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Excellus BlueCross BlueShield Waives COVID-19 Cost Sharing

Submitted by Excellus BlueCross BlueShield

Excellus BlueCross BlueShield will waive out-of-pocket costs for COVID-19 medical testing, diagnosis and treatment for its fully insured employer groups, individual market qualified health plans and Medicare Advantage members for the next 60 days.

This waives the member’s copayment or cost share for testing, diagnosis and treatment, even if that treatment is delivered in the hospital.

“We want people to get the medical care they need to fight this insidious virus,” said Christopher C. Booth, president and chief executive officer of Excellus BCBS. “These are our neighbors and friends who are sick and hurting. This is why Excellus BCBS is here.”

Excellus BCBS will also work with self-funded customers who want to implement a similar approach, so that these members’ needs can also be met during this time of concern.

This is the latest step Excellus BCBS has taken to help with payments, ensure continued access to care and reduce the administrative burden on providers, hospitals and other health care facilities in this time of crisis. Here is a partial list of what Excellus BCBS has already done:

  • Waived copays for medically necessary office, urgent care, ER visits and lab tests related to COVID-19, both in- and out-of-network.
  • Expanded telehealth services to all members and trained local providers on use of the technology and increased payment levels to replace some of their lost in-office revenue.
  • Waived all member cost-share responsibility for telehealth services regardless of the nature of the medical issue.
  • Absorbed the impact of a 1 percent ($8 million) reduction in New York State Medicaid payments for medical services, choosing not to pass the reduction along to providers.
  • Suspended reviews of surgeries or admissions at hospitals, and preauthorization inpatient rehabilitation admissions, home care services and skilled nursing facility admissions following a hospital stay.
  • Waived or extended time frames for claims disputes, appeals, grievances, and audits.
  • Provide a 24/7 Nurse Line where members can contact an Excellus BCBS nurse by phone anytime – 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Our specially trained registered nurses can provide support and education.
  • Help members navigate health insurance options, such as the Essential Plan, Medicaid, Child Health Plus, COBRA and Medicare products, for those facing unemployment.

“Over the nearly 90 years that we have provided health care coverage in upstate New York, we have never faced a public health crisis like COVID-19. No one has,” said Booth. “We understand the immense pressures being faced today by everyone.”

For the latest information on the health plan’s response, members, providers and employers are encouraged to visit: