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California Health & Wellness Health Alerts

Coronavirus: Updates on What’s Covered & More

What is the coronavirus?

COVID-19 is a disease that affects breathing. It's caused by a new virus called a coronavirus, which can spread from person to person. People of all ages can get infected. Older adults and people with pre-existing medical conditions may be more likely to become gravely ill if infected. Medical conditions that include:

  • chronic obstructive pulmonary disease,
  • cancer,
  • obesity,
  • diabetes,
  • and heart disease.

The number of cases continue to increase throughout the nation and around the world.

Protect yourself and your community

We all have a role to play to help protect our families and community from the spread of COVID-19. You can follow these tips to prevent getting the virus:

  • Wear a mask.
  • Stay six feet apart from others.
  • Avoid crowds.
  • Wash your hands often – at least 20 seconds each time.
  • If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Get a flu vaccine.

What is the COVID-19 vaccine?

A COVID-19 vaccine helps give you the best chance of keeping yourself and your loved ones safe from getting COVID-19 symptoms. And, the vaccine will help keep you from getting COVID-linked health problems in the future.

Pfizer/BioNTech's and Moderna's COVID-19 vaccines are given in two doses with a few weeks between each shot. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine requires only a single dose.

After your first Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna shot, you will get a card that reminds you not to forget your second shot. It's important to get both doses of the same Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccine.

Updated 6/14/21: When can I get the vaccine?

Every Californian ages 12 and up are now eligible for vaccination. Visit Vaccinate All 58 for more information.

NOW VACCINATING

  • People 65 and older
  • Sector groups:
    • Health care workers
    • Long-term care residents
    • Education and childcare
    • Emergency services
    • Food and farming
    • People 16 and older at higher risk

STARTING APRIL 1, 2021

  • People 50 and older

STARTING APRIL 15, 2021

  • People 16 and older

STARTING MAY 10, 2021

  • People 12 and older

You can sign up at MyTurn or call (833) 422-4255 (Monday-Friday 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Saturday-Sunday 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.) to see if it's your turn to get the COVID-19 vaccine. If you are not listed to get the vaccine at this time, you can sign up to get an alert when it's your turn.

How can I protect myself and others from COVID-19 until a vaccine is available to me?

We all have a role to play to help keep our families and neighborhoods safe from the spread of COVID-19. Follow these tips to help prevent yourself and others from getting sick:

  • Wear a mask.
  • Stay six feet apart from others.
  • Avoid crowds.
  • Wash your hands often – at least 20 seconds each time.
  • If soap and water are not available, using a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Get a flu vaccine.

It is important to urge and help family members, most of all those living in the same household, to get vaccinated when they qualify.

A vaccinated person may still be able to spread the virus to others. This includes people in the household.

Updated 6/14/21: Where can I get the vaccine?

Some clinics and pharmacies may take walk-ins for a COVID-19 vaccine. Check these options to find a vaccination site when you are able to get the vaccine:

  • Contact your doctor or pharmacist.
  • Reach out to your county public health department.
  • Visit MyTurn or call (833) 422-4255 (Monday-Friday 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Saturday-Sunday 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.)
  • Check Vaccines.gov.

Is the vaccine safe?

The safety of the COVID-19 vaccine is the main focus! The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) takes care to review all safety data from clinical trials. They then approve emergency vaccine use only when the expected benefits outweigh potential risks. Scientists tested COVID-19 vaccines across many diverse backgrounds. This helped to ensure the vaccines meet safety standards.

Why was there a pause on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine?

