All Louisianians ages 12 and up are eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Get vaccinated as soon as you can to take your best shot at ending the pandemic and help build more immunity in our community.
Visit the Louisiana Department of Health website to see a current list of vaccine locations. Nonprofits and local organizations around the state are offering free rides to and from vaccine sites. If transportation is a challenge for you, call the statewide 211 network to ask about programs near you.
Things to Know About Getting Your COVID-19 Vaccine:
Get the vaccine that’s available to you soonest. There are three types of COVID-19 vaccines being given in Louisiana. The Pfizer vaccine is available to people ages 12 and older, and the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are available to people ages 18 and older. All three vaccines were reviewed under the same thorough, scientific process before the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized them to be given to patients. And, all three were found safe and effective at preventing deaths and severe outcomes from COVID-19. The main difference is the dose amount – Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two shots to get maximum protection, and the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is a single shot. Unless your healthcare provider has advised you to get a specific vaccine type because of age, allergies or other concerns, get whichever shot you can.
You must make an appointment for your vaccine unless told otherwise. You can find a list of COVID-19 vaccine sites on the Louisiana Department of Health website. If you go with a group to get vaccines, either to a mass vaccination site or carpooling to a drive-through site, every person who gets a vaccine must make his/her own appointment before arriving.
You will not pay anything out of pocket for the vaccine. Patients on individual and employer health insurance plans, Medicare and Medicaid can get any FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccine for $0. This no-cost coverage is included in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which also allows uninsured patients to get the vaccine for $0. Blue Cross will cover the vaccine’s administration without any member cost-share (deductible, copay or coinsurance) on most health plans. If you have questions about vaccine coverage on your health plan, contact Customer Service at the number on your member ID card.
It’s important to get information about COVID-19 and the vaccine from trustworthy sources. Do not just go by what you hear others talking about or see posted online. Some sources you can visit are:
Slow the Spread
Even as more people get vaccinated, Louisiana continues to see high numbers of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations reported. This includes cases of the more contagious virus variants appearing around the world. It’s important that we not let our guard down and continue to take strong precautions against getting or spreading COVID-19. Even if you have been vaccinated, keep in mind that many of the people you come into contact with may not have gotten their vaccines.
Medical experts advise that the vaccine provides longer and more effective protection than any natural immunity those who have had COVID-19 build up.
In addition to getting the vaccine as soon as you can, take these steps to prevent getting or spreading COVID-19:
We now consider COVID-19 not a temporary, but a long-term health problem we can expect to face for an unknown time. New advancements in treatment and prevention have caused health plans to end some temporary changes made early in this public health emergency and move back toward normal ways of covering care.
Starting Jan. 1, 2021, Blue Cross will no longer waive cost-sharing for COVID-19 associated medical treatment. This includes hospitalization and additional office visits, urgent care visits and emergency department visits beyond those where a COVID-19 test was ordered except as required by law.
This means members, who must get care related to a COVID-19 diagnosis, will be responsible for the normal cost-share (copay, deductible or coinsurance) that applies to their plans.
The waived cost-share for COVID-19 associated medical treatment applied to most members who buy their own healthcare coverage (individual members) and those who are members of fully insured groups.
If you are looking for COVID-19 testing, you can contact your healthcare provider to ask about which test you should have and where you can get one.
Hospitals, clinics, pharmacies and other facilities are offering free community testing for COVID-19 across the state. You can find out where and when testing is taking place by visiting the Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) Community Testing Centers page, where you can find testing locations by parish. Testing sites are usually open for only a few days at a time, so check the LDH’s COVID-19 Newsroom for the latest announcements. And, check community calendars on newspaper and local TV station websites to find out about testing in your area.
You can also call 211, text LACOVID to 898-211 or visit www.LA211Help.org to reach the statewide information network and ask for more information about COVID-19 testing.
Blue Cross will cover diagnostic viral detection and antibody COVID-19 testing with a healthcare provider’s order. You should talk to your healthcare provider about testing and what is best for you. Without a doctor’s order, you may have to pay out of pocket for the test.
Blue Cross will cover multiple tests for the same member, as long as the tests are diagnostic, ordered by a healthcare provider, and medically appropriate for the member. We generally do not cover tests without a network provider’s order. We do not cover patient-driven or elective tests. Home tests may be covered if they are ordered by a healthcare provider for a medical indication.
If you received a diagnostic or antibody COVID-19 test with a healthcare provider and paid that provider directly, you may submit the bill to Blue Cross for reimbursement. We will pay up to 100% of an in-network provider’s fee (allowable charge) for the test and evaluation. We will pay non-par and out-of-network testing as required by law.
If you get a COVID-19 test and the healthcare provider files it with a sick or regular visit, you may still have to pay a copayment or deductible for the visit.
Blue Cross is not covering tests done for public health surveillance, or tests required to return to work, recreational groups, camp, athletics or school. This was effective March 18, 2020, and is based on federal guidance from the departments of Labor, Health and Human Services and Treasury, as well as Louisiana state law.
When talk of a virus outbreak hits close to home, it’s normal to feel stressed about a potential pandemic and emerging health crisis. Try these tips if you are feeling overwhelmed or fearful about an outbreak. No matter how you're feeling, you can get help from New Directions, the independent company that provides behavioral health services to eligible Blue Cross members.
New Directions has opened up a crisis line to anyone who may need to discuss behavioral health issues related to COVID-19. Call 1-833-848-1764 to reach the New Directions Emotional Support Hotline. This is a free and confidential 24/7 helpline staffed by trained and caring professionals.
COVID Defense App
The state of Louisiana has an app that alerts you if you were in close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19. The app is available for Apple and Android devices.
Visit the Baton Rouge Health District’s COVID-19 vaccine site to get information from local health leaders. Use the digital toolbox to jazz up your vaccine social posts.
Vaccine Social Graphics