CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield Extends COVID-19 Benefits into 2021, Encourages Flu and Childhood Vaccinations
Health and safety of members and communities are paramount as cases surge nationally
Baltimore, Md./Washington, D.C. – Today, CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield (CareFirst) announced an additional extension of benefits for fully insured members to ensure the health and well-being of those it serves as the community and national spread of the coronavirus continue to accelerate. The benefits, which include the patient cost share waivers for the treatment of COVID-19, were initially put in place last spring and set to expire on December 31, 2020, except as otherwise required by law. The benefits will be extended into 2021.
“With the surge of positive COVID-19 cases in our communities and neighborhoods, no one should worry or put off getting tested or treated for this virus because they are concerned about how they will pay for it,” said Brain D. Pieninck, President and CEO of CareFirst. “The strength and health of our communities rely on each of us doing our part by socially distancing and wearing a mask. Together, we can beat back this virus and start down the road to recovery. Right now, CareFirst is protecting the health of our members, communities, associates, and frontline healthcare workers by ensuring continued access to the testing and treatments needed to recover and heal fully.”
COVID-19 vaccines are expected to gain Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration this year and will also be a covered benefit at no cost for CareFirst members. CareFirst is committed to helping communities access the vaccine as quickly and easily as possible but cautions patience as each state finalizes vaccination plans.
In addition to the extensions announced today, CareFirst encouraged individuals to get a flu shot and keep up to date on the immunizations vital to their children's health. “We encourage everyone to get the flu shot because it is another easy step we can all take to stay healthy, keep our neighbors well, and lessen the impact on an already strained healthcare system,” said Pieninck. “Vaccinations are a safe and critically important tool that support and build community health.”
CareFirst has taken numerous actions throughout the COVID-19 pandemic to support our members, providers, and communities. These include premium credits and rebates for individual, small and large group customers, premium deferrals, and relaxation of authorization and concurrent review criteria. CareFirst also provided accelerated payments to an array of healthcare providers experiencing financial strain and invested in community nonprofit organizations working to address complex and emerging health, social and economic needs. In addition, CareFirst committed resources for personal protection equipment (PPE) to almost 200 federally qualified health centers and independent primary care providers and recently delivered care packages to vulnerable members and will continue to work within communities to ensure the health and safety of its members.
Throughout the public health emergency, CareFirst will continue to work to identify barriers and solutions to ensure the whole health of the members, associates, and communities it serves.
About CareFirst BlueCross BlueShieldIn its 83rd year of service, CareFirst, an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, is a not-for-profit healthcare company which, through its affiliates and subsidiaries, offers a comprehensive portfolio of health insurance products and administrative services to 3.4 million individuals and employers in Maryland, the District of Columbia and Northern Virginia. In 2019, CareFirst invested $43 million to improve overall health, and increase the accessibility, affordability, safety and quality of healthcare throughout its market areas. To learn more about CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield, visit our website at www.carefirst.com and our transforming healthcare page at www.carefirst.com/transformation, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Instagram.