After a brief pause, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gave the OK to resume the use of Johnson & Johnson's Janssen (J&J/Janssen) COVID-19 vaccine in the United States on April 23, 2021. What to know:

  • Blood clots were reported in 15 of 3.99 million women (3.8 per every million) who had received the J&J/Janssen vaccine. Nearly all reports of this adverse event have been in adult women younger than 50 years old.
  • A review of current data shows that the J&J/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine's known and potential benefits outweigh its known and potential risks.
  • The Emergency Use Authorization for the J&J/Janssen vaccine was changed to caution women under 50 years of age of this adverse event. Other COVID-19 vaccine options have not seen this adverse event.
  • Seek medical care right away if you noticed one or more of these symptoms three weeks after getting the J&J/Janssen vaccine:
    • severe or lasting headache
    • blurred vision
    • shortness of breath
    • chest pain
    • leg swelling
    • constant stomach pain
    • easy bruising or tiny blood spots under the skin beyond the injection site
  • CDC and FDA will keep tracking the safety of all COVID-19 vaccines.

For more information regarding the J&J/Janssen vaccine visit the CDC website.

J&J/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine Fact Sheets

How will safety be tracked once a COVID-19 vaccine is made available to the public?

After a vaccine is authorized for use through the EUA, scientists and health professionals will keep tracking its use. Health care providers are required to report certain adverse events after vaccination to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS). When you receive your vaccine, you will also receive an information sheet. The sheet lets you know how to enroll in a program called v-safe. V-safe allows you to report problems or adverse reactions you have after getting a COVID-19 vaccine. Your report will go to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Plus, the FDA and CDC will keep tracking the safety of COVID-19 vaccines. They want to make sure that even very rare side effects are found as early as can be.

Is there a way I can I track my COVID-19 vaccinations on my phone?

V-safe is a smartphone-based tool. It uses texts and web surveys to provide customized health check-ins after you receive a COVID-19 vaccination. Visit v-safe to register! Through v-safe, you can quickly tell the CDC if you have any side effects after getting your COVID-19 vaccine. As a result of how you answered, someone from the CDC may call to check on you and get more information. V-safe will also remind you to get your second COVID-19 vaccine dose if you need one.

Will there be any side effects when I get the vaccine?

You may have soreness, swelling and redness around the point of where the shot was given. You could also develop fatigue, headache, body aches, chills or fever. Some people have nausea, vomiting or diarrhea. These reactions are normal. The side effects occur as your body begins to build immunity to help fight off future COVID-19 exposures. It is important to know that you cannot get COVID-19 from the vaccine. The vaccines in use today and the others that are being made do not contain a live virus.

Will there be any long-term side effects from the COVID-19 vaccines?

COVID-19 vaccines are being tested in large clinical trials to assess their safety. But it does take time, and more people will need to get a vaccine before we learn about any rare or long-term side effects. That is why safety tracking will continue. The CDC has a separate group of experts that reviews all the safety data. And, they provide regular safety updates. If a safety issue is found, quick action will be taken to see if the issue is linked to the COVID-19 vaccine. Also, steps will be taken to plot the best course of action.

How effective is the COVID-19 vaccine?

All three vaccines have been proven to be highly effective in preventing hospital admission and death linked to COVID-19.

When will I be considered fully vaccinated?

People are considered fully vaccinated:

  • 2 weeks after their second dose in a 2-dose series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or
  • 2 weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as Johnson & Johnson's Janssen vaccine

If it has been less than 2 weeks since your 1-dose shot, or if you still need to get your second dose of a 2-dose vaccine, you are NOT fully protected. Keep taking all prevention steps until you are fully vaccinated.

Updated 6/14/21: What changes once I become fully vaccinated?

From now through June 15, 2021

In California, if you've been fully vaccinated:

  • You can spend time with other fully-vaccinated people. This includes being indoors without wearing masks or without being six feet apart from other people (outside a workplace setting).
  • You can spend time indoors with people from a single household who are not vaccinated, and who are at low risk for severe COVID-19 disease. You do not have to wear a mask or social distance.
  • You don't have to wear a face mask outdoors, except if you attend crowded outdoor events, such as:
    • Live concerts
    • Parades
    • Fairs
    • Sporting events
    • Other crowded settings
  • You don't have to quarantine. And, you don't have to test after having been exposed to someone you know has COVID-19, if you don't have the symptoms.

