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COVID-19: Update March 20, 2020

We are committed to ensuring your employees have access to the care they need during the COVID-19 pandemic. We are removing barriers for providers and patients to deliver safe, efficient and quality care during this unprecedented time. Whether your employees are concerned about COVID-19 or a non-urgent medical need, please encourage them to call before heading to their provider’s office.

Special enrollment period

  • We are opening an emergency COVID-19 special enrollment period today, March 20, 2020 for the uninsured to enroll in health plan coverage.
  • This special enrollment period is for all qualified health plans offered though the Exchange and will be for 30-days, until April.

Temporary removal of cost-sharing for key services

  • We are expanding coverage for telehealth services by waiving the cost-sharing for urgent telemedicine visits with AmWell, our telemedicine provider.
  • See the AmWell section below for additional details and how to get connected.

Expanded telehealth services with your provider

  • We are advocating for physician and health system adoption of social distancing-encouraged capabilities such as video, chat and e-visits.
  • Vermont providers can now offer expanded telemedicine services over various audio-visual platforms.
  • This coverage applies to mental health providers, physical and occupational therapy and applied behavioral analysis, among others.
  • Cost-sharing is consistent with the benefit and the type of service your employees receive.
  • Your employees should discuss with their provider what kind of audio-visual platform they should use. In times like this, technology should not be a barrier to care.

Expanded telephone-only visits

  • Allow telephone-only visits for your employees who do not have access to audio/visual equipment.
  • We have expanded access to care for members who do not have access to audio or visual equipment for telemedicine visits.
  • Medically necessary out-patient visits (previously covered and allowed via telemedicine platforms) can now occur over the phone.
  • For a full listing of codes, providers should log on to the provider resource center.
  • Cost-sharing is consistent with your benefit and the type of service you receive.

24/7 doctor visits on your smartphone, tablet or computer

  • Effective March 20, 2020, we will cover urgent AmWell telemedicine visits at no cost to members.
  • Wait times at may be long. AmWell is adding providers to their network to reduce the wait time. In the meantime, your employees can request a visit and can choose to receive a text message when a doctor becomes available.
  • AmWell has established a Telehealth Response Program to support the use of telehealth as an initial COVID-19 screening tool, which includes an always-on-call infection control officer.
  • Download the AmWell app: Doctor visits 24/7 app on the App Store (Apple Devices) or the Google Play Store (Android Devices).
  • Individuals who do not have our coverage can still access AmWell but will need to pay AmWell’s standard fee of $69.00 using a credit card, which can be done online prior to seeing the provider.

COVID-19 Testing and Associated Visits

  • We will cover COVID-19 testing performed by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the Vermont Department of Health (VDH), or a laboratory approved by CDC or VDH, with no co-payment, coinsurance, or deductible requirements.
  • This coverage includes telephone triage, office visits with a provider, or urgent care visits and emergency service visits to test for COVID-19.

We will implement the above benefits across all membership including all self-funded plans.

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Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont  | 445 Industrial Lane, Berlin, VT 05602