BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee wants to make members aware that it will cover the administration cost for all coronavirus vaccines that receive Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval and emergency use authorization.
“We want to make sure our members know that once the COVID-19 vaccines become more widely available, they won’t have to worry about the cost,” said Dr. Andrea Willis, chief medical officer for BlueCross. “We’ve continued to remove barriers in the fight against COVID-19, first for testing and treatment, and now for vaccines. Science has shown this is an important step for us to reduce both individual and community risk to eventually emerge from this pandemic.”
The cost of the vaccine itself is covered by the federal government. BlueCross will cover the fees associated with its administration. If a BlueCross member is charged for any part of their vaccine visit, they can call the Member Services number on the back of their Member ID card for help.
Because of the limited initial supply, state health departments, with consideration to recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), have created distribution plans to guide who will be vaccinated during each phase. The first phase will include the highest-risk populations, like health care workers, first responders and seniors in care settings. Additional segments of the population will be added as the supply increases.
As more FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccines are produced and distributed, anyone who wants a vaccine should be able to get one. Members should check BCBSTupdates.com for answers to vaccine-related questions, and with the Tennessee Department of Health at tn.gov/health for additional information on the state’s vaccine distribution plan.
“As a BlueCross member and public health advocate, I plan to get the vaccine when my time comes,” Dr. Willis said. “Because it takes time to build immunity, we should all continue following the safety measures like wearing a mask, washing your hands, and social distancing until the vaccine is more readily available.”
In addition to covering the administration costs of the COVID-19 vaccine, BlueCross has committed to supporting a variety of efforts to encourage better health for its members throughout the national public health emergency. These include:
- Continuing to pay the full costs of COVID-19 testing
- Waiving cost-sharing for COVID-19 treatments, including hospitalizations, from in-network providers until the end of the national public health emergency
- Making coverage of in-network telehealth visits permanent for members with employer-based or individual plans
- Allowing early prescription refills and 90-day prescriptions to help members avoid increased risk of exposure
- Sharing essential public health information such as the importance of social distancing and mask-wearing and warning of potential scam activity
BlueCross also delivered meals to frontline health care workers across Tennessee. Additionally, the BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Foundation has given nearly $7 million to communities across the state during the pandemic, including:
- $5 million to food banks statewide
- $1.5 million for COVID testing in underserved areas, flu vaccine education efforts, and community organizations
For additional information on the BlueCross response to COVID-19, visit BCBSTUpdates.com.