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Coronavirus Updates

This article will be updated with new information as it becomes available. Last updated 12/23/20 with updated vaccine information. For non-COVID-related telehealth services received after 12/31/2020, copays will be the same as an in-person visit.

CarePartners of Connecticut Waiving Treatment Costs for Members with COVID-19 4/6/2020

The Latest News and Information About COVID-19

CarePartners of Connecticut has activated its Pandemic Planning work group, established to respond to public health issues and crises. The group meets regularly as it continuously prepares to respond to changing events. It is monitoring and following recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), World Health Organization (WHO), State Public Health Departments (CT, NH, MA, RI) and other official sources on an ongoing basis.

COVID vaccine distribution for residents of Connecticut is being led at the state level in a phased in approach. Vaccinations are currently underway for those most at risk for contracting the virus, including health care workers, residents and staff of care settings including nursing homes, and first responders.

The general public (those not falling into one of the higher risk categories) is not expected to be offered vaccine until later in 2021. For more detailed information and the most up to date information on vaccine distribution, please visit https://portal.ct.gov/Coronavirus/COVID-19-Vaccinations.

When the vaccine is made available to the general public, there will be no cost share for our members.

What we are doing to help

CarePartners of Connecticut is committed to making sure you have access to the health care services you need throughout the current coronavirus outbreak. To make it easier to get services related to the coronavirus, there will be no member copays for testing, counseling, and initial treatment of the coronavirus.

Changes identified as ‘new’ below are in addition to changes already in place related to COVID-19. These new changes are in effect from October 1 – December 31, 2020. We will re-evaluate all COVID-19 related coverage changes and may extend or expand them as necessary if the public health emergency continues into 2021. Benefit changes are subject to regulatory requirements and approval

Telehealth/Telemedicine services

Need a doctor's appointment but don’t want to leave home? Telehealth, or, as it is often referred to, “telemedicine,” offers an alternative to in-person visits by using audio or video tools so you can speak to your doctor in real time without leaving home. In-network telehealth/telemedicine services are provided to CarePartners of Connecticut members at no cost. For non-COVID-related telehealth services received after 12/31/2020, copays will be the same as an in-person visit. For out-of-network telehealth/telemedicine services you would need to get a referral from your PCP and office visit copayments apply. Learn more about using telehealth/telemedicine.

NEW Use your $200 Wellness Allowance for exercise equipment

(CareAdvantage Preferred (HMO) members) Your $200 Wellness Allowance can now be used towards the purchase of exercise equipment that you can use at home. Examples include treadmills, exercise bikes, ellipticals free weights, resistance bands, weight stations (such as bowflex), jump ropes, yoga mats, and subscription services to online classes. Items are subject to plan approval. You have until March 31, 2021 to submit your reimbursement request along with supporting documents to CarePartners of Connecticut.

The effective date for this change is 10/1/2020 to 12/31/2020. Only purchases made during this period and submitted for reimbursement by the deadline will be reimbursed. Purchases made prior to 10/1 do not qualify.

Waiving member costs

  • There are no out-of-pocket costs for medically necessary diagnostic and other testing and counseling related to the coronavirus. This coverage applies at in-network providers, urgent care centers, emergency rooms and other facilities, and at out-of-network providers in the event a member cannot easily find an in-network provider to provide timely services.*
  • No out-of-pocket costs for medically necessary treatment related to a diagnosis of the coronavirus. This coverage applies at in-network providers, urgent care centers, emergency rooms and other facilities, and at out-of-network providers in the event a member cannot easily find an in-network provider to provide timely services. 
  • In addition, we are also removing prior authorization requirements related to new diagnoses and treatments of the coronavirus or the risk of coronavirus contraction. This will make it easier for you to get the care you need without delay.

Drug refills

We are making it easier for you to get increased access to the prescription drugs you need:

  • You can refill prescription medication early without waiting to finish your current fill.
  • You can refill up to a 90-day supply, to the extent consistent with clinical guidelines.
  • Controlled substances are excluded from this policy (subject to CMS rules).

 

Oximeter coverage

If you have lung disease or early signs of COVID-19, having an oximeter that measures your pulse and oxygen level in your blood can provide important information for your doctor. If you have lung disease or early signs of COVID-19, having an oximeter that measures your pulse and oxygen level in your blood can provide important information for your doctor. Your plan covers an oximeter if ordered by your doctor through a plan-approved vendor to monitor you for suspected or diagnosed COVID-19. Coinsurance for durable medical equipment (DME) applies. For DME coinsurance rates, see your  Evidence of Coverage (EOC) booklet. You can also order monitoring devices from most pharmacies online or in the store and pay out of pocket. The plan will not reimburse for items not ordered by your doctor through the plan-approved vendor.

