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What you need to know about COVID-19

COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease 2019) is a virus that causes respiratory disease in people. It is a public health emergency and global pandemic. It easily spreads from person to person. Anyone can become infected or seriously ill with COVID-19. Older people and people with other health issues are especially vulnerable.

It is important to refer to the most current public health guidance. Recommendations continue to change frequently. Visit the CDC COVID website or NC DHHS website for the most current information.

Coronavirus and Symptoms

What is the Coronavirus?

COVID-19 is a respiratory disease. It is caused by a new virus called a coronavirus. It has become a public health emergency.

What are the symptoms?

COVID-19 can be contagious before a person begins showing symptoms. If you have been exposed or begin showing symptoms of the virus or flu, contact your healthcare provider or health department immediately. The symptoms of coronavirus include:

  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle pain
  • Sore throat
  • Other symptoms may include headache, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea, and loss of sense of taste or smell

What else causes similar symptoms?

Influenza (the flu), a contagious respiratory illness caused by the influenza viruses (Type A and Type B), has high activity in the Fall/Winter months. Everyone 6 months of age and older should get a flu vaccine once a year.

I may have symptoms. What do I do?

If you have been exposed or begin showing symptoms of the virus or flu, contact your healthcare provider or health department immediately.

Protect yourself and your community.

We all have a role to play in protecting our communities and families from COVID-19. If you have not been fully vaccinated, follow these tips:

  • Wear a face mask that covers your nose and mouth
  • Wash your hands often. Use soap and water for at least 20 seconds or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer (must contain at least 60 percent alcohol)
  • Wait 6 feet apart (social distance)

Your Healthcare Coverage

Does my plan cover COVID-19 testing/screening/treatment services?

Yes. When medically necessary diagnostic testing, medical screening services and/or treatment is ordered and/or referred by a licensed health care provider, we will cover the cost of medically necessary COVID-19 tests, screenings, associated physician’s visit(s) and/or treatment. If applicable, your plan’s copayment, coinsurance and/or deductible cost-sharing will be waived for medically necessary COVID-19 diagnostic testing, medical screening services and/or treatment.

For more information, call WellCare of North Carolina’s Member Services at 1-866-799-5318 (TTY: 711).

Is prior authorization required for COVID-19 testing, screening services and/or treatment under my plan coverage?

No. We will not require prior authorization, prior certification, prior notification and/or step therapy protocols for medically necessary COVID-19 diagnostic testing, medical screening services, and/or treatment when medically necessary services are ordered and/or referred by a licensed health care provider.

Where may I receive COVID-19 testing/screening/treatment services under my plan coverage?

Medically necessary COVID-19 diagnostic testing, medical screening services and/or treatment and the associated physician’s visit will be covered when ordered, referred and/or performed in the following In-Network locations:

  • Physician’s/Practitioner’s Office in-person or using telehealth
  • Independent Laboratory/Diagnostic Facility
  • Urgent Care Facility
  • Emergency Department Facility

Are you unsure if you have been exposed to or at-risk of being infected with COVID-19? Schedule a virtual care visit with a provider. It is a good option for non-urgent care. It can also limit potential exposure in a physician’s office or other healthcare facility. 

Please visit the NC COVID-19 website for information about telehealth and other services that are available for Medicaid and NC Health Choice members.

Will I be responsible for any out-of-pocket costs for COVID-19 testing/screening/treatment services?

No. We will cover medically necessary COVID-19 diagnostic testing, medical screening services and/or treatment at no charge to you, when such services are ordered and/or referred by a licensed health care provider. If applicable, your plan’s copayment, coinsurance and/or deductible cost-sharing will be waived for medically necessary COVID-19 diagnostic testing, medical screening services and/or treatment, along with the associated physician’s visit.

If I need treatment for coronavirus, is that covered by my plan?

Any medically necessary treatment related to COVID-19 would be considered a covered benefit. We are committed to ensuring access to COVID-19 treatment services in accordance with federal and state law.

Will I be able to refill my prescriptions before the refill date?

Yes. Members will be able to refill prescriptions prior to the refill date.

What is the COVID-19 vaccine?

