In times of uncertainty, it's good to know you can count on having the health care coverage you need and are getting answers to your questions. Blue Advantage members can feel secure knowing that we are always well-informed of the latest COVID-19 data and information so that during this pandemic, we can help keep you safe and strong.
Here are some frequently asked questions about COVID-19 coverage and how to stay safe. If you are a Blue Advantage member with questions not answered below, please call the Customer Service number on the back of your ID card.
Medicare announced a new initiative that will cover up to eight over-the-counter COVID-19 tests each calendar month, at no cost to you. The initiative started on April 4, 2022, and continues until the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE) ends.
Medicare will cover these tests if you have Medicare Part B, including those enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan.
This means that Blue Advantage members will have these tests covered by Medicare, not through their Blue Advantage plan's coverage.
You can get over-the-counter COVID-19 tests at any pharmacy or health care provider that participates in this initiative. Check with your pharmacy or health care provider to see if they are participating. If so, they can provide your tests and will bill Medicare on your behalf.
A partial list of participating pharmacies can be found at https://www.medicare.gov/medicare-coronavirus.
It is very important that you bring your red, white and blue Medicare card, not your Blue Advantage member ID card, to get your free tests. If you don't bring your Medicare card, the pharmacy may be able to get the information it needs to bill Medicare without the card.
You don't need to change pharmacies to get your free over-the-counter COVID-19 tests. You can get them from any eligible pharmacy or health care provider participating in this initiative, even if you aren't a current customer or patient. Getting your tests won't affect any prescriptions you have in place.
Once you've gotten eight tests within the current calendar month under this initiative, you will need to wait until the beginning of the next calendar month to get more tests. Note that there can be multiple tests per box, so eight tests may come in fewer than eight boxes.
You can also:
Call 1-800-Medicare (1-800-633-4227) with any questions about this initiative. TTY users can call 1-877-486-2048.
Blue Advantage plans include the following coverage related to COVID-19 with no cost share*:
* Until further notice
The Louisiana Department of Health website has a wealth of information about COVID-19, including a list of vaccine locations. You should not just show up at any of those locations; contact them to ask about making an appointment first.
If you have questions or concerns about COVID-19 vaccines or boosters, the best person to ask is your health care provider or pharmacist. They can give you guidance.
The CDC has a chart that can tell you how long you need to wait to get your booster depending on which vaccine you got. Your booster doesn't have to be the same vaccine you got the first time, though Pfizer and Moderna are preferred.
It's important that everyone, vaccinated or not, takes steps to prevent spreading COVID-19. This includes wearing a face mask in crowded indoor areas, keeping up social distancing, washing your hands often and isolating yourself if you have COVID-19 symptoms.
If you are experiencing symptoms, you can contact your health care provider to find out if you should be tested. The Louisiana Department of Health website has testing information including recommendations on when to be tested and a list of testing locations.
For more information on Medicare coverage of over-the-counter tests, click here.
You can also call 211, text LACOVID to 898-211 or visit www.LA211Help.org to reach the statewide information network and ask for more information about COVID-19 testing.
Scammers have started calling Medicare beneficiaries and asking for their personal information to sign them up for a vaccine. You should only share your personal information with trusted health care providers.
Here are some other tips to avoid vaccine scams:
There have also been reports of scammers selling fake COVID-19 test kits and claiming you can be reimbursed later if you pay them now. If you buy COVID-19 test kits, it's best to buy them from a pharmacy or other health supplies store. Make sure the test has a U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) emergency use authorization so you know it's a real test. And, be wary of anyone who approaches you, cold calls or reaches out by email or text offering to sell you COVID-19 test kits.
If you think you may have been the victim of fraud or have been approached by a scammer, be sure to report it immediately. Blue Cross members should call our fraud hotline at 1-800-392-9249 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. If you aren't a Blue Cross member, you can call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227). TTY users can call 1-877-486-2048.
Blue Advantage members get credits worth up to $200 a year for over-the-counter supplies. Here are just some of the supplies that members can order to help keep them safe during the COVID-19 pandemic:
It's important to stay on top of your usual health care needs, especially if you're 60 or older or you have a long-term condition like diabetes or high blood pressure. Here are some tips for how you can do so safely:
Here are some tips for keeping up with your ongoing health care needs:
You can see videos with Blue Cross medical directors discussing why it's important to stay on top of your health care needs on the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana YouTube channel.