Coronavirus (COVID‑19) Information for UniCare Members
It's normal to have some questions about what COVID‑19 is and to think about protecting yourself and the people you care about the most. After all, there's a lot of information going around about it right now.
Let's take a look at what COVID‑19 is, how it affects us, and what we can do to look after ourselves and each other.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is asking everyone to help reduce the risk of infections spreading. Check the CDC website for
up-to-date information, especially if traveling.
Stay healthy and informed
Three things to know about the COVID-19 vaccine +
Getting vaccinated against COVID-19 is one of the best and safest ways to protect yourself and everyone around you. Learn how UniCare covers the vaccine and your vaccination, how health authorities are ensuring vaccine safety, and when the vaccine will be available.
1. UniCare members will receive the COVID-19 vaccination at no cost.
Members won't have out-of-pocket costs for the vaccine during this national public health emergency. This applies to all members, regardless of the type of health plan they have, or which doctor or healthcare professional they choose to visit for COVID-19 vaccination.
2. The FDA has approved the vaccine.
Researchers have studied vaccine reactions and potential side effects throughout the trials. The FDA and outside experts carefully reviewed all of the clinical trial data when weighing approval of the vaccine. The FDA, CDC, and vaccine manufacturers will continuously monitor vaccine safety and quality.
3. Distribution will take time.
The CDC has recommendations about how vaccines should be phased in for all populations, but each state will have the ability to make some decisions about the distribution of vaccines based on their own circumstances.
The CDC is working closely with state, tribal, local, and territorial health departments to make sure vaccines are available to communities once large supplies are available. Several vaccines are in development and it is likely more than one will be approved; however, they may get approved at different times. Widespread availability will also depend upon manufacturing capacity.
UniCare is committed to supporting you and your health. Stay up to date on the vaccine by checking back here on our website.
COVID-19 Vaccines FAQs
How will vaccines be distributed?
The CDC has recommendations about how vaccines should be phased in for all populations, but each state will have the ability to make some decisions about the distribution of vaccines based on their own circumstances. State health departments have their own information.
The CDC is working closely with state, tribal, local, and territorial health departments to make sure vaccines are available to communities once large supplies are available. Several vaccines are in development and it is likely more than one will be approved, however they may get approved at different times. Widespread availability will also depend upon manufacturing capacity.
How can I find a COVID-19 vaccine in my state?
Members can go to the CDC website and scroll down to the section titled, "What you can do right now" to find COVID-19 vaccines near them.
Will I have to pay for the vaccine?
No. Members won't have out-of-pocket costs for the vaccine during this national public health emergency. This applies to all members, regardless of the type of health plan they have, or which doctor or healthcare professional they choose to visit for COVID-19 vaccination.
How do I know the new COVID-19 vaccines are safe?
Government and private companies are working together to develop safe and effective vaccines. Researchers are using past research on similar viruses and combining resources to reduce the time it historically has taken to research, develop, and produce vaccines.
Many thousands of people of varying age, race, ethnicity, and different medical conditions have participated in the trials to see how effective and safe they are.
The FDA and outside experts carefully review all of the clinical trial data when weighing approval of any new drug or vaccine. When the FDA has approved a vaccine for emergency use, the FDA has determined that the benefits of a vaccine outweigh the risk.
Should I get the COVID-19 vaccine?
UniCare typically follows CDC recommendations for vaccinations. The CDC recommends that most people eventually become vaccinated. Illness from this virus can be severe in some people, leading to hospitalization and potentially, death.
A safe and effective vaccine may help to reduce the spread of the virus, help conserve healthcare resources and help a return to more normal day-to-day activities, including work and school. Many thousands of people of varying age, race, ethnicity, and different medical conditions have participated in the trials to see how effective and safe they are.
When the FDA has approved a vaccine for emergency use, the FDA has determined that the benefits of a vaccine outweigh the risk.
Can I get the vaccine if I already had COVID-19?
