ocultar mi visita

Health Care and Public Benefits During COVID-19

×

Status message

Actualmente, este contenido solo está disponible en inglés. Estamos trabajando en traducirlo, así que vuelva pronto para ver si ya esté disponible en español. Si necesita ayuda antes de que se traduzca, consulte nuestra Buscador de Ayuda Legal para encontrar una organización que pueda ayudarle.

The COVID-19 pandemic is worsening health outcomes and leading to more people applying for governmental assistance. As urgent health needs rise during this crisis, this page provides information on navigating health resources and public benefits during this time.

 

Resources for uninsured Texans needing help with COVID-19 testing or treatment

For information regarding health resources (community health initiatives, the Health Insurance Marketplace, COBRA, etc.) for uninsured Texans needing help with COVID-19 testing or treatment, read Health Resources for Uninsured Texans (COVID-19).

Texas RioGrande Legal Aid has also published a FAQ on COVID-19 testing in Texas

The State of Texas has a new interactive map of all the locations in Texas where you can get a COVID-19 test. It even allows you to search for testing sites by zip code. The map provides contact and other basic information for each testing site, including the type of testing offered. 

Every Texan (formerly the Center for Public Policy Priorities - CPPP) has put together a new resource to help Texans understand their health insurance coverage options, whether or not you just lost a job.

TDI has tips on how to avoid extra COVID-19 testing charges here.

 

Private Health Insurance

On March 27, 2020, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) was signed into law. The CARES Act modifies and expands the provisions of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (the FFCRA) requiring employer-sponsored group health plans (both fully insured and self-funded) to provide cost-free coverage of COVID-19 testing and related items and services.

Expansion of Coverage for COVID-19 Testing

The FFCRA introduced the requirement that group health plans must provide coverage for Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved COVID-19 testing without imposing any cost sharing (including deductibles, copayments and coinsurance).

Coverage of COVID-19 Vaccines and Preventive Services

The CARES Act requires group health plans to provide cost-free coverage of any "qualifying coronavirus preventive service," which is defined as including any item, service or immunization intended to prevent or mitigate COVID-19 .

 

These health insurers and health maintenance organizations are waiving consumer costs for medically-necessary testing of COVID-19. Many also are offering telemedicine at no cost to consumers. Check their websites for more information. Read here for information regarding copays, refills, or your care options.

The Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) has also announced emergency rule to make it easier for Texans with TDI-regulated health insurance to get early refills and to get prescriptions at more locations, including by home delivery. This rule has been extended through September 12. The emergency rule doesn’t apply to self-insured employer plans, Medicare, workers’ compensation, or the state’s employee or teacher retirement plans. The temporary emergency rule requires health plans regulated by TDI to:

  • Pay for a 90-day refill of covered medications regardless of when the prescription was last refilled, unless specifically prohibited by law as in the case of controlled substances.

  • Allow prescriptions to be filled at out-of-network pharmacies at no additional cost to the consumer if the drug isn’t available quickly through mail order or at an in-network pharmacy within 30 miles.

  • Allow for substitutions if the plan’s preferred drug isn’t available due to shortages or distribution issues.

  • Waive any requirement for a consumer’s signature unless specifically required by law.

 

Beneficios Públicos

Debido a COVID-19, los beneficiarios de SNAP (estampillas de alimentos) y Medicaid recibirán sus beneficios renovados automáticamente. Texas también permite que los hogares soliciten SNAP sin necesidad de completar una entrevista, siempre que verifiquen sus identidades. No es necesaria ninguna otra acción, y los beneficiarios serán notificados por correo cuando sea el momento de renovar sus beneficios. El Estado también fomenta las solicitudes en línea.

 

  • Para solicitar SNAP, TANF y Medicaid, vaya a YourTexasBenefits.com y haga clic en Aplicar. También puede presentar una solicitud por teléfono llamando al 2-1-1 (después de seleccionar su idioma, elija la Opción 2. HHS ha creado un FAQ (preguntas frecuentes) de COVID-19 para las personas que reciben SNAP, TANF o Medicaid y puede leerlo aquí.                                            
  • Texas WIC ha agregado temporalmente más opciones de leche, pan, arroz, pasta y huevos que puede comprar en el supermerado. Lea más aquí.                                                                   
  • Beneficios de Emergencia SNAP. El HHS recibió la aprobación federal para proporcionar la cantidad máxima y permitida de beneficios de SNAP a los beneficiarios basado en el tamaño de la familia. Los beneficios de emergencia están actualmente autorizados para los meses de abril y mayo y afectarán a todos los destinatarios de SNAP en el estado de Texas. Los beneficiarios de SNAP verán la cantidad adicional en su tarjeta Lone Star para el 15 de abril para los beneficios de este mes, y para el 15 de mayo para los beneficios del próximo mes. Los desembolsos serán escalonados y comenzarán el 9 de abril. Los beneficiarios de SNAP no necesitan tomar ninguna medida adicional para obtener los beneficios adicionales.   