 

What to do about upcoming medical appointments

It is still important to take care of any chronic medical problems to prevent them from getting worse during the coronavirus outbreak. Talk to your doctor to see if any upcoming appointments can be postponed, handled by telehealth, or rescheduled. Many doctors are cancelling non-essential appointments. If you have an upcoming appointment, call your doctor’s office to confirm it is still scheduled.

Taking precautions against coronavirus for older adults

People with chronic medical problems, and those over age 65, are at increased risk of having serious complications from the coronavirus. Currently, there is no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease. Preventive action is the best way to avoid contracting the virus, including:

  • Washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds (if soap and water are not available, use alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol).
  • Avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Staying home if you are feeling sick.
  • Always covering your cough or sneeze with a tissue.

Washing your hands can make a difference

Washing your hands is one of the easiest ways to help prevent illness. Washing your hands is especially important:

  • Before, during, and after preparing food.
  • Before and after caring for someone who is sick.
  • After using the bathroom.
  • After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • After touching an animal, animal feed, or animal waste.

To make sure you are washing your hands correctly, follow these 5 steps:

5 steps to washing your hands correctly

  1. Wet your hands with clean running water, turn off the water, and apply soap.
  2. Rub your hands together with the soap, including the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
  3. Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds.
  4. Rinse your hands well under clean running water.
  5. Dry your hands with a clean towel or air dry them.

How is coronavirus transmitted?

Coronavirus is transmitted by coughing and sneezing from a person infected with coronavirus. Surfaces touched by someone with the virus may potentially be infected. This is why it is important to wash your hands, use hand sanitizer, and avoid touching your face. In addition, avoid shaking hands and minimize your contact with public surfaces (such as by lifting the gas pump handle with a paper towel or using your knuckle instead of your finger to turn off light switches). 

Should you wear a facemask?

To help slow the spread of the virus and prevent those who may be infected but not realize it from spreading it to others, the CDC recommends wearing a cloth facemask in public settings. Surgical masks and N-95 respirators should be saved for first responders and health care workers. This video shows you how to make a simple face covering with material you already have at home:

Is it ok to travel?

The CDC recommends avoiding nonessential travel. If you need to travel, take the precautions listed above.

If you feel sick, how can you tell if it's coronavirus?

Coronavirus is related to common cold viruses. Symptoms include sore throat, cough, and fever. Some patients may have vomiting. You cannot tell the difference between coronavirus and more common viruses based on symptoms. The current strain of coronavirus may cause a more severe illness than most cold viruses.

Coronavirus symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure. Call your doctor if you develop symptoms and have been in close contact with a person known to have coronavirus, or if you recently traveled from an area with widespread cases of coronavirus. Please don’t just walk into your doctor’s office, as they need to prepare for your arrival.

Prolonged vomiting, diarrhea, muscle aches, and joint pains are not prominent features of coronavirus infection. If you have those symptoms in addition to cold symptoms, it's more likely that you have influenza, or "the flu". While it is recommended that you stay home if you have cold symptoms during this pandemic, you should call your doctor if you have symptoms that suggest the flu. Adults over 65 or with other medical problems are at increased risk of complications from the flu. There are medications that reduce the severity of the flu if taken early enough. Call your doctor within a day of flu symptoms to see if it is appropriate to get a prescription for antiviral medications.

This chart outlines the symptoms of the coronavirus, cold, and flu.

Preparation

It’s important to prepare in advance in case you need to stay in your home for an extended period of time. General emergency preparedness includes: 

  • Having a supply of food staples, bottled water, and household supplies like laundry detergent and bathroom items.
  • If possible, making sure to have at least a 30-day supply of your prescription medications and other health supplies on hand, such as pain relievers, stomach remedies, cough and cold medicines, fluids with electrolytes, and vitamins. 

For more information

Healthwise has created a resource center with infographics, articles, and videos on the symptoms, prevention, and treatment of the coronavirus. Click here to access the resource center.

For the latest up-to-date information on the coronavirus, visit the CDC website at cdc.gov/covid19

*Member reimbursement requests for home-testing kits or other tests that are self-ordered by members are not covered.

 

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