COVID-19 Report: Detroit’s Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan to Provide Free Telehealth Services to Prevent In-person Doctor Visits

Detroit-based Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan has announced it will provide no-cost telehealth medical services to members who have existing telehealth benefits through at least April 30 in hopes that members who have manageable flu-like symptoms will stay home.
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person using telehealth
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan is providing free telehealth medical services to members due to the COVID-19 outbreak. // Stock photo

Detroit-based Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan has announced it will provide no-cost telehealth medical services to members who have existing telehealth benefits through at least April 30 in hopes that members who have manageable flu-like symptoms will stay home.

Users will be able to consult with physicians from home using their computers, smartphones, and tablets. Doctors’ offices and hospital emergency rooms are expected to be strained treating people who have severe COVID-19 symptoms.

“We don’t want the co-pay to get in the way of our members being able to consult with doctors from their homes,” says Daniel J. Loepp, president and CEO of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. “No-cost use of telehealth by our eligible members will help get their questions answered. It also will help those on the front lines – doctors, nurses, and health care workers – address the most serious cases of coronavirus coming to our hospitals and physician offices.”

Previously, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan announced the following steps it would take in an effort to protect members from COVID-19:

  1. Waiving prior authorizations for diagnostic tests and for covered services that are medically necessary and consistent with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance if diagnosed with COVID-19.
  2. Covering the full cost of medically necessary laboratory tests to diagnose COVID-19 infection consistent with CDC guidance.
  3. Increasing access to prescription medications by waiving early medication refill limits on 30-day prescription maintenance medications and encouraging members to use 90-day mail order benefits if available.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan provides health benefits to more than 4.5 million members residing in Michigan as well as to employees of Michigan-headquartered companies who reside outside of the state.

More information on COVID-19 can be found on C-Span.

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