There is now a vaccine available that will give you the best chance of protecting yourself and your loved ones from getting COVID-19. Some COVID-19 vaccines will have two doses a few weeks in between each shot. You will get a COVID-19 Vaccination Reminder Card that will help you keep track of which vaccine you receive and when to get a second dose, if needed. If you receive a vaccine that requires two doses, it is important to get both doses.

Where can I get the COVID-19 vaccine?

For information about the vaccine and where to get it, visit www.myspot.nc.gov. You can also check with your doctor or your local pharmacy. Or, find out where to get your vaccine at cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines or https://www.vaccines.gov/.

You may also text to find a place nearby to get your vaccine

  • For English, text your Zip Code to GETVAX (438829)
  • For Spanish, text your Zip Code to VACUNA (822862)

Am I required to get my COVID-19 vaccine?

No. But, getting your COVID-19 vaccine will give you the best chance of protecting yourself and your loved ones from getting COVID-19 in the future.

I already had COVID-19. Should I still get the vaccine?

Yes. You should still get the vaccine. It may be possible to be infected more than once. Getting the vaccine is a safe choice.

Can my child get the vaccine?

Currently, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is recommended for people ages 12 and older. The Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are for those ages 18 and older. As more studies are done, the vaccines will gradually become available for teenagers and children.

I'm pregnant. Should I get the vaccine?

According to the CDC, people who are pregnant may be vaccinated. Do you have questions about getting the vaccine? It is recommended to discuss with your doctor.

When I get the vaccine, can I stop wearing a mask or social distancing?

Getting the vaccine helps prevent you from getting sick, but research is still ongoing to know how well it prevents spread of COVID-19 without symptoms. There is a chance you could become infected and spread the disease even if you have no symptoms.

A person is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after their final dose. Meaning, the second dose of the Moderna or Pfizer mRNA vaccine two weeks past the single dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

  • The CDC has announced that people who are fully vaccinated can do many activities safely that they had stopped doing because of the pandemic
  • Outdoor activities are still safer than indoor activities
  • Details about what you can do when you’re vaccinated are on the CDC website (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/fully-vaccinated.html) 

If you are fully vaccinated and been exposed to someone with COVID-19, the CDC says that you do not need to quarantine and test if you do not have symptoms. You should monitor for symptoms for 14 days.

Is the vaccine safe?

The safety of the COVID-19 vaccine is a top priority! The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) carefully reviews all safety data from clinical trials and authorizes emergency vaccine use only when the expected benefits outweigh potential risks. COVID-19 vaccines were tested in large clinical trials to make sure they meet safety standards.

Will there be any side effects when I get the vaccine?

You may run a fever after you get the vaccine. This is normal as your body builds immunity and fights off future COVID-19 exposures. You may feel sick after getting vaccinated. You could develop:

  • fever
  • headaches
  • body aches

This is your body reacting to the vaccine. It is a normal response. It is important to know that it is impossible to get COVID-19 from the vaccine. The vaccines currently in use and others being developed do not contain a live virus.

Do I have to pay for my vaccine? Or get prior authorization?

No. The COVID-19 vaccine will be at no cost to you. You do not need to get a prior authorization for your vaccine.

I lost my COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card. What should I do now?

Please call the facility/provider that provided your first dose from to ask about your vaccine information and verify your second appointment/location.

I am due for my second dose. I got my first dose from another provider who is not my PCP. I don't have their contact information. What do I do now?

The provider should have scheduled a second appointment with you at the same facility when you received the first dose. However, you can receive your second dose from another provider/facility and you should present your COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card.

Are there strategies for coping with the COVID-19 outbreak?

Worry and anxiety can rise about the spread of COVID-19. Concern for friends and family who live in places where COVID-19 is spreading or the progression of the disease is natural.

  • Take care of your body
  • Take deep breaths, stretch or meditate
  • Share your concerns and how you are feeling with a friend or family member
  • Maintain healthy relationships and a sense of hope and positive thinking
  • Share the facts about COVID-19 and the actual risk to others
  • People who have returned from areas of ongoing spread more than 14 days ago and do not have symptoms of COVID-19 do not put others at risk
  • For more information, see the CDC's suggestions for mental health and coping during COVID-19

Visit https://covid19.ncdhhs.gov/ for North Carolina-specific information

For more information, including travel advisories, please visit the CDC COVID website.

About COVID-19

 

 

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Last Updated On: 3/20/2020