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With concerns over the coronavirus, we know our members have questions.
Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield and Health Advantage are committed to maintaining your trust and helping you access insurance benefits to prevent illness when possible and pay for covered treatment when necessary.
We are closely monitoring this situation and are working closely with state and federal officials, making temporary coverage changes as necessary.
If you read further, you will find a list of questions and answers about the coronavirus outbreak and your coverage.
The temporary coverage changes discussed here apply exclusively to members of Arkansas Blue Cross and Health Advantage fully insured health plans. They will be in effect through at least May 15, 2020, and could be extended after that, if circumstances warrant.
Please note: Decisions about coverage changes for members of self-funded health plans served by BlueAdvantage Administrators of Arkansas or Health Advantage are made by the employers or plan sponsors who fund those self-funded programs.
If you have additional questions, please feel free to call the Customer Service number on the back of your insurance card. Thank you for trusting Arkansas Blue Cross and Health Advantage with your healthcare coverage.
In light of the role social distancing can play in stemming the spread of COVID-19, Arkansas Blue Cross and Health Advantage are expanding access to remotely delivered care.
Yes. Arkansas Blue Cross and Health Advantage will temporarily provide payment for any in-network physician (M.D. or D.O., Advance Practice Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants) to visit by video or telephone with patients who are seeking advice or counsel on either physical or mental health needs. This is an entirely new, temporary benefit.
Yes. We will temporarily waive all copays, coinsurance and deductibles for all doctor’s visits, either by video chat or phone call.
Yes. We are extending this new, temporary type of insurance benefit for counseling by in-network behavioral health professionals. Specifically, we will pay for telemedicine counseling to our fully insured members by any in-network psychiatrist, clinical psychologist, advance practice nurse practitioner, licensed clinical social worker or licensed professional counselor. This can be done by video or telephone during this time.
Yes. All copays, coinsurance and deductibles will be temporarily waived for telemedicine behavioral/mental health visits.
Yes. On a temporary basis, we will waive prior authorizations for COVID-19 diagnostic tests and for covered services that meet primary coverage criteria and are consistent with CDC guidance.
Yes. We will cover, with no cost to our members, diagnostic testing services that meet our insurance policies’ primary coverage criteria for COVID-19 as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and determined by the enrollee’s healthcare provider, where it is not covered as part of the Public Health Service response. Currently, the only recommended screening test for COVID-19 is the RT-PCR test (which involves swabbing the nose and/or mouth). Any care needed once a diagnosis of COVID-19 has occurred will be handled like any other covered treatment for a medical condition.
Yes, as long as a doctor orders it. Any member can be tested for the virus, subject to a doctor’s orders. We will cover (at no cost to our members) in-network COVID-19 diagnostic tests that meet our insurance policies’ primary coverage criteria, consistent with CDC guidance.
Yes. We will cover medical services necessary to treat infectious diseases of our members, including COVID-19, provided the services meet the terms of a member’s insurance policy, including the policy’s primary coverage criteria.
We will waive copays, coinsurance and deductibles for COVID-19 in-network diagnostic tests that meet primary coverage criteria consistent with CDC guidance. Any illness related to the coronavirus that results in a need for standard covered medical treatment would be a covered benefit, and members who need specific information about their coverage should call the number on the back of the member ID card.
Yes. We will cover hospitalization that is necessary to treat a member for COVID-19, provided the hospitalization meets the terms of the member’s insurance policy, including the policy’s primary coverage criteria.
At this time, a vaccine for COVID-19 is not available, but we routinely cover vaccines that are recommended by the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP).
Most of these supplies are not covered under our insurance policies unless they are built into home care costs for certain medical conditions currently under treatment, like wound care.
If emergency/ambulance services are needed for a COVID-19 patient, we will cover such services in accordance with and subject to the limitations of a member’s insurance policy. Transportation solely for quarantine purposes (rather than treatment) would not be covered, and most insurance policies limit the amount of benefits available for both ground and air ambulance services.
Yes. We are temporarily enhancing access to maintenance prescription medications and extending prior authorizations on many medications for 90-days. We will also work to implement prescription drug formulary flexibility if there are medication shortages or access issues.
No. Your local pharmacist has been engaged to assist with the process. Just get your prescription filled as usual. However, if you experience a problem getting a prescription filled, simply call the Caremark pharmacy benefit phone number on the back of your member ID card for help or to explore mail-order options.
As always, if you have a dental emergency, contact your dentist. Participating dentists provide emergency services to patients, so you will be able to get dental care if you have an urgent need.
If you are covered by a fully insured Blue Cross Dental Plan, you have access to teledentistry during this time. This is at no cost to the member until at least May 15, 2020. This means if you have a dental problem but aren’t sure if it is something that needs fixing right away, you can have a phone call or video chat with your dentist to assess your condition and develop a plan to manage or treat it. Be aware, though, that email and text messaging are not considered teledentistry and are not covered.
Yes. We have activated our pandemic preparedness plan and have asked many employees to work from home as a precaution.
Here are some highlights from that plan:
We have moved sales and service exclusively online and by telephone. People needing assistance can call the number on the back of their member ID card, call 1-800-392-2583 or go to their health plan’s website.
Most members can also get self-service information through the My Blueprint member portal and smartphone app. It’s easy to register and provides access to claims history, policy information and even virtual health.
We are following the guidance of local, state and federal officials to better protect customers and employees.
Accordingly, we have moved sales and service exclusively online and by telephone and have temporarily closed their eight ArkansasBlue and regional office locations within the state. This change took effect Friday, March 20, 2020.
Our sales and service locations are in Fayetteville, Fort Smith, Hot Springs, Jonesboro, Little Rock, Lowell, Pine Bluff and Texarkana.
Please visit your health plan’s website regularly for updates on temporary policy changes during the COVID-19 outbreak.
We are working with the Arkansas Department of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and health experts in our state and throughout the nation to share information, mitigate health risks and keep you informed. We are:
24/7, free consultation with a registered nurse
Access to medical help through your smartphone, tablet, and/or computer when unable to see your primary care physician.
Enrollees can contact case managers 8 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.
Enrollees can contact case managers 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Members not enrolled in case management who would like to speak to a registered nurse about COVID-19 or any healthcare needs can call 1-800-225-1891.
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