WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT CORONAVIRUS
Last Updated 5/29/2020
Health New England and BeHealthy Partnership continue to monitor the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) on behalf of our members. We will update this page as more details develop.
Read a message from our President and CEO, Marion McGowan.
Food Assistance during the COVID-19 Emergency
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, a growing number of individuals and families across Massachusetts are facing food insecurity, many for the first time. MassHealth, in partnership with other state agencies and food non-profit organizations, has developed a simple guide that your member-facing staff or your network providers can use to help identify MassHealth members who need food assistance and connect them to resources in the community. Those food assistance resources can provide your members with immediate access to food, as well as recurring financial support for the purchase of food.
What is coronavirus and COVID-19?
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that may cause illness in animals or humans. In humans, several coronaviruses are known to cause respiratory infections. The most recently discovered coronavirus causes Coronavirus Disease COVID-19, which is a highly infectious respiratory disease.
First identified in the city of Wuhan, China, in December 2019, coronavirus has spread to people in more than 100 countries worldwide, including the United States.
On March 10, Governor Charlie Baker declared a state of emergency in Massachusetts. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) characterized coronavirus as a pandemic and U.S. President Donald Trump announced a one-month travel ban from Europe to the U.S.
For up-to-date information about the coronavirus, visit the CDC website.
Does my BeHealthy Partnership plan cover coronavirus testing and treatment?
Yes, your BeHealthy Partnership plan does cover testing and treatment for coronavirus (COVID-19). BeHealthy Partnership plan members do not have to pay for testing or treatment.
What are symptoms of coronavirus?
According to the CDC, symptoms can develop within 2 to 14 days of exposure. Common symptoms include:
◾Shortness of Breath
Many people infected with coronavirus may only experience mild symptoms. In serious cases, the virus can cause respiratory illness such as pneumonia in older people and those with pre-existing conditions. No vaccine currently exists for coronavirus.
Please note: Coronavirus can be carried and passed to others for up to two weeks even if you don’t have symptoms.
Free Coronavirus Symptom Checker Available: Massachusetts recently announced a statewide resource called Buoy, a free web-based symptom checker. Buoy is available at no cost to BeHealthy Partnership members. Read these Frequently Asked Questions to learn more, and to access Buoy, go to buoy.com/mass or mass.gov/online-health-tool.
Do you need to talk to a doctor?
If you aren’t feeling well, contact your primary care provider (PCP). Your PCP may have the ability to evaluate you over the phone (telehealth) in order to limit potential exposure in the doctor’s office. If your PCP isn’t available, BeHealthy Partnership members have access to Teladoc®, our telehealth service, for non-emergency medical issues.
You also have access to our free 24/7 Nurse Advice Line at (866) 389-7613.
While there is no specific treatment for coronavirus, symptoms of the virus can be managed at home under the direction of your PCP or a Teladoc physician. Virtual visits with Teladoc can help prevent the spread of illness to others.
Go to https://www.teladoc.com/coronavirus/ for more information about the virus and to schedule a virtual visit.
Telephone and Internet Connectivity for Telehealth: In response to COVID-19, most internet and telephone service providers are giving customers unlimited or additional minutes and data until May 13, 2020. In addition, on March 13, 2020, the FCC launched the Keep Americans Connected Initiative to ensure that people do not lose their internet or telephone connectivity during the pandemic. Call your internet or telephone service company if you have questions about this.
How do you prevent the spread of coronavirus and other illnesses?
Coronavirus is spread through coughing and sneezing. The CDC recommends taking a number of preventive measures that help prevent the spread of germs:
◾Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
◾If unable to use soap and water, use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol content.
◾Wash your hands before eating and after blowing your nose or sneezing.
◾Avoid contact with people who appear to be sick.
◾Avoid touching your mouth, eyes and nose.
◾Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that are frequently used.
◾If there is a chance you have been exposed to the virus, please avoid contact with at-risk people, like the elderly and those who may have other illnesses.
What should you do if you think you’ve been infected with coronavirus?
If you suspect that you’ve been infected, the CDC urges you take the following steps:
◾Stay home from work and school except for getting medical care.
◾Avoid public areas and public transportation.
◾Distance yourself from people and animals in your home.
◾Avoid sharing household items.
◾Wear a facemask when around other people.
Will a flu shot prevent coronavirus?
No, the flu shot does not prevent you from getting coronavirus. The flu shot does prevent the common flu, which causes thousands of deaths and hospital admissions each year. It can also help prevent serious complications if you do get the flu, like pneumonia.
According to public health officials, the risk of exposure to the flu remains of greater concern than coronavirus at this time. It is not too late to get a flu shot. For more information about the flu, please visit cdc.gov/flu.
What is Health New England’s business continuity plan?
At Health New England, we are prepared to continue to operate amid the coronavirus outbreak. We have measures in place and technologies available to allow our associates to work from home, if necessary, so we can effectively provide you with the service you expect from Health New England and BeHealthy Partnership.
Do you have more questions about coronavirus or coverage?
If you have questions or concerns about the coronavirus, testing or treatment coverage, please contact Member Services at (800) 786-9999.