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Editorial


Front Page - Friday, April 10, 2020

Briefs: BCBS explains coverage for members with COVID-19




BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, based in Chattanooga, will waive all member cost-sharing for COVID-19 treatments, including hospitalizations, through May 31.

BlueCross member diagnosed with COVID-19 will not have to pay any out-of-pocket costs for testing and treatment administered through in-network providers, including at a doctor’s office, urgent care facility and emergency room, as well as related inpatient hospital stays.

This benefit is available for BlueCross members in fully insured group, individual, Medicare Advantage and BlueCare Tennessee plans. BlueCross will encourage its self-funded employer group customers to participate in waiving cost sharing for COVID-19 treatments for their employees during this health crisis. However, self-funded groups will have the ability to opt-out of this decision.

This move builds on a number of steps by BlueCross to offer enhanced member support in recent weeks:

• Allowing early prescription refills and 90-day prescriptions to avoid increased risk of exposure

• Expanding access to telehealth services by making PhysicanNow visits available at no cost and by covering virtual visits with network providers

• Waiving member costs for any appropriate FDA-aligned test

• Sharing key public health information, such as promoting social distancing and warning of potential scam activity

Volkswagen plant to reopen April 12

Volkswagen Chattanooga will remain closed until April 12, extending the production suspension which began March 21. Production is scheduled to resume at 10 p.m. on that Sunday.

Tom du Plessis, CEO of Volkswagen Chattanooga, says employees will be paid in full next week but will be required to take paid time off Friday, April 10.

Hourly and salary non-exempt employees will have the option to take “no pay-no penalty” for April 10, and salary exempt employees may use comp time. Employees who are able to telework, such as office staff, will continue to do so April 6-9.

LaunchTN seeks COVID-19 solutions

Launch Tennessee is seeking proposals to rapidly connect solutions and capabilities in the state by using the Tennessee Innovation Crowdsource Platform.

The public-private partnership is a statewide resource network supporting businesses, entrepreneurs and startups.

Submissions will be addressed in two initial categories:

• General COVID-19 needs, with focus areas including health care system demand management/planning, resource mapping, mental health and consumer engagement with local businesses.

• Medical Materials, including masks, gowns, shields, swabs, testing kits, sanitizer, gloves and more.

“We’re honored that Gov. Lee, Director (Stuart) McWhorter and the COVID-19 Unified Command have placed their trust in LaunchTN and the creative power of our statewide ecosystem, and we’re eager to put that power to work to expedite solutions to the critical needs our state faces right now,” says Margaret Dolan, president and CEO of LaunchTN.

“In true Tennessee fashion, we’ve already witnessed an outpouring of offers to assist our state leaders and medical professionals, and the new Tennessee Innovation Crowdsource Platform provides a protocol to quickly vet those proposals.”

“COVID-19 threatens the physical health and economic well-being of our state, and Unified Command has identified the need for Tennessee-based innovations to aid in the swift defeat of this virus,” says Gov. Bill Lee. “LaunchTN will be a critical partner in syncing together businesses, entrepreneurs, and startups who stand ready to address needs like health care system demand and the expanded production of medical supplies.”

The platform will allow LaunchTN to organize and evaluate proposals, and recommend promising strategies to state procurement specialists for expedited treatment.