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May 27, 2020

DES MOINES, IA – Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield announced today it will extend its previously announced COVID-19 benefits through Aug. 31, 2020. The benefits include member cost-share waivers for COVID-19 testing and treatment, virtual visits, and support for business customers. The extension also includes payment parity for providers of virtual health care visits. Without the extension, Wellmark's COVID-19 coverage benefits would have expired on June 16, 2020.

"COVID-19 has the potential to affect not only the health, but also the finances, of our members and the communities we serve — more than anyone expected," said Cory Harris, Wellmark's president and chief operating officer. "This extension provides help and security to our members during the critical months ahead by ensuring they have access to the medical and behavioral health support they need, without worry of cost."

COVID-19 benefits extended through Aug. 31

The extensions apply to all Wellmark fully-insured and Medicare supplement members. Wellmark is working with self-funded groups that want to extend similar benefits for their members.

Coronavirus-Related Coverage Updates
Members Covering COVID-19 tests and related services — Members have no cost-share for appropriate testing and related services to diagnose or detect COVID-19.
Covering inpatient treatment — Members' cost-share (copay, coinsurance and deductible) related to inpatient treatment of COVID-19 with an in-network provider will continue to be waived.
Encouraging virtual visits — Wellmark members have access to virtual health care visits for all appropriate medical and behavioral health visits with no cost-share. For those who don't have a health care provider, please use an in-network provider. Telephonic visits are allowed when audio/visual capabilities are not accessible.
Increasing access to prescription medications — Wellmark prescription drug benefit plans allow for an early refill. We are also ensuring formulary flexibility if there are medication shortages or other access issues. Members are not liable for any additional charges if they receive a non-formulary medication as a result of a shortage of their current medication.
Extending accidental dental benefit — In recognition that dental procedures have been delayed due to the pandemic, treatment windows for accidental dental injuries are extended by 90 days or until Aug. 31, 2020, whichever is later.
Employers Helping businesses keep coverage for furloughed or laid-off employees — Wellmark is working with group customers to help them keep health insurance coverage for employees who may been furloughed or laid off.
Health Care Providers Providing the same reimbursement to providers for virtual visits — Wellmark's Iowa and South Dakota network providers will continue to receive the same fee for virtual visits as an in-person visit. This applies to all appropriate medical and behavioral health virtual visits with an in-network Wellmark provider.

More information can be found at Wellmark.com/coronavirus.