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News Releases - 2020

March 20, 2020

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas Updated COVID-19 Response

Implementing no cost-share for telehealth or COVID-19 testing; Company on soft close

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas (BCBSKS) has announced a new policy regarding telehealth services that ensures members have swift access to the care need to get and stay healthy – at no cost to them.

In conjunction with the other 35 independently-operated Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) companies and the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Federal Employee Program® (FEP®), BCBSKS will expand coverage for telehealth services, which includes waiving cost-sharing for all telehealth services for members. We are also advocating for physician and health system adoption of social distancing-encouraging capabilities such as video, telephone, chat and/or e-visits. Members are encouraged to use contracted providers in-network. This builds on the commitment previously announced to ensure swift and smooth access to care during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Cost-sharing (co-pays, deductibles) are waived for the next 60 days for:

  • Telehealth services for any visit that is medically reasonable to be done using telehealth. It must be patient initiated. The visit does not have to be specific to COVID-19 testing. Telehealth visits are also available for mental health services. The use of telehealth will help to lower the spread of germs and lessen the burden on the Kansas healthcare system.
  • E-visits, done within an established patient and provider relationship, and initiated by the patient, specifically related to diagnosis and treatment and requiring medical decision making. Scheduling appointments would not be included.

“In this challenging moment, we need everyone to do their part,” said Matt All, president/CEO. “Making telehealth easier to use and less expensive will help keep patients and doctors safe, and ensure everyone gets the care they need.”

In accordance with the Families First Coronavirus Response Act signed into law March 18, BCBSKS will be waiving member cost-share (co-pays, deductibles) for the following services associated with the testing of COVID-19.

  • 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.

Note: As decisions to expand coverage occur quickly, it does take time to allow for our claims and billing departments to update their systems. This brief lag as things are getting set up may cause co-pays to be charged at time of service. BCBSKS will adjust claims on an ongoing basis.

Company soft close

As members of the healthcare community, BCBSKS is doing our part to help slow the spread of the virus by having employees practice social distancing at our offices and by working remotely from home. Most employees are being set-up to work from home and transitioned out of the office, if they choose. Extra precautions have been put in place for those who stay including no face-to-face meetings, safe social distancing, extra cleaning of buildings and work areas.

Through this office soft close, BCBSKS will work to make sure that members have access to the care they need, that claims are paid, and questions are answered. BCBSKS is also working closely with healthcare providers across the state and putting plans in place to allow them to stay focused on patient care. While response times may slow during this time period, we hope to minimize disruptions.

About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas

For more than 75 years, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas has built a reputation of trust with its members and contracting providers by providing outstanding customer service while quickly and accurately processing claims; fairly administering benefit plans and contracts; offering programs, services and tools to help members improve or maintain their health; and operating under the highest ethical standards while being good stewards of premium dollars. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association and is the state’s largest insurer, serving all Kansas counties except Johnson and Wyandotte. For more information, visit bcbsks.com.

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