I think I was exposed to COVID-19. What should I do?

If you have had contact with someone infected with COVID-19, stay home for 14 days after the last exposure. Watch for symptoms of the virus. If you become ill, call your healthcare provider first or use Teladoc for virtual care. Sometimes symptoms are mild and can be treated at home. Your healthcare provider will let you know where to get a test, if needed. They will determine the best course of action for your care.

According to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people should self-quarantine for 14 days after the last exposure. More information is available on the CDC website.

 

What are the symptoms of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19)?

COVID-19 is a respiratory illness. Symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Coughing
  • Chills or repeated shaking with chills
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • New loss of taste or smell

Symptoms often develop 2-14 days after exposure, though it may take longer.

Use CDC’s symptom checker to help you seek appropriate medical care.

Call 911 if you develop emergency warning signs* for COVID-19, such as:

  • Trouble breathing 
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion or inability to arouse
  • Bluish lips or face

*This list is not all inclusive. Please consult your medical provider for any other symptom that is severe or concerning.
 

Who is most at risk from COVID-19?

Most people can contract or transmit the virus and have few symptoms or recover quickly. Those most at-risk for severe symptoms are:

  • Older adults.
  • People with poor immune systems.
  • People with underlying health conditions like diabetes, heart disease, or lung disease.
  • People with certain disabilities. These include those who have trouble understanding or practicing preventive measures or who cannot communicate their symptoms.
  • Pregnant people.

If you fall under one of the categories above, please read our chronic and high-risk health guidelines. For specific guidance for your condition, read these guidelines.

 

What should I do if I think I have COVID-19?

If you have a fever, cough, feel short of breath, or are experiencing other symptoms, we suggest using a virtual care option such as Teladoc®, NurseHelp 24/7SM or the Nurse Advice Line before seeking in-person care. You can also check to see if your primary care physician is offering telehealth services. This will help reduce the risk of spreading the virus. If your doctor or nurse recommends testing for COVID-19, they can tell you where to go to get tested.

Not all plans have access to these services below. 

VIRTUAL CARE
Description
OUT-OF-POCKET COST
AVERAGE TIME TO CARE

Teladoc®
Talk to board-certified doctors 24/7 by phone or video. 
(800) 835-2362 [TTY: 711]
 
Varies by plan, see details below*

NurseHelp 24/7SM
or Nurse Advice Line
Get health advice 24/7 from a registered nurse over the phone.

Blue Shield members, call NurseHelp 24/7 at (877) 304-0504.
Blue Shield Promise members, call Nurse Advice Line at (800) 609-4166 [TTY: 711].

$0

Teladoc access and out of pocket costs vary by plan.* For any questions regarding your copay, please call Teladoc at (800) 835-2362 [TTY: 711]

For these plans, members have $0 copays for all visits always*: 

  • Trio HMO plans
  • Tandem PPO plans
  • Blue Shield Medicare Advantage HMO and PPO plans
  • Blue Shield Promise Medicare Advantage
  • Medicare Supplement Plan G Extra
  • Blue Shield Promise Cal MediConnect Plan (Medicare-Medicaid Plan) 
  • Blue Shield Promise Medi-Cal plans

For these plans that include regular access to Teladoc with standard copays or coinsurance, members have $0 copays for all visits extended through December 31. After December 31, standard out-of-pocket costs will apply*:

  • All other HMO plans (not Trio)
  • All other PPO plans (not Tandem)
  • High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP) plans

For self-insured employer-sponsored plans that include Teladoc access, out-of-pocket costs varies by plan.* Please note that not all self-insured employer-sponsored plans include access to Teladoc. 

These plans were granted temporary access to Teladoc through December 31 with $0 copays through temporary access period: 

  • IFP Grandfathered plans 
  • All other Medicare Supplement plans (not plan G Extra)

* Please refer to your Evidence of Coverage, Member Handbook, or plan documents for information regarding standard out-of-pocket costs for your plan. You can also call Member Services at the number on your ID card or log in to your online account to see what benefits your plan covers.
 

Login to get care

 

What in-person care options are available?

Please call your primary care physician (PCP) or urgent care facility before going in person. They can give you advice on what to do and where to get tested. Calling ahead will protect you and reduce the risk of spreading the COVID-19 virus.

Call 911 if you develop emergency warning signs* for COVID-19, such as:

  • Trouble breathing 
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion or inability to arouse
  • Bluish lips or face

*This list is not all inclusive. Please consult your medical provider for any other symptom that is severe or concerning.

Blue Shield offers many care options. Access to these benefits depends on your plan.
 

IN-PERSON CARE
Description
AVERAGE OUT-OF-POCKET COST
AVERAGE TIME TO CARE

HealTM
Some plans offer HealTM physician remote screenings and home visits in select cities. You can talk to or see a licensed physician in your own home.
Learn more about Heal*

Your doctor/primary care physician (PCP)
Call your doctor or PCP before going in. This way, you can take precautions to reduce spreading the virus.
Log in to find a doctor

Urgent care
If you need in-person medical treatment and your doctor isn’t available, go to an urgent care center.
Log in to find an urgent care center

Emergency room (ER)
The ER is for true emergencies. Go to the ER or call 911 if you are experiencing severe symptoms of COVID-19 or your doctor tells you to go.
Call 911 or go to the closest ER.

*Heal is not available to Medi-Cal, Cal MediConnect, Blue Shield Promise Medicare  plans, Blue Shield Medicare HMO plans, or Medicare Supplement plans.  

 

What do I do if I test positive for COVID-19?

Stay home for 10 days after your positive diagnostic test. Watch for symptoms of COVID-19. If you become ill, speak with your healthcare provider or Teladoc about the next steps for care. In some cases, symptoms are mild and can be treated at home.

Some people have tested positive but show no symptoms. Per the CDC, if you continue to have no symptoms, you can be with others after 10 days have passed since your positive test.

CDC has detailed recommendations for people who have tested positive but have no symptoms.

 

What should I do if I get sick or someone in my home has COVID-19?

Monitor the patient’s symptoms. Contact your healthcare provider if symptoms worsen. Or, call 911 if the patient experiences any emergency warning signs for COVID-19.

If someone in your home is sick, that person should self-isolate. This should include having that person:

  • Sleep in a separate bedroom.
  • Use a separate restroom, if available.
  • Use separate household items. Never share utensils, cups, dishes, towels, bedding, toothpaste, etc.
  • Wear a mask if they must leave their room.
  • Cover their coughs and sneezes.
  • Wash their hands often.

Be careful about disinfecting your home.

Monitor your health, too. Contact your healthcare provider if new symptoms start. Self-quarantine if you are a caregiver or have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19. Read more guidelines from the CDC.


What if I need treatment for COVID-19?

There are no prior approvals needed for COVID-19 treatment. Blue Shield and Blue Shield Promise will waive copays, coinsurance, and deductibles for COVID-19 treatments received between March 1 - December 31, 2020. This applies to the following plan types:  

  • Plans purchased through Blue Shield of California directly
  • Plans purchased through Covered California
  • Medicare Advantage plans 
  • Medicare Supplement plans
  • Fully-insured employer-sponsored plans 
  • Self-insured and flex-funded employer-sponsored plans where the plan sponsor has elected to pay for copays, coinsurance, and deductibles for COVID-19 treatment (These plans are not required to cover these costs)

To find out which plan you have, call the customer service number on your member ID card. 

Medi-Cal and Cal MediConnect members have no out-of-pocket costs for treatments. 

Check your coverage
 

Are there vaccines or medicines for COVID-19?

At the moment, there is no vaccine or medicine to prevent or treat COVID-19. The current treatment for COVID-19 is prevention, treatment of symptoms, and supportive care. If there are any updates, Blue Shield will let you know. 

 

When can I be around others after I’ve recovered?

People with COVID-19 who have symptoms and were directed to care for themselves at home should follow their healthcare provider’s guidance on when they can come out of home isolation. According to CDC guidance, people generally can be around others after:

  • 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared and
  • 24 hours with no fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and
  • COVID-19 symptoms have improved (e.g., cough, shortness of breath)

Read the full CDC guidance. There is separate guidance for people with weakened immune systems (immunocompromised patients).

Depending on your healthcare provider’s advice and availability of testing, you might get tested to see if you still have COVID-19. Follow your healthcare provider’s recommendations.

 

Can I continue seeing my mental health care provider?

If you already have a mental healthcare provider, remember you can see them over the phone or by video. Your standard coverage and out-of-pocket costs apply.

 

I don’t have a mental healthcare provider. How can I find one?

I have a Blue Shield plan

Most of our commercial HMO and some PPO plans provide mental health services through the Mental Health Services Administrator (MHSA) network. Check the back of your Blue Shield member ID card for a mental health customer service phone number. You can also search the MHSA network. Click Provider Search Telebehavioral on the left to find specialists who can provide virtual care. Your standard office visit copay applies to both virtual and in-person appointments.

For PPO plans which do not use the MHSA network, log in to your Blue Shield account. You can then use Find a Doctor to search for a network mental healthcare provider. Please call ahead to find out if the provider sees patients over the phone or online. Your standard office visit copay applies to both virtual and in-person appointments.

Blue Shield members with access to Teladoc can also book a virtual visit with a mental healthcare provider. Teladoc mental health visits are available for $0 copay through December 31. Log in to your online account to see if you have Teladoc. This service lets you speak to a mental healthcare provider by phone or video chat.  Some self-funded employer-sponsored plans may not include access to Teladoc Behavioral Health. If you’re not sure if you have access, please call the Member Services number on your member ID card.

If you have a Blue Shield Medicare Advantage Plan, call Member Services at (800) 776-4466 [TTY: 711], 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week, from October 1 through March 31, and 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., weekdays (8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday) from April 1 through December 31.

Representatives can tell you how to access your mental health benefits. 

I have a Blue Shield Promise plan

Blue Shield Promise Cal MediConnect Plan and Medi-Cal members can receive telehealth visits through Beacon Health. For more information, call (855) 765-9701 [TTY: 711] Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Pacific time. 

If you have a Blue Shield Promise Medicare Advantage Plan, call Member Services at (800) 544-0088 [TTY: 711], 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., seven days a week from October 1 through March 31, and 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., weekdays from April 1 through December 31. Representatives can tell you how to access your mental health benefits. 

Additionally, Blue Shield of California Promise Health Plan members can book a virtual visit with a Teladoc mental healthcare provider through December 31. To get started, call (800) 835-2362 [TTY: 711] 24/7 or visit the Teladoc page

Important: Telehealth is not right for all conditions. If you’re in crisis or having suicidal thoughts:

  • Call 911
  • Go to the nearest emergency room
  • Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-8255. You can also use the Crisis textline by texting “Home” to 741741.

 

Additional questions?

Call the number on your member ID card.