Earlier this year, the federal government announced that it will end the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency on May 11, 2023. Below is some information about the end of the public health emergency and how it affects Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Blue Care Network members.
Will the end of the public health emergency affect coverage for the COVID-19 vaccine?
For most people, the cost of the COVID-19 vaccine and the administration of the vaccine will continue to be covered at 100% in-network even after the end of the public health emergency. This is because the COVID-19 vaccines have been added to the Affordable Care Act’s list of preventive benefits.
If you buy your own health care coverage or get it through your employer and they are subject to the Affordable Care Act’s requirements, then there will be no change to what you pay for the COVID-19 vaccine.
The only employer plans who don’t have to cover the cost are employer plans that are not subject to the Affordable Care Act’s requirements, and they may choose the cover the cost anyway.
The best way to see if the cost of the vaccine is covered for you is to log into your member account at bcbsm.com or check the BCBSM mobile app. You can also call the number on the back of your ID card.
How will the end of the public health emergency affect coverage for COVID-19 testing?
For tests that are given by a health care provider, a testing facility or at a lab, you’ll have to pay your normal copay or deductible amount*. This includes any charges you’ll receive if you go to an out-of-network health care provider.
If you previously bought COVID-19 over-the-counter tests through your Blue Cross pharmacy coverage, you will no longer be able to do that after May 11, 2023. You can purchase these test kits using your HSA plan (if you have one) or pay for them out of pocket.
What about treatment for COVID-19?
Getting treatment for COVID-19 will be like getting treatment for any other illness once the public health emergency ends. The treatment given by health care providers will be subject to normal copays and deductibles.
Are there any other changes I need to be aware of?
During the COVID-19 public health emergency, Blue Cross and BCN put several policies on hold relating to charges you would receive for going to out-of-network health care providers and prior authorization requirements. This was a government requirement to make sure that you had access to health care during the pandemic. Normal policies will be back in effect on May 12 — once the public health emergency ends.
Be sure to check and make sure that your health care providers (including laboratories and pharmacies) are in your network or participate with Blue Cross and BCN before receiving services from them. You can find in-network health care providers by using the Find a Doctor tool when you log into your member account at bcbsm.com.
This will help you manage your out-of-pocket costs and make sure that you aren’t liable for the cost of going to an out-of-network health care provider.
Where can I get more information?
Check out our blog at MiBluesPerspectives.com and bcbsm.com/coronavirus. You can also log in to your member account at bcbsm.com for the most up-to-date information about your benefits, check to see if a health care provider is in your network, your coverage, claims and more. Be sure to download the BCBSM mobile app by texting APP to 222764.
*This does not include testing for employment, travel, school or sports purposes. These tests are not covered by Blue Cross or BCN.