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BlueShield Announces New Measures to Support Community During COVID-19 Pandemic

Health Plan to Cover All Costs Associated with COVID-19 Vaccine
Extends Coverage of Coronavirus Treatment and Testing 

December 29, 2020

Latham, N.Y. – To ensure members continue to have access to the care they need during the COVID-19 pandemic, BlueShield of Northeastern New York announced today that it will cover all costs associated with all FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccines for its fully insured Commercial and Medicare members. The local health insurer will also continue to cover all copays, coinsurance and deductibles for medically appropriate COVID-19 testing and treatment received by fully insured Commercial and Medicare Advantage members through March 31, 2021, an extension of benefits that were to end December 31.

“In our 75-year history serving the Capital Region, we’ve never experienced a year like this. We recognize the uncertainty and devastation that many families, businesses and communities have experienced, and as a community-based, not-for-profit health plan, there is nothing more important to us than being here for them,” said David W. Anderson, President and CEO, BlueShield of Northeastern New York. “BlueShield’s commitment to the health and well-being of our members, employer groups and the community has never been stronger. We will continue to be here for them— taking every step to put their health care needs first.”

The company’s announcement today builds on its overall efforts to connect members to care during this time. In addition to covering the full cost of COVID-19 testing, treatment and telehealth services since the beginning of April, BlueShield has also eliminated preauthorization requirements for COVID-19 testing and treatment through June 18, 2021, and authorized 90-day mail order benefit for refills of all applicable prescriptions.

The health plan’s additional efforts to support the community during the COVID-19 pandemic include:

  • Contributing $150,000 to the Capital Region Community COVID-19 Response Fund through its Blue Fund grant giving program as it pivoted its typical cycle to support the most needed areas of the community
  • Contributing $150,000 to help three local nonprofits recovering and rebuilding from the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Providing $411,000 in relief for 30 local primary care provider (PCP) groups through its COVID-19 Provider Relief Program (PRP)
  • Donating more than 2,000 personal protective equipment (PPE) kits to local schools and community centers
  • Donating thousands of healthy items for local police officers and firefighters

BlueShield employees also collected 2,000 pounds of the most-needed items for The Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York and donated $5,000 to several local organizations.

To ensure out-of-pocket costs are not a barrier to people seeking treatment of COVID-19, the local health plan is helping local employers in making decisions about their health plans. In some instances, BlueShield members are covered under a health plan that is self-insured by their employer. Self-insured employers will have the flexibility to apply the same no-cost structure but may opt-out of this treatment waiver.

Additional resources and information on BlueShield’s COVID-19 response are available at