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The following information is intended to provide general guidance regarding actions taken by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana and its subsidiaries in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency. All other coverage rules not outlined here continue to apply. Blue Cross may make changes to its processes in order to comply with applicable laws and emergency state regulations and to further respond to the COVID-19 public health emergency. The following information applies until further state regulations and subsequent versions are issued.

Find general information about Blue Cross’ response to the current public health emergency at bcbsla.com/covid19.

Cross icon that opens and closes an accordion of text Coverage of Antiviral Drugs and Vaccines

Federal CARES Act - Coverage of COVID-19 Vaccines
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act requires health plans to cover the cost of a COVID-19 vaccine and its administration without member cost-share (deductible, copay or coinsurance). Effective immediately, Blue Cross will comply with this law for all its fully insured group and individual plans. Self-funded, grandfathered group health plans are not required to cover the cost of the vaccine and its administration without member cost-share, but we strongly encourage them to do so. If a grandfathered group wants to opt out, they must let us know by Friday, Dec. 4, 2020.  

Federal government plan for the first waves of vaccinations:

  • Health plans must begin coverage of a vaccine within 15 business days of its approval or Emergency Use Authorization. This approval must come from either the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) or the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.
  • According to proposed plans published in the Federal Register on Nov. 16, the federal government intends to distribute millions of vaccine doses directly to pharmacies and healthcare providers. If pharmacies or providers received vaccines from the federal government through this process, they may not charge a patient for the vaccine itself. They may charge health plans for the cost of administering the vaccine. The patient – or health plan member – will not have to pay out of pocket for the vaccine nor its administration in this scenario.
  • After initial waves of vaccinations, it is likely health plans may begin paying for both the vaccine and its administration. The proposed plans are subject to change by the federal government.

To opt out of waiving member cost-share, self-funded, grandfathered groups may contact their Blue Cross representative.

Louisiana Act 230 - Coverage of Antiviral Drugs and Vaccines
Louisiana Act 230, effective June 11, 2020, requires fully insured health plans to cover the cost of antiviral drugs and vaccines that are granted an Emergency Use Authorization or formal approval by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) without member cost-share through Dec. 31, 2021.

Act 230 applies to drugs or vaccines approved to treat or prevent COVID-19 and are ordered by a physician and when medically appropriate.

What plans must comply with Act 230:

  • Blue Cross will automatically apply the coverage of approved COVID-19 antiviral drugs and vaccines without member cost-share for self-funded grandfathered and self-funded groups through Dec. 31, 2021, unless the group opts out of waiving member cost-share by Friday, Dec. 4, 2020.
  • Blue Cross strongly recommends following Act 230 provisions. These antiviral drugs are intended to slow the progression of COVID-19 to prevent further serious complications from the disease. Opting out of waiving member cost-share could create a barrier to access and a potential detriment to member health. 
  • Act 230 does not apply to Medicare Advantage, limited benefit plans, short-term health plans and high deductible health plans. As we interpret the law, Act 230 does apply to all fully insured and fully insured grandfathered plans. This does not affect grandfathered status.
  • Act 230 mandates compliance for any self-insured plan that is a nonfederal governmental plan such as a city, parish or municipal governmental plan, school board plan, plans established by public entities, or plans of public employees. Act 230 also applies to church plans, which include plans that are established, maintained by, controlled by, or associated with a church.

To find out more about antiviral drug coverage under Act 230 or to opt out of waiving member cost-share, self-funded groups may contact their Blue Cross representative.

Cross icon that opens and closes an accordion of text Testing Strategy

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana and its subsidiary, HMO Louisiana, Inc. provides the following guidance about coverage for COVID-19 diagnostic and antibody tests for fully insured and self-funded members. We know you have many questions concerning these tests’ role in your return-to-work strategies, and we hope this information addresses those. 

We cover diagnostic and antibody COVID-19 tests according to federal law and based on certain criteria.
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) and the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act both require insurers to cover the cost of tests for COVID-19 without a prior authorization and without member cost share (deductible, copay or coinsurance) for the duration of this public health emergency. Blue Cross is fully compliant with these Acts and covers these tests and associated services accordingly.

We also waive the cost share for office visits, urgent care visits and emergency department visits in which a COVID-19 test is ordered.  To identify which visit is applicable, the provider must bill using an approved diagnosis code for COVID-19 or codes to specify the person is suspected of having COVID-19 or was exposed to COVID-19.

