Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19)

Updated 5/11/2023

LSU First is closely monitoring all developments of coronavirus (COVID-19) and how it impacts its members. LSU First follows the recommendations of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), federal and state recommendations regarding COVID-19.

What are the symptoms of the COVID-19?

People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. Anyone can have mild to severe symptoms.

Possible symptoms include:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

This list does not include all possible symptoms. CDC will continue to update this list as we learn more about COVID-19. Older adults and people who have underlying medical conditions like heart or lung disease or diabetes are at higher risk for getting very sick from COVID-19.

How can I protect myself from COVID-19?

In addition to basic health and hygiene practices, like handwashing, CDC recommends some prevention actions at all COVID-19 Community Levels, which include:

  • Staying Up to Date with COVID-19 Vaccines
  • Improving Ventilation
  • Getting Tested for COVID-19 If Needed
  • Following Recommendations for What to Do If You Have Been Exposed
  • Staying Home If You Have Suspected or Confirmed COVID-19
  • Seeking Treatment If You Have COVID-19 and Are at High Risk of Getting Very Sick
  • Avoiding Contact with People Who Have Suspected or Confirmed COVID-19

How is LSU First helping?

The COVID-19 Public Health Emergency and National Emergency ended on May 11, 2023. These emergency declarations required LSU First and other group health plans to provide access to COVID-19 vaccinations and testing services, including over-the-counter (OTC) tests, with no cost sharing. The end of the emergencies means changes to certain policies established during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Beginning May 12, 2023, LSU First will provide the following coverage for COVID-19 related prevention, testing, and treatment.

COVID-19 vaccines ─ The Plan will cover CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommendations and guidelines for COVID-19 vaccine and booster serum as preventive benefits at zero-dollar cost share, when in-network.

Over-the-Counter (OTC) tests ─ The Plan will not provide medical or pharmacy coverage of OTC COVID-19 tests for dates of service starting after May 11, 2023, unless mandated by state regulatory requirements. Members may use Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA), if applicable, to purchase OTC tests.

COVID-19 lab-based testing ─ The Plan will cover FDA approved and authorized physician or health care provider ordered COVID-19 lab tests in accordance with LSU First health plan benefits.

COVID-19 treatment ─ The Plan will cover FDA approved or authorized COVID-19 treatments, including Paxlovid and molnupiravir (Lagevrio), in accordance with LSU First health plan benefits.

Testing

Waive member cost sharing, including HRA, deductible, and coinsurance, for COVID-19 diagnostic testing at physician offices in accordance with CDC guidelines

Over-the-Counter Testing

On December 2, 2021, the Biden Administration announced that under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) COVID-19 over-the-counter (OTC) home diagnostic tests will be available to individuals at no cost or through reimbursement from group health plans effective January 15, 2022. Group health plans must cover up to eight (8) FDA-authorized tests per member per 30 days with no costs to the member. 

Members may submit a direct member reimbursement claim form to MedImpact for tests purchased on or after January 15, 2022. Tests must have an FDA Emergency Use Authorization. Tests are not eligible for reimbursement for employment or travel purposes. Reimbursement requests must include itemized receipts. 

Vaccines

COVID-19 vaccines available in the United States are effective at protecting people from getting seriously ill, being hospitalized, and dying. As with other diseases, you are protected best from COVID-19 when you stay up to date with the recommended vaccines, including recommended boosters. The CDC recommends everyone stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccinations, including all primary series doses and boosters for their age group:

  • Ages 6 months through 4 years should get all COVID-19 primary series doses,
  • Ages 5 years and older should get all primary series doses, and updated COVID-19 boosters if eligible.

In-Network vaccines fall under preventive care and are covered at 100% with no cost sharing for members. Visit Vaccines.gov for information and updates regarding COVID vaccination, including a list of vaccine locations. COVID-19 vaccine and booster recommendations may be updated as CDC continues to monitor the latest data.

Treatment

COVID-19 treatment, including physician visits and hospitalizations, are covered as any other illness or injury. This means that members seeking treatment for COVID-19 are subject to the standard HRA, deductible, and coinsurance amounts for medically necessary services.

Telemedicine

Telemedicine services are provided by LSU First through Health Anywhere. Health Anywhere is a First Choice provider that provides virtual doctor visits with board-certified physicians 24 hours a day, 7 days a week in the state of Louisiana for patients 3 years and older. To access Health Anywhere, you can download their mobile app or visit www.lghealthanywhere.com.

Resources

Additional resources and reccommendations on COVID-19.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

COVID-19 Information

Find a Vaccine location near you