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Coronavirus Updates

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a disease that causes respiratory illness in people and can spread from person to person. People of all ages can be infected. Older adults and people with pre-existing medical conditions like asthma, diabetes and heart disease may be more likely to become severely ill if infected. 

COVID-Resources

Please visit our webpages for information on COVID-19 specific services and relief programs, including resources in your area. You can also find tips to help you and your family stay healthy, stay connected and create positive new habits during this time.

COVID-19 Vaccine: What You Need to Know

Currently, there are three COVID-19 vaccines approved for use in the United States. The COVID-19 vaccine helps your body develop immunity to the virus that causes COVID-19 without getting the illness. Some COVID-19 vaccines will have two doses a few weeks in between each shot. You will get a COVID-19 Vaccination Reminder Card that will help you keep track of which vaccine you receive and when to get a second dose, if needed. If you receive a vaccine that requires two doses, it is important to get both doses Getting vaccinated will give you the best chance of protecting yourself and loved ones from getting COVID-19 in the future.

Call your doctor with any questions and ask when you can make an appointment with them or at your local pharmacy.

  • Call your pharmacy and ask when you can make an appointment for both doses of your COVID-19 vaccine, when applicable.
  • You can also visit vaccinefinder.org or https://getthevaccine.dshs.texas.gov/s/ to find out where to get your vaccine.
  • While you have to get the second dose of the same version of the vaccine (if applicable), you do not need to go back to the same location for your second dose. For example, if you go to your local pharmacy for dose one and the doctor for dose two, that is fine.
    • If your provider recommends you receive your second dose at the same facility, make sure that your appointment is scheduled in order to receive your second dose.
    • COVID-19 vaccines are not interchangeable. The safety and efficacy of a mixed-product series have not been evaluated. Both doses of the series should be completed with the same product.

 

Depending on the specific vaccine you get, a second shot 3-4 weeks after your first shot is needed. While you have to get the second dose of the same version of the vaccine, you do not need to go back to the same location for your second dose. For example, if you go to your local pharmacy for dose one and the doctor for dose two, that is fine. It is very important you get both doses in order for it to be fully effective and protect you from coronavirus, so make sure to remain socially distant and continue to wear a mask, especially in between doses.

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 dose and when you are supposed to get your second dose, if applicable. It’s an easy way to help you keep track of your vaccines. 

If you lose your COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card call the administering facility/provider you received your first dose from to ask about your vaccine information and verify your second appointment/location. 

The provider should have scheduled a second appointment with you at the same facility when you received the first dose. However, you can receive your second dose from another provider/facility and you should present your COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card.

While it is not a requirement, getting your COVID vaccine will give you the best chance of protecting yourself and your loved ones from getting COVID in the future.

The safety of the COVID-19 vaccine is a top priority. The U.S. vaccine safety system ensures that all vaccines are as safe as possible. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) carefully reviews all safety data from clinical trials and authorizes emergency vaccine use only when the expected benefits outweigh potential risks.

  • COVID-19 vaccines were tested in large clinical trials to make sure they meet safety standards.
  • Even though no safety issues were found, the CDC and other federal partners will continue to monitor the COVID-19 vaccines.
  • The U.S. vaccine safety system is already strong, and new safety systems have been added for COVID-19 vaccines.

Learn how federal partners are working together to ensure the safety of COVID-19 vaccines.

The CDC currently recommends the COVID-19 vaccine for pregnant women. If you have questions about getting the vaccine, it is recommended to discuss with your doctor to make an informed decision.

For more information about COVID-19 vaccines and pregnancy, visit the Vaccination Considerations for People who are Pregnant or Breastfeeding section of the CDC website.

Currently, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is recommended for people ages 12 and older. The Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are currently recommended for those ages 18 and older.

Even if you have already had COVID-19, you should still get the vaccine. It may be possible to be infected more than once so getting the vaccine is a safe choice.

Some common side effects after getting the COVID-19 vaccine include:

  • Pain and/or swelling on the arm where you got the shot
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Tiredness
  • Headache

You may run a fever after you get the vaccine. This is normal as your body builds immunity and fights off future COVID-19 exposures. You may feel sick after getting vaccinated. You could develop a fever, headache or body aches. This is your body reacting to the vaccine, which is a normal response. It is important to know that it is impossible to get COVID-19 from the vaccine. The vaccines currently in use and others being developed do not contain a live virus.

In most cases, these side effects go away in a few days. If you get a COVID-19 vaccine and think you might be having a severe allergic reaction, call 911.

No. COVID-19 vaccines cannot make you sick with COVID-19.

