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Beat COVID-19 timeline: Caring for our members, customers, and the community

It’s a milestone we could never have imagined reaching ― two years since the Philadelphia region shut down in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Independence Blue Cross (Independence) remains committed to supporting the physical, mental, and financial well-being of our members, customers, and the community. There is hope on the horizon, and as we look forward, we also pause to reflect on our efforts to help people navigate these challenging times.

Implemented and updated testing and coverage policies

From the earliest days of the pandemic, Independence responded quickly to implement, extend, and expand COVID-19 policies and create new ones as needed.

March 2020

Began the implementation of COVID-19 testing, coverage, and telemedicine policies to assist members and providers. This included waiving member costs for COVID care and expanding coverage for telemedicine services for many COVID-19 related diagnoses.

April 2020

Began the periodic suspension of certain precertification requirements to help support health systems and members.

December 2020

Began coverage and waived cost-sharing for vaccine administration for all commercial members, including copays, deductibles, and coinsurance.

January 2022

Implemented the Biden administration’s over-the-counter (OTC) testing program and covering up to eight FDA-approved OTC COVID-19 tests per calendar month for members.

Educated members and our community

Independence worked to ensure our community had timely and trusted information to protect their physical and mental well-being, with a particular focus on reaching communities of color disproportionately impacted by COVID-19:

March 2020

Developed informational COVID-19 websites for members, providers, and customers.

March 2020 – August 2021

Launched the following public health campaigns:

October 2021

Dr. Richard Snyder, EVP of Facilitated Health Networks, was recognized by the Philadelphia Business Journal as one of its 2021 Leaders in Health Care for his leadership and efforts during the pandemic.

Provided financial support for community efforts

Independence has helped to promote equitable access to vaccinations and vital health care services for those in underserved communities:

November 2020

Started work to donate approximately 500,000 personal protection masks to physician practices and clinics in underserved and disadvantaged communities.

May 2021

Through the Independence Blue Cross Foundation, supported the All Faiths Vaccination Campaign (AFVC) in their efforts to help Philadelphia’s underserved populations get vaccinated. The AFVC brought together nearly 50 entities and organizations from diverse faith traditions, health care institutions, and the City of Philadelphia to provide vaccines to at-risk and marginalized populations.

Graphic: 100+ Blue Crew virtual volunteer events benefited 27 nonprofits in 2021

Assisted health care workers, customers, and members

We are proud of our initiatives to increase vaccinations, care for our region’s most vulnerable, expand financial support for our customers, and address health inequities:

March 2020

June 2020

Launched a collaboration with United By Blue to deliver more than 40,000 bags of free groceries to Independence Medicare Advantage members with chronic conditions.

July 2020

Began offering premium credits and rebates to fully insured customers to help them with impacts from the pandemic. These rebates totaled $120 million in September 2020 invoices.

Graphic: 40,000 bags of free groceries delivered

Independence also expanded payment flexibility by accepting credit card payments from small group, fully insured customers, and consumer members, plus offering grace period flexibility for larger clients. 

February 2021

Launched a collaboration with Quartet Health to make it easier for people in the region to access mental health care.

March 2021

Donated $250,000 to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Foundation, through the Independence Blue Cross Foundation, to help teachers and other personnel at all City schools get vaccinated.

April 2021

  • Opened a COVID-19 vaccination site with vybe urgent care at Independence LIVE that supported the administration of more than 22,000 shots.
  • Launched a collaboration with Rite Aid, Main Line Health, and the Philadelphia Department of Health to help nearly 4,000 vulnerable populations set up COVID-19 vaccine appointments. 

December 2021

The Independence Blue Cross Foundation, CHOP, and the Philadelphia Zoo hosted a free clinic at the zoo and vaccinated more than 185 children aged 5‒17 and 100 adults. The clinic was open to residents in West Philadelphia, a community experiencing low vaccine rates. An event to administer the second dose was held in January 2022.

Graphic: More than 25,000 people in underserved communities were vaccinated