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March 17, 2020

DES MOINES, IA – Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield announced today that all Wellmark members will have access to virtual health care visits with no cost-share. To avoid the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), Wellmark is encouraging its members to take advantage of virtual visits with their primary care physician, if they have this capability. For those who don’t currently have a primary care physician, please use an in-network provider or Doctor on Demand®External Site. The cost-share for such visits, including those for mental health reasons, will be waived effective March 16, 2020, and reassessed after 90 days. This update applies to all fully-insured and self-funded plans.

Additional health plan updates communicated last week still apply to Wellmark’s fully-insured members. Health care plans self-funded by an employer or other entity, may have some variation from these changes:

  • Waiving prior authorization processes. Wellmark will waive prior authorization processes for covered services related to COVID-19 to ensure patients receive the right care at the right time and location.
  • Covering diagnostic tests for COVID-19. Members will have no cost-share for appropriate testing to establish the diagnosis of COVID-19.
  • Increasing access to prescription medications. Wellmark prescription drug benefit plans allow for early refill (up to 30 days of medication) and we encourage the use of your 90-day retail and mail order benefits for maintenance drugs. We also will ensure formulary flexibility if there are medication shortages or other access issues. Members will not be liable for any additional charges if they receive a non-formulary medication as a result of a shortage of their current medication.
  • 24/7 support. Members also have access to Wellmark’s BeWell 24/7SM service that connects them to real people who can help with a variety of health-related concerns 24/7.

“As we see additional confirmed cases of COVID-19, we want to ensure our members have easy access to appropriate consultation, testing and care,” said Dr. Tim Gutshall, Wellmark’s vice president and chief medical officer. “With these changes in place, our members can rest assured their Wellmark coverage will continue without disruption.”

Steps you can take to minimize exposure

While there is currently no vaccine or medicines to protect against COVID-19, the World Health Organization External Site and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention External Site recommend you take the same preventive measures as you would with the flu – frequent handwashing or use of an alcohol-based sanitizer, cough or sneeze into the crook of your elbow, and avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.

Members can find additional information at