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What we’re doing for our members to protect them from COVID-19

At Blue Shield of California, we’ve been monitoring the trajectory of COVID-19 since January. This includes tracking the spread, planning to keep our members informed and healthy, and ensuring our more than 6,800 employees are working – and safe.

“Thanks to our dedicated and hard-working employees, COVID-19 will not affect our ability to serve our members,” said Paul Markovich, president and CEO. “Our focus on transforming and modernizing our operations in recent years led us to implement new processes and technologies, enabling Blue Shield to adapt and respond quickly to the realities of the novel coronavirus.”

Blue Shield has taken multiple steps to provide coverage and information to members such as:

  • Waived prior approval and testing costs associated with COVID-19 on March 6. The plan also announced it was monitoring prescription drug supplies and decided members can request early refills of their prescriptions.

  • Provided information on the mental health challenges in coping with the outbreak.

  • Waived costs for use of Teladoc and telehealth: online, telephone, and smartphone tools used for consulting with doctors and other providers without a trip to an office or hospital.

  • Continues to communicate with federal, state, and local officials, agencies, and regulators to coordinate an effective response.

  • Announced a new digital tool for its network hospitals at no additional cost to help them triage the influx of patients seeking advice on COVID-19 or other medical care. Blue Shield has 347 hospitals in its preferred-provider network.


In addition, members haven’t had unusual hurdles to getting answers or help. Call centers and member points of contact with Blue Shield are running without disruption. The customer service team hasn’t seen any significant spikes in call volume or requests from members. And they’ve been prepped in five key areas:

  • Members with questions about COVID-19, including testing

  • Prescription/pharmacy questions

  • Medicare members, largely made up of high-risk populations

  • Medi-Cal members, which includes many of our state's most vulnerable populations

  • Consumer groups, who have no other means for coverage