If you have a business with less than 500 employees emergency assistance is available
If COVID-19 is causing financial difficulties for your business, financial relief loans are currently being offered to assist you in maintaining employees and keeping your business operating.
In some cases, you may need to provide your current payroll expenses. Use our eBilling tool to access your payment history.
The cost of the test and treatment is fully covered for our members
We understand that our members may be concerned about their access to care during this time. Be assured, we will cover the full cost of COVID-19 diagnostic tests as prescribed by doctors. We will also cover the full cost of COVID-19 treatment regardless of where the care is provided in the United States. We are not requiring prior authorizations for testing, and all costs for participating doctors, telemedicine, urgent care, and emergency room visits for diagnostic testing related to COVID-19 have been waived.
Managing Premium Invoices and Payments
BlueShield offers a quick and easy way to manage your health plan and pay your premiums. By logging into your employer account, you can manage invoices, schedule convenient automatic payments, and track payment history.
Set Up An Online Account
Complete the HIPAA Employer Authorization Form. The completion of this form is required to access the online portal. Once HIPAA Authorization form is received, you can log in to your account to handle tasks such as, pay an invoice, complete an enrollment or termination request.
myStrength by Livongo®
During this stressful time, myStrength by our partner Livongo is here for you. Learn ways to manage extreme stress, get tips for parenting during challenging times, and find support to help you take care of your emotional health. Available through the end of June.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
BlueShield of Northeastern New York is closely monitoring the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) situation. The health and well-being of our members is our top priority, and we remain committed to ensuring our employers and members have access to the care and information they need.
Cost Shares and Claim Processing
Premiums and Invoicing
Enrollment and Eligibility
Will there be enrollment and eligibility flexibility during this state of emergency?
- Yes, BlueCross BlueShield will extend the 30-day enrollment guideline until further notice.
- Eligibility transactions can be updated in a timely and automated manner via BlueConnect, our online enrollment tool.
Does the enrollment flexibility allow for special enrollments during this state of emergency?
Special enrollment is associated with a qualifying event, as outlined in our Group Benefit Administrator Manual
Examples of qualifying events would include newborns, loss of spousal coverage, etc.
These qualifying events allow for changes in coverage in eligibility
Employees who waived coverage during the open enrollment period without a qualifying event cannot be added to the plan
We can connect these employees with our consumer market account executives to explore alternative coverage options
Members can call us directly at 1-800-700-8482
Will you accept emails for eligibility transactions?
- No, we cannot accept emails to request eligibility transactions
- We encourage you to use our BlueConnect tool or complete an application.
- Applications can be downloaded from our website, and employee signature is not required.
- Until further notice, we will not be requiring back up paperwork for items like domestic partner enrollment, adoption or disabled dependents
- We will conduct an audit of transactions to obtain this information once the state of emergency is lifted
Plan and Coverage Options
Can I add a less expensive plan option?
Small groups can hold a one-time special open enrollment provided it’s available to all employees.
NOTE: If employees make a plan change mid-year, accumulators (such as deductibles and out of pocket maximums) would reset with their new plan
Accumulators would also reset at their regular open enrollment period as well
Should you wish to hold such a special open enrollment please contact your Account Executive and/or broker
Large groups are subject to underwriting guidelines and review, and as such should contact their Account Executive and/or broker with questions
What other options are available for coverage for members no longer on my group plan?
Can I maintain group coverage if my business has closed permanently?
- No. Employees will receive a termination notice listing enrollment options which include state-subsidized plans (e.g. Medicaid, Essential Health Plan) or direct pay plans
- We will support your employees, by connecting them with our consumer market benefit consultants to explore alternative coverage options
- Members can call us directly at 1-800-700-8482
- Employees are not eligible for COBRA coverage if the business has closed permanently
Employee Coverage Considerations
If my business has reduced hours or is temporarily shut down, resulting in temporary layoffs, can I keep my employees on my health plan?
