What do I need know about COVID-19 (novel coronavirus)?

Coronaviruses are a group of viruses that often cause respiratory illnesses in humans. Most cases of coronavirus are mild, and some, like the common cold, occur frequently throughout the world. Recently, COVID-19, the coronavirus you have been hearing about in the news has been found to infect humans.

Information around health plan coverage of COVID-19 is also evolving, so please check back for updates on the ways we are trying to assist our members. For additional resources and advice about COVID-19 you can visit our BMC HealthNet Plan COVID-19 Member Guide*. 

For the most up-to-date information the virus, please refer to the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) website*. The situation is rapidly evolving and the CDC is updating their site regularly as new information becomes available.

Fraud Alert: In light of recent events you may get fake requests or messages from scammers asking for your personal information. As always, please use caution when taking any action with your health care. If you’re not sure whether something is coming from one of our official channels, please contact us to confirm.

+ What are the symptoms?

The symptoms for the flu and COVID-19 are very similar and include:

  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Repeated shaking with chills
  • Muscle pain
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • New loss of taste or smell

+ How can I protect myself?

There are things that you can do to help keep yourself, family and community healthy.

  • If you think that you may be sick or you’ve been in close contact with someone who has coronavirus, you should first call your primary care physician (PCP). They’ll be able to tell you what steps to take based on your situation.
  • Cover your sneezes and coughs with your sleeve, not your hand.
  • Wash your hands frequently to reduce the spread of germs. Wash with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, you can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • If you feel sick, stay home, and avoid travel.
  • Avoid close contact with people with flu-like symptoms whenever possible.
  • Avoid large gatherings if you are at higher risk. 
    • Higher risk includes these groups:
      • Older adults
      • Anyone with underlying health conditions, such as heart disease, lung disease, or diabetes
      • Anyone with weakened immune systems
      • Anyone who is pregnant

For the most up-to-date information, please refer to the CDC website.

+ Is there a vaccine available?

As of December 2020, there are multiple COVID-19 vaccinations that are in development and various trial phases. Once vaccines become available to the general public we’ll be distributing them according to state and CDC guidelines. To learn more about COVID-19 vaccines please visit the CDC’s Vaccine Page.

+ What do I do if I think myself or someone in my household has COVID-19 or may have been exposed to it?

The first step is to contact your PCP and let them know about your concerns. Your PCP will be able to advise you on what steps you should take next based on your symptoms/situation.

+ Where can I go to get tested for COVID-19?

In order to get tested for COVID-19 you will first need to contact your doctor. If they believe that testing for the virus is necessary, they will provide you with further instructions about the testing process.

For the most up-to-date information, please refer to the CDC website.

+ Is a medical test for coronavirus covered by health insurance?

Yes, as your health insurance plan we’ll cover the cost of you being tested for coronavirus if it’s recommended by your PCP. Your doctor will provide you with instructions about the testing process that you need to follow specifically for COVID-19.

+ What will it cost to be tested or treated for coronavirus?

As a member, you can receive COVID-19 testing and medically-necessary treatment at no cost. If your plan type has cost-sharing responsibility, your copays will be waived for treatment of the virus. If your plan has copayments, deductibles, and co-insurance for services, those will also be waived for COVID-19 treatment.

Please note:

  • The above applies if testing and treatment comes from an in-network providers.
  • If testing or treatment is not available through an in-network provider, we will cover services from out-of-network providers at no cost to you.

+ Where can I find COVID-19 testing sites?

  • Testing sites in Boston
    • Boston interactive list of testing sites
    • Testing is free regardless of insurance or immigration status.
    • All sites require that you CALL AHEAD for pre-screening and to schedule an appointment.
    • Hours vary from site to site, so you must CALL AHEAD before going.
    • Many sites have capacity for multiple languages
  • Testing sites in Massachusetts
    • List of testing sites throughout the state
    • If your health care provider thinks you should be tested, but they are unable to offer a test at their own health care facility, they will provide a referral and you can be tested at a site near you.

+ In the case of a community quarantine, are telehealth visits covered by your plan?

Yes, telehealth visits are covered if you use a network provider that offers telehealth appointments. Not all providers offer a telehealth option. To find out if your provider offers telehealth appointments you should call their office and ask. Telehealth appointments cost the same as in-person doctor’s appointments. We also cover telepsychiatry visits for our members. To find out if your psychiatrist offers a telehealth option, please call and ask them.

+ What do I do if I need transportation to an appointment?

If you are not feeling well and have COVID-19 symptoms or believe you need emergency assistance you should call 9-1-1. Just let the operator know what your symptoms are so that the ambulance and hospital can plan ahead for your arrival.

  • Transportation Benefit: Our current transportation partner, CTS, will continue to bring members to their scheduled appointments as part of our transportation benefit. Measures have been put in place to help keep members and drivers safe. This includes enhanced air flow in vehicles, no physical contact between drivers and passengers, and increased sanitation standards. Please note: Drivers will be unable to assist passengers with getting in and out of the vehicle as they normally do.

For the safety of all members and drivers, CTS cannot transport anyone who has COVID-19 symptoms. Please call an ambulance if you have COVID-19 symptoms and are unable to get to the hospital on your own.

  • Ride-Share: All ride-share drivers will continue to follow the safety and sanitation guidelines issued by their service. Lyft will not be able to transport members with COVID-19 symptoms. An ambulance should be called for emergency transportation to a hospital.
  • Friends & Family: Do you have a friend or family member who can drive you to your appointment? If so, they can get reimbursed the mileage for bringing you to your doctor’s visit. For the time being, we will not require any advanced notice or approval prior to the appointment for rides under 50 miles. We will allow reimbursement requests that are older than 30 days until further notice.

+ Can you fill additional months of my prescriptions now in case of a community quarantine?

Yes, BMC HealthNet Plan members may request early refills of medication if you have refills remaining on your prescription should there be in a situation requiring quarantine. This would allow a member to request up to a 30-day supply of a medication before their next scheduled refill due date if needed. Please contact your pharmacy to refill your medication or contact your provider for a new prescription if you do not have any refills left on you prescription.

We also want to remind you that you may also have certain medications delivered by mail so that you do not have to pick them up at a local pharmacy. This option is available for maintenance medications which are filled regularly and used to treat conditions such as diabetes, asthma, high cholesterol and high blood pressure. You can receive a 90-day supply of medication delivered to your home. Our mail order pharmacy can assist you with transferring your prescriptions or reaching out to your provider for a new prescription. Sign up to get your medications by mail.

+ Can my medications be mailed to my home?

Yes, you can sign-up with for our Mail Order Pharmacy program to have a 90-day supply of maintenance medications delivered to your door. Maintenance medications are medications that are filled regularly and used to treat conditions such as diabetes, asthma, high cholesterol and high blood pressure. With the Mail Order Pharmacy Program, you MassHealth members can get a 90-day supply of medications for the same cost as a 30-day supply. Sign up to get your medications by mail.






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