Updated Jan. 11, 2021
BCBSKS members can find answers to some common questions. We will continue to add to this list as more information is available.
Patients with COVID-19 have had mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of
- Fever of 100.4 or higher or chills
- Muscle or body aches
- Vomiting or diarrhea
- New loss of taste or smell
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Trouble breathing
- Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
- New confusion or inability to wake or stay awake
- Bluish lips or face
BCBSKS is in alignment with healthcare providers across the state by encouraging those who may be affected by the virus to "Call before you go!" Before seeking testing or treatment at a hospital or doctor's office, members should call and share their symptoms or utilize telehealth services to consult with a healthcare professional.
If you have a medical emergency, please seek care at the closest emergency room. If you are receiving testing or non-emergent care, we encourage members to use an in-network provider. Out-of-network providers charge for services which are not negotiated with BCBSKS and can result in significantly higher out-of-pocket costs to you.
A vaccine is now available, but in limited supply. Check with your healthcare provider to see if you are eligible to receive the vaccine. The best way to prevent infection is to take everyday preventive actions, like avoiding close contact with people who are sick, wearing a mask, practicing safe social distancing and washing your hands often. For more information about the COVID-19 vaccine, visit the KDHE website.
The first approved vaccines are now available, with additional vaccines going through the approval process by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA). Once approved, they will go into production within 24 hours and then be shipped to states. The COVID-19 vaccine initially will be available in very limited doses – but will scale up in production rapidly, allowing for enough supply to vaccinate all. For more information about the COVID-19 vaccine, visit the KDHE website.
The COVID-19 vaccine initially will be available in very limited doses – but will scale up in production rapidly, allowing for enough supply to vaccinate all. However, the vaccine will be available in three phases.
- Phase one – healthcare workers and residents or patients of long-term care facilities, senior housing or LTC-supported independent living, workers critical to pandemic response continuity
- Phases two – persons aged 65+, those living or working in congregate settings, high-contact critical workers
- Phase three – persons aged 16-64 with severe medical risks, other critical workers
- Phase four – persons aged 16-64 with other medical risks
- Phase five – rest of the population aged 16-64
More studies will need to be completed before a COVID-19 vaccine will be available for children.
Not every medical provider will be able to provide the vaccine. Providers must sign up through the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) to administer the vaccine. Currently, the COVID-19 vaccine is only available to a limited population by a small number of providers. Those persons who are eligible to receive the vaccine will be contacted by state officials or their employer to schedule their vaccines. The vaccine is not currently available to the general public. It is not anticipated to be available until late spring/early summer. Locations to receive the vaccine will be updated on the KDHE website as they are available.
The vaccine will be available to all Americans free of charge. The federal government is funding the cost of the vaccine. Certain vaccine providers may charge an administration fee for giving the shot, but that cost will not be passed on to the patient, regardless if they have insurance or not. BCBSKS will cover that cost for our members. Any member that receives a bill for the administration fee for the vaccine should submit a claim to BCBSKS. Providers will be able to get reimbursed for the uninsured population through a government relief fund.
Yes, the vaccine is safe and approved by the federal government for use. Some people who received the vaccine during the trial phase did note potential side effects from the vaccine, such as symptoms from the virus. It is important to follow all safety instructions given after receiving the vaccine. For more information, visit the KDHE website.
The first approved vaccine contains a series of two shots - the second shot given 21-28 days after the initial first shot. It is critical to receive the second shot in the allotted time frame for the vaccine to have maximum effectiveness.
BCBSKS coverage commitment includes waiving member cost-sharing (copays, deductibles) through the duration of the declared public health emergency for the following services:
- Medically necessary diagnostic tests related to COVID-19;
- Cost of visit to doctor's office, urgent care, telehealth, and emergency room used for diagnostic testing of COVID-19;
- Related services (flu tests, respiratory illness tests) provided during urgent care, emergency room, or in-person or telehealth provider visits that result in an order for or administration of a covered diagnostic test for COVID-19.
BCBSKS will not cover the cost of surveillance testing. Surveillance testing is a type of testing that helps determine how widespread the virus is within a community by testing randomly selected, non-symptomatic individuals within that community. It is not the type of testing ordered by a provider to determine if you have the COVID-19 virus.
Yes, BCBSKS will cover antibody testing at 100% with no cost to the member through the duration of the declared public health pandemic. Providers that are in the BCBSKS network will submit a claim on your behalf. If your provider is not in the BCBSKS provider network and will not file a claim for you, send an itemized statement (including your identification number, physician's name, service date, complete description of the services you received with charges for each service and diagnosis) from that provider along with a claim form (PDF) within 90 days to: Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas 1133 SW Topeka Blvd. Topeka, KS 66629-0001 You will be reimbursed for covered services according to the benefits of your program.
BCBSKS will waive member cost-sharing (copays, deductibles) and pay for COVID-19 treatment until March 31, 2021. This includes coverage for treatment administered at a doctor’s office, telehealth, urgent care facility and emergency room, as well as inpatient hospital stays. This applies to fully insured members, along with those who receive their insurance through Medicare Advantage plans. Administrative Service Only (ASO) groups can choose to waive or not waive member cost share as of July 1, 2020. Please check your plan to see which applies for you.
If you are looking for a place to receive COVID-19 testing in Kansas, consult with your primary care provider or you can visit gogettested.com/Kansas for a list of testing sites near you.
BCBSKS is encouraging the use of telehealth/telemedicine. Given the nature of the COVID-19 outbreak, seeking in-person medical care may lead to further spreading of the virus. The use of telehealth/telemedicine will help lower the spread of germs and lessen the burden on the Kansas healthcare system. Please check with your doctor to see if he/she is set-up to do telehealth visits.
Telehealth and telemedicine are both terms that are used to describe virtual care. This type of care happens when video cameras and monitors are used to connect you to healthcare providers who are not located near you, meaning you don't have to travel to get the care you need. Some ways you can use telehealth to talk to a doctor include, but are not at all limited to: - Questions and diagnosis of common medical problems, such as headaches, digestive issues, sore throat - Follow-up appointments for chronic care - Virtual visit if you are unable to leave the house - Mental health services Services are available for any visit that is medically reasonable to be done using telehealth. The visit does not have to be specific to COVID-19 testing. Please check with your doctor to see if he/she is set-up to do telehealth visits. *BCBSKS members: Please check your contract for this benefit. Not all plans include telemedicine coverage.
A telehealth/telemedicine visit costs about the same as an in-person visit. Fully insured members are responsible for their cost-share (co-pay, deductible) for telehealth and virtual services, with the exception of treatment for COVID-19. BCBSKS will cover the cost of COVID-19 treatment provided by telehealth/telemedicine until March 31, 2021. Administrative Service Only (ASO) groups can choose to waive or not waive member cost share as of July 1, 2020. Please check your plan to see which applies to you. *BCBSKS members: Please check your contract for this benefit. Not all plans include telemedicine coverage. Members will have to pay their copay or deductible for all other telehealth visits beginning July 1, 2020. *BCBSKS members: Please check your contract for this benefit. Not all plans include telemedicine coverage.
Yes, BCBSKS is encouraging patients and providers to lower the spread of disease and use social distancing technology such as telehealth, telephone, and/or e-visits. Members are responsible for their copay or deductible for all other telehealth visits.
Masks and gloves are not covered under any BCBSKS plans.