Monitoring Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Ohio
OhioHealthy is closely monitoring the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in the United States and its presence in Ohio. We have enacted our robust emergency management protocols and our dedicated team is on standby to monitor and follow COVID-19 closely.
What OhioHealthy benefits will cover
Effective immediately, OhioHealthy will waive out-of-pocket member costs associated with COVID-19 diagnostic testing. While the average person does not need to be tested for COVID-19, if your medical provider believes you are at risk, they will work with the appropriate local healthcare teams to determine if and where you need to be tested. OhioHealthy will also cover the COVID-19 vaccine and all member fees associated with telehealth visits. This includes virtual visits to your PCP, established specialists and telemedicine providers such as MDLIVE®.
What to do if you have symptoms
If you or your family members are experiencing symptoms and think you may have been exposed to COVID-19, please call your primary care physician.
COVID-19 Vaccine Information
What information is there about the COVID-19 vaccines?
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer Inc./BioNTech for individuals 16 years of age and older and a vaccine from Moderna for individuals 18 years of age and older. Each company has reported that their vaccines are roughly 95% effective in preventing symptomatic COVID-19 infections. Both vaccines will require two doses, the initial dose and a repeat vaccination three or four weeks later.
What side effects are associated with the vaccines?
So far, no serious side effects have been reported from the tens of thousands of people who have received the vaccines in clinical trials.
However, mild symptoms including muscle pain at the injection site, low-grade fever, and/or headache have been reported over the first few days after vaccination. Long-term side effects from vaccines are rare. Most side effects are expected to occur within the first six weeks of a vaccine. The clinical trials will follow vaccine participants for two years, which will give us more information about long-term side effects in the future.
You will not get COVID-19 from the vaccine. None of the vaccines currently in development use the live virus that caused COVID-19. Using new vaccine technology (mRNA), the COVID-19 vaccine will teach our own immune system to recognize and fight off the virus that causes COVID-19, protecting ourselves from sickness.
How will OhioHealthy cover vaccinations?
Both COVID-19 vaccine doses will be free for members. There is a significant effort to ensure the COVID-19 vaccine is distributed equitably throughout all communities and those at the highest risk will have the opportunity to receive a vaccine.
Who will receive the COVID-19 vaccine and when?
Because initial supplies of the COVID-19 vaccine will be limited, the Ohio Department of Health plans to distribute the vaccine in phases. In the early vaccination phase, the supply will be limited. The speed at which Ohio will move through the phases is largely dependent upon the number of vaccine doses available.
- Phase 1: Supply Limited - Vaccine is available in limited supply for specific critical populations. Ohio will focus on vaccinating those most at risk, as well as essential healthcare workers and personnel caring for COVID-19 patients. Vaccines will not yet be available for all Ohioans.
- Phase 2: Supply Increasing - Vaccine is increasing and available for other specific critical populations who choose to be vaccinated. Vaccines will not yet be available for all Ohioans.
- Phases 3-4: Widely Available - Once the vaccine is widely available, Ohio will continue to strategically vaccinate Ohioans if they choose. During these phases, vaccines will begin to be available to all Ohioans.
For more information, please visit the coronavirus site from the Ohio Department of Health.
Where can I learn more information about the COVID-19 vaccine?
OhioHealthy is actively monitoring the situation and will provide more detailed information as it becomes available. You may also visit the Ohio Department of Health and CDC websites for more information, or check for updates on OhioHealth.
Additional COVID-19 Information
What is the novel coronavirus (COVID-19)?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the novel coronavirus is a new coronavirus that has not been previously identified. COVID-19 symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus.
What are the symptoms?
Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms or combinations of symptoms may have COVID-19:
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
Is there anything I can do to prevent the spread of the virus?
The best way to prevent the illness is to avoid exposure:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
- Cover your cough and sneeze with a tissue, which you should discard in the trash.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Use an approved telehealth option or see your doctor if you think you are ill. Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
What should I do if I think I or a family member is infected?
If you are experiencing symptoms and think you have been exposed to COVID-19, the health plan has resources in place to help answer questions and assess your medical condition.
- Primary care physician – call by phone before going in
This should be your first point of contact if you have a PCP who you regularly see.
- OhioHealthy Nurse Hotline – 1 (844) 834.4375
This is a free service to health plan members and is available 24/7.
- MDLIVE® – 1 (888) 912.1987
- Primary care physician – call by phone before going in
What will OhioHealthy cover during the COVID-19 public health emergency?
In order to help remove barriers to care and provide safe options for our members, OhioHealthy will cover the following in full:
- All member fees associated with telehealth visits. This includes virtual visits to your PCP, established specialists and telemedicine providers such as MDLIVE®.
- Out-of-pocket member costs associated with COVID-19 diagnostic testing at any in-network lab locations for all members. This includes testing that is required by an employer as a condition of employment.
- COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccine is considered a preventive benefit under the Affordable Care Act, and therefore will be covered in full for all members.
If a member chooses an out-of-network provider, the existing out-of-network benefits and costs will remain in place.
Does the handling of the COVID-19 virus screening affect my Health Savings Account (HSA) eligibility?
OhioHealthy is handling the COVID-19 testing as a preventive care for infectious diseases screening. The IRS Code provides a safe harbor that lets HSA-qualified high deductible health plans (HDHPs) waive deductibles for preventive care benefits without jeopardizing a participant’s HSA-eligibility. OhioHealthy and its partners are actively working with the government on clarity of any potential impact to members’ health plans and HSA eligibility.
Where can I get more information or updates about COVID-19?