Coronavirus (COVID-19)

We're here to support you and our members

Thank you for your tireless efforts to care for our members and the people in our communities during this global pandemic. Our employees continue to work remotely and remain highly focused on planning and readiness to ensure we provide seamless service to you, our members and customers.

We are working to expedite claims payment to 15 days on average.

We will continue to update this page to make sure you have the latest information.

Updated on April 7, 2020:

  • Added a list of administrative services only groups who are covering virtual services the same as in-person visits and instructions for verifying your patients’ telehealth benefit

COVID-19 resources at a glance

Icon: Telehealth

Telehealth visits

Everything you need to know to see your patients by phone or video

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Caring for our members

Coverage for COVID-19 treatment, adjustments to pre-authorization and our quality and incentive programs

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Pharmacy

Extended pharmacy pre-authorization and early medication refills

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Testing

COVID-19 specimen collection, testing and claims submission

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Credentialing

Exceptions for temporary providers and expedited credentialing

Icon: Other resources

Resources

Contact information for the state health department, financial and other resources for providers

Claims payment

We are working to expedite claims payment to 15 days on average.

Teledentistry expansion

Teledentistry services can be provided if:

Member benefits and dental provider reimbursement:

  • Claims performed via teledentistry are considered the same as in-person visits and are paid at the same rate as in-person visits.
  • Standard cost shares and plan limitations apply. Any paid amounts will accumulate to the annual maximum, if applicable.
  • View the member’s plan benefits on the Availity Web Portal.

Telehealth vendors

In addition to local providers, most members have access to one of two national telehealth vendors that can help assess a member’s condition and determine the necessary next steps of care:

  • MDLIVE provides medical and behavioral health care via video or phone visits. It is available to Medicare Advantage members and as a buy up for fully insured large group and administrative services only (ASO) group members. Note: For Medicare Advantage all visits with MDLIVE will be at the member’s primary care provider (PCP) copay.
  • Doctor on Demand provides medical and behavioral health video visits. It is available to Individual, small group, mid-size group and Uniform Medical Plan (UMP) members. It is also offered as a buy up for large and ASO group members.

When members login to their account, they can view their telehealth benefits and access their telehealth vendor.

Note: BCBS FEP can receive telehealth services through Teledoc. FEP will waive copays for telehealth services related to COVID-19. View the BCBS FEP telehealth benefit information.

Note: If a patient’s symptoms might be indicative of COVID-19, the member would still need to be seen in person and tested for the disease.

Advice24

Most members also have access to a 24/7 nurse advice line that they can call for answers to questions about common health concerns.

Secure messaging

Ask a Doctor provides routine medical care virtually by secure messaging (that can convert to video) with a board-certified, U.S.-based provider and is an option for members with mild or no symptoms. It is available to Individual, small, mid-size and large group members.

House calls

DispatchHealth and Heal provide house calls in certain areas.

DispatchHealth
DispatchHealth serves as a mobile urgent care service that provides care in the home setting. It is an option for members who do not have COVID-19 symptoms and are concerned about the risk of exposure in a clinic setting. Note: During the triage process, if DispatchHealth identifies a patient at risk for COVID-19, DispatchHealth will direct the patient to the appropriate testing site.

View the complete list of the conditions and symptoms they treat.

Regence small, mid-size and large group, UMP, ASO and Medicare Advantage plan members have access to DispatchHealth in Idaho (Boise area), Oregon (Portland area) and Washington (Seattle, Tacoma and Olympia areas). View DispatchHealth’s service area and verify access using a ZIP code. Note: The program may not apply to all UMP Plus plans.

You can refer a patient to care by calling the Regence-specific phone number for any of the locations below at 1 (833) 652-0539 or by calling the following phone numbers dedicated to each area:

  • Boise, ID: (208) 298-9893
  • Portland, OR: (503) 917-4904
  • Seattle, WA: (425) 651-2473
  • Tacoma, WA: (253) 341-4072
  • Olympia, WA: (360) 836-4855

Heal
Heal provides primary and urgent care home visits by a physician and laboratory technician. Heal will see members who are suspected of having COVID-19 in their home. Heal may test for COVID-19 and is working with the Washington Health Department to order the test. Heal may also work with our participating labs to order the test. Members can make appointments from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week, 365 days a year. It is currently available to Individual, small, mid-size and large group, UMP (except UMP Plus plans), ASO and Medicare Advantage members in only the greater Seattle, Washington area.

Caring for our members

Care management

To help our members receive the care they need, we are:

  • Urging members to contact their provider office or facility before presenting themselves. In addition, we are encouraging members to use their telehealth options, if appropriate, to receive care in the convenience of their home. Our member website includes other information to help our members be prepared and stay informed.
  • Covering treatment for COVID-19 without any out-of-pocket costs for our fully insured members through June 30, 2020.
    • We are working with self-funded partners to implement similar cost share arrangements when directed and with federal officials to ensure coordination of benefits for Medicare members.
    • BCBS FEP will waive the member cost-share for COVID-19 treatment.
  • Reaching out to provide personalized support as we learn of members diagnosed with COVID-19 to help them with food and other needs.
  • Proactively contracting high-risk members who are engaged in case management to ensure they have the support they need.
  • Partnering with Alacura Medical Transportation Management LLC (Alacura) for air ambulance services. Alacura can be used for non-emergent (requires pre-authorization) and urgent facility-to-facility transport for members, including COVID-19 patients. For more information, visit Alacura’s website or call Alacura at 1 (844) 425-2287.

Pre-authorizations

To help support patient care:

  • We are available to support discharge needs, including removing barriers to quickly discharge our members to alternate settings, to accommodate care needs of critical patients.
    • Please contact our Care Management team if you are encountering any discharge barriers at 1 (866) 543-5765 from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and one of our case management nurses will assist you. (See below for more information.)
  • If your patient has services that are delayed, we will extend pre-authorizations for elective inpatient admissions. Please contact us to request an extension to your elective inpatient admission pre-authorization request.
  • AIM Specialty Health (AIM) and eviCore healthcare (eviCore) are extending authorizations for six months. Requests for AIM and eviCore will automatically be extended.
  • Urgent and emergent transport does not require pre-authorization.
  • Any emergency room visit that results in an in-patient admission, directly related to COVID-19, does not require a pre-authorization.
  • Oxygen concentrators used by Medicare Advantage members for more than 90 days will require pre-authorization effective July 1, 2020. (We previously indicated this change was effective May 1, 2020.)

Discharging members to post-acute settings
During this challenging time, we are committed to supporting our hospital partners in removing barriers to quickly discharge our members to alternate settings to accommodate care needs of critical patients related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Effective immediately, if hospitals need to transfer a patient quickly due to the COVID-19 impact and do not have time to secure pre-authorization for post-acute care settings or home-based care (i.e., skilled nursing facilities, long-term acute care hospitals and inpatient rehabilitation), we will waive the pre-authorization requirements and instead require notification by both the discharging and receiving facility/provider within 24 hours for care coordination and concurrent review authorization.

We will continue to monitor the needs of our hospital partners and re-evaluate an extension beyond May 31, 2020, as needed.

These changes do not apply to BlueCard and BCBS FEP members.

Quality and incentive programs

We are pausing outbound and inbound care gap calls, Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set (HEDIS®) - related medical record retrieval and quality-related home visits.

We will communicate any impact to our quality and incentive programs at a later date.

Credentialing

Temporary providers and expedited credentialing

During this health emergency, we are allowing an exception to our Locum tenens policy and expediting credentialing to help meet emerging demands for health care providers and to ensure that our members have access to care.

Locum tenens
We are making the following exceptions to our Locum tenens policy to allow a provider to identify and authorize care for his or her patients by another provider, during this pandemic:

  • The use of a locum tenens provider by a participating provider has been expanded to 180 days during this emergency.
  • A locum tenens can have a valid license in a different state than the one in which they are practicing in.