Yes, individuals can get the vaccine if they've already had the infection. Because some evidence suggests that people previously infected can be re-infected, they may benefit from vaccination. For this reason, vaccination should be offered to people regardless of history of prior symptomatic or asymptomatic COVID-19 infection.
Which retail pharmacies will have access to the vaccine?
Below is a list of retail pharmacies that have partnered with HHS (as of November 6) to provide access to vaccines. The list includes pharmacies across the nation, with approximately 60 percent of all US pharmacies to date.
- Albertsons Companies, Inc. (Osco, Jewel-Osco, Albertsons, Albertsons Market, Safeway, Tom Thumb, Star Market, Shaws, Haggen, Acme, Randalls, Carrs, Market Street, United, Vons, Pavilions, Amigos, Lucky's, Pak n Save, Sav-On)
- Costco Wholesale Corp.
- CPESN USA, LLC
- CVS Pharmacy, Inc. (Long's)
- Good Neighbor Pharmacy and AmerisourceBergen Drug Corporation's PSAO, Elevate Provider
- Health Mart Systems, Inc.
- H-E-B, LP
- Hy-Vee, Inc.
- LeaderNET and Medicine Shoppe, Cardinal Health's PSAOs
- Managed Health Care Associates (MHA)
- Meijer Inc.
- Publix Super Markets, Inc.
- Retail Business Services, LLC (Food Lion, Giant Food, The Giant Company, Hannaford Bros Co, Stop & Shop)
- Rite Aid Corp.
- The Kroger Co. (Kroger, Harris Teeter, Fred Meyer, Frys, Ralphs, King Soopers, Smiths, City Market, Dillons, Marianos, Pick-n-Save, Copps, Metro Market)
- Topco Associates, LLC (Big-Y Pharmacy and Wellness Center, Brookshire's Pharmacy, Super One Pharmacy, FRESH by Brookshire's Pharmacy, Coborn's Pharmacy, Cash Wise Pharmacy, MarketPlace Pharmacy, Hartig Drug Company, King Kullen, Food City Pharmacy, Ingles Pharmacy, Raley's, Bel Air, Nob Hill Pharmacies, Save Mart Pharmacies, Lucky Pharmacies, SpartanNash, Price Chopper, Market 32, Tops Friendly Markets, ShopRite, Wegmans, Weis Markets, Acme Fresh Markets)
- Walgreens (Duane Reade)
- Walmart, Inc. (Sam's Club)
- Winn-Dixie Stores Inc. (Winn-Dixie, Harveys, Fresco Y Mas)
Get COVID‑19 treatment at no cost +
We know these are challenging times, and want you to know that UniCare remains deeply committed to supporting you and the communities we serve as we join together to weather this health crisis.
A big part of our commitment to you includes making sure you won't have to worry about paying for treatment for this disease. As a result, you won't have to pay for COVID‑19 treatment from doctors, hospitals, and other health care professionals.
Your COVID‑19 testing is covered, too. You'll also pay nothing if you have a telehealth visit with a doctor.
We know you already have enough things to worry about these days. We want you to focus on your health and care for your loved ones instead. And if you need help, we're here for you. The following information explains how.
Get a COVID‑19 test at no cost. UniCare covers COVID‑19 testing and the care visit where the test takes place with no out-of-pocket costs. Find a COVID‑19 testing location near you by using the
test facility finder. At-home testing is also covered. But make sure you talk to a doctor first to be certain you need a COVID‑19 test. Testing is covered in the following circumstances:
- For all symptomatic individuals as identified by a health care provider, even those with mild symptoms
- For all individuals identified as a close contact of confirmed or clinically diagnosed COVID-19 cases by a local Board of Health, Department of Public Health, the Community Tracking Collaborative, or a health care provider
- For any individual upon admission to a health care facility, including but not limited to a hospital operated or licensed by the Department of Public Health or Mental Health, long-term acute care hospital, or skilled nursing facility
Get COVID‑19 treatment at no cost. If you're diagnosed as having COVID‑19, you won't have any out-of-pocket costs for COVID‑19 treatment from doctors, hospitals, and other health care professionals.
