SEATTLE – Regence is actively monitoring the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in communities across its four-state footprint, including the heavily impacted Puget Sound region in Washington state, and taking action to reduce friction for members during this unsettling time.
Specifically, Regence is supporting its members, business partners and local communities through the following actions:
- No-cost COVID-19 tests: Effective March 5, Regence is covering the cost of COVID-19 testing as prescribed by health practitioners in a similar fashion to existing preventative care benefits, waiving co-pays, coinsurance, deductibles, or pre-authorizations for fully insured members. Individuals with COVID-19 symptoms such as fever, cough, or difficulty breathing should call your doctor or urgent care center first before seeking care. At this time, guidelines and testing for COVID-19 are being exclusively conducted through the CDC and select public health laboratories. Regence is working with self-funded partners to implement similar cost share arrangements when directed, and with federal officials to ensure coordination of benefits for Medicare members and those with health savings accounts (HSA).
- Easing access to virtual care: Regence provides alternative, low-cost care solutions such as telehealth, secure text/chat with doctors, and virtual office visits. Dispatch, an in-home urgent care service, is available to our members in Seattle, Tacoma and Olympia. Members in the Seattle metropolitan area may also use Heal, a mobile service for in-home primary care, urgent care and care for chronic conditions. These solutions enable access to virtual care quickly and conveniently while minimizing the spread of infection and easing pressure on providers’ offices and emergency rooms. Members can contact customer service or log-in to regence.com to learn about the method that’s best for them and their plan.
- Easing access to medications: As of March 2, refill policies for medications have been eased (excluding opioids) to ensure members have needed medications on hand. For certain medications that treat chronic conditions, members may also request a 90-day refill. Drug lists and additional policies will be adjusted in the event of a drug shortage to ensure members have uninterrupted access to the medications they need without additional costs.
- Proactive outreach to high-risk members: Since late January, Regence has been proactively contacting high-risk members in our case management program to ensure they have the care they need.
“We’re doing all we can to support Washingtonians and eliminate barriers to their care during this trying time,” said Tim Lieb, president of Regence BlueShield. “We’ve put these extra measures in place for a minimum of 30 days and will continue to evaluate additional measures to support our members, communities, and the health of our own employees.”
Regence’s website, regence.com/go/covid-19, is being regularly updated with the latest information, including how to prevent the spread of disease and care options for members. Regence has been highly engaged with provider partners and local, state and federal public health officials to offer help and resources in responding to community needs and ensure out-of-pocket costs are not a barrier to people seeking testing for, and treatment of, COVID-19.
About Regence BlueShield
Regence BlueShield has been providing health care solutions to Washingtonians in select counties for nearly a century. As a tax-paying nonprofit independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, Regence is part of a family of companies dedicated to transforming health care by delivering innovative products and services that change the way consumers nationwide experience health care. For more information, please visit regence.com, facebook.com/regenceblueshieldwa or twitter.com/regencewa.