Following White House guidance, EPC Benefit Resources, Inc. (BRI) has made arrangements with Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield to waive the normal co-pay costs for coronavirus (COVID-19) lab tests when prescribed by a physician. The co-pay waiver applies to participants in all five Medical/Prescription Plans offered by BRI: Platinum, Gold, Gold HDHP (High-Deductible Health Plan), Silver, and Bronze HDHP.
“I am very pleased that Highmark worked with us to get the co-pays removed for coronavirus testing,” said Bart Francescone, BRI Executive Director. “The situation is so prominent in the news and on social media, we want our Plan participants to be able to know if they are affected without any additional burden. Also, we want them to be able to have peace of mind without having to worry about an unexpected expense.”
Francescone noted that the co-pay waiver applies only to the coronavirus test. All normal office visit co-pays will still apply.
Coinciding with heightened health concerns, BRI has expedited implementation of 98point6, a text-based primary care app for smartphones and tablets. This new benefit begins Saturday, March 14, and is provided to all EPC benefit plan participants.
Through 98point6, a U.S.-based, board-certified physician is available by text 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The service is provided with no co-pay for participants in the Platinum, Gold, and Silver PPO Plans, and only a $5 co-pay for participants in all other benefit plans.
Francescone said the BRI Board of Directors had earlier approved this new benefit to be announced and put into place in April, but pushed its release earlier in light of coronavirus concerns.
“Given the current situation, we knew we needed to make it available as soon as possible,” Francescone said. “I hope our plan members will take advantage of 98point6 when they have questions about episodic care, diagnosis, prescriptions, or other medical questions. I think it will be a useful tool for their health care—as well as for their covered family members.”
For more information about the EPC benefit plans, see www.epc.org/benefits.