Updated on March 16
Independence Blue Cross (Independence) is committed to ensuring that our members have access to the care they need, at the right time, and in the right setting. As COVID-19 (coronavirus) has escalated into a serious global health threat, we are working to make sure that our members can receive appropriate testing and treatment for this virus if needed.
We encourage all Independence members to visit ibx.com regularly for the latest news and updates. We will continue to evaluate member needs as the situation changes.
Independence to Cover and Waive Cost-Sharing for Covid-19 Testing
Independence will cover and reimburse member cost-sharing (such as co-pays, deductibles, and coinsurance) for the COVID-19 test and the administration of the test when performed at a physician’s office, urgent care center, or an emergency room. Treatment for COVID-19 is subject to the specific out-of-pocket cost-sharing for each member’s health plan. For services not related to COVID-19, we will continue to apply the appropriate member cost-sharing. This includes members enrolled in our fully insured plans, employer-sponsored plans, Medicare Advantage and the individual and family plans available through the Affordable Care Act. Self-funded plans will be able to opt-out of this program. In addition, IRS guidance, released March 11, allows for testing and treatment services before the deductible is met for members with high-deductible health plans and health savings accounts (HSAs).
Given that the test is new and specific billing codes for commercially available tests were only recently designated, members should report any concerns about claim payment to our customer service staff at the number on their member card. At this time, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state labs currently performing the testing are not billing for COVID-19 testing, so members should not incur costs when tested by these labs.
If members have any questions about whether they should be tested, they should contact a health care professional who will work with the state public health department in the member’s state and the CDC to determine if they need to be tested for COVID-19.
At this time, there is no specific antiviral treatment or vaccine for COVID-19. Members should receive care from their doctor to help relieve symptoms as they would other viral respiratory infections. Independence continues to cover medically necessary health care costs to treat infectious diseases, including COVID-19, based on the terms of the member’s insurance plan.
If our members would like information about specific symptoms they are experiencing or have questions about their personal health, we recommend that they contact their doctor. For reliable information about the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), we suggest visiting the CDC website at cdc.gov/coronavirus.
CDC resources on COVID-19
Risk and Travel
CDC considers COVID-19 a very serious public health threat, and it continues to take proactive preparedness precautions.
Members can visit the CDC website to find information about the disease as well as a risk assessment.
As the situation continues to evolve, we recommend that members visit the CDC traveler health site for the most updated information about travel.
CDC has recommendations for the public as it relates to COVID-19, which include everyday preventative actions to prevent the spread of respiratory viruses. These include:
- Avoid close contact with sick people.
- While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible.
- Stay home if you are sick.
- Cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.
- Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that are frequently touched or may be contaminated with germs.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub with at least 60% alcohol.
If you think you may have been exposed to COVID-19 and develop a fever and symptoms of respiratory illness, such as cough or difficulty breathing, call your doctor immediately. Before going to a doctor’s office or emergency room, call ahead and tell them about any recent travel and symptoms.
CDC has also shared Resources for Businesses and Employers to help them plan, prepare, and respond to COVID-19. The guide includes:
- Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers which shows recommended strategies for employers and planning considerations to use now.
- Environmental Cleaning and Disinfection Recommendations
While COVID-19 is getting a lot of attention in the media, it is also important to remember that influenza, or seasonal flu, is a significant and immediate health concern for Americans. As we have in previous years, Independence Blue Cross encourages all members to discuss getting a flu shot with their physicians.
For more information and precautions to protect against seasonal flu and other diseases, please visit the CDC’s website: cdc.gov/flu.
- City of Philadelphia Information and Recommendations
- How to prepare: Managing anxiety and stress
- COVID-19 helpline for Greater Philadelphia residents: 1-800-722-7112 (launched by the Philadelphia Department of Public Health and supported by the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia)
- Feeling stressed about COVID-19? Tips from Magellan Health