Apr 3, 2020

Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island waives member cost sharing for COVID-19 treatment

PROVIDENCE, RI (April 3, 2020) – Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island (BCBSRI) today took additional steps to support its members during the COVID-19 crisis. The company announced it is temporarily waiving member cost-sharing (copays, coinsurance and deductibles) for any treatments related to COVID-19.

Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island President and CEO Kim Keck stated, “During a crisis unlike anything we have lived through before, Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island has implemented a number of flexible policies to ensure our members have access to the care they need, with no added worries about cost. Today’s announcement reinforces our commitment, as the leading health insurer in Rhode Island, to fully supporting our members during this pandemic.”

For the duration of the pandemic, BCBSRI will waive member cost sharing for COVID-19-related treatments for in-network providers and facilities. This policy change applies to commercial and Medicare Advantage members. Self-funded employer groups will be given the option to adopt these changes for their employees.

Other COVID-19-related changes previously announced include:

  • Expanding coverage for clinically appropriate telehealth services that are provided by any in-network provider through permitted means, including telephone and audiovisual technologies.
  • Waiving member cost sharing (copays and deductibles) for telehealth whether provided by an in-network provider or through the Doctors Online telehealth platform.
  • Waiving member copays and cost sharing for diagnostic testing related to COVID-19 consistent with CDC guidelines.
  • Waiving prior authorization and referral requirements for testing and medically appropriate treatment of COVID-19.
  • Allowing members to fill prescriptions earlier than the standard 30 days.

Additional resources

BCBSRI has also developed a regularly updated resource center, as well as an employer frequently asked questions section of the company’s website. Providers can access information specific to them once they have signed on to the provider portal. The company is also sharing information continually through its social media platforms, including Facebook, TwitterLinkedIn and Instagram.

Community support

BCBSRI has made a significant contribution to the COVID-19 Response Fund established by United Way of Rhode Island and the Rhode Island Foundation to help Rhode Island’s nonprofit organizations meet community needs through this turbulent period. BCBSRI has also distributed excess hand sanitizer to emergency responders in our capital city of Providence, as well as to community organizations such as Crossroads Rhode Island and Family Service of Rhode Island, organizations that are meeting the increased needs of our most vulnerable residents.

In support of the frontline organizations assisting Rhode Islander’s experiencing homelessness, BCBSRI has loaned a vehicle and driver for near daily supply distribution to shelters and homeless services providers across the state. BCBSRI is also encouraging employees to utilize their 12 hours of paid volunteer time (Time to Give) to assist where help is needed, including donating blood at the Rhode Island Blood Center; delivering meals to homebound older adults with Meals on Wheels of Rhode Island; and sewing masks so critically needed by frontline healthcare workers.

To find tips and resources for protecting yourself from COVID-19, flu and other viruses, please visit bcbsri.com/coronavirus. Providers can learn more about the BCBSRI policy changes by visiting the provider portal at bcbsri.com.

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