We will not cover COVID-19 tests of any type in the following situations:

  • We do not cover testing that is part of a public health surveillance program. This is the financial responsibility of federal and state governments.
  • We do not cover testing that is done solely for work-related reasons such as screening for COVID-19, return to work, fitness for duty, or other reasons unless the group has specifically contracted with us to administer this program. See below for additional information.
  • We generally do not cover tests without a network provider’s order. We do not cover patient-driven or elective tests. Home tests may be covered if they are ordered by a healthcare provider for a medical indication.

Fully Insured business

  • The fully insured certificate of insurance excludes services required for occupational required exams or tests. We do not cover testing as part of a return-to-work strategy.
  • For fully insured businesses that contract with us for a worksite wellness program, we cover preventive services that are Class A and B designated by the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF). The USPSTF has made no determination about COVID-19 virus or antibody testing. We do not cover testing as part of a worksite wellness program.

Self-funded business

  • Self-funded groups may adjust their benefits within guidelines and may elect to administer a return-to-work program through the claims process. Claims can be filed through the employees’ physician or billing arrangements established through a vendor offering return-to-work strategies. Blue Cross can offer a list of vendor partners that offer these types of return-to-work programs upon request.

Providers Charging Up Front for COVID-19 Tests
There have been providers advertising COVID-19 tests and charging patients an up-front fee. In these situations, they are not billing Blue Cross or HMO Louisiana members’ insurance plans. This is a violation of our network provider contracts. We are working with our provider community on how these tests are to be covered with appropriate cost share and billing to the plan.

Members who have gotten these tests and paid the provider directly may submit their bills to us for reimbursement. We will pay the member up to 100% of an in-network provider’s fee (allowable charge). For out-of-network providers, we will pay the test price that the provider lists online as required by law.

Please see the chart below for current cost information for the most common, basic COVID-19 tests.

Diagnostic Tests
Currently, the gold standard to diagnose COVID-19 is the test that detects the virus itself (RT-PCR). There are additional antigen tests, which may be used for diagnosing COVID-19. We recognize that availability and turn-around time has been a major concern. Turn-around times can change based on testing type and where the test is performed.

Antibody Tests
Currently, antibody tests are not used to diagnose an active COVID-19 case. We strongly believe that the current scientific evidence does not in any way support the use of antibody testing as part of a return-to-work strategy. There are many reasons for this, but the key concepts are as follows:

  • Antibodies are generally not detectable until 10 days after a person develops symptoms from COVID-19.
  • A significant number of people who develop the COVID-19 infection, appear to not develop any antibodies.
  • We have no current scientific evidence that the antibodies we are currently detecting result in the person being immune to developing COVID-19 again.
  • We have no current scientific evidence to know how long immunity will last if it develops. 

These are currently the most common types of antibody tests:

  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA) Test. This is a highly sensitive and specific test. If a person needs an antibody test, we strongly recommend an ELISA IgG test. The IgM test adds little additional value.
  • Rapid Detection/Lateral Flow (Reagent Strip) Test. This test measures either only IgG or both IgG and IGM antibodies. It is much less specific.  We strongly recommend against any use of this test, but under the law must cover it without cost share if it is ordered.

Respiratory Pathogen Panel (RPP) Tests
There is also a panel test for multiple pathogens or organisms called a respiratory pathogen panel (RPP). This test is typically used when the diagnosis of a respiratory illness is uncertain or may have multiple causes. This type of panel test may or may not include COVID-19. If the panel does not include COVID-19, standard member benefits will apply, and cost shares will not be waived. 

COVID-19 Test Fees
The following are the basic COVID-19 tests. The costs listed are our standard fees. Total cost may vary depending on specific provider contracts.

 

Antibody Tests

Code(s)

Blue Cross Payment

Network Providers

CMS Set Price

Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA)

86769

$42.13

$42.13

Rapid Detection/Lateral Flow (Reagent Strip) Test

86328

$45.13

$45.13

 

 

 

 

Diagnostic Tests

 

 

 

Covid-19 virus (RT-PCR)

U0002, 87635

$51.33

$51.33

Covid-19 virus (RT-PCR)

U0003, U0004

$100.00

$100.00

We understand that groups are eager to return to business as usual. We at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana are in the same situation. We recognize that we must be careful in choosing the tools we use in bringing our employees back to work so that business as usual happens safely and to prevent further interruptions.

We appreciate your business and the opportunity to provide guidance from our clinical staff on COVID-19 testing. If you have any questions, please reach out to your Blue Cross account representative.

