COVID-19 and Your Health Plan

COVID-19 and Your Health Plan

The Employees Retirement System of Texas is working with its health plan administrators, state leadership and other state agencies to closely monitor the impact of COVID-19 (coronavirus). Together, we can assist State of Texas employees and retirees and their families who may be affected by the virus. All Texas Employees Group Benefits Program (GBP) health plans are equipped to help participants understand, prevent and, if needed, treat the virus.

At this time, all GBP medical plans have no out-of-pocket costs for physician-ordered COVID-19 testing at in-network labs, for those who meet federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines. Your health plan also has trained staff who can answer questions about the virus and COVID-19.

To help avoid contracting the virus and prevent its spreading in your community, we encourage you to know and follow recommendations by the Texas Department of State Health Services and the CDC. Take common-sense measures like washing your hands frequently; covering coughs and sneezes with a single-use tissue or your elbow; avoiding touching your face; and keeping a comfortable distance from others when possible.

Virtual Visits and Telemedicine

If you think you have been exposed to coronavirus or have symptoms—fever, cough and shortness of breath—please talk with your health care provider about recommended testing and treatment.  Virtual visits allow you to see a licensed doctor through your smartphone or computer, with providers such as Doctor on Demand and MD Live.  Many GBP health plans offer virtual visits at no cost to participants or at a lower cost than a typical office visit.

Many health providers now offer (or may soon offer) telemedicine visits as an alternative to going to the doctor’s office.  A telemedicine visit is covered by your GBP health plan, and may be referred to as an e-visit, video visit or another name established by your health provider.  Your  health provider will initiate a telemedicine visit.

Find more information about virtual or telemedicine visits in your health plan below. The telemedicine cost is subject to change.

Emotional Support

The situation has many people feeling anxious and scared. As a GBP participant, you have the following emotional support and mental health benefits at this time.

  • Optum has opened its Emotional Support Help Line – staffed by mental health professionals – to anyone who may be experiencing fear or stress because of COVID-19. Call (866) 342-6892 (TTY: 711), free of charge, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This help line is available to anyone, so you can share it with family and friends. Caring professionals may also connect callers to additional resources. 
  • HealthSelect of Texas, HealthSelect Secondary, HealthSelect Out-of-State and Consumer Directed HealthSelect (administered by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas) provides you with options for mental health care through Magellan Health.  Magellan has opened its crisis help line at (800) 442-4093 (TTY: 711). Mental health virtual visits can also be scheduled with Doctor on Demand at the same out-of-pocket cost as an office visit. 
  • HealthSelect Medicare Advantage Plan preferred provider organization (administered by Humana) – Call (855) 377-0001 (TTY: 711) for more information on mental health benefits and providers. Prior authorizations may apply. 
  • KelseyCare Advantage Medicare health maintenance organization – Call (713) 442-2ERS (2377) or toll-free (877) 853-9075 (TTY: (866) 302-9336) for more information on mental health benefits and providers.
  • Scott and White Health Plan – Call (800) 321-7947 (TTY: 711) for more information on mental health benefits and providers. Prior authorizations and copays apply. 
  • Community First Health Plans – Call (210) 358-6100 (TTY: 711), log into the member portal or review the plan website and FAQs for more information.  
In addition to your health plan’s services, the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) is offering a statewide mental health support line to help Texans experiencing anxiety, stress or other emotional challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This resource offers support for all Texans and can be reached any time day or night at (833) 986-1919. 

Medical Plans

For information about your coverage and how to appropriately access covered health services, please contact your specific plan as shown below.

Prescription Drug Plans

All GBP prescription drug programs have taken action to ensure you have the support and resources you need. Early-fill programs are in place to help you at this time.

  • HealthSelectSM Prescription Drug Program (administered by OptumRx and serving HealthSelect of Texas, HealthSelect Out-of-State and Consumer Directed HealthSelect)
    • (855) 828-9834 (TTY:711)
    • www.optumrx.com/oe_ers/landing
    • You can request an early refill at the pharmacy (or through mail order) as long as you have refills available. 
  • HealthSelectSM Medicare Rx (administered by UnitedHealthcare and serving HealthSelect Medicare Advantage, HealthSelect Secondary and KelseyCare Advantage)
    • (877) 275-4377 (TTY:711)
    • www.uhcretiree.com/ers
    • An early refill of up to a 90-day supply of a prescription is available.
  • Scott and White Health Plan and Community First Health Plans have early-refill provisions upon request. Call the number on the back of your ID card for more information about these plans.