There is not definitive evidence that the vaccine can prevent asymptomatic infection, or prevent spreading COVID-19 if you are asymptomatic. Even with a vaccine, there is a possibility that you could become infected, but not have symptoms. This could get loved ones around you sick.

To maximize protection from the Delta variant and prevent possibly spreading it to others, wear a mask indoors in public if you are in an area of substantial of high transmission.

Wearing a mask is most important if you have a weakened immune system or if, because of your age or an underlying medical condition, you are at increased risk for severe disease, or if someone in your household has a weakened immune system, is at increased risk for severe disease, or is unvaccinated. If this applies to you or your household, you might choose to wear a mask regardless of the level of transmission in your area.

Fully vaccinated people who have come into close contact with someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 to be tested 3-5 days after exposure, and to wear a mask in public indoor settings for 14 days or until they receive a negative test result.

It will be important for everyone to continue using all the tools available to us to help stop this pandemic. It will take time for your body to build immunity after the vaccine. Together, COVID-19 vaccination and following CDC’s recommendations for how to protect yourself and others will offer the best protection from getting and spreading COVID-19.

The Delta variant is highly contagious, nearly twice as contagious as previous variants.

Some data suggest the Delta variant might cause more severe illness than previous strains in unvaccinated persons.

Unvaccinated people remain at the greatest risk for severe illness, hospitalization, and death.

Fully vaccinated people with Delta variant breakthrough infections can spread the virus to others. However, vaccinated people appear to be infectious for a shorter period of time.

Vaccines are highly effective, including against the Delta variant.

A small percentage of people who are fully vaccinated will still get COVID-19 if they are exposed to the virus that causes it. These are called “vaccine breakthrough cases.” This means that while people who have been vaccinated are much less likely to get sick, it will still happen in some cases. It’s also possible that some fully vaccinated people might have infections, but not have symptoms (asymptomatic infections). Experts continue to study how common these cases are.

If you get COVID-19 after vaccination, your symptoms might be less severe.

Fully vaccinated people are much less likely to be hospitalized or die than people with similar risk factors who are not vaccinated.

The COVID-19 vaccine is available at no cost to all Texans. Just make sure you schedule an appointment to receive both doses (when applicable) within the designated amount of time. The COVID-19 vaccine will be at no cost to you.

Transportation may be available. Call the number on the back of your ID card for details. 

You do not need to get a prior authorization for your vaccine.

Signs and symptoms of COVID-19

COVID-19 is a respiratory disease that is caused by a new virus called a coronavirus, which has become a public health emergency. The number of cases continue to increase nationally and globally. COVID-19 can be contagious before a person begins showing symptoms. The symptoms of coronavirus include mild to severe respiratory symptoms. COVID-19 symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

 

The symptoms of coronavirus include mild to severe respiratory symptoms. Symptoms include fever, cough, and shortness of breath, and lower respiratory illness. COVID-19 can be contagious before a person begins showing symptoms.

Influenza (the flu), a contagious respiratory illness caused by the influenza viruses (Type A and Type B), has high activity in the United States in the Fall/Winter months. Everyone 6 months of age and older should get a flu vaccineannually. Additionally, the common cold can have similar signs and symptoms (see chart below).

DSHS: COVID-19 Symptoms vs. Flu and Cold (JPEG)

If you have been exposed or begin showing symptoms of the virus or flu, contact your healthcare provider or health department immediately.

If you are unsure if you have been exposed to or at-risk of being infected with COVID-19 (coronavirus), scheduling a virtual care visit with a provider is a good option for non-urgent care to limit potential exposure in a physician’s office or other healthcare facility. Due to a high demand for virtual health visits at this time, please anticipate that there may be longer than usual wait times.

You may also reference the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for how to protect yourself and what to do if you are sick.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

What You Can Do

You can keep yourself and others healthy with simple actions that help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses. There are steps you can take to prevent the spread of coronavirus and stay healthy.

  • Wash your hands thoroughly and frequently. Use soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizing rub (must contain at least 60 percent alcohol).
  • Wear a face covering/mask when in public and/or around others who do not live in your home if you are not fully vaccinated.
  • Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze by coughing/sneezing into your elbow.
  • Promptly dispose of tissues in a wastebasket after use.
  • Clean public surfaces thoroughly.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Avoid shaking hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Get a flu vaccine annually.

Worry and anxiety can rise about the spread of COVID-19. Concern for friends and family who live in places where COVID-19 is spreading or the progression of the disease is natural.

  • 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 actual risk to others. People who have returned from areas of ongoing spread more than 14 days ago and do not have symptoms of COVID-19 do not put others at risk.
  • For more information, see the CDC’s suggestions for mental health and coping during COVID-19.