Cross icon that opens and closes an accordion of text IRS Notice 2020-29: Section 125 Special Open Enrollment

IRS Notice 2020-29 about COVID-19 Guidance Under § 125 Cafeteria Plans and Related to High Deductible Health Plans

How is Blue Cross handling the new IRS publication giving employers option to participate?

Fully Insured groups?
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana is not required to and will not allow fully insured groups to offer any of the types of relief outlined in the notice. The notice permits employers to allow mid-year elections to enroll in coverage but does not require it for health plans.

ASO Groups?
We can allow mid-year open enrollment events/periods on Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana Treaty groups if we have clear documentation of the request including amendments to the plan document. We need clear documentation to be compliant with ERISA provisions and to ensure no discrimination.

It is very important for groups follow the formal steps to amend their plans, which includes notifying stop loss carriers. 

IRS Notice 2020-29 is specific to qualified funding arrangements/elections (FSAs and HSAs) 
Most federal government activity related to health insurance will come from Health and Human Services, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid or the Department of Labor (for ERISA plans).

Because cafeteria plans are authorized by the Internal Revenue Code Section 125, the Internal Revenue Service issued this Notice.

The Notice does give employers the option to allow midyear election changes using authorized permitted forms of relief:

In particular, an employer may amend one or more of its § 125 cafeteria plans to allow employees to:  (1) make a new election for employer sponsored health coverage on a prospective basis, if the employee initially declined to elect employer-sponsored health coverage; (2) revoke an existing election for employer sponsored health coverage and make a new election to enroll in different health coverage sponsored by the same employer on a prospective basis (including changing enrollment from self-only coverage to family coverage); (3) revoke an existing election for employer-sponsored health coverage on a prospective basis, provided that the employee attests in writing that the employee is enrolled, or immediately will enroll, in other health coverage not sponsored by the employer; (4) revoke an election, make a new election, or decrease or increase an existing election regarding a health FSA on a prospective basis; and (5) revoke an election, make a new election, or decrease or increase an existing election regarding a dependent care assistance program on a prospective basis.

 

Please read the full IRS Notice 2020-29 for more details.

Cross icon that opens and closes an accordion of text Premium Payments and Overall Enrollment

Policy Cancellations/Non-Renewals for Louisiana Policyholders: Louisiana Department of Insurance Emergency Rule 40 contains several provisions that affect how insurers operate. Health plans, including Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana, are having to dissect the Rule to determine how it affects insurer operations. Due to the complexity of the Emergency Rule 40 and the operational intricacy of modern health insurers, it will take some time to determine what operations at Blue Cross will be affected.

Still no partial payments or credit card payments accepted: There has been no change to our standard premium payment processes and procedures to date. We still do not accept partial premium payments or credit card payments from groups.

Small business funding groups e-billing: Small business funding (SBF) groups may be set up for eBilling.

Group lapses in coverage: Normal protocols for lapses in coverage and reinstatement currently apply. Please refer to your plan information for details.

Groups changing to lower cost plans: Blue Cross will consider allowing groups in the renewal “lock out” period to change benefits for June, July and August renewals with conditions. Conditions include anniversary date changes, renewal rate changes, grandfather product rate changes, potential aging up of employees and others. Groups should contact their Regional Offices for details.

Changes to group open enrollment dates: Open enrollment periods are established by the group and generally occur 30 days before the renewal effective date. Blue Cross currently accepts changes up to the end of the renewal month (a 60-day total window). At this time, Blue Cross will not allow a group that is in its renewal lock-out period to change anniversary dates or extend existing rates beyond the anniversary date.

Group participation requirements: Groups that fail to meet minimum participation requirements do not comply with Blue Cross, Southern National Life or Equitable contract provisions and are not eligible to continue group insurance.

Expected effects on premiums and stop loss: We do not anticipate premiums to increase due to COVID-19. While inpatient medical utilization is expected to rise dramatically, we see that this will be offset by fewer elective procedures. We also anticipate this to have a greater impact on products such as Medicare Advantage that cater specifically to older populations.

CARES Act to help with insurance premium payments: The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), signed into law March 27, 2020, includes provisions to help small businesses. The Paycheck Protection Program, one of the largest sections of the CARES Act, sets aside government-backed loans, and it is modeled after the existing Small Business Administration (SBA) 7(a) loan program. 

