Skip to main content

BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York to Cover Cost of Testing, Help Prevent the Spread and Impact of COVID-19

March 11, 2020

Buffalo, N.Y. – Amid the growing concerns about the spread of the COVID-19 in communities across the country, BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York has announced the following immediate updates to help prevent the spread and impact of COVID-19.

  • BlueCross BlueShield will cover the full cost of COVID-19 diagnostic tests as prescribed by doctors. By removing any cost to members, BlueCross BlueShield will pay for the appropriate diagnostic testing for fully insured employer, individual and Medicare members who meet the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines for testing. Additional benefits may vary based on individuals’ plans.

  • As part of BlueCross BlueShield’s ongoing commitment to eliminate barriers to care, the health plan does not require prior authorizations for COVID-19 testing.

  • BlueCross BlueShield strongly recommends members use telehealth to connect with a doctor when possible. In some instances, your physician may offer telehealth. Members can use BlueCross BlueShield’s telemedicine provider, Doctor on Demand. Virtual visits are a safe and effective way for members to consult a doctor to receive health guidance related to COVID-19 from their homes via smart phone, tablet or computer-enabled web cam 24/7. Using telehealth as a first step may lower your risk of getting sick or exposing others to illness.

  • BlueCross BlueShield encourages members to use their mail order benefit to obtain a 90-day supply of their prescription medication. Members are also encouraged to refill or renew their prescription medication at retail pharmacies when 25% of their current prescription is remaining, which is consistent with the CDC recommendation to have a one-month supply of medication on hand. Members’ benefits will apply as normal. Our team is readily available to help members access the medications they need during this time.

  • BlueCross BlueShield’s dedicated clinical staff is available to help our members. Members should call the number of the back of their BlueCross BlueShield member ID card with questions regarding plan benefits, or information on care options.

In some instances, BlueCross BlueShield members are covered under a health plan that is self-insured by their employer. To ensure out-of-pocket costs are not a barrier to people seeking testing for, and treatment of, COVID-19, the local health plan is helping local employers in making decisions about their health plans.

“We all have a shared responsibility to keep our community healthy, and we want our members to know that we’re here for them,” said Dr. Thomas Schenk, Senior Vice President, Chief Medical Officer, BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York. “Our focus now is on slowing the spread of this illness and making sure that if a person does become seriously ill, they are able to access the care that they need in a timely way.”

As the region’s leading health plan, BlueCross BlueShield is committed to assisting doctors, hospitals and federal, state and local public health organizations in serving our members, community and employees. Timely information and updates on BlueCross BlueShield’s response to COVID-19 can be found at