory disease and a new virus called a coronavirus, it has become a public health emergency.
What are the symptoms?
The symptoms of coronavirus include:
- Mild to severe respiratory symptoms
- Shortness of breath
- Lower respiratory illness
COVID-19 can be contagious before a person begins showing symptoms.
What else causes similar symptoms?
Influenza (the flu), a contagious respiratory illness caused by the influenza viruses (Type A and Type B), has high activity in the Fall/Winter months. Everyone 6 months of age and older should get a flu vaccine once a year.
I may have symptoms. What do I do?
If you have been exposed or begin showing symptoms of the virus or flu, contact your healthcare provider or health department immediately.
Protect yourself and your community.
We all have a role to play in protecting our communities and families from the spread of coronavirus. You can also follow these tips to prevent infection:
- Wash your hands frequently. Use soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizing rub (must contain at least 60 percent alcohol).
- Wear a face covering or mask in public and/or around others who do not live in your home.
- Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze by coughing/sneezing into your elbow.
- Promptly dispose of tissues in a wastebasket after use.
- Clean public surfaces thoroughly.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Avoid shaking hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Get a flu vaccine once a year.
Your Healthcare Coverage
Does my health plan offer expanded coverage for COVID-19?
With your Medicare Advantage plan, we are waiving your costs for the following care:
- COVID-19 treatment from April 1, 2020 through May 31, 2021, including inpatient and outpatient services. Starting on June 1, 2021, your usual plan cost shares will apply.
- COVID-19 diagnostic tests, including serology or antibody tests, and visits to get the test, for the duration of the public emergency.
- COVID-19 screening related tests (e.g., influenza tests, blood tests, etc.) performed during a provider visit that results in an order for, or administration of, diagnostic testing for COVID-19. This is also for the duration of the public emergency.
- COVID-19 Vaccine with no prior authorization required.
- Virtual care until May 31, 2021. Starting on June 1, 2021, your usual plan cost shares will apply.
Does my plan cover COVID-19 testing/screening/treatment services?
Yes. When medically necessary diagnostic testing, medical screening services and/or treatment is ordered and/or referred by a licensed health care provider, we will cover the cost of medically necessary COVID-19 tests, screenings, associated physician's visit(s) and/or treatment. If applicable, your plan's copayment, coinsurance and/or deductible cost-sharing will be waived for medically necessary COVID-19 diagnostic testing and medical screening services.
Is prior authorization required for COVID-19 testing and screening services under my plan coverage?
No. We will not require prior authorization, prior certification, prior notification and/or step therapy protocols for medically necessary COVID-19 diagnostic testing and medical screening services when medically necessary services are ordered and/or referred by a licensed health care provider.
Where may I receive COVID-19 testing/screening/treatment services under my plan coverage?
Medically necessary COVID-19 diagnostic testing, medical screening services and/or treatment and the associated physician's visit will be covered when ordered, referred and/or performed in the following In-Network locations:
- Physician’s/Practitioner’s Office
- Independent Laboratory/Diagnostic Facility
- Urgent Care Facility
- Emergency Department Facility
If you are unsure if you have been exposed to or at-risk of being infected with COVID-19? Schedule a virtual care visit with a provider. It is a good option for non-urgent care to limit potential exposure in a physician’s office or other healthcare facility.
Will I be responsible for any out-of-pocket costs for COVID-19 testing and screening services?
No. We will cover medically necessary COVID-19 diagnostic testing and medical screening services at no charge to you, when such services are ordered and/or referred by a licensed health care provider. If applicable, your plan's copayment, coinsurance and/or deductible cost-sharing will be waived for medically necessary COVID-19 diagnostic testing and medical screening services along with the associated physician's visit.
If I need treatment for coronavirus, is that covered by my plan?
Any medically necessary treatment related to COVID-19 would be considered a covered benefit. We are committed to ensuring access to COVID-19 treatment services in accordance with federal and state law.
Will I be able to refill my prescriptions before the refill date?
Yes, members will be able to refill prescriptions prior to the refill date.
What is the COVID-19 vaccine?
