Medical Plan Coverage for COVID-19

As concerns over the spread of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) grow, we want to inform you of the steps Viva Health, Blue Cross Blue Shield and UAB have taken to remove barriers to appropriate testing and care effective through April 13, 2020. Unless specified, the following applies to all plans offered through UAB:

  • Testing: 100 percent coverage of FDA-approved lab testing from a participating/in-network lab as well as the Alabama Department of Public Health and at approved laboratory locations in accordance with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines on all plans. No deductible, co-payment, or co-insurance will apply to the lab test for any plan and prior authorization is not required. There will also be no cost-sharing for an in-network office visit, urgent care center visit, or emergency department visit related to COVID-19 testing.
  • Telehealth: Members can have telehealth visits from any location with any in-network provider who is providing medically appropriate covered services. Members will not have a co-payment for telehealth visits with their in-network provider. Co-pays associated with UAB’s eMedicine platform will also be waived. 
  • Treatment: If a member tests positive for the virus, treatment will be covered just as treatment for other illnesses is covered according to the terms and member cost sharing in your benefit plan. While the lab test and telehealth visits are covered at 100 percent as described above, applicable cost-sharing for treatment of COVID-19 in office visits, ER visits, urgent care visits and hospital admissions will apply as they do for other illnesses. 

2019 Flexible Spending Account Filing Deadline Extended

Employees who participated in a 2019 healthcare or dependent daycare flexible spending account will now have until April 30 to file any eligible 2019 claims. The deadline has been extended from March 31 in order to provide additional leeway due to the ongoing COVID-19 impact. Any 2019 claim must be filed by April 30 in order to be reimbursed. You may file your claims directly with Payflex online at If you have any questions, you may reach PayFlex direct at 1-844-PAYFLEX or the benefits department at

CARES Act to allow over-the-counter (OTC) drugs and medicines without prescription

As part of the CARES Act signed into law March 27, 2020, participants in the Health Savings Account (HSA) and Flexible Spending Account (FSA) can now purchase the following products:

  1. This law allows patients to use Health Savings Account (HSA), Heath Reimbursement Arrangements (HRA) and Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) funds to purchase over-the-counter (OTC) drugs and medicines, including those needed in quarantine and social distancing, without a prescription from a physician.
  2. This law also adds feminine hygiene products to the list of eligible over-the-counter items.

These OTC changes are effective for expenses incurred after December 31, 2019, and do not have an expiration date.

For members using their PayFlex debit card for newly eligible OTC items, the purchase is typically “verified as eligible or not” at the point of sale using Inventory Information Approval System (IIAS) when paying for eligible items at various locations or online. Given the new legislation, members should allow time for the debit card system to update. Updating the card system isn’t something PayFlex manages or has control over. If the PayFlex debit card doesn’t work at time of purchase, members can pay out of pocket and request reimbursement from their PayFlex account funds.

— Updated March 30, 2020