Information on preparations for the Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Updated: July 1, 2020

As the illness caused by the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, continues to spread, many are concerned about the possible impacts to themselves and their families. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida is closely monitoring the situation and has prepared contingency plans to ensure business operations continue to run smoothly in the event of a widespread outbreak.

These plans include:

  • Continuing to process claims electronically. (Please note that 99% of claims are processed electronically, so we do not anticipate any disruption to claims processing.)
  • Heavily utilizing telework to maintain staffing of critical business areas. We expanded our telework capabilities, and currently have almost 100% of the workforce working from home.

Effective March 15, 2020:

  • Families First Act, as amended by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act
    • As a result of the Families First Act, as amended by the CARES Act, both in-network and out-of-network diagnostic tests for COVID-19 and the related in-person or telehealth visit, emergency room visit, or urgent care visit must be covered at 100% with no member cost sharing. The benefits provided in the Families First Act/CARES Act are effective during the declared public emergency.

Extended timeframes for COBRA, HIPAA, Claims and Appeals during the national emergency:

On April 28, 2020, the DOL and the IRS issued a joint notice to extend the following in timeframes applicable to group health plans during the COVID-19 Outbreak Period. For purposes of this joint notice, the COVID-19 Outbreak Period is defined as the period from March 1, 2020, through the date that is 60 days after the end of the COVID-19 national emergency, or another date announced jointly by the DOL/IRS Agencies as the “Outbreak Period.” Group health plans must disregard this Outbreak Period when calculating deadlines for members to exercise the following rights:

  • 30-day period (or 60-day period in certain circumstances) for an individual to request enrollment in a group health plan due to a HIPAA special enrollment event;
  • 60-day period for a qualified beneficiary to elect COBRA continuation coverage;
  • 30-day grace period for a qualified beneficiary to pay COBRA premiums;
  • 45-day period from election of COBRA continuation coverage to the date the first payment may be due;
  • Deadline by which a group health plan must provide a COBRA election notice to qualified beneficiaries;
  • Period within which a claimant may request an external review of a denied appeal; and
  • Date by which a claimant may file information to perfect a request for external review.
  • Period during which claimants may file a benefit claim under the plan’s claims procedure; and
  • Period within which claimants may file an appeal of a claim denial.

Please be assured that Blue Cross will continue to meet the needs of groups, members and providers, even in the case of sustained spread of COVID-19 in the U.S. If you have questions, please contact your Account Consultant or Enrollment Services Representative. For additional Blue Cross information, please visit

To keep current on the latest COVID-19 developments, please visit the CDC’s website.