After June 15, 2021

The California Department of Public Health will shift to the newest CDC guidelines designed to restart the economy. If you are fully vaccinated, after June 15, 2021 you will be able to:

  • Resume doing most of the things you did before COVID-19.
  • Resume a normal lifestyle without having to wear a mask or social distance – except where required by law. You must also follow mask-wearing rules as required by local business and workplace guidance.
  • Travel within the United States without having to get tested before or after travel. You will not need to self-quarantine after travel.
  • If you've been around someone who has COVID-19, you do not need to stay away from others, or get tested, unless you have symptoms.
    • Do you live or work in a prison, detention center or a homeless shelter? If you are around someone who has COVID-19, you should still get tested, even if you don't have symptoms.

Added 6/14/21: What should I keep doing once fully vaccinated?

  • You will still need to follow guidance at your workplace and at local businesses.
  • If you travel, you should still take steps to protect yourself and others. You will still need to wear a mask on planes, buses, trains and other forms of public transportation. This is true when you travel into, within, or out of the United States. You will also need to wear a mask in U.S. transportation hubs such as airports and stations.
  • You should still watch out for symptoms of COVID-19 – even more if you've been around someone who is sick. If you have COVID-19 symptoms, you should get tested and stay home and away from others.
  • Talk to your doctor if you have a health condition. Or, if you or are taking medication that weakens your immune system. You may still need to be cautious to help prevent you from getting COVID-19.

What does the CDC currently know about COVID Vaccines and what are they continuing to learn?

  • We know that COVID-19 vaccines are effective at preventing COVID-19 disease, especially severe illness and death.
    • We're still learning how effective the vaccines are against variants of the virus that causes COVID-19. Early data show the vaccines may work against some variants but could be less effective against others.
  • We know that other prevention steps help stop the spread of COVID-19, and that these steps are still important, even as vaccines are being distributed.
    • We're still learning how well COVID-19 vaccines keep people from spreading the disease.
    • Early data show that the vaccines may help keep people from spreading COVID-19, but we are learning more as more people get vaccinated.
  • We're still learning how long COVID-19 vaccines can protect people.
  • As we know more, CDC will continue to update our recommendations for both vaccinated and unvaccinated people.

Until we know more about those questions, everyone — even people who've had their vaccines — should continue taking basic prevention steps when recommended.

Will getting all three types of vaccines offer me more protection?

There is no need to get a second type of COVID-19 vaccine after you are fully vaccinated with one of the available vaccines. Manufacturers are studying the length of the protection provided by vaccines and developing new vaccine versions that are more effective against emerging variants. In the future, we may have recommendations for booster doses of COVID-19 vaccines.

Does the COVID-19 vaccine protect against recent variants?

The vaccines appear to offer protection against most variants. To date the vaccines have been proven to be highly effective against the most common form of the virus.

Am I required to get my COVID-19 vaccine?

No. But getting your COVID-19 vaccine will give you the best chance to protect yourself and your loved ones from getting COVID-19 symptoms. It can also help prevent any COVID-19 health problems in the future.

Can I choose which COVID-19 vaccine to take?

All authorized COVID 19 vaccines are safe and effective. Due to short vaccine supplies, it is best to get the vaccine that is available to you. If the vaccine requires two doses, make sure that your second dose matches the vaccine you received during your first dose.

I already had COVID-19. Should I still get the vaccine?

Even if you have had COVID-19, you should still get the vaccine. There's a chance you can contract COVID-19 more than once, so getting the vaccine is a safe choice.

How long does the vaccine immunity (fighting the virus) last?

It takes time for the body to build immunity after any vaccination. The Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines require two doses. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine requires a single dose.

The Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines provide the best defense against the virus one-to-two weeks after the second dose. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine provides the best defense starting 28 days after vaccination. Getting a COVID-19 vaccine will offer natural immunity. But, as of now, scientists do not know how long this protection will last.

Will I test positive for COVID-19 after being vaccinated?

No. The vaccine will not cause you to test positive for COVID-19. It may cause you to test positive for antibody tests. This is because the vaccine helps build antibodies to the virus.

