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Coronavirus (COVID-19) updates and resources

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Last updated: June 5, 2020

Coronavirus (COVID-19) has impacted all of us. We want to make sure you have the latest information about your benefits, how to get the care you need, and how to find local help and resources.

Focusing on your health

These temporary changes have been put in place to make it easier for you to focus on your health and those you care about.

If you are a Medicaid, Child Health Plus, Health and Recovery Plan, or Essential Plan member and are due to renew your coverage between March 18, 2020 and October 31, 2020, the state will automatically extend your benefits for one year. For example, if you were due to renew your coverage on July 20, 2020, you don’t need to renew until July 20, 2021. 

Questions? Please call our Retention team at 888-809-8009 (TTY 711), option 2 Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Eastern time. 

Do you pay the full premium for your Child Health Plus (CHPlus) plan? If so, you may have more time to pay your premiums. To learn more and find out about your payment options, call 1-855-554-7194 (TTY 711), option 1, Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., and on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Eastern time.

If you have any questions about your benefits, we’re here for you. Call Member Services at 1-800-300-8181 (TTY 711) Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern time, or log in to your account to send us a secure message.

Getting the care you need

See a doctor without leaving home

Telehealth is a doctor visit through video chat or over the phone. It allows you to take care of your health while keeping you and others safe. Your plan will pay for telehealth visits with your doctor. Can’t reach your doctor? Call our 24/7 NurseLine 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at the number on your ID card.

Sydney Care


Sydney Care

The Sydney Care mobile app helps you quickly see your potential risk for COVID-19. You can also use the app to set up a telehealth visit through LiveHealth Online.

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LiveHealth Online

With LiveHealth Online, you can video chat with a doctor 24/7 from your smartphone, tablet or computer at no cost to you. It’s an easy way to get care for you or your family anytime of the day or night without leaving home.

Start using LiveHealth Online
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Find a COVID-19 test site

Use this tool to quickly locate testing sites near you. Just enter your state and county.

Find a COVID-19 Test Facility


Take care of your mental health

You might be feeling anxious or stressed with all of the information about coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Taking care of your mental health is more important than ever.


myStrength

myStrength is an online tool that can help you lower your stress and improve your mental health. As an Empire member, you can use this tool at no cost to you.

Go to myStrength
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Psych Hub

Psych Hub offers free online resources and videos to help you manage stress, talk to children about coronavirus disease 2019, cope with job loss and other COVID-19 challenges.

Go to Psych Hub

Finding resources you may need

Mother and child

Free smartphone from SafeLink Wireless®

SafeLink offers free smartphones with data, texts and minutes to those who qualify. Use your phone to keep up with important information, use telehealth services, and stay in touch with family and friends.

Go to SafeLink

Learn more about COVID-19

Coronavirus food delivery

An airway and lung infection, similar to a cold.

Similar to a cold or the flu. Mild to severe fever, cough and shortness of breath. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after being around someone who has COVID-19.

The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to the virus. Check the CDC website at cdc.gov/coronavirus for up-to-date information. If you are traveling, visit cdc.gov for the CDC’s most current travel guidelines.

Good health habits can also help prevent and fight COVID-19. Here are some tips:

  • Washing your hands is the best way to avoid getting sick:
    • Wash often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
    • If you can’t use soap and water, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Clean and disinfect items and surfaces you touch often with regular household cleaning spray or a wipe.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, and throw away the tissue.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Avoid touching your face.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

Older adults, people with disabilities, and people with diabetes or who have severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung, or kidney disease seem to be at higher risk for more serious COVID-19 illness. We will support you and help you get the care you need.

If you’re caring for someone, be sure visitors take care to avoid causing any extra risk to you or them — keep hand sanitizer by the door, or ask visitors to wash their hands. Wash your hands thoroughly and use hand sanitizer before and after touching or feeding someone, or touching any mobility devices or equipment.

If you live in New York, you’re required to wear a face mask in public.

Here’s what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says about wearing a face mask.

Call your doctor if you develop a fever, have a cough or have difficulty breathing. Tell them if you’ve been in close contact with a person who has COVID-19, or if you live in or have been to an area where the virus has spread.

Your plan will pay for telehealth visits with your doctor.

Can’t reach your doctor? Call our 24/7 NurseLine 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at the number on your ID card.

You can also see a doctor from your smartphone with LiveHealth Online.

If you have a Medicaid plan with us, you do not have to pay anything for the COVID-19 test or the doctor visit to get the test. The visit and test are covered whether you get care in a doctor’s office, urgent care center or emergency department.

No, prior authorization is not required for COVID-19 testing.

You should try to see your PCP or a doctor in your plan. If your doctor offers telehealth visits, your plan will pay for those, too.

You can also see a doctor from your smartphone or tablet through LiveHealth Online.

We will pay for care you get from doctors outside your plan (called “out of network”) as long as the services are medically needed.

No. If you have Medicaid from us, your plan covers sick visits and tests.

Do you have medicines you take regularly? Call the Pharmacy Member Services number on your ID card to find out about your options.

Your health is important. Don’t stop taking your medicines as prescribed, and get your refills on time.