Dr. Paul D. Hain is Chief Medical Officer and Divisional Senior Vice President of Market Delivery for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas. He works to strategically align the organization’s voice around policy development and Texas Medicaid and Medicare, leads Texas Health Care Management teams, and supports sales and account management, network, and plan performance efforts.
This Q&A is part of an ongoing series of DRC interviews with representatives from our member organizations about how they are facing the COVID-19 pandemic.
Q: Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas (BCBSTX) moved quickly to waive member copays and deductibles for COVID-19 tests in early March, well before this crisis took hold across the state. What went into that decision, the COVID-19-related changes you’ve made since then, and the thinking behind each move?
A: All of us are being challenged by this unprecedented global pandemic. Our focus from the start has been making sure our members have access to the care they need. We have monitored on a daily, sometimes hourly basis, the evolving dynamics of the virus to understand how it is impacting our members and Texas communities.
We started by expanding coverage for medical and behavioral health telemedicine and telehealth visits so our members could visit the doctor without fear of exposure to the virus. We’re also providing easier access to care related to COVID-19. Members can receive medically necessary COVID-19 testing at no cost, and our insured members won’t pay coinsurance, copays, or deductibles for COVID-19 treatment at in-network facilities or for out-of-network emergency care. We’re also making a special enrollment period available for our insured group customers so that people can have an opportunity to get coverage for their health care needs in this time of uncertainty.
Our members can keep up to date with all of our policy adjustments on our website at BCBSTX.com/covid-19.
Q: More broadly, how has the COVID-19 crisis impacted BCBSTX both on the customer/patient side and for your employee operations?
A: Our top priority is the health, safety, and well-being of our members, customers, staff, and the communities we serve. I was incredibly proud to see how our staff stepped up, quickly solved problems, and moved an impressive number of people to work from home over a matter of days. And for the most part, that transition was seamless. We’re committed to keeping our customers and members informed about COVID-19 and providing access to the care and coverage they need during this evolving health issue. It’s a fluid situation, so we’ll continue to share new developments regularly.
Q: This is an unprecedented crisis for the health care industry. What is the most important thing for those insured through BCBSTX to understand as we all work through these unfolding challenges together?
A: We’re here for you. Standing with our members in sickness and in health is more than a tagline – it’s our purpose. From the onset of this pandemic, we’ve been working with leaders in the health care industry, business, and government to do our part to help contain and abate COVID-19. We’ll continue to work together with providers, community partners, employers, elected officials, and others to help Texans get through this public health crisis. In these critical times, we need to stand together to meet the needs of Texans and their families.