If I have a food or medication allergy, should I worry about an allergic reaction to the vaccine?

Having an allergy to food or medicines does not mean you are at a higher risk of having an allergic reaction to the COVID-19 vaccine. COVID-19 vaccines do not contain eggs, preservatives, or latex. Consult your doctor before getting a vaccine if you have severe allergies.

If you have been told to carry an epinephrine auto-injector for any reason, continue to do so – most of all when you get a vaccine. The CDC suggests that all who get a vaccine should be observed for a period of 15 minutes. This 15-minute period goes up to 30 minutes for those with a background of having allergic reactions.

Updated 6/14/21: Who should not get vaccinated?

There are a few groups should not get the vaccine. And, some others should consult with their doctor.

People who should not get the COVID-19 vaccine include:

  • Those younger than 12 years of age. The current vaccines were not studied or approved for use with children younger than 12 years of age.
  • People who are isolating from others because they were exposed to COVID-19. Or, people who have symptoms of COVID-19. These people can get a vaccine after they have finished isolating from other people, and their symptoms have gone down.

People who may get the COVID-19 vaccine, after weighing the risks and benefits, and talking with their doctor include:

  • People with a background of severe allergy to any vaccine or medication given by a shot. They can get any of the vaccines, but must be watched for 30 minutes after getting the shot.
  • People who are pregnant or breastfeeding may choose to be vaccinated against COVID-19. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists suggests that the COVID-19 vaccine should not be withheld from those who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • People with weakened immune systems. These people might be at increased risk for severe COVID-19. They may get a COVID-19 vaccine. But, they should be aware that data about the safety of COVID-19 vaccines for people who have weakened immune systems is not yet available.

Can pregnant or breastfeeding individuals get the vaccine?

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists suggests that the COVID-19 vaccine be offered to people who are pregnant or breastfeeding. It does not require people of childbearing age to have a pregnancy test before getting the vaccine. Please consult with your doctor to see if the COVID-19 vaccine is best for you.

Updated 6/14/21: Can my child get the vaccine?

As of right now, the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is suggested for people ages 12 and older. The Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are suggested for those ages 18 and older.

Added 6/14/21: Why does my child need a COVID-19 Vaccine?

Compared to adults, fewer children have been infected with COVID-19. But children can:

  • Be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19
  • Get sick from COVID-19
  • Spread COVID-19 to others

The CDC recommends everyone 12 years and older should get a COVID-19 vaccination to help protect against COVID-19.

COVID-19 vaccines help protect kids from getting COVID-19. Getting a COVID-19 vaccine will also help them from getting seriously ill even if they do get COVID-19.

Added 6/14/21: When should my child be vaccinated?

All kids who are 12 years and older should get a COVID-19 vaccine. If your preteen or teen hasn't gotten their vaccine yet, talk to their doctor about getting it as soon as possible.

Added 6/14/21: What should I expect before, during and after my child's COVID-19 vaccination?

  • Your child will need 2 shots given 3 weeks (21 days) apart to get the most protection.
  • Tell the doctor or nurse about any allergies your child may have.
  • Comfort your child during the appointment.
  • Your child should lie down in their chair when they get the vaccine and for 15 minutes after the vaccine is given. This helps prevent fainting and injuries if they faint.
  • After your child gets the vaccine, you will stay for 15 minutes. This is in case they have a severe allergic reaction and need prompt treatment.

Added 6/14/21: Will my child have side effects after they get the Covid-19 vaccine?

Your child may have some side effects. This is a normal sign that their body is building protection. These side effects may affect your child's ability to do daily activities. The side effects should go away in a few days. Some people have no side effects. Side effects from the second shot could be stronger than the ones your child had after their first shot.

Common side effects include:

  • Pain, redness or swelling on the arm where your child got the shot.
  • Tired
  • Headache
  • Muscle pain
  • Chills
  • Fever
  • Nausea

Contact your child's doctor or healthcare provider:

  • If the redness or tenderness where the shot was given gets worse after 24 hours.
  • If the side effects are worrying you or do not seem to be going away after a few days.