- It’s the employer’s responsibility to determine employee coverage status
- If an employer continues to offer health plan coverage and the account is in good standing, employees will continue to have coverage under the period for which premium has been paid
- It is the responsibility of the employer to notify us of a termination of coverage
If I choose to subsidize COBRA coverage for my employees, whether at the current cost share arrangement or an alternative arrangement, how will that be handled?
- We will continue to cover these individuals so long as full payment of the associated COBRA premium is received
Can I amend my new hire policies to allow for coverage immediately upon employees returning to work or on day 1 for new employees?
Employers can amend new hire policies at their discretion
Self-Funded Plans Regarding Stop Loss
What impact will a reduction in employee hours due to COVID-19 restrictions on business operations have on a stop loss policy?
If you modify your plan’s eligibility rules to extend coverage in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic, stop-loss policy claims incurred during the extended coverage period will apply provided that the following conditions are met:
- The extended coverage is offered only to those individuals who were covered under the plan and whose hours of employment were impacted by the pandemic
- You provide us promptly with a clear written description on your Company letterhead of your extended plan eligibility terms
- The extended coverage period does not extend beyond [x date], [x months after the person would have lost coverage under the plan without the eligibility extension], [the date that the public health emergency caused by the pandemic ends], etc. Any additional conditions could be added (e.g. employee having to pay a share)
An Important Message from our Chief Medical Officer, Thomas Schenk, M.D.
Health & Wellness Resources
Keeping the home safe
- Clean hands at the door and at regular intervals
- Create habits and reminders to avoid touching their face and cover coughs and sneezes
- Disinfect surfaces like doorknobs, tables, and handrails regularly
- Increase ventilation by opening windows or adjusting air conditioning
Households with vulnerable seniors or those with significant underlying conditions
Significant underlying conditions include heart, lung, kidney disease; diabetes; and conditions that suppress the immune system
- Have healthy people in the household conduct themselves as if they were a significant risk to the person with underlying conditions. For example, wash hands frequently before interacting with the person, such as by feeding or caring for the person
- If possible, provide a protected space for vulnerable household members
- Ensure all utensils and surfaces are cleaned regularly
Households with sick family members
- Give sick members their own room if possible, and keep the door closed
- Have only one family member care for them
- Consider providing additional protections or more intensive care for household members over 65 years old or with underlying conditions
Lifestyle & Wellness
A balanced diet is essential for our physical and mental health. It provides the energy you need to stay healthy. Moods and feelings can be dependent on the nutrients in our diet, including essential fats, amino acids, vitamins, minerals, and water.
Exercise is important for your health: to keep your body and mind healthy. There are many ways to incorporate physical activity into your daily routine.
Every body is unique, but it is important to know what a healthy weight is for you, and maintain it - this prevents obesity, and decreases the risk of chronic conditions.
Feeling Stressed About Coronavirus (COVID-19)?
The outbreak of Coronavirus (COVID-19) may be stressful for people. Fear and anxiety about a virus can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions in adults and children. Coping with stress will make you, the people you care about, and your community stronger.
Everyone reacts differently to stressful situations. How you respond to the outbreak can depend on your background, the things that make you different from other people, and the community you live in.
Things you can do to support yourself:
- Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting.
- Take care of your body. Take deep breaths, stretch, or meditate. Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, exercise regularly and get plenty of sleep.
- Make time to unwind. Try to do some other activities you enjoy.
- Connect with others. Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.
Reduce stress in yourself and others
Sharing the facts about COVID-19 and understanding the actual risk to yourself and people you care about can make an outbreak less stressful.
When you share accurate information about COVID-19 you can help make people feel less stressed and allow you to connect with them.
Prescription Drug Coverage: What You Need to Know
Use your 90-day mail order benefit
Refill or renew current prescriptions at retail pharmacies when 25% remains
We encourage all employers to login to their secure accounts to access information about billing, enrollment, termination and forms.
Keep Your Employees Informed
The health and well-being of our members is our top priority. Stay up to date with information regarding COVID-19.