Blue Cross Takes Action to Help Members During the Coronavirus Outbreak

Amy Barczy

| 3 min read

Amy Barczy is a former brand journalist who authored content at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. Prior to her time at Blue Cross from 2019-2024, she was a statewide news reporter for She has a decade of storytelling experience in local news media markets including Lansing, Grand Rapids, Holland, Ann Arbor and Port Huron.

Doctor holding a stethoscope
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Blue Care Network, in line with Blues-affiliated plans across the country, will be taking action to ensure the health and safety of our members during the worldwide outbreak of a new coronavirus. The disease caused by the new coronavirus is called COVID-19, and causes symptoms including fever, cough and shortness of breath. The number of cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. continues to increase daily as the new coronavirus spreads from state to state. All diagnostic laboratory tests for COVID-19 when used in accordance with CDC testing recommendations will be fully covered by Blue Cross at no cost to the member as of March 18, 2020. This measure will ensure patient testing and subsequent care is completed in an efficient, coordinated way with authorities at every level. To ensure patients receive the right care at the right locations, Blue Cross will be waiving prior authorization processes for covered services related to COVID-19 -- unless prior authorization is required to assure the availability of the treatment for persons in need consistent with CDC recommendations. Prior authorization means a doctor, in certain cases, would file a request with a patient’s insurance company for certain prescription drugs, as well as for some medical and surgical procedures, before they are pursued as treatment. Blue Cross will also be dedicating clinical staff to address medical service questions related to COVID-19. As cases of COVID-19 continue to be reported across the U.S., Blue Cross is taking proactive measures to make sure all members have the medications and the care they need for illnesses and conditions beyond the coronavirus outbreak. Access to prescription medications will be expanded to ensure patients do not experience shortages or difficulties filling their prescriptions. Early medication refill limits on 30-day prescription maintenance medications will be waived (consistent with a member’s benefit plan). Any additional charges that may stem from obtaining a non-preferred medication for COVID-19 treatment will not be billed to the patient. In anticipation of high demand at health care provider offices, Blue Cross will be expanding access to telemedicine and nurse/provider hotlines. No-cost telehealth services for medical and behavioral health visits are available through June 30. Blue Cross offers the following options to access care remotely:
  • Blue Cross Online Visits: Using your smartphone, laptop or tablet, sign-up or log on to Blue Cross Online Visits account to quickly connect to a licensed health care provider over a secure, web-based video chat. You don’t need to make an appointment and you can talk to a doctor in 10 minutes or less. You can even get a prescription if you need it.
  • 24-Hour Nurse Line: At no cost to Blue Cross members, a registered nurse is waiting for your call anytime day or night. Able to help over the phone, they can answer your questions regarding symptoms and help point you in the right direction for any next steps in care.
This is a rapidly developing situation and information is constantly changing and being updated as officials learn more about the virus. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan staff are diligently tracking all updates regarding the disease’s activity, symptoms, travel restrictions and risk assessments from official sources. For current Blue Cross information on the new coronavirus, visit our blog. The blog is updated three times per day with information verified by Blue Cross clinical leadership. The blog includes information intended to help customers and members stay current on developments, guide in managing good health and addressing topics of concern. Photo credit: SIBAS_minich

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Amanda Dutmer

Jul 5, 2020 at 6:10pm

Has the June 30 date for copay free tele health been extended by chance??

Blues Perspectives

May 18, 2020 at 5:30pm

Hi Gary, These programs are currently available to Medicare Advantage members. Meal deliveries are provided to specific members who have been identified as being socially isolated with a chronic condition. To see if you qualify for this program, please call the number on the back of your card. Thank you, Julie

Gary Secor

May 6, 2020 at 12:39pm

Inquiring about Senior Care Packages?? I am 70 and have two abc/Bs policies. Thanks, Gary Secor

Blues Perspectives

Apr 28, 2020 at 12:50pm

Yes. A UTI is a medical condition that can be diagnosed and treated through Blue Cross Online Visits. The doctors and nurse practitioners at Blue Cross Online Visits are specially trained in online visits and frequently diagnose some of the most common acute issues, such as UTI. We also encourage you to ask your primary care doctor if he or she offers telehealth, as many providers are adding that capability to their offices.

Trudy Mousseau

Apr 21, 2020 at 6:17pm

Are the Online visits for if you think you have a UTI, but are unable to get in to see your PCP?

MI Blues Perspectives is sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, a nonprofit, independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association