Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) updates and resources
Last updated: January 20, 2020
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.
As new information about COVID-19 vaccines is released, we’ll be here to answer your questions. If you have Medicare, Medicaid or CHIP, you won’t have to pay for your COVID-19 vaccine. Activate your online account to stay up-to-date on the latest information.
Each state will decide how and when to distribute vaccines.
See more COVID-19 FAQs at bottom of 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.
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 Humber 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 1-866-781-5094 (TTY 1-866-773-9634) 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.
Getting 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 while keeping you and others safe. Your plan will pay for telehealth visits with your doctor. Can’t reach your doctor? Call our 24/7 NurseLine 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, at the number on your ID card.
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. Psych Hub offers free online resources and videos to help you manage stress, talk to children about coronavirus, cope with job loss and other COVID-19 challenges.
Find a COVID-19 test site
Use this tool to quickly locate testing sites near you. Just enter your state and county.
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.
Learn more about COVID-19
Learn more about the COVID-19 vaccine
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorized some COVID-19 vaccines and is working quickly to approve others. Learn more here.
Each state will decide how and when to distribute vaccines. People at most risk of contracting COVID-19 or developing complications of illness will likely receive vaccinations first. Right now, the CDC recommends that healthcare workers and residents of nursing homes and long-term-care facilities be the first Americans to receive the vaccine. Vaccination should be more widely available in early to mid-2021. We will keep you updated.
The CDC is working closely with state, tribal, local, and territorial health departments to make sure vaccines are available.
No. If you have Medicare, Medicaid or CHIP, you won’t have to pay for your COVID-19 vaccine.
COVID-19 vaccination will help keep you from getting COVID-19. Many thousands of people across the United States took part in research trials over many months. These trials show the FDA whether a vaccine is safe and effective, which it must be certain of before it will authorize or approve a vaccine for public use.
Researchers studied vaccine reactions and potential side effects throughout the trials. Their studies will continue after the vaccine receives approval. The FDA, CDC, and vaccine manufacturers will continue to monitor safety and quality.
If you have Medicaid with us, you can activate your online account to get updates on COVID-19 vaccines.
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
An airway and lung infection, similar to a cold.
Similar to a cold or the flu. Mild to severe fever, cough and shortness of breath. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after being around someone who has COVID-19.
The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to the virus. 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:
- Washing your hands is the best way to avoid getting sick:
- Wash often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- If you can’t use soap and water, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
- Clean and disinfect items and surfaces you touch often with regular household cleaning spray or a wipe.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, and throw away the tissue.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Avoid touching your face.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
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’re caring for someone, be sure visitors take care to avoid causing any extra risk to you or them – keep hand sanitizer by the door, or 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.
Here’s what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says about wearing a facemask.
Call your doctor if you develop a fever, have a cough, or have difficulty breathing. Tell them if you’ve been in close contact with a person who has COVID-19, or 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.
Can’t reach your doctor? Call our 24-Hour Nurseline 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, at the number on your ID card.
If you have a Medicaid 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 emergency department.
No, prior authorization is not required for COVID-19 testing.
You should try to see your PCP 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 Medicaid from us, your plan covers sick visits and tests.
Do you have medicines you take regularly? Call the Pharmacy Member Services number on your ID card to find out about your options.
Your health is important. Don’t stop taking your medicines as prescribed, and 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