Blue Cross is Taking Action to Support Members and Hospitals Amid the Pandemic
As our health professionals are working tirelessly on the front lines to save lives and slow the rate of the COVID-19 pandemic, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Blue Care Network are also working with our providers and customers to enable our members to get the care they need and support hospitals and the dedicated medical personnel working to keep us safe.
To support our 5.4 million members during this pandemic, we’re taking action to support prevention and treatment of COVID-19. We’re waiving all member copays, deductibles and coinsurance for COVID-19 testing and treatment.
We are also increasing access to medications by waiving early refill limits for 30-day maintenance prescriptions and encouraging members to use 90-day mail order benefits. And we’re increasing formulary flexibility to address medication shortage and access concerns.
Encouraging telehealth services
Because our members are our mission, we’re continually enhancing access to quality care. That’s why we’ve expanded no-cost telehealth medical services to include common behavioral health therapy, because we know that more people are struggling from anxiety, isolation and other mental health conditions during this difficult time. For emotional support, we also have a free crisis hotline available for everyone.
Encouraging our members to use telehealth for mild “flu-like” symptoms and expanding the availability of telehealth and online services allows members to get questions answered from the safety of their homes and alleviate the strain on doctors’ offices and emergency departments who are working tirelessly to fight the pandemic.
Partnering with providers
We also understand the resource and financial strain our hospitals and doctors are facing – from local family physicians to large hospitals. With the largest network of providers in the state, we are working diligently to provide financial support, reduce burdens and keep providers informed and connected.
To assist, Blue Cross has accelerated incentive payments to Michigan-based physician organizations and practices to provide immediate financial means to purchase equipment and treat patients with COVID-19, and we are adding flexibility where possible so providers can deal with the crisis on the front lines.
We’ve also encouraged Blue Cross medical professionals to heed the governor’s call for volunteers to help address surge capacity needs, and are paying those who choose to do so, their full salary and benefits. Within just 24 hours of this opportunity, I was overwhelmed by 29 of our extraordinary colleagues from our medical team who volunteered to assist even more directly in the fight against COVID-19. And our volunteers continue to raise their hands.
Help for individuals losing coverage
Across our economy, in businesses large and small, workers are being displaced from their jobs and their health coverage due to the global pandemic. We are mindfully aware of the tenuous financial positions businesses and individuals are facing, and we will continue working with them to ensure people maintain health care coverage throughout this crisis.
BCBSM and BCN are helping people continue their individual health coverage or transition from group coverage to an individual plan, potentially qualifying for federal subsidies to lower their premiums. People seeking help from Blue Cross can find it by calling 877-610-2583 or online at www.bcbsm.com/myblue.
While we’re continuing our partnerships with large employers and their employees, we’ve also created a special support program for small businesses which may be forced by economic conditions to drop their health insurance coverage or lay off employees. The program is available to small employers and their insurance agents through a toll-free hotline at 866-582-5052 and via email at [email protected].
Protecting our employees
As Michigan’s largest insurer, we are on the side of more than 5 million people who have health insurance with us, and we want them to get the care they need. It’s why we process more 47,000 claims per hour each business day and more than $75 million in benefit claims daily to pay doctors, nurses and supply our hospitals and clinics for the care our members receive. We are essential to connect people with the care to manage and survive this crisis.
We’ve taken sweeping measures to do all we can to protect our workforce while maintaining critical operations to keep Michigan’s healthcare system operating. That includes embracing and exceeding state and federal guidelines through daily deep cleaning our buildings, in addition to closing our facilities for five days to sanitize areas where people work. We’ve made changes to keep employees distanced from each other while providing additional flexibility and partnered with UAW to make pandemic benefit changes.
As part of our long-standing corporate social mission, we are proud to financially support the efforts of community-based organizations across Michigan that are providing necessary meals to children and assisting seniors and other vulnerable populations.
The bottom line is that Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Blue Care Network are here to protect the health of people across the nation and our Michigan communities. We are a trusted advisor and advocate for population health and are actively responding to support our members, our customers, our providers and our employees.
We will continue our work to increase access to quality care. We are all in this together.