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The Biden administration announced that it intends to end the COVID-19 national and public health emergency (PHE) declarations on May 11, 2023. COVID-19 benefits will change after that date.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is a COVID-19 variant? Is it as bad as COVID-19?

    Viruses can change over time from the original virus, making it more likely that the virus will continue to spread, according to the CDC. Some variants can be mild. Others can cause more infections and make the virus spread faster. There are currently two prevalent variants of COVID-19, the Delta and Omicron variants.

  • What can be done to stop the spread of COVID-19 and these variants?

    Getting vaccinated remains the best way to prevent catching COVID-19 or having a severe case, the CDC says. It’s also important to continue to follow the CDC’s recommendations on preventing the spread of COVID-19, including social distancing, frequently washing your hands, cleaning surfaces with disinfectant and using antibacterial hand sanitizer often.

  • I’m vaccinated. Does that mean I can’t catch the variant?

    While the vaccine is your best protection against the virus, it isn’t full proof when dealing with variants. No vaccine is 100% effective. That’s why boosters are available and recommended for people who have been vaccinated.

  • What should I do if I think I have COVID-19?

    If you are having symptoms or have been exposed to COVID-19, you should take a COVID-19 test to be diagnosed.

    If your test is positive, contact your doctor’s office so they can manage your care and recovery. If your test is negative but you are sick, your doctor may want to test you for other illnesses that have similar symptoms, such as the flu, strep or a stomach virus.

    Until you know if you are contagious, the CDC recommends you isolate yourself from those you live with and not go to work, school or community and family events.

    The CDC offers up-to-date quarantine and isolation guidelines, based on current data.

  • Where should I go to get tested?

    You have options, including self-testing at home, testing at a pharmacy or testing lab, even some doctor’s offices offer testing. Make sure you use doctors, pharmacies and labs in your health plan’s network for maximum benefits. Learn more about your testing options.

  • How can I get at-home test kits at no cost?

    If you have employer coverage, or an individual or family plan, you can get over-the-counter COVID-19 tests for diagnosing COVID-19 through your BCBSIL/Prime Therapeutics® pharmacy benefits until the end of the public health emergency on May 11, 2023. And if you use a pharmacy in Prime’s network and check out at the pharmacy counter, you shouldn’t have to pay upfront or submit a claim for reimbursement. View a list of pharmacies in Prime’s BCBSIL network or in Prime’s national network.

    If an in-network pharmacy can’t submit your claim electronically for some reason, you can submit a reimbursement request.

    For other pharmacies, you will have to pay for the test and submit a claim to be reimbursed. If you don’t have pharmacy benefits with BCBSIL/Prime, contact your health plan administrator for information about getting test kits and being reimbursed.

    For those with BCBSIL pharmacy benefits through Prime Therapeutics, your plan will cover the cost of FDA-authorized, over-the-counter diagnostic tests. You will be reimbursed up to $12 per test, up to 8 tests every 30 days per person. (For example, you can purchase 4 boxes that include 2 over-the-counter COVID-19 tests.)

    Claims for all over-the-counter COVID-19 tests purchased at the pharmacy counter or submitted for reimbursement will be reimbursed up to $12 per test. This applies to all tests purchased on or after January 15.

    If you aren’t sure if a test kit is FDA-authorized, ask your pharmacist for help.

    Eligible members can also order up to 8 at-home COVID-19 tests every 30 days from Express Scripts® Pharmacy with no up-front costs. Log in or register to place your order, or call 1-833-715-0942. Supplies may be limited, and tests may take longer to arrive.

    Over-the-counter tests for things like return to work or school, travel and recreational event requirements may not be covered unless you have symptoms or have been exposed.

    You can order free OTC tests through the federal government’s site while they’re available.

  • What will BCBSIL cover for COVID-19?

    Coverage of testing and vaccines may vary based on your plan. Go to What’s Covered for the most up-to-date information.

  • Where can I go for more details about COVID-19?

    Visit the What’s Covered section to learn more about your coverage. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers up-to-date health information about COVID-19. Our Connect blog has numerous articles about COVID-19 prevention, testing, treatment and coverage.

  • I have BCBSIL insurance, but don’t live in Illinois. How can I find pharmacies near me?

    Here is the national network pharmacy list.

  • What if my pharmacy coverage is not through BCBSIL/Prime Therapeutics?

    If you don’t have pharmacy benefits with BCBSIL/Prime, please contact your health plan administrator for more information.