Expedited credentialing
If your practice has been directly impacted by COVID-19, please:

View information below regarding temporary updates to telehealth.

Pharmacy pre-authorization and medication refills

Pharmacy pre-authorizations
All pharmacy pre-authorizations that are due to expire between March 23, 2020, and June 30, 2020, will be extended six months from the current expiration date to alleviate work by providers’ offices. Members will be notified via letter that their pre-authorization has been extended with the new expiration date. We will evaluate any pre-authorizations that expire after this period at a later date.

Early prescription medication refills
We are allowing for an extended supply of medications:

Line of business

Extended supply of medications coverage

Home-delivery options

Commercial members (with the exception of a few self-funded groups)

Allowing for a 90-day refill on medications used for chronic conditions, such as multiple sclerosis, diabetes, asthma and heart disease

Members can order home-delivery prescriptions through the AllianceRx Walgreens Prime website or by calling 1 (844) 765-2894.

Medicare Advantage members who have medical and pharmacy benefits

Allowing for a 100-day refill on medications used for chronic conditions, such as multiple sclerosis, diabetes, asthma and heart disease

Members can order home-delivery prescriptions through the Postal Prescription Services.

Members who have a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan

Allowing for a 90-day refill on medications used for chronic conditions, such as multiple sclerosis, diabetes, asthma and heart disease.

Members can order home-delivery prescriptions through the Postal Prescription Services.

Note: Some drugs are not eligible for extended day supply, including controlled substances and certain specialty drugs. Drugs listed on our formularies in the Narcotics and section marked SP are not eligible for an extended supply.

Note: BCBS FEP members:

  • Can receive early medication refills for 30-day prescription maintenance medications
  • Have access to a 90-day mail order benefit for prescription medications
  • Do not have a cost share for prescriptions for up to a 14-day supply

Therapeutic options for patients with COVID-19

There are no U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved drugs specifically for the treatment of patients with COVID-19. At present clinical management includes infection prevention and control measures and supportive care, including supplementary oxygen and mechanical ventilatory support when indicated. An array of drugs approved for other indications, as well as several investigational drugs, are being studied in several hundred clinical trials that are underway across the globe.

View the CDC’s information about therapeutic options for patients with COVID-19.

COVID-19 specimen collection and testing

The CDC has information caring for patients with a possible COVID-19 infection.

Specimen collection

View the CDC’s recommendations for reporting, testing and specimen collection.

CMS created two new HCPCS codes representing COVID-19 specimen collection. These codes are billable by clinical diagnostic laboratories.

The codes are effective for claims with dates of service on or after March 1, 2020:

  • HCPCS G2023: Specimen collection for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, any specimen source
  • HCPCS G2024: Specimen collection for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 from an individual in a skilled nursing facility (SNF) or by a laboratory on behalf of a home health agency (HHA), any specimen source

We will reimburse these services in accordance with applicable law. Updates and additional information will be posted on this site as quickly as possible when new information is released.

COVID-19 testing
To ensure our members have access and coverage for testing, we are:

  • Not requiring pre-authorization for COVID-19 testing ordered by a physician or other qualified health care provider.
  • For Individual, group and Medicare Advantage members, we will cover the cost of the COVID-19 test and an associated office visit with no cost share, if a provider determines a test is necessary.
  • For Medicare Supplement members, only the test is covered at no cost share.
  • Reimbursing COVID-19 testing conducted at drive-up testing sites with no cost share, if a provider determines a test is necessary. Claims for tests conducted at drive-up sites should be submitted using POS 15.
  • For BCBS FEP members, FEP will waive pre-authorization and the member cost-share for COVID-19 testing.

Order tests from participating labs

LabCorp and Quest Diagnostics can test for COVID-19. Our provider networks include one or both of these labs. You can verify your patient's coverage using our provider search tool, Find a Doctor.

Note: Individuals seeking testing for COVID-19 should not visit a LabCorp or Quest Diagnostics location to request a test. Tests must be ordered by a physician or other authorized health care provider.