The CARES Act has multiple separate Acts within it. One of them is the, “Keeping American Workers Paid and Employed Act.” This authorizes loans for qualified employers to continue to cover payroll support (employee salaries, paid sick or medical leave, insurance premiums), and mortgage, rent and utility payment. Loan money spent on these items is eligible for SBA loan forgiveness.

Any small business, 501(c)(3) nonprofit, 501(c)(19) veteran’s organization, or a Tribal business described in section 31(b)(2)(C) of the Small Business Act, with not more than 500 employees, or the applicable size standard for the industry as provided by the SBA, if higher are eligible for SBA assistance.

We encourage eligible groups to take advantage of the SBA loans to continue administrating their business operations. Learn more at www.sba.gov.

Applying for SBA loans: You can get a report of the premiums you’ve paid to date and copies of your invoices for your small business loan application through your eBilling account. If you do not have access to eBilling, please create an account through AccessBlue. You can find instructions on how to download your payment history, print an invoice and register for AccessBlue at the following links:

Downloading Payment History
Printing Invoices
Registering for AccessBlue

Cross icon that opens and closes an accordion of text Employee Status

This section does not apply to Equitable life and disability.

Keeping employees active if the group’s business closes temporarily: If a group considers an employee active, we will consider them active as well. This includes variable hour and shift work employees who may not be currently getting paid but are still considered active by the group. If the group considers employees terminated, rehire provisions may apply.

For fully insured and self-funded Treaty groups, Blue Cross will continue coverage of employees through this crisis while the group considers them employees. This means the employee must still be eligible to earn vacation time, sick leave, 401K type contributions, receive a salary, etc. If the group does not continue those benefits for the employee, then the employee will no longer be considered an eligible employee for coverage outside of State Continuation or COBRA. 

Blue Cross requires that the group contribute a minimum of 50% of the employee cost to health insurance. How the group manages the employee portion of the cost of insurance is up to the group. This does not apply to dental, vision or life insurance.

Coverage for returning employees after layoffs: In general, groups determine eligibility waiting periods. Once established by the group, Blue Cross will administer in a non-discriminatory fashion. Please note that Affordable Care Act (ACA) created rehire provisions (most cases 13 weeks and in some cases 26 weeks). These provisions will apply in the normal course of business. Blue Cross cannot provide eligibility credit for time served on terminated employees because that violates the eligibility provision established by the group.

Coverage for laid off employees: If an employee is not considered active by the group, Blue Cross will not consider them active as well and will not continue coverage, even if the group continues to pay premiums for the employee. Blue Cross will not provide coverage to terminated employees outside of normal continuation provisions (COBRA, State Continuation or surviving spouse provisions).

Other coverage options for laid off employees: Termination is a qualifying event for a Special Enrollment (SEP) on the Exchange (HealthCare.gov). Groups should direct terminated employees to HealthCare.gov or a health insurance agent to inquire about buying a short-term medical policy.

When will laid off employees’ coverage end? According to our contracts for fully insured groups, coverage will terminate at midnight on the last day of the billing cycle for which premium has been received. Self-funded (administrative services only) group contracts are specific to each group and may have different termination language. Self-funded group employees will need to contact their employers for specific provisions for coverage after layoffs.

Cross icon that opens and closes an accordion of text COBRA, Claims & Appeals Deadlines Extended

The U.S. Departments of the Treasury and Labor issued a formal extension to the timeframes to exercise rights under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1986 (COBRA) as well as extended timeframes to file claims and to appeal adverse determinations.
 
The formal extension requires all deadlines that were to expire or end on or after March 1, shall be suspended until 60 days after the official end date of the national emergency. Officials have not yet announced an end date.
 
Please review the following important notes:
 
COBRA
The U.S. Departments of the Treasury and Labor’s formal extension allows termination and retroactive reinstatement to continue but extends the time period to make premium payments to have reinstatement occur.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana is aware of the extensions granted to COBRA enrollees. We will continue to support our groups in complying with these new employer mandates using established COBRA eligibility maintenance protocols in consideration of these extensions.

If the person does not make payments within first 45 days, is coverage effective? Under the formal extension (29 CFR 54.4980B-6, Q&A 3), while an election may indicate coverage is effective, claims do not have to be paid before premium payment is made during the initial election period. The timeframe to make payments to permit retroactive reinstatement and coverage of claims is extended to 60 days after the official end of the national emergency period. This means a person could have a long time to make that initial payment to allow retroactive reinstatement.
 
If a person fails to make a payment after having made the initial payment, can they be terminated with a right to have a retroactive reinstatement? Yes, under the formal extension (29 CFR 54.4980B-8, Q&A 5), termination for non-payment and retroactive reinstatement is permitted. The timeframe to make payments to permit retroactive reinstatement is extended to 60 days after the official end of the national emergency period. 
 
Claims and Appeals
The claims and appeals timeframes that are subject to suspension, retroactive to March 1, 2020, are as follows:
 
Claims

  • The last date members may file a benefit claim under the plan’s typical claims procedure. This formal extension suspends the ordinary time limit for members to file a claim starting back to March 1, 2020, until 60 days after the official end of the national emergency period.1

          For example:
          Current claim filing deadline = April 1
          Official national emergency end date = Aug. 1
          The formal extension’s added 60 days = Oct. 1
          Difference between March 1 and April 1 = 31 days
          New claim filing deadline = Oct. 31

Appeals

  • The last date a claimant may appeal an adverse benefit determination under the benefit plan.2
  • The last date a claimant may request an external review after receiving an adverse benefit determination or final internal adverse benefit determination.3
  • The last date a claimant may submit information to perfect a request for external review upon a finding that the request was not complete.4 
  • The appeals extension applies to all non-grandfathered plans. It does not apply to limited or excepted benefits.

References: 
1 29 CFR 2560.503-1
2 29 CFR 2560.503-1(h)
3 29 CFR 2590.715-2719(d)(2)(i) and 26 CFR 54.9815-2719(d)(2)(i)
4 29 CFR 2590.715-2719(d)(2)(ii) and 26 CFR 54.9815-2719(d)(2)(ii)

Cross icon that opens and closes an accordion of text How Process Changes for COVID-19 Affect Self-funded Groups

Click here for how the changes affect self-funded (administrative services only) groups.

Cross icon that opens and closes an accordion of text Managing Care

Employee wellness: Please remind your employees we have BlueCare telehealth available for minor, non-emergency health problems and behavioral health visits. Fully insured members may call the Behavioral Health number on their ID cards for general behavioral health services based on their plans.

Working with Accountable Care Organizations: We continue to engage with our ACO providers to help manage the care for their attributed population. We are also doing proactive outreach to our ACOs to find out their needs during this emergency.

Reaching Out to Members at Risk: Care Management is currently reaching out to and engaging high-risk members with chronic conditions, and those who are immunocompromised, sourced from our high-risk prediction models. We are also monitoring daily facility Admit-Discharge-Transfer (ADT) data to contact and engage members recently discharged from the inpatient setting or emergency room (ER). Care Management’s priority is to engage members discharged from an ER with signs or symptoms of infection and/or respiratory issues.
 
Our nurses are ready to support members with information about:

  • Techniques to prevent infection
  • Social distancing
  • Ways to keep safe at home
  • Recommendations for those caring for others infected with COVID-19
  • How to access diagnostic testing
  • How to address medication refills/early refills
  • Coordinating with customer service on how to access health services and the need for copayments
  • Coordinating and communicating with doctors and care teams for details and action plans

 
In-home Therapy Services
During this time of public health crisis, Blue Cross will allow network physical, occupational or speech therapists to provide in-home visits to replace office visits. Members would pay the standard cost share for this type of care based on their plans. Self-funded groups may contact their account representative to opt out.

Cross icon that opens and closes an accordion of text Pharmacy Benefits

Drug Shortages: Blue Cross has a team of in-house clinical pharmacists who manage the prescription drug benefit, actively monitor the industry for such things as drug shortages and work with our pharmacy benefit manager to ensure members’ access to and coverage for prescription drugs. During the COVID-19 public health emergency, Blue Cross pharmacists, along with our pharmacy benefit manager, are reviewing multiple sources including that of the FDA to identify shortages that may affect our members. Please see the following statement from Express Scripts about drug shortages:

Express Scripts is well prepared to ensure we can meet the medication needs of our members so they can stay healthy. Our drug sourcing teams have a long-established risk monitoring tool that maps the origins of drug products around the globe and allows us to monitor supplies and adjust our inventory procurement to mitigate shortages. We have been monitoring this situation for several weeks and have adjusted our procurement to ensure we have adequate inventories to meet demands.

We maintain rigorous safety standards for the inventory in our pharmacies, and follow guidance from the FDA, CDC and U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. We only dispense medications that are approved by the FDA for the U.S. market. All drugs approved for use in the United States must follow the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, which requires that drugs meet manufacturing standards to assure quality and product label requirements.

Our business continuity team has been monitoring the coronavirus situation for several weeks and has been planning for potential scenarios. Our Chief Clinical Officer, Dr. Steve Miller, is leading a coronavirus readiness center that will continue to monitor all aspects of this situation and ensure we can help our employees, clients and customers be prepared.

Disruptions in mail order or retail fill prescriptions: Our clinical programming will continue to function as it should even during these extraordinary times, although we are incorporating federal and state emergency orders, laws and recommendations where necessary. Disruptions in the supply chain are being monitored, and Blue Cross will take appropriate action in concert with our pharmacy benefit manager to address these as they arise. Please see the following statement from Express Scripts:

As we do in all emergency situations, we are partnering closely with our pharmaceutical suppliers and medical providers to ensure our customers have uninterrupted access to their medications and the care they need. We are not experiencing any impact to inventory currently. Our formularies are designed with flexibility to ensure members always have access to a clinically appropriate alternative medication if a preferred medication experiences a supply disruption. In the event there is a shortage, we would make temporary allowances of an excluded medication if that is the only drug available.

Should the Blue Cross pharmacy team, working in concert with Express Scripts, discover a significant drug shortage, we will perform a current-state formulary review to assess whether there are sufficient formulary options for our members and prescribers to absorb a transition from the drug in short supply to covered options. If we determine that changes to the prescription drug benefit are warranted to accommodate a shortage, the Blue Cross pharmacy team will evaluate all strategies to mitigate the shortage including adding non-formulary drugs to the formulary, changing the tier status of a drug, or removing prior authorization requirements during the shortage. 

Cross icon that opens and closes an accordion of text Dental, Vision, Life and Disability Benefits

Teledentistry:  For urgent dental problems, members and dental providers may connect by video conference, phone or tablet using applications such as Facetime, Skype, Facebook Messenger chat or Zoom. Exam codes submitted for teledentistry visits will be covered based on standard benefits and frequency limitations with network dental providers. United Concordia, our dental plan administrator, will instruct dental providers on proper claim coding.

This coverage applies to all our dental plan members – individual, commercial, Medicare Advantage and self-funded. Teledentistry visits are available beginning April 1, 2020. Members should call the Dental Questions number on their ID cards if they have questions.

Teledentistry Flier
Toothbrush Safety Flier

Vision Coverage:  Blue Cross partners with Davis Vision for vision claims administration. The CDC and the Academy of Ophthalmology recommend that people postpone vision care unless it’s an emergency. To slow the spread of COVID-19, some retail and small vision businesses have limited hours of operations or have temporarily closed. If members have questions about eye care or eyewear emergencies, we encourage them to contact their vision provider. If the provider is not available, members may call Customer Service at 1-800-247-9368.

Vision COVID-19 FAQs

Southern National Life Insurance Coverage:  We understand that there may be questions regarding life insurance claims or continuation options should employers be forced to make difficult decisions such as employee terminations, layoffs or furloughs.

We want to make you aware of the group life conversion option, which can help maintain an employee’s life insurance upon termination of employment. We encourage employers to provide employees with this form immediately upon termination. Employees have 31 days from the date their group life coverage terminates to apply for conversion and pay the premium. For your convenience, we have included an Application for Conversion of Life Insurance and life claim form below. If life insurance coverage is continued during the layoff, leave of absence, furlough or FMLA, then the conversion option would be available at the end of that continuance. For claim, portability, conversion questions and rates, email SNLClaims@bcbsla.com or contact SNL Customer Service at 1-800-376-7734.

Southern National Life Claim Form
Application for Conversion of Life Insurance

Equitable Life and Disability Coverage: Blue Cross partners with Equitable to provide disability and large group life benefits. Equitable has provided the following information to help answer questions and provide solutions that may arise during this unprecedented time.

Equitable has decided for groups with 500 employees or fewer, who have renewal dates between May 1 and Aug. 1, 2020, to renew existing plans at in-force rates for 12 additional months. If you have already received an increase for a renewal date between May 1 through August 1, you will receive a revised letter with this information.

A message from Equitable
Equitable COVID-19 FAQs
Equitable Group Life Conversion Information
Equitable Short-Term Disability Information

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana, Southern National Life Insurance Company, Inc. and our partners Equitable (AXA), United Concordia Dental and Davis Vision are all closely monitoring the current public health emergency and how it affects our members, employees and the communities we serve. We will provide pertinent updates and changes as they apply to our customers.