Coronavirus (COVID-19) updates and resources
Last updated: January 26, 2022
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has impacted all of us. We want to make sure you have the latest information about your benefits, how to get the care you need, and how to find local help and resources.
Vaccines for COVID-19 have been proven to be safe and effective against the COVID-19 virus. COVID-19 vaccines do not cost you anything. You can find a vaccine site and schedule a COVID-19 vaccine by:
- Visiting vaccines.gov.
- Texting your ZIP code to GETVAX (438829).
- Calling 800-232-0233 (TTY 711) from 8 a.m. to midnight Eastern time; someone will help you make an appointment.
Activate or log in to your online account to stay up-to-date on the latest information.
Find a COVID-19 test site
Use this tool to quickly locate testing sites near you. Just enter your state and county.
See more COVID-19 vaccine and virus FAQs at the bottom of the page.
Focusing on your health
These temporary changes have been put in place to make it easier for you to focus on your health and those you care about.
If you receive health benefits from the state, they may contact you from time to time with important information. If you have moved or changed addresses, update your information with Healthy Connections by calling 888-549-0820 (TTY 888-842-3620).
To make sure you have no breaks in care during the COVID-19 response, you will remain eligible for Medicaid services until the end of the public health emergency, unless you request to withdraw from the program.
South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (SCDHHS) will give you more information before annual reviews start again. Healthy Connections members do not need to take any action at this time. All SCDHHS offices are temporarily closed for in-person visits. Learn more on how you can apply or make changes to your account.
SCDHHS is making temporary changes to some benefits. A few are:
- Free COVID-19 testing.
- Emergency prescription refills.
- Telehealth for checkups, therapies (speech, ABA), dental, and behavioral health issues.
- Oxygen therapy to cover acute, short-term treatment.
- Relaxed limit of ambulatory care visits.
- Durable medical equipment or supplies will continue and will be provided to members being discharged from the hospital.
If you have any questions about your benefits, we’re here for you. Call the Customer Care Center at 866-781-5094 (TTY 866-773-9634) Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern time, or log in to your account to send us a secure message.
Receiving the care you need
See a doctor without leaving home
Telehealth is a doctor visit through video chat or over the phone. It allows you to take care of your health without having to leave home. Your plan will pay for telehealth visits with your doctor. If you cannot reach your doctor, call 24-Hour Nurseline 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at 866-577-9710 (TTY 800-368-4424).
Take care of your mental health
You might be feeling anxious or stressed with all of the information about coronavirus COVID-19. Taking care of your mental health is more important than ever.
If you need to speak with someone right away, call the SAMHSA Disaster Distress Helpline 24/7: 800-985-5990.
Psych Hub offers free online resources and videos to help you manage stress, talk to children about coronavirus disease 2019, cope with job loss, and other COVID-19 challenges.
Extension of health coverage for new moms
New moms, you will not lose your health plan benefits 60 days after giving birth. Due to the public health emergency, you will now keep your benefits up to one year after giving birth. Your baby’s health plan benefits have not changed, so your child will remain covered for one year.
Finding resources you may need
Free or low-cost services near you
Use our Community Resource Link for local help finding food, housing and other things you might need.
Free smartphone from SafeLink Wireless®
SafeLink offers free smartphones with data, texts and minutes to those who qualify. Use your phone to keep up with important information, use telehealth services, and stay in touch with family and friends.
COVID-19 vaccines are available now to people age 5 and up. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorized several COVID-19 vaccines. They are working quickly to assess data in younger age groups. Learn more here. Learn more here.
No. Your COVID-19 vaccine does not cost you anything.
According to the CDC, the vaccines are safe and effective. The vaccines went through the FDA’s review process meeting their standards for safety, effectiveness and manufacturing. Hundreds of millions of people have received the vaccine since mid-December 2020. The FDA, CDC and vaccine manufacturers continue to monitor their safety and quality. So far, serious safety problems are very rare. If you are fully vaccinated, you can go back to doing many activities you did before the pandemic.
COVID-19 vaccines have been used under the most intensive safety monitoring in U.S. history. This included robust studies in adolescents. The vaccines met the FDA’s rigorous standards for safety, effectiveness, and manufacturing quality.
Many children with COVID-19 have mild or no symptoms. But some children have become severely ill from COVID-19. Some have needed hospitalization, intensive care, or a ventilator to help them breathe. Children who have COVID-19 and no symptoms can still spread the virus to others.
To find a COVID vaccine site near you:
- Visit vaccines.gov.
- Text your ZIP code to GETVAX (438829).
- Call 800-232-0233 (TTY 711) from 8 a.m. to midnight Eastern time.
Your primary care provider can answer any questions about COVID vaccines. You can also learn more from the CDC.
If you are a Healthy Blue member, you can activate your online account to get updates on COVID-19 vaccines.
The vaccines cannot make you sick with COVID-19 because they do not contain the virus. It’s normal to have mild side effects to most vaccines. This means your body is responding to the vaccine by making antibodies.
No vaccine is 100% effective against any virus, but the COVID-19 vaccines come close. In clinical trials, they were about 95% effective in preventing COVID-19 infection and reduced the risk of severe illness. The data we have today shows they are effective against variants found to date, as well.
Yes. Even if you’ve already had COVID-19, you could still benefit from the vaccine. You can talk to your primary care provider to see what they recommend. The CDC also has information about the benefits of the vaccine.
Learn more about COVID-19
It is an airway and lung infection. It is similar to the flu.
Similar to the flu, but often more serious. Mild to severe fever, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, muscle or body aches, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, and nausea or vomiting are just some of the common symptoms. Symptoms may appear 2–14 days after being around someone who has COVID-19.
The best way to prevent infection is to get a COVID-19 vaccine when it is available to you. Check the CDC website at cdc.gov/coronavirus for up-to-date information. If you are traveling, visit cdc.gov for the CDC’s most current travel guidelines.
Good health habits can also help prevent and fight COVID-19. Here are some tips:
Older adults, people with disabilities, and people with diabetes or who have severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung, or kidney disease seem to be at higher risk for more serious COVID-19 illness. We will support you and help you get the care you need.
If you are caring for someone, be sure visitors take care to avoid causing any extra risk to you or them. Get vaccinated, keep hand sanitizer by the door, and ask visitors to wash their hands. Wash your hands thoroughly and use hand sanitizer before and after touching or feeding someone, or touching any mobility devices or equipment.
You should check with state and local guidance on masking requirements. Here is what the CDC says about facemask.
Call your doctor if you develop a fever, have a cough, or have a hard time breathing. Tell them if you have been in close contact with a person who has COVID-19. Also tell them if you live in or have been to an area where the virus has spread.
Your plan will pay for telehealth visits with your doctor. If you cannot reach your doctor, call 24-Hour Nurseline 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at 866-577-9710 (TTY 800-368-4424).
If you have a plan with us, you do not have to pay anything for the COVID-19 test or the doctor visit to get the test. The visit and test are covered whether you get care in a doctor’s office, urgent care center, or pharmacy. You should avoid going to the emergency room for a COVID-19 test since there are many other locations that can provide you with a test. Use our testing locator to find a site near you.
No, prior authorization is not required for COVID-19 testing.
You should try to see your primary care provider or a doctor in your plan. If your doctor offers telehealth visits, your plan will pay for those, too.
We will pay for care you get from doctors outside your plan (called “out of network”) as long as the services are medically needed.
No. If you have health benefits from us, your plan covers sick visits and tests.
If you have medicines you take regularly, call the Pharmacy Member Services number on your member ID card to find out about your options.
Your health is important. Try to keep taking your medicines as prescribed, and try to get your refills on time.
- S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control, Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
- World Health Organization, Coronavirus
- CDC, People at Risk for Serious Illness from COVID-19
- Administration for Community Living, Coronavirus
- Workplace, School and Home Guidance
- CMS Press Release: President Trump Expands Telehealth Benefits for Medicare Beneficiaries During COVID-19 Outbreak