EAGAN, Minn., May 18, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota (Blue Cross) is reducing barriers to care for Medicare Advantage members by waiving member cost-sharing for in-network primary care, mental health and substance use office visits for the duration of the public health emergency in 2020. Additionally, Medicare Advantage members will have expanded access to in-home wellness care and home test kits for some preventive screenings.
"In the midst of this crisis, seniors have been greatly impacted and are at disproportionate risk. With our hope to keep our senior members safe and assure that they receive the preventive care they need, Blue Cross is both expanding coverage and proactively reaching out to help them navigate options to get the care they need," said Dr. Craig Samitt, president and CEO of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota. "In this critical time, our healthcare community needs to work in lockstep, so we're working closely with providers and numerous community agencies to support members, keep them safe and expand needed access to alternative care delivery methods."
Member outreach phone calls will begin in June to all Blue Cross Medicare Advantage members to highlight expanded benefits and inquire about additional care needs, including details about home monitoring kits for diabetic A1C and microalbumin tests and screening kits for colorectal cancer. More information on Blue Cross' coverage updates can be found on bluecrossmn.com/coronavirus.
The updates to Medicare Advantage are the latest commitment made by Blue Cross to ensure its members get the care they need during the COVID-19 pandemic. Previously announced coverage changes include:
Waiving all member costs related to in-network COVID-19 treatment and care, including hospitalization
Increasing access to prescription medications by waiving early medication refill limits on 30-day prescription maintenance medications and/or encouraging members to use 90-day mail order benefit
Encouraging the use of virtual care to help members maintain social distancing standards and minimize risk of exposure
Waiving costs for Doctor On Demand for members whose benefits include coverage of Doctor on Demand services
Increasing the types of technology that providers can use remotely, including FaceTime and Skype
Expanding the types of services that can be provided via telehealth channels, including behavioral health; physical, occupational and speech therapies; and medication management
Doctor On Demand is an independent company providing telehealth services.
About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, with headquarters in the St. Paul suburb of Eagan, was chartered in 1933 as Minnesota's first health plan and continues to carry out its charter mission today: to promote a wider, more economical and timely availability of health services for the people of Minnesota. A nonprofit, taxable organization, Blue Cross is the largest health plan based in Minnesota, covering 2.9 million members in Minnesota and nationally through its health plans or plans administered by its affiliated companies. Blue Cross® and Blue Shield® of Minnesota and Blue Plus® are nonprofit independent licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, headquartered in Chicago.