COVID-19 information center (last updated: 7/7/2020)
MESSA members take care of our kids, our schools and our communities, and we want you to know that MESSA is here for you during this challenging time.
MESSA has taken the following steps to ensure access to care for all MESSA members and their covered dependents:
COVID-19 testing and treatment
MESSA will fully cover medically necessary testing and treatment for COVID-19 for all MESSA members and their covered dependents. You will not have to pay a deductible, copayment or coinsurance.
Online Visits and telehealth visits
MESSA will fully cover medical and mental health telehealth visits with in-network providers through Dec. 31, 2020, at no cost to members and covered dependents.
MESSA members have easy access to Online Visits, where you can visit a doctor or a therapist without leaving your home using a smartphone, tablet or computer. To get started with Online Visits, go to messa.org/onlinevisits or download the Blue Cross Online Visits app. In addition, we are fully covering medical and mental health appointments with your current in-network provider that are conducted over the phone or online, through Dec. 31. You will not have to pay a deductible, copayment or coinsurance.
You may need to pay for the visit at the time of the appointment, but you will be automatically reimbursed at a later date. Due to the ongoing public health crisis and the system updates necessary to waive the cost, it may take as long as six months for you to receive a credit.
In addition, MESSA members have free access to NurseLine, which is staffed around the clock by registered nurses who are trained to answer medical questions and offer expert guidance. A registered nurse will listen to your questions and discuss your health care concerns. They may provide guidance on at-home care measures, or suggest you seek care with a medical provider. You can call NurseLine anytime at 800.414.2014.
State of Michigan COVID-19 hotline
The state of Michigan created a COVID-19 hotline that is available daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The number is 888.535.6136. When you call the hotline, public health and other experts will be available to answer health-related questions about COVID-19. They can also direct residents, providers and others to resources in their local communities and in other state government departments.
You can also send an email to COVID19@michigan.gov. Emails will be answered 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Frequently asked questions
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
According to the CDC, people with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People with the following symptoms or combinations of symptoms may have COVID-19:
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
Or at least two of these symptoms:
- Repeated shaking with chills
- Muscle pain
- Sore throat
- New loss of taste or smell
Does MESSA cover COVID-19 testing?
MESSA fully covers COVID-19 testing if it is prescribed by a health care provider and administered by an in-network provider.
Testing can also be done at a pharmacy. Pharmacists are recognized as qualified providers for the purposes of administering COVID-19 tests, but MESSA members still need an order for the test from a health care provider if the pharmacy plans to bill MESSA for the testing. Some pharmacies receive federal aid to cover COVID-19 testing, in which case they will not bill insurance for the test and a prescription from a provider is not needed. MESSA members must check with their pharmacy to find out if they are receiving federal aid for the testing or if they plan to bill MESSA.
If a COVID-19 test is administered by an out-of-network provider, applicable out-of-network costs will apply.
Does MESSA cover antibody testing?
Yes. The test must be ordered by a health care provider and be conducted by an in-network laboratory that participates in data sharing with the Michigan Health Exchange Information Network. For a list of laboratories, call the MESSA Member Service Center at 800.336.0013.
Will MESSA cover multiple tests?
Yes, as long as the tests are prescribed by a health care provider and the lab conducting the testing meets the criteria detailed above.
How can I best protect myself and my family?
The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19. The following preventive actions can help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
- Wear a mask or cloth face covering when out in public, and stay at least 6 feet away from others. Make sure your mask completely covers your nose, mouth and chin.
- Frequently clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces such as tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets and sinks.
Sources: U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Michigan Department of Health and Human Services
*Note: These websites are not affiliated with MESSA. MESSA is not responsible for and does not endorse, guarantee or monitor content, availability, viewpoints, products or services that are offered or expressed on other websites.