LabCorp, our preferred lab

Providers can order the COVID-19 test the same way that other tests are ordered from LabCorp. If you are not already registered, create an account on LabCorp’s website.

More information about COVID-19, including answers to frequently asked questions, is available on LabCorp’s website.

Quest Diagnostics

Providers can order the test the same way that other tests are ordered from Quest Diagnostics. If you are not already registered, create an account on Quest Diagnostic’s website.

For more information, including a link to a Healthcare Provider Fact Sheet, visit Quest Diagnostic’s website.

Claims submission for the COVID-19 test and related services

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the American Medical Association (AMA) have established codes for COVID-19 testing to allow for better tracking of the public health response for this virus to help protect people from the spread of this infectious disease.

We will reimburse all COVID-19 testing in accordance with applicable law, including the CARES Act. Updates and additional information will be posted on this site as quickly as possible when new information is released.

HCPCS/CPT code

Description

Claims can be submitted to us now with dates of service beginning

HCPCS U0001

This code is to be used for billing the CDC 2019 Novel Coronavirus Real Time RT-PCR Diagnostic Test Panel.

December 1, 2019

HCPCS U0002

This code is to be used for billing non-CDC laboratory testing.

December 1, 2019

CPT 87635

The code is for use as the industry standard for reporting the test.

March 1, 2020

Contact information for the state health department

Providers should notify both infection control personnel at their health care facility and their local or state health department in the event of a person under investigation (PUI) for COVID-19.

State

Contact

Form and information

Washington

Washington State Department of Health communicable disease epidemiology staff.

(206) 418-5500

Coordinate testing with Washington State Department of Health for individuals who meet the person under investigation criteria.

Idaho

Bureau of Communicable Disease Prevention, Epidemiology

(208) 334-5939

Report patient information to the number by phone. Consult with your public health district or the Bureau of Communicable Disease Prevention Epidemiology Section before collecting specimens for 2019-nCoV testing. Learn more on the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare website.

Oregon

Oregon Health Authority: On-call epidemiologist (until investigative guidelines are published)

(971) 673-1111

To arrange for testing of an Oregon patient, please contact your local health department to obtain approval through Oregon Health Authority and arrange for shipping to the Oregon State Public Health Laboratory.

Utah

Utah 24-hour urgent event and disease reporting

1 (888) EPI-UTAH (374-8824)

If you are a health care provider evaluating a person for COVID-19, contact the Utah department of health immediately.

Financial resources for providers during COVID-19

Congress just passed new legislation to provide help during this crisis. Include below is information on new and expanded resources to assist you as both a provider and a small business employer.

New grants for frontline support
A new Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund includes an initial $100 billion for unreimbursed health care-related expenses or lost revenues that are attributable to COVID-19, as well as for personal protective equipment.

More details will be released soon by the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

HHS is expected to review applications and make payments on a rolling basis, and the application process likely will require a statement of need and a valid tax identification number (TIN).

Tax relief for wages and benefits
Under the new law, physician group practices, clinics and even non-profit community health centers may be able to take advantage of tax credits.

Businesses forced to suspend operations or that have seen gross receipts fall by 50% from the previous year are eligible. Many practices are seeing a loss of revenue as appointments are delayed or even canceled due to concerns around COVID-19.

View the IRS Coronavirus Tax Relief page or speak with your accountant or financial advisor for more information and to see whether your practice or center is eligible.

Loan assistance
Businesses with fewer than 500 employees (including sole proprietors, independent contractors and anyone otherwise self-employed) can apply for “paycheck protection” loans to meet payroll and cover certain other expenses like rent and utilities.

If employers maintain their payroll, borrowers can apply for loan forgiveness (PDF). This provision is retroactive to February 15, 2020, to help bring workers who may have already been laid off back onto payrolls.

The new loans are available through private financial institutions (i.e., banks, credit unions) that participate in the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA’s) lending network.

You can download a U.S. Department of Treasury’s application for borrowers (PDF). Visit SBA’s website to find a local partner near you to learn more about this and other programs.

Other resources

For more information, refer to the following resources: