JACKSONVILLE, Fla., March 31, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Florida Blue, the state's leading health insurer, announced today it will waive cost-sharing through June 1 for its members who must undergo treatment for COVID-19, including in-patient hospital admissions.
The announcement impacts all Florida Blue members with Affordable Care Act, Medicare Advantage (excluding Part D drug plans) and other individual plans, as well as all fully insured employer group health plans. Florida Blue is also working with its self-funded ERISA employers to assist them in meeting the needs of their employees during the health crisis.
"Florida Blue is dedicated to the health of our members and the communities we serve. Many in our state are already facing financial uncertainty due to this health crisis, and we do not want the fear of health care costs preventing them from seeking potentially lifesaving treatment for COVID-19," said Pat Geraghty, Florida Blue president and CEO.
Florida Blue is also offering personalized support from its Florida Blue Care Team at no additional cost to all members who are hospitalized for treatment of COVID-19. The Care Team will aid in the transition to home from the hospital by working hand-in-hand with physicians to ensure members receive the care and support they need at home. Florida Blue members will have dedicated nurses and other clinical professionals focused on helping them access community resources that help with transportation, food, finances and other social concerns.
For Medicare Advantage members, Florida Blue has a team of clinicians, community health workers and support staff to assist its members return safely to home after a hospital stay, ensuring they have the needed home health, the appropriate medications, follow up appointments, necessary transportation and support in accessing the full range of their benefits, including post-discharge meal delivery.
The company is waiving prior authorization requirements for patients being transferred from inpatient acute hospital settings to post-acute care facilities (Long Term Acute Care Facilities, Skilled Nursing Facilities and Inpatient Rehabilitation) to help hospitals accelerate appropriate discharges and support bed capacity. Timely notification and review is still required from the post-acute facility to determine medical necessity of continued stay and ensure Florida Blue can assist with discharge planning for its members. Additionally, Florida Blue will work closely with providers and physicians to try to shield its members from being balanced billed (surprise billed) for any services related to COVID-19 treatment.
Virtual Member Support at Florida Blue Centers Florida Blue Centers are available to provide virtual support to members or persons who have recently lost health coverage due to job loss. Neighborhood nurses, community specialists and local sales and service consultants are available to help with questions about COVID-19, testing site locations, community resources, navigating the health care system, finding virtual care options, checking enrollment eligibility and other concerns by calling 877-352-5830, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. local time, Monday through Friday, and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday.
Premium Grace Period Extended Until May 31, 2020 Last week, Florida Blue announced it was implementing an extended grace period through May 31, 2020, for customers unable to pay premiums as a result of the COVID-19 health crisis that would otherwise have been subject to termination of coverage. The grace period applies to Affordable Care Act, Medicare Supplement, and other individual health plan members, as well as most of its employer group health plans.
Increased Access to Virtual Health Care Florida Blue also increased virtual health access for its members in response to COVID-19. The insurer added no-cost access to Teladoc for its Medicare Advantage members and waived all copays for all its Affordable Care Act members and many employer group health plan members. Teladoc provides 24/7 virtual health care via phone, video or mobile app for non-emergency medical concerns.
Florida Blue has expanded its network of primary care doctors and specialists who are able to treat patients through a virtual visit at the regular office visit cost share during the crisis. Members can call their doctor to see if they offer virtual visits.
About Florida Blue Florida Blue, Florida's Blue Cross and Blue Shield company, has been providing health insurance to residents of Florida for more than 75 years. Driven by its mission of helping people and communities achieve better health, the company serves more than 5 million health care members across the state. In total, Florida Blue and its affiliated companies serve 27 million people in 35 states. Headquartered in Jacksonville, Fla., it is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.