Added 6/14/21: Are COVID-19 vaccines safe for my child?

Yes. COVID-19 vaccinations provide safe and great protection against the virus that causes COVID-19. The COVID-19 vaccines have been under the most in-depth safety tracking in U.S. history.

The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is now available for everyone ages 12 and older. In a study performed on children ages 12 through 15, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was 100% effective at stopping COVID-19. Plus, children's immune systems had a response to the vaccine like those of older teens and young adults.

Children younger than 12 years of age should not get vaccinated. The current vaccines were not studied or approved for use with children younger than 12 years of age.

When I get the vaccine, can I stop wearing a mask or social distancing?

No. It will take time for your body to build immunity after the vaccine. To prevent yourself from getting sick it's important to:

  • Social distance
  • Wear a mask in public
  • Avoid crowds
  • Wash hands often – at least 20 seconds each time.

Can I get the COVID-19 vaccine at the same time as another vaccine?

No. The COVID-19 vaccine should be given 14 days before or after other vaccines. At this time there is limited information on the safety of getting other vaccines at the same time as the COVID-19 vaccine.

What if I got the first dose and do not want to get the second dose?

The Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna clinical trials were not designed to test the effect of a single dose. People involved in the studies all received two doses. It is best to get two doses to achieve the best result.

What if I missed my second dose?

If you miss your second dose appointment at 21 days (for Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine) or 28 days (for Moderna vaccine), it is OK. Those dates are the earliest you can get the second dose. It is important to get your second dose as close to those dates to get the full strength of the vaccine.

The second dose of Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines may be scheduled up to six weeks (42 days) after the first dose. There is a small amount of data on how well the vaccines work when given after that time.

What is Herd Immunity?

Herd Immunity is a term used to describe when enough people within a large group have protection—either from previous infection or vaccination. The desired result is that the disease spread slows and, in time, stops. Once achieved, everyone within that group is protected, even if some people don't have any protection themselves.

What is a COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card?

A COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card is a small and handy paper card that will be given to you when you receive your first COVID-19 vaccine. This will help you keep track of when you received your first Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson dose. And, when you should get your second dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccine. It's an easy way to help you keep track of your vaccines and show that you have been vaccinated, if needed.

I lost my COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card. What should I do now?

If the vaccine requires two doses, people should get the same vaccine for both doses in two different visits. Call the health center or provider you received your first dose from to ask about your vaccine information. Be sure to confirm your second appointment and the place to get it.

Updated 6/14/21: I am due for my second dose. Can I go to any provider?

The provider should have scheduled a second appointment with you at the same place when you received the first dose. But, you can get your second dose from another provider/place. You'll need to show your COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card so the provider knows what vaccine you have received.

Many counties and pharmacies no longer need appointments for a COVID-19 vaccine. Please check with your local health department or pharmacy to learn about walk-in vaccinations.

Updated 6/14/21: Do I have to pay for my vaccine? Or get prior approval?

No. The COVID-19 vaccine will be at no cost to you. You do not need to get a prior approval for your vaccine. You may be asked to provide your health insurance information for tracking data.

Many counties and pharmacies no longer need appointments for a COVID-19 vaccine. Please check with your local health department or pharmacy to learn about walk-in vaccinations.

Updated 6/14/21: Do I need a doctor's script or referral prior to getting my COVID-19 vaccine at a pharmacy?

  • No, you can get a COVID-19 vaccination without a doctor's script or referral at any pharmacy. Follow your health plan's guidelines for places to get other non-COVID-19 vaccines.
  • You can get vaccinated at any place. This includes mass vaccination centers, if/when they are open.
  • You can also get your second dose somewhere other than where you got your first dose, if needed. Make sure to bring your vaccination card with you to your second dose appointment.

Many counties and pharmacies no longer need appointments for a COVID-19 vaccine. Please check with your local health department or pharmacy to learn about walk-in vaccinations.

