Last updated: March 23, 2020
You’ve probably heard about coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and might be concerned. We’re sharing information about how you can protect yourself and the people you care about.
What is COVID-19?
An airway and lung infection, similar to a cold.
What are the symptoms?
Similar to a cold or the flu. Mild to severe fever, cough and shortness of breath. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after being around someone who has COVID-19.
How can I help protect myself?
The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to the virus. Check the CDC website at cdc.gov/coronavirus for up-to-date information. If you are traveling, visit cdc.gov for the CDC’s most current travel guidelines.
Good health habits can also help prevent and fight COVID-19. Here are some tips:
- Washing your hands is the best way to avoid getting sick:
- Wash often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- If you can’t use soap and water, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
- Clean and disinfect items and surfaces you touch often with regular household cleaning spray or a wipe.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, and throw away the tissue.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Avoid touching your face.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
Are older adults, people with disabilities, and people with chronic health conditions at more risk of getting COVID-19?
Older adults, people with disabilities, and people with diabetes or who have severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease seem to be at higher risk for more serious COVID-19 illness. We will support you and help you get the care you need.
What can I do to protect someone I am caring for?
If you’re caring for someone, be sure visitors take care to avoid causing any extra risk to you or them – keep hand sanitizer by the door, or ask visitors to wash their hands. Wash your hands thoroughly and use hand sanitizer before and after touching or feeding someone, or touching any mobility devices or equipment.
Do I need to wear a facemask?
If you’re sick with COVID-19 or being tested for it, or if you are taking care of someone who has it, you should wear a facemask. Otherwise, you probably don’t need a facemask. Here’s what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says about wearing a facemask .
If you are getting care in your home, or getting help with meals, bathing, transfers, or other daily living services – you can ask your care provider to wear a mask to help protect you both.
What if I have symptoms? Should I see my doctor?
Call your doctor if you develop a fever, have a cough, or have difficulty breathing. Tell them if you’ve been in close contact with a person who has COVID-19, or if you live in or have been to an area where the virus has spread.
If you are a Medicare Advantage member, you may also consider these options if you are concerned about your health:
- For 90 days starting on March 17, we will waive any member cost share for telehealth visits, including visits for mental health, where permissible. Cost sharing will be waived for members using our telehealth service, LiveHealth Online , as well as for care received from other telehealth providers delivering virtual care. We recommend that you use virtual care options when possible, as it can help prevent spread of coronavirus and improve access to care. Virtual care is a safe and effective way for you to see a doctor to receive health guidance related to COVID-19 from your home via smart phone, tablet or computer.
- A Coronavirus Assessment is available on the Sydney Care mobile app, which you can download at no cost. The Coronavirus Assessment is designed based on guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and National Institutes of Health. It may help you quickly and safely evaluate your symptoms and assess your risk of having COVID-19. Your inputs will include symptoms, recent travel and potential contact with anyone with the disease. Sydney Care is available to download now on Android or iOS.
- If your plan includes the 24-Hour Nurse HelpLine you can feel free to call that service 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at the number on the back of your member ID card. This is also at no cost to you.
If I have Medicare and/or Medicaid with Amerigroup, do I have to pay for the COVID-19 test?
We will continue to waive copays, coinsurance and deductibles for the diagnostic test related to COVID-19. In addition, this will be extended to include waiver of copays, coinsurance, and deductibles for visits associated with in-network COVID-19 testing, whether the care is received in a physician’s office, an urgent care center or an emergency department.
Do I have to get preapproval (prior authorization) for a COVID-19 test?
No, prior authorization is not required for COVID-19 testing.
Are there limits to the care or services I can get during an epidemic?
No. If you have a Medicare Advantage or Medicare Supplement plan from us, your plan covers sick visits and tests.
I’m worried about running out of my medication. What can I do?
Does your plan with us include prescription drug coverage?
We are relaxing early prescription refill limits for members who wish to receive a 30-day supply of most maintenance medications, where permissible. Members filling 90-day prescriptions can obtain their medications through our home delivery pharmacy and, in some circumstances, select retail pharmacies. Call the Pharmacy Member Services number on your ID card to find out about your coverage options, including whether you can get 90-day supplies.
Your health is important. Don’t stop taking your medicines as prescribed, and get your refills on time.
- U.S. Department of State China Travel Advisory
- World Health Organization, Coronavirus
- CDC, People at Risk for Serious Illness from COVID-19
- Administration for Community Living, Coronavirus
- Workplace, School and Home Guidance
- CMS Press Release: President Trump Expands Telehealth Benefits for Medicare Beneficiaries During COVID-19 Outbreak