Use telehealth to help minimize your risk of COVID‑19 +
To help our members stay safe at home, UniCare is covering telehealth visits without any member costs for both medical and behavioral health care. Telehealth lets you see a doctor through live chat or video on your phone, tablet, or computer. Your doctor
may be able to see you using a telehealth option, or you can use LiveHealth Online.
Get the LiveHealth Online App
Stay informed about how your benefits will work — Medicare Extension members
Medicare covers "virtual check-ins" so you can connect with your doctor by phone or video, or even an online patient portal, to see whether you need
to come in for a visit. For more information, go to medicare.gov/medicare-coronavirus#400 and choose Telehealth and related services.
About coronavirus and COVID‑19
What is coronavirus and COVID‑19? +
Coronavirus is a type of virus that causes respiratory illness — an infection of the airways and lungs. COVID‑19
is a new strain of coronavirus. It's part of the same family of coronaviruses that includes the common cold.
What are the symptoms? +
Similar to a cold or the flu. Mild to severe fever, cough and shortness of breath. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after being exposed to the virus.
How does the virus spread? +
Right now, medical experts think that COVID‑19 spreads from person-to-person
through a cough, sneeze or kiss. However, since COVID‑19 is a new disease, scientists around the globe are racing to learn more about it.
Prevention and treatment
How can I help protect myself? +
The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to the virus that causes COVID‑19. Check the CDC website for up-to-date information.
If you're traveling, you'll want to visit the CDC travel page for their most current travel guidelines.
Good health habits can also help prevent and fight COVID‑19. You should:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- If soap and water aren't available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when sick. This includes staying home from work, school, errands, and travel for at least 24 hours after a fever is gone.
- Cover a cough or sneeze with a tissue, throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces like phones, keyboards, and doorknobs.
- Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, drink lots of fluids, and eat nutritious food.
What can I do to protect someone I am caring for? +
If you're caring for someone, be sure to take care to avoid causing any extra risk to you or them. Keep hand sanitizer by the door or wash your hands when you come in. Wash your hands thoroughly and use hand sanitizer before and
after touching or feeding someone, or touching any mobility devices or equipment.
What if I have symptoms? Should I see my doctor? +
Call your doctor right away if you've been around someone who has or may have COVID‑19 and you have a fever, cough or hard time breathing. Before visiting your doctor, we suggest that you call ahead. This will help the doctor's
office take steps to keep other people from getting infected or exposed.
UniCare is covering telehealth visits without any member costs. Telehealth lets you see a doctor through live chat or video on your phone, tablet, or computer. Your doctor may be able to see you using a telehealth option, or you
can use LiveHealth Online or another telehealth service.
Are there any prescription drugs that can be used to treat COVID‑19? +
No. Several recent media reports have focused on new and existing antiviral drugs being tested for use in treating COVID‑19. None of these drugs is approved for use with COVID‑19, and many are still being investigated.
We're monitoring developments in this area closely and will evaluate how benefits will cover treatments once treatments are approved.
Are there any vaccines available to prevent COVID‑19? +
Not yet. Several vaccines are being tested, but they're still in the very early stages of development. After that, they'll need to go through clinical trials to be sure they are both safe and effective before they'd be ready for
How will you ensure that the providers I use can still provide care? +
UniCare is committed to making sure you can get the care you need. We're working closely with doctors and other health care professionals to prepare for more calls and visits. If your doctor isn't available for some reason, we'll
help you find alternate care. Go to the Members page at unicarestateplan.com and choose Find a doctor, or call the Member Services number on your ID card.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) — People at Risk for Serious Illness from COVID‑19
U.S. Department of State China Travel Advisory
World Health Organization, Coronavirus
Administration for Community Living, Coronavirus
Workplace, School and Home Guidance