There is now a vaccine available that will give you the best chance of protecting yourself and your loved ones from getting COVID-19. Some COVID-19 vaccines will have two doses a few weeks in between each shot. You will get a COVID-19 Vaccination Reminder Card that will help you keep track of which vaccine you receive and when to get a second dose, if needed. If you receive a vaccine that requires two doses, it is important to get both doses.
Where can I get the COVID-19 vaccine?
The vaccine will be available to different people at different times. Call your doctor with any questions. Ask when you can make an appointment with them. You can also check your local pharmacy. Or, find out where to get your vaccine at cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines or vaccinefinder.org.
Am I required to get my COVID-19 vaccine?
No. But, getting your COVID-19 vaccine will give you the best chance of protecting yourself and your loved ones from getting COVID-19 in the future.
I already had COVID-19. Should I still get the vaccine?
Yes. You should still get the vaccine. It may be possible to be infected more than once. Getting the vaccine is a safe choice.
Can my child get the vaccine?
Currently, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is recommended for people ages 16 and older. The Moderna and Johnson and Johnson vaccines are for those ages 18 and older.
I'm pregnant. Should I get the vaccine?
According to the CDC, people who are pregnant may be vaccinated. If you have questions about getting the vaccine, it is recommended to discuss with your doctor.
When I get the vaccine, can I stop wearing a mask or social distancing?
There is no evidence that the vaccine can prevent COVID-19 without symptoms. There is a chance you could become infected and have no symptoms. This could get loved ones around you sick.
- The CDC announced on March 8 that fully vaccinated Americans Do not have to wear a mask and distance from other people who are vaccinated in small groups indoors.
- Can visit indoors with unvaccinated people from a household who are at low risk for COVID-19.
A person is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after their final dose. Meaning, the second dose of the Moderna or Pfizer mRNA vaccine two weeks past the single dose Johnson and Johnson vaccine.
It is important to:
- Continue to social distance and wear a mask.
- Continue to wash your hands.
- Wear a mask and practice social distancing when in public places, such as the gym or a restaurant as the chance of catching COVID-19 is higher.
If you are fully vaccinated and been exposed to someone with COVID-19, the CDC says that you do not need to quarantine and test if you do not have symptoms. You should monitor for symptoms for 14 days.
Is the vaccine safe?
The safety of the COVID-19 vaccine is a top priority! The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) carefully reviews all safety data from clinical trials and authorizes emergency vaccine use only when the expected benefits outweigh potential risks. COVID-19 vaccines were tested in large clinical trials to make sure they meet safety standards.
Will there be any side effects when I get the vaccine?
You may run a fever after you get the vaccine. This is normal as your body builds immunity and fights off future COVID-19 exposures. You may feel sick after getting vaccinated. You could develop:
- body aches
This is your body reacting to the vaccine. It is a normal response. It is important to know that it is impossible to get COVID-19 from the vaccine. The vaccines currently in use and others being developed do not contain a live virus.
Do I have to pay for my vaccine? Or get prior authorization?
No. The COVID-19 vaccine will be at no cost to you. You do not need to get a prior authorization for your vaccine.
I lost my COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card. What should I do now?
Please call the facility/provider that provided your first dose from to ask about your vaccine information and verify your second appointment/location.
I am due for my second dose. I got my first dose from another provider who is not my PCP. I don't have their contact information. What do I do now?
The provider should have scheduled a second appointment with you at the same facility when you received the first dose. However, you can receive your second dose from another provider/facility and you should present your COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card.
Are there strategies for coping with the COVID-19 outbreak?
Worry and anxiety can rise about the spread of COVID-19. Concern for friends and family who live in places where COVID-19 is spreading or the progression of the disease is natural.
- Take care of your body. Take deep breaths, stretch or meditate.
- Connect with others. Share your concerns and how you are feeling with a friend or family member. Maintain healthy relationships and a sense of hope and positive thinking.
- Share the facts about COVID-19 and the actual risk to others. People who have returned from areas of ongoing spread more than 14 days ago and do not have symptoms of COVID-19 do not put others at risk.
- For more information, see the CDC's suggestions for mental health and coping during COVID-19
For more information, including travel advisories, please visit cdc.gov.