By CAROLINE BECK, Alabama Daily News
MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama says it has contributed $230 million in support for its members, employer customers, providers and the Alabama community in general during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The insurer said in a press release Tuesday it has made contributions in support of “food scarcity, small business loans, personal protective equipment and meals for health care works and other relief efforts across the state.”
Some programs receiving support include: United Way Meals on Wheels, Alabama Food Bank, Birmingham Strong, American Red Cross, Alabama Department of Public Health, Jefferson County Department of Health and other local community foundations.
“COVID-19 has created unprecedented health and economic challenges for Alabamians,” said Tim Vines, BCBS of Alabama president and CEO. “As we continue working to combat COVID-19 throughout the state, it is critical that we continue to care for and support our customers, providers and the communities we serve.”
Some of the ways Blue Cross is providing relief are:
- Waiving member cost-sharing for COVID-19 related testing or treatment.
- Waiving prior authorizations for COVID-19 tests and related covered services.
- Increasing access to prescription medications by waiving early medication refill limits on prescriptions medications and encouraging members to use their 90-day retail or mail order benefit.
- Expanding access to telehealth for in-network providers.
- Offering interest free cash advances to rural hospitals and primary care physicians.
- From March through May, it waived in-patient deductibles, copays and coinsurance for members with coverage through their employer fully insured with Blue Cross, if a member was admitted to an in-network hospital with a COVID-19 related diagnosis.