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Blue Shield of California Will Help Reduce Costs for Members During the COVID-19 Crisis

For members who are having difficulty paying their monthly premiums, the company is offering a variety of ways to help

OAKLAND, Calif. (April 1, 2020) – Blue Shield of California is taking additional steps to remove barriers and help its members receive the health care they need during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, announcing today it will cover members’ coinsurance, copayments and deductibles for COVID-19 medical treatments through May 31, 2020.

Today’s announcement applies to customers who are covered under Blue Shield’s Individual and Family Plans, Medicare Supplemental plans, Medicare Advantage plans, as well as employer- and union insured plans. Blue Shield will also administer the waiver for self-insured group health plans that choose to participate, although these plans may make their own determination and will have an opportunity to opt-out.

Blue Shield previously announced it is waiving prior approval and copayments for COVID-19 screening and testing, and for Teladoc Health virtual care service through May 31, 2020 for most of its members. The tax-paying, nonprofit company serves more than 4.4 million members in California with a variety of different types of health insurance plans.

For members who are having difficulty paying their monthly premiums, the company is offering a variety of ways to help. For example, Blue Shield is offering a Special Enrollment Period through June 30, 2020 for small, large group and Medicare Supplemental plans to provide coverage flexibility for those members whose circumstances may have changed. Blue Shield will allow members and employer groups to downgrade plans during this special enrollment period.

“We want to help our members during this difficult time, so they can focus on their health and the wellbeing of loved ones,” said Paul Markovich, president and CEO, Blue Shield of California. “We are doing everything we can to ensure our members have the coverage they need as we deal with this crisis. It’s times like these that call for us to be flexible where we can be to stand for what’s right and ensure our members and the communities we serve receive the care they deserve.”

Blue Shield responded quickly in the early days of the COVID-19 crisis, instituting several other coverage changes and initiatives to lessen the impact on members and the community. Those actions include:

  • Monitoring prescription drug supplies and supporting members requesting early refills of their prescriptions.
  • Creating a dedicated COVID-19 website to inform members of their coverage under specific Blue Shield health benefit plans.
  • Offering a digital tool at no additional cost for its nearly 350 in-network hospitals to help them triage the influx of patients seeking advice on coronavirus or other medical care.
  • Donating $500,000 to the Oakland COVID-19 Relief Fund to support pop-up coronavirus testing sites and other community initiatives.
  • Providing $100,000 support to MedShare, a San Francisco Bay area nonprofit organization that provides personal protective equipment (PPE) to nonprofit community healthcare providers.
  • Providing information on the mental health challenges in coping with the outbreak.
  • Protecting employees and limiting the possible spread of the virus by initiating a company-wide work-from-home plan while maintaining uninterrupted service to our customers.

Click here to read more about how Blue Shield of California is responding to the coronavirus outbreak to ensure we can continue to deliver on our nonprofit mission.


About Blue Shield of California
Blue Shield of California strives to create a healthcare system worthy of our family and friends that is sustainably affordable. Blue Shield of California is a tax paying, nonprofit, independent member of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association with over 4 million members, 6,800 employees and more than $20 billion in annual revenue. Founded in 1939 in San Francisco and now headquartered in Oakland, Blue Shield of California and its affiliates provide health, dental, vision, Medicaid and Medicare healthcare service plans in California. The company has contributed more than $500 million to Blue Shield of California Foundation since 2002 to have an impact on California communities.

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