If I go the pharmacy, will the pharmacy bill the health plan or do I have to pay out of pocket and request to be paid back?

  • There is no cost to get the vaccine at a pharmacy.
  • The pharmacy will bill the vaccine administration fee straight to the health plan.
  • You may be asked to provide your health insurance information.

I am due for my second dose. I got my first dose from a provider who is not my PCP but I don't have their contact information. What do I do now?

The provider should have scheduled a second appointment with you at the same place when you received the first dose. But, you can get your second dose from another provider/place. You'll need to show your COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card so the provider knows what vaccine you have received.

Updated 6/14/21: When did the COVID-19 vaccine receive Emergency Use Authorization (EUA)?

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gave the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine EUA to prevent COVID-19 in ages 16 years and older on December 11, 2020. The Pfizer/BioNtech vaccine also got EUA for people aged 12 years or older on May 10, 2021. The Moderna COVID-19 vaccine was granted FDA EUA on December 18, 2020 for use in people 18 years of age and older. The Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine was granted FDA EUA approval on February 27, 2021 for use in people 18 years of age or older.

Updated 6/14/21: I am planning to travel outside the United States. How can I get the vaccine?

When it's your turn to get the vaccine, check these options to find where to get the vaccine:

  • Contact your doctor or pharmacist.
  • Reach out to your county public health department.
  • Visit MyTurn or call call (833) 422-4255 (Monday-Friday 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Saturday-Sunday 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.)
  • Check Vacciines.gov.

Are the COVID-19 vaccines developed using fetal cells?

The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines do not use any fetal cell cultures to make their vaccines. Moderna and Pfizer use synthetic matter to form mRNA. These vaccines DO NOT use any fetal cell cultures. The Johnson and Johnson vaccine required the use of a fetal cell culture singled out in 1985 in order to make the vaccine. The final vaccine DOES NOT contain any fetal cells.

How does the COVID-19 vaccine affect my mammogram?

The vaccines that prevent COVID-19 can cause swollen lymph nodes under the arm where the shot was given. Your lymph nodes are part of your body's germ-fighting immune system. The swelling in the lymph nodes is a sign that your body is building up defense against the virus.

Some doctors are concerned that having a mammogram soon after vaccination may cause unneeded worry about swollen lymph nodes. For that reason, some have suggested waiting four to six weeks after your final vaccine dose before having a mammogram. That way, any lymph node swelling caused by the vaccine has time to go away.

For patients who plan to schedule screening mammograms and vaccination appointments, think about booking screening exams before your first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. If you aren't able to do that, during your visit let your radiologist know when you received the vaccine, and in which arm.

Where may I receive COVID-19 testing/screenings/treatments under my plan coverage?

You can receive covered services when ordered, referred and/or performed in the In-Network places listed below:

  • Physician's/Practitioner's Office
  • Independent Laboratory/Diagnostic Facility
  • Urgent Care Center
  • Emergency Department

Services include:

  • Medically-required COVID-19 diagnostic testing.
  • Medical screenings and/or treatment.
  • Related doctor's visit.

Unsure if you have been exposed to or are at-risk of having COVID-19? Schedule a visit with a telehealth provider. It's a good option for non-urgent care.

What are the symptoms?

Some people can have COVID-19 and be contagious without showing symptoms. People with COVID-19 symptoms have mild to severe breathing problems. Other symptoms include:

  • fever or chills
  • cough
  • shortness of breath
  • fatigue
  • body aches
  • headache
  • new loss of taste or smell
  • sore throat
  • congestion or runny nose
  • nausea or vomiting
  • diarrhea

What else causes similar symptoms?

Influenza (the flu) is another illness that affects breathing. It's caused by flu viruses (Type A and Type B). The flu is highly active in the United States during the winter months. Everyone six months of age and older should get a flu vaccine.

I may have symptoms. What do I do?

If you have been exposed or begin showing symptoms of COVID-19 or the flu, contact your health care provider or health department right away.