  •  La Administración del Seguro Social (SSA) ha realizado cambios significativos en sus operaciones y políticas. A medida que la situación de salud pública de COVID-19 se desarrolla rápidamente, estas políticas pueden cambiar. Ver Administración del Seguro Social y COVID-19. Texas RioGrande Legal Aid también ha creado estas preguntas frecuentes sobre los cambios de la Seguridad Social.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              

  • Este artículo de TexasLawHelp tiene más información sobre los beneficios públicos en general.                                                                                                                                              
  • Legal Aid of NorthWest Texas ha creado esta presentación sobre beneficios públicos durante esta pandemia.                                                                                                     
  • Lone Star Legal Aid ha escrito esta información sobre los beneficios adicionales de SNAP (estampillas de alimentos) durante COVID-19.                                                                               
  • La Administración del Seguro Social (SSA) ha realizado cambios significativos en sus operaciones y políticas. A medida que la situación de salud pública de COVID-19 se desarrolla rápidamente, estas políticas pueden cambiar. Ver Administración del Seguro Social y COVID-19. Texas RioGrande Legal Aid también ha creado estas preguntas frecuentes sobre los cambios de la Seguridad Social.

 

 

Medicare Coverage

  • Medicare Part B covers diagnostic testing, and this will extend to Medicare coverage for lab tests for COVID-19. You will pay no out-of-pocket costs (no deductible, coinsurance or copayment). Tests ordered by your doctor or other healthcare provider and done on or after February 4, 2020 will be covered by Medicare.  This applies to both Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage Plans.However, your provider may need to wait until April 1, 2020, to submit the claim to Medicare. More information here.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

  • Medicare has temporarily expanded its coverge of telehealth services. Many of the prior restrictions on telehealth services have been lifted andMedicare beneficiaries are now able to access a range of services via telehealth, minimizing the need to travel to a provider’s physical office location. Visits after March 6th, 2020, are covered under this emergency order. Read more here.                                                                                                                                                                                                          

  • Medicare beneficiaries are encouraged to use YourTexasBenefits.com or their mobile app to apply for benefits during this time.                                                                    

  • Medicare Fraud and Scams. In light of COVID-19 , many scammers have been playing on the fears of Medicare beneficiaries. Notable scams include requesting a beneficiary’s Medicare card and other information in order to send masks, gowns, and other supplies. You can find more information by the Texas Senior Medicare Patrol here.                           

 

Medicaid and CHIP

  • Medicaid and CHIP will cover COVID-19 testing for Medicaid or CHIP clients. Your healthcare provider will work with local public health officials to determine if you should be tested for COVID-19.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    
  • No prior authorization is required for the COVID-19 lab test by Medicaid and CHIP health plans, or by traditional Medicaid.                                                                                
  • To help families access care during the COVID-19 response, HHSC is waiving office visit co-payments for all CHIP members for services provided from March 13, 2020 through April 30, 2020.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     
  • Co-payments are not required for covered services delivered via telemedicine or telehealth to CHIP members.                                                                                             
  • Disability Rights Texas has created the following publication tracking Medicaid changes in Texas during this crisis. You can read it here. 

How does the public charge rule and accessing health services affect my immigration status?

Under the law, everyone is eligible for testing and treatment of communicable diseases, including coronavirus. This includes people without legal immigration status. Vaccines for communicable diseases are also available to everyone. This is true no matter your immigration status. If a vaccine is developed for coronavirus, you and your family members should be able to get it, even if you don't have legal immigration status. For more information on this, read Immigrant Rights and Healthcare Access during COVID-19. Read here for information on the public charge rule. 

For more COVID-19 resources for immigrants, see Resource for Immigrants during COVID-19.

 

Nursing Homes

For information on how nursing facilities have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, see Nursing Homes and COVID-19.

 

Mental Health Resources

Texas Health and Human Services has launched a 24/7 statewide mental health support line to help Texans experiencing anxiety, stress or emotional challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This new resource offers COVID-19-related mental health support for all Texans. People can call the Statewide COVID-19 Mental Health Support Line 24 hours a day, 7 days a week toll-free at 833-986-1919. 

If you need help, reach out. Check with your health plan to find out what options are available. Many plans have special hotlines or cover mental health visits through telemedicine. Texas Department of Insurance has more information here.

 Other resources include:

  • The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has information on taking care of your emotional health.
  • NAMI Texas: 512-693-2000
  • The national Disaster Distress Helpline is available at 800-985-5990
  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's National Helpline: 800-662-4357
  • Suicide Prevention Line: 800-784-2433
  • 2-1-1 Texas can direct you to local mental health resources.
  • Mental Health America has compiled a range of mental health resources and information here.
  • PsychHub has a COVID-19 Mental Health Resource Hub here.
  • A new website from the Pandemic Crisis Services Response Coalition aims to help people find the mental and emotional services they need. It’s a database — searchable by state, contact method, type of support needed and other categories. The website also offers help in finding services that help with anxiety, substance abuse, domestic violence and abuse, depression and more.

For more information on mental health resources, find your local mental health authority here.