Telehealth Services

Superior members can get medical advice, a diagnosis or a prescription by video or phone. 

Superior members can get medical advice, a diagnosis or a prescription by video or phone. Receive 24/7 telehealth access to doctors on-demand by phone or video for non-emergency medical issues by calling Teladoc at 1-800-835-2362. Telehealth services are also available at GuruMD.net

For any questions or help scheduling a telehealth visit, contact Member Services from 8:00 a.m. -5:00 p.m. Monday-Friday:

  • STAR or CHIP:                       1-800-783-5386
  • STAR Kids:                             1-844-590-4883
  • STAR Health (Foster Care):   1-866-912-6283
  • STAR+PLUS:                          1-877-277-9772
  • TTY (Relay Texas):                 1-800-735-2989

You do not have to leave your home to visit with a doctor. There are no co-pays or cost sharing for telehealth visits and COVID-19 testing.

 

Tests and Screenings

We all have a role to play in protecting our communities and families from the spread of coronavirus. It is similar to other communicable viruses. If you have been exposed or begin showing symptoms of the coronavirus or flu, contact your healthcare provider or health department immediately.

Medically necessary COVID-19 diagnostic testing, medical screening services and/or treatment and the associated physician’s visit will be covered when ordered, referred and/or performed in the following In-Network locations:

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

Are you unsure if you have been exposed to or at-risk of being infected with COVID-19? Schedule a virtual care visit with a provider. It is a good option for non-urgent care to limit potential exposure in a physician’s office or other healthcare facility. 

Yes. When medically necessary diagnostic testing, medical screening services and/or treatment is ordered and/or referred by a licensed health care provider, we will cover the cost of medically necessary COVID-19 tests, screenings, associated physician’s visit(s) and/or treatment for most members. If applicable, your plan’s copayment, coinsurance and/or deductible cost-sharing will be waived for medically necessary COVID-19 diagnostic testing, medical screening services and/or treatment.

No. We will not require prior authorization, prior certification, prior notification and/or step therapy protocols for medically necessary COVID-19 diagnostic testing, medical screening services, and/or treatment when medically necessary services are ordered and/or referred by a licensed health care provider.

If you are sick with COVID-19 or suspect you are infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, you should take steps to help prevent the disease from spreading to people in your home and community. 

If you think you have been exposed to COVID-19 and develop a fever and symptoms, such as cough or difficulty breathing, call your healthcare provider for medical advice. 

If you are recovering from COVID-19, you should be careful so you do not pass the infection on to others. Please find helpful tips for keeping yourself, your loved ones and your neighbors’ health. 

Read our COVID-19 Discharge Instructions (PDF).

Monoclonal Antibodies for Treatment of COVID-19

The drug therapies available to treat coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) are growing and evolving rapidly. They include both drugs approved by U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and drugs made available under FDA emergency use authorization (EUA).

When the FDA approves a drug, it means the agency has determined, based on substantial evidence, that the drug is effective for its intended use, and that the benefits of the drug outweigh its risks when used according to the product’s approved labeling.

A EUA is one of several tools the FDA is using to help make certain medical products available quickly during the COVID-19 pandemic. In certain emergencies, the FDA can issue an EUA to provide access to medical products that may potentially be used when there are no adequate, approved, and available options. EUAs allow the FDA to help strengthen the U.S.’s public health protections needed during public health emergencies like the COVID-19 pandemic.

These are antibodies are similar to the ones your body would naturally make in response to infection. However, monoclonal antibodies for COVID-19 are mass-produced in a laboratory and are designed to recognize the unique spike protein of the outer shell of this virus. This interferes with the virus' ability to attach and gain entry into human cells. They give the immune system a leg up until it can mount its own response. Monoclonal antibody therapy for COVID-19 helps prevent hospitalizations, reduce viral loads and lessen symptom severity. This therapy can be extremely effective, but it's not a replacement for vaccination.

The products are available under EUA for early outpatient treatment of mild to moderate COVID-19 in patients at high risk of disease progression. Patients are considered high risk based on medical conditions or other factors. They include but are not limited to: 65 years old or older, obesity, pregnancy, chronic kidney disease, diabetes, immunosuppressive disease or treatment, cardiovascular disease, chronic lung disease, sickle cell, and neurodevelopmental disorders like cerebral palsy.

The combination product casirivimab/imdevimab is also available under EUA for prevention of COVID-19 in individuals who are at high risk for progression to severe COVID-19 that have been exposed to another individual infected with COVID-19. Individuals are considered high risk if they are not fully vaccinated or if they are vaccinated but have compromised immune systems.

