Premera Blue Cross is here to support members, employers, and healthcare providers during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
Updates as of May 11, 2023
The federal Public Health Emergency (PHE) ends on May 11, 2023. See PHE section for details.
For general questions about COVID-19:
Washington State Department of Health
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
If you have health plan questions not covered in these resources, call our customer service team at the number on the back of the member ID card, or your assigned account manager.
We’ll be updating the following FAQ as additional information is available.
COVID-19 Key Dates
See related section for more information about health plan coverage.
| End Date
|Cost share waivers for FDA-approved COVID-19 diagnostic testing other virus/respiratory testing tied to a COVID-19 diagnosis (federal Families First Act and Washington State OIC mandate)
||May 11, 2023*
|Antibody tests covered when done in an inpatient setting; late illness onset, or outpatient inflammatory syndrome in children.
||May 11, 2023.
|Allowance for zero deductible/cost sharing for telehealth visits for HSA accounts.
||December 31, 2024.
|Medicare Advantage members: cost shares waived for the healthcare provider visit and FDA-authorized COVID-19 diagnostic test for members who meet criteria for testing (CMS guidance)
||May 11, 2023
Ending the Public Health Emergency (PHE) for COVID-19
|Is the public health emergency (PHE) for COVID-19 ending?
||Yes. On January 30, 2023, the Biden administration announced that the PHE for COVID-19 is ending on May 11, 2023. This gives the government and others impacted 90 days to wind down current mandates set under the PHE.
|What is a public health emergency?
||With the declaration of a public health emergency, the federal government is allowed to access funding to prevent, prepare for, and respond to a disease emergency. It waives certain requirements and allows for new mandates to be established
in response to the emergency.
|What does the end of the public health emergency mean?
||The end of the PHE means that most of the mandates under the current PHE for COVID-19 end on May 11, 2023. This could result in a loss of coverage for some people, or increased costs associated with COVID-19 for others.
|Will I have to pay for COVID-19 vaccines and boosters now?
||COVID-19 vaccinations will be at no cost for people with preventive care benefits after May 11, 2023.
|What about the cost of vaccines?
||While vaccinations will continue to be free for most members, the cost to insurers (and self-funded employers) will increase. Under the PHE, only the cost of administering the vaccine was allowed to be billed. This was typically around
$25 per shot. With the end of the PHE, the federal government will no longer buy COVID-19 vaccines. The cost of the vaccines will now revert to commercial prices, which could range from $82 to $130 per dose. This cost would be borne
by self-funded employer groups and health insurers.
|Will the cost of COVID-19 treatments continue to be at no cost?
||Those with private insurance have not been charged for monoclonal antibody treatment since they were prepaid by the federal government, though patients may be charged for the office visit or administration of the treatment. But that is
not tied to the public health emergency, and the free treatments will be available until the federal supply is exhausted. The government has already run out of some of the treatments so those with private insurance may already be picking
up some of the cost. We don’t know what the commercial price will be for monoclonal antibody treatments.
|Can I still get free at-home COVID-19 tests?
||Under the PHE, people could get up to 8 at-home COVID-19 tests per month. That ends on May 11, 2023, meaning any at-home tests after that time will be at cost for the member.
|I'm a self-funded employer. What can I expect?
||The end of the PHE means that the federal government is no longer purchasing COVID-19 vaccines for the public. Monoclonal antibody treatment supply, also purchased by the federal government, is running low. That means that public, or commercial,
pricing will now apply for vaccines and treatments. We don’t yet know the actual commercial price but have seen reports indicating a cost between $82 to $130 per shot. We don’t yet know of any commercial pricing for treatments.
Note: We’re updating our vaccine FAQs as information becomes available. Information about vaccines and distribution will continue to evolve.