Will I be charged for any out-of-pocket costs for COVID-19 testing and screening?

No. We will cover medically-required COVID-19 testing and medical screenings at no charge to you. We will do this when these services are ordered and/or referred by a licensed health care provider. If relevant, your plan will waive the costs for required COVID-19 diagnostic testing along with the doctor visit. This includes:

  • copayment
  • coinsurance
  • deductible cost-sharing

If I need treatment for COVID-19, is that covered by my plan?

Yes. Any medically-required treatment linked to COVID-19 would be a covered benefit for all Medi-Cal members.

We are committed to making sure you have access to COVID-19 treatment services per federal and state law.

Is prior approval needed for COVID-19 testing, screenings and/or treatment under my plan coverage?

No. We will not require prior approval, prior notice and/or step therapy rules for:

  • Medically-required COVID-19 diagnostic testing.
  • Medical screenings.
  • Treatment when ordered and/or referred by a licensed health care provider.

Will I be able to refill my prescriptions before the refill date?

Yes, you will be able to refill your prescriptions prior to the refill date.

California Health & Wellness teamed up with Babylon to offer access to telehealth care at no additional cost through the Babylon app. This service is for non-emergency medical and behavioral health issues when you can't see your normal doctor. Babylon medical appointments are available 24/7. Therapy and counseling appointments are available weekdays from 7:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m. (Pacific time). You can get medical advice, be diagnosed, or get an urgent prescription refill by video or phone. Get more information about Babylon and other health plan services.

Which transportation services are offered to help me get my COVID-19 vaccines?

  • Call ModivCare at 1-877-658-0305 to schedule a ride to and from the vaccine appointment.
  • You may be able to get transportation help by contacting United Way-211 to access local transportation resources. This may include the Lyft Vaccine Alliance Program.

Are there strategies for coping with the COVID-19 outbreak?

Worry and stress can rise about the spread of COVID-19. Concern for friends and family who live in places where COVID-19 cases are growing is natural. So is concern about the continued spread of the disease. Try these tips to help you cope:

  • Take care of your body. Take deep breaths, stretch or meditate.
  • Connect with others. Share your concerns and how you are feeling with a friend or family member. Maintain healthy relationships and a sense of hope and positive thinking.
  • Share the facts about COVID-19 and the real risk to others. People who have returned from places of ongoing spread for more than 14 days, and do not have symptoms of COVID-19, have a much lower chance of putting others at risk. Wearing masks, washing hands and social distancing help to keep the risk very low.

For more information, see the CDC's suggestions for mental health and coping during COVID-19.

Did you know you can get help paying your broadband internet costs?

The federal Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) is a program that can help pay for your broadband internet costs. It offers a short-term discount that will end later this year.

This discount for your monthly internet bills can help you stay linked to jobs, health care, online classrooms and more. Check this list of participating providers.

All Medi-Cal members qualify to receive the discount (one per household)

The benefits include:

  • Up to $50 per month to help cover internet costs.
  • A one-time discount of up to $100 for a laptop, tablet or desktop computer. Check this list of internet providers that offer connected devices in California.

Others who may qualify to get the discount

You can also qualify to get the discount if one person in your home meets any one of the following:

  • Have a loss of income from a job lost or furlough any time since February 29, 2020 and a total household income is less than $99,000 (single) or $198,000 (joint) a year.
  • Receive food help through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which used to be known as food stamps.
  • Receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments.
  • Receive Medicaid.
  • Receive Veterans Pension and Survivors Benefit.

To check the full list to see if you qualify, go to Get Emergency Broadband.

Apply soon while the funds are still available

The program will last until funding runs out. Or, it will last up to six months after the end of the COVID-19 pandemic. (It depends which comes sooner.) If you qualify to get a discount, you should apply online now through Get Emergency Broadband. You can also print out an application form and apply by mail. Send it to:

Emergency Broadband Support Center
P.O. Box 7081
London, Kentucky 40742

Questions?

Read more information about the EBB program. Find out what you need to do to apply at Get Emergency Broadband.