Care and Services Available for COVID-19 (Coronavirus)


COVID-19 vaccinations

Vaccine coverage. COVID-19 vaccines reduce the risk of severe disease, hospitalization, and death, and slow spread of the virus. Independence Blue Cross (Independence) covers the cost of administering vaccines with no cost-share (such as co-pays, deductibles, coinsurance) for members regardless of where the vaccine is given. For a vaccine distribution site near you, visit vaccines.gov.

Booster coverage. A COVID-19 booster shot is an additional dose of the vaccine that is given after the protection provided by the original shot(s) has begun to decrease over time. Independence covers the cost of administering booster shots with no cost-share. You can visit vaccines.gov for a distribution site near you.

If you are a Medicare Advantage member, please see below section.

Learn more



Testing

COVID testing. Independence covers the cost for medically appropriate diagnostic and antibody testing of COVID ordered by an authorized health care professional at no cost to the member. In addition, Independence covers up to eight over-the-counter (OTC), FDA-approved tests per calendar month as required by the Biden Administration².

If you have FutureScripts (OptumRx) coverage:

  • To pay $0: Visit any Walmart, Sam's Club, or Rite Aid location, get your OTC COVID test kit off the shelf and check out at the pharmacy counter. Be sure to present your member ID card and ask to have the OTC test submitted to OptumRx.
  • Order online: You can order an OTC COVID test from OptumRx and have it sent to your home.
  • Get reimbursed if you pay out of pocket. If you purchased an OTC COVID test after January 15, 2022, you can submit for a reimbursement of up to $12 per test. Complete the OptumRx Over-the-Counter Test Reimbursement Form and include your receipts. You will need to submit a separate claim form for each family member.

If you have pharmacy coverage through another company, please contact the phone number on your prescription drug card for information on how OTC COVID test coverage applies.

Additional details can be found in these FAQs. These coverages are in accordance with federal mandates through the end of the public health emergency¹. Independence does not cover tests that are needed for return to work, a condition of employment, return to school, or travel.

If you are a Medicare Advantage member, please see below section.

Find a test location



Symptoms and care

Check your symptoms. If you think you've been exposed to COVID-19 and develop symptoms, call your doctor. Visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for more details on symptoms, including those for people who already received a COVID-19 vaccination.

Treatment. Member cost-share applies for in-network, inpatient treatment of COVID-19.

If you are a Medicare Advantage member, please see below section.

Pre-authorizations. Pre-authorization is temporarily suspended for transfers from acute, in-network, inpatient facilities to post-acute in-network facilities for any diagnosis through February 28, 2022. This includes ambulance transport for commercial and Medicare Advantage members.



Telemedicine

Visit a doctor from anywhere². Telemedicine services for a COVID-19 diagnosis with primary care doctors and specialists are covered at no cost through the end of the public health emergency¹. Telemedicine services from your doctor for a non-COVID diagnosis are also available — cost sharing applies based on your health plan.

MDLIVE.² You can schedule a telemedicine appointment with a doctor 24/7 with MDLIVE at no cost, depending on your plan. MDLIVE doctors can assess your symptoms and help with next steps. Register or login at mdlive.ibx.com.

If you are a Medicare Advantage member, please see below section.



Your emotional health

Feeling stressed? Community health outbreaks may cause stress and anxiety. You can find your way On To Better Health with our interactive cognitive behavioral therapy program for conditions like anxiety, depression, and insomnia. Plus, stay physically active and emotionally balanced with programs to conquer physical distancing in our Achieve Well-being tool. Login to your account at ibx.com.

Virtual visits for mental health². If you have mental health benefits through Independence, you can talk to an in-network mental health counselor online or on the phone for COVID-19 related services at no cost until the end of the public health emergency. Visit ibx.com to find a provider.

Learn more



Staying healthy

Wear a mask. Public officials and health experts are urging us to wear masks indoors or in large crowds, regardless of vaccination status. COVID-19 and its variants mainly spread from droplets released into the air when we cough, sneeze, or talk.

Practice social distancing. Limit close contact with anyone outside of your household. Even if you’re wearing a mask, it’s still recommended you stay at least six feet from others when in public, or at least two arms’ length apart.

Wash your hands regularly. Viruses can spread from touching recently contaminated surfaces and then touching your face. Washing your hands is one of the most important defenses against the spread of COVID-19 and other illnesses. Keep hand sanitizer on you for when you don’t have access to soap and water.



Medicare Advantage members

COVID-19 services. Independence will waive the cost of many COVID-19-related services for Medicare Advantage members through the duration of the public health emergency (PHE), which is currently scheduled through April 16, 2022. This includes waiving costs for the following services:

  • COVID-19 related telemedicine visits with in-and out-of-network primary care doctors, specialists, and behavioral health providers

For the following COVID-19 related services, Medicare Advantage members will have a $0 cost-share covered through their plan benefits:

  • Acute in-patient treatment of COVID-19 obtained from an in-network provider
  • COVID-19 diagnostic and antibody testing

Talk to a doctor 24/7. Schedule a same-day appointment with a board-certified doctor through MDLIVE² at no cost, depending on your plan. MDLIVE doctors can assess your symptoms and help with next steps. Register or login at ibxmedicare.com/mdlive.

Testing. Independence will continue to cover the cost for medically appropriate diagnostic and antibody testing ordered by a physician or authorized by a health care professional at no cost to Medicare members.

Although the Biden administration recently introduced coverage guidelines for insurers related to over-the-counter COVID-19 test kits, Medicare Advantage and Medicare Supplement plans were not included in the guidelines.

Four COVID test kits per household can be ordered from the federal government by calling 1-800-232-0233 or accessing www.COVIDtests.gov.

Members are encouraged to engage a medical professional for COVID testing if illness or exposure is suspected.

Over-the-counter COVID test kits cannot be purchased with the IBX Care Card. It is being evaluated based on availability of supply. All members will be notified if COVID-19 test kits do become available through this avenue.

Note: Over-the-counter test kits are those which require no medical professional or laboratory involvement for the supply of the test, completion of the testing, or assessment of results.

Vaccine information. As of January 1, 2022, Independence covers the cost of administering vaccines and booster shots with no cost-share (such as co-pays, deductibles, coinsurance) for Medicare Advantage members. The health care provider administering the vaccine does not need to be part of the Independence network, but must participate in the Medicare program. Visit our common COVID-19 questions and answers page for more details on how the vaccine will be covered.



COVID-19 Videos from Independence Blue Cross

We’re committed to providing information on COVID-19 to help limit its impact on our communities. These videos from our medical directors and our Beat COVID-19 campaign highlight ways to safely and effectively manage the virus and its variants.

View all videos



News and updates





Stay connected!

Sign up for Independence updates and information. If you have coverage through your employer or purchased an Individual or Family plan, get connected today.

Medicare members can sign up at ibxmedicare.com/getconnected.




¹ The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) and Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act mandate that member cost sharing (deductible, co-pays and coinsurance) is waived both in and out-of-network for the testing and diagnosis of COVID-19 through the public health emergency. When the public health emergency referenced by the FFCRA and CARES Act ends, the waiver of cost sharing for out-of-network COVID-19 testing and diagnosis will end.

² If you have coverage through your employer, benefits and coverages may vary. Please check with them about how these programs apply.

MDLIVE is an independent company.

Y0041_HM_104303_2022 Website last updated: 1/27/2022

Independence Blue Cross offers Medicare Advantage plans with a Medicare contract. Enrollment in Independence Medicare Advantage plans depends on contract renewal.

Independence Blue Cross offers products through its subsidiaries Independence Hospital Indemnity Plan, Keystone Health Plan East and QCC Insurance Company — independent licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

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