A local insurance provider is taking a big step to assist those patients impacted by COVID-19.

Excellus Blue Cross Blue Shield has announced that they will be waiving cost-sharing for medical testing, diagnoses and treatment related to the Coronavirus. This benefit will be for fully insured employer groups, individual market qualified health plans and Medicare Advantage members. That benefit will be extended for the next 60 days.

Christopher Booth is the President and CEO of Excellus Blue Cross Blue Shield. He said in a statement,

We want people to get the medical care they need to fight this insidious virus. These are our neighbors and friends who are sick and hurting. This is why Excellus BCBS is here.

Excellus is still making an effort to make accommodations for self-funded customers who want to implement a similar approach.

Excellus has already implemented several policies to help assist in the fight against COVID-19. The list includes,

  • Waived co-pays 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.

Excellus CEO Booth says, "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. We understand the immense pressures being faced today by everyone.”

You can continue to follow the Excellus health plan response at www.chooseexcellus.com/covid19.