Monoclonal antibodies authorized under the EUA are covered benefits under Texas Medicaid and include sotrovimab and casirivimab/imdevimab combination. Treatment with these drug therapies do not require any prior authorization or approval by Superior HealthPlan.

Monoclonal antibody therapy is given as a one-time dose through intravenous (IV) infusion or injected subcutaneously (under the skin) when being used preventatively or when IV infusion is not possible and would lead to delay in treatment. Monoclonal antibody therapy may not be administered in patients that are hospitalized or are requiring oxygen therapy. They are administered outpatient only. Outpatient infusion units may be standalone facilities or located within a hospital or doctor’s office. Specially trained nursing staff administer and monitor patients receiving infusions ordered by physicians. Note: these infusions are not available through local pharmacies.

Casirivimab/imdevimab and sotrovimab are authorized for use in adults and pediatric patients 12 years of age and older weighting at least 40 kg/88 lbs.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) strongly encourages clinicians, patients and their advocates to regularly consult the COVID-19 Treatment Guidelines published by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). These guidelines are based on scientific evidence and expert opinion and are frequently updated.

Facilities that offer outpatient treatment of COVID-19, including monoclonal antibody therapy, can be found here: Texas COVID-19 Therapeutics Availability (arcgis.com). Administration of drug therapies require a physician’s order. You can contact these facilities or your primary care provider for more information.

Ivermectin is not a monoclonal antibody and is not approved or authorized for emergency use by the FDA for treatment or prevention of COVID-19 in humans or animals. Ivermectin has not been shown safe or effective for this use. Taking large doses of ivermectin is dangerous. Never use medications intended for animals on yourself or other people. Animal ivermectin products are very different from those approved for humans.

If you are diagnosed with COVID-19 or have close contact with a person that has COVID-19, talk to your doctor about authorized and approved treatment options available to you, which do not include the use of ivermectin.

https://www.fda.gov/consumers/consumer-updates/why-you-should-not-use-ivermectin-treat-or-prevent-covid-19

If your health care provider writes you an ivermectin prescription, fill it through a legitimate source such as a pharmacy, and take it exactly as prescribed. 

https://emergency.cdc.gov/han/2021/han00449.asp

Get vaccinated against COVID-19. COVID-19 vaccination is approved by FDA and is the safest and most effective way to prevent getting sick and protect against severe disease and death from SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, including the Delta variant.

Protect yourself and others from getting sick with COVID-19. In addition to vaccination, wear masks in indoor public places, practice staying at least six feet from other people who don’t live in your household, avoid crowds and poorly ventilated spaces, and wash your hands often or use hand sanitizer that has at least 60 percent alcohol.

Coverage and Costs

Superior is committed to the health of our members. We will cover medically necessary COVID-19 diagnostic testing and/or medical screening services at no charge to you.

Yes. When medically necessary diagnostic testing, medical screening services and/or treatment is ordered and/or referred by a licensed health care provider, we will cover the cost of medically necessary COVID-19 tests, screenings, associated physician’s visit(s) and/or treatment for most members. If applicable, your plan’s copayment, coinsurance and/or deductible cost-sharing will be waived for medically necessary COVID-19 diagnostic testing, medical screening services and/or treatment.

No. We will cover medically necessary COVID-19 diagnostic testing, medical screening services and/or treatment at no charge to you, when such services are ordered and/or referred by a licensed health care provider. If applicable, your plan’s copayment, coinsurance and/or deductible cost-sharing will be waived for medically necessary COVID-19 diagnostic testing, medical screening services and/or treatment, along with the associated physician’s visit.

Any medically necessary treatment related to COVID-19 would be considered a covered benefit. We are committed to ensuring access to COVID-19 treatment services in accordance with federal and state law.

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

Additional Information

For COVID-19 health-related resources from Superior HealthPlan and other organizations, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) please visit our COVID-19 Member Resources webpage. You will also find information on travel advisories and specific services in your area, such as unemployment, food, and housing assistance. Find tips on how you can create positive new habits and keep your family healthy and grounded.

How to Get Help

  • Call Superior HealthPlan’s COVID-19 Informational Hotline at 1-877-259-1144.
  • Call the 24-hour nurse advice line or Member Services at the number on the back of your Superior member ID card to get answers to health questions.
  • Receive 24/7 telehealth access to doctors on-demand by phone or video for non-emergency medical issues by calling Teladoc at 1-800-835-2362.
  • Call the Texas Health and Human Services COVID-19 Mental Health Support Line, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, toll-free at 1-833-986-1919. This line offers support for all Texans experiencing anxiety, stress or emotional challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic.