Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a virus that causes respiratory illness in people. This means that the virus affects your lungs.
COVID-19 can spread from person to person. People of all ages can be infected. However, older adults and people with certain medical conditions like asthma, diabetes, or heart disease may become very sick if they get COVID.
Here are some common questions and answers about COVID-19. We’ve broken them up into different topics so you can find what you’re looking for quickly.
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
There are two COVID-19 vaccines that have been fully approved by the FDA! They are from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna.*
Getting a vaccine is one of the best ways to protect yourself and your loved ones from COVID-19. The Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines are given in two shots. You will get your first shot, then go back for your second shot a few weeks later. Your provider will give you a reminder card to help you keep track of which vaccine you got and when to get your next dose. It is very important to get both doses.
Some vaccines also have a third or fourth shot called “boosters.” You may need a booster two to five months after your second shot, depending on your age or medical conditions. Talk to your provider for more information.
*Visit the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website to learn more about all available vaccines.
Call your healthcare provider or your local pharmacy. You can also visit vaccines.gov to find a vaccine near you. Most providers will ask you to make an appointment to get your shots.
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.
No, the COVID-19 vaccine will be at no cost to you. You do not need to get approval from your health plan. This is sometimes called “prior authorization.” For questions, call the phone number on the back of your member ID card.
A “booster” is usually another shot of the vaccine that is given after you get your initial shots. You may need a booster two to five months after your second shot, depending on your age or medical conditions. Talk to your provider for more information.
You can get your next dose or booster from any provider. Just show them your COVID-19 vaccine 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 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.
It depends. Many jobs and government agencies have rules about getting a COVID-19 vaccine. You may also have to get a vaccine if you plan to travel outside of the United States. Most people are able to get the COVID-19 shot without any serious problems. That’s why we strongly recommend the vaccine. It is the best way to protect yourself, your loved ones, and the community.
Yes! The Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines have been fully approved by the FDA. This means that they have been thoroughly tested for safety. The vaccines are also very good at preventing the virus. They can help you from getting very sick. Side effects from the vaccine are usually mild. Serious side effects are rare.
Learn how federal partners are working together to ensure the safety of COVID-19 vaccines.
Yes! It is safe to get the COVID-19 vaccine if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or planning to get pregnant. People who get COVID during pregnancy are more likely to get very sick. That’s why getting a vaccine is the best thing you can do for yourself and your child. Most pregnant individuals can get the COVID-19 shot without any serious problems. Talk to your provider about what’s best for you.
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.
Yes! The FDA has approved the vaccine for children ages 6 months and older. Most children can get the COVID-19 shot without any serious problems. Talk to your child’s provider about what might be best for them.
Yes. Even if you already had COVID-19, you should still get the vaccine. You can get COVID more than once. The vaccine can help you from getting the virus again. It can also help you from getting very sick.
Side effects are usually mild and go away in a few days. You may get a fever or feel run down. This is normal as your body gets ready to fight off COVID-19. The place where you got the shot may also be sore.
No. COVID-19 vaccines cannot make you sick with COVID-19.
You are considered “up to date” on your shots two weeks past your final dose. You should still wear a mask if you’re not feeling well or if you have to be around others who are sick. You should also wear a mask when you’re in crowded indoor spaces or if you’re travelling. A “KN-95” mask offers some of the best protection.
Some people should wear a mask all the time even after they get the COVID-19 vaccine. This depends on your age and medical conditions. Talk to your provider about what’s best for you.
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.
A “breakthrough case” is when you get COVID-19 even after getting the vaccine. This happens to some people because of how the COVID-19 virus keeps changing. Experts continue to study how common these cases are.
Even though breakthrough cases can happen, the COVID-19 vaccines should help you from getting very sick. In other words, your symptoms might be less severe. Fully vaccinated people are less likely to be hospitalized or die from COVID even if they have a breakthrough case.
Yes. Call the number on the back of your ID card for details about getting a ride to and from a nearby vaccination site free of charge.
Signs and symptoms of COVID-19
COVID-19 is a respiratory illness. That means it affects your lungs. The virus spreads mainly when people cough or sneeze. Anyone can become sick with COVID, which is why the virus has been a public health emergency around the world since 2019.
People who get COVID-19 may have many different symptoms. These symptoms can be mild or severe. They usually include:
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Feeling tired
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
Symptoms usually start 2-14 days after you were close to someone else with the virus. COVID-19 can also spread BEFORE a person starts showing symptoms.
These symptoms can also be caused by influenza, also known as the flu. The flu is a respiratory illness. That means it affects your lungs. The flu is most active in the United States in the autumn and winter. That’s why everyone ages 6 months and older should get a flu vaccine (shot) each year.
Additionally, the common cold can have similar signs and symptoms (see chart below).
If you start having COVID-19 symptoms, you should get tested. There are tests that you can do at home. These are called “self-tests.” However, these tests aren’t always accurate. You can also get what’s called a “PCR test.” These are usually done at a lab or doctor’s office.
To get a self-test, call your local pharmacy. You can also get free COVID tests to keep at home through the U.S. Mail. Click here to learn more.
To get a PCR test, call your provider or health department.
If you think you’re sick, you should also think about wearing a face mask and staying away from others. That helps slow the spread of COVID.
You may also reference the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for how to protect yourself and what to do if you are sick. For additional resources, please visit our COVID-19 Member Resources webpage.
Some people may get very sick from COVID-19. Call your provider or go to the emergency room (ER) if you have any of these warning signs:
- Trouble breathing
- Chest pain or pressure
- New feelings of confusion
- Not able to wake up or stay away
- Pale, gray, or blue skin, lips, or fingernails
This isn’t a full list. If you’re very worried about how you or a loved one are feeling, call your provider or 9-1-1 right away.
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.
All of us can help protect our families and our community from COVID-19. Follow these tips to help slow the spread of the virus:
- Get the COVID-19 vaccine (shot). Anyone ages 6 months and older can get the vaccine. It is a safe and effective way to prevent the virus. It can also help you from getting very sick.
- Wash your hands often. Use soap and water. Wash for at least 20 seconds.
- If you can’t wash your hands, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Remember that it should have at least 60 percent alcohol.
- Wear a face mask. A “KN-95” mask offers some of the best protection. Wear a mask if you’re not feeling well or if you have to be around others who are sick. You should also wear a mask when you’re in crowded indoor spaces or if you’re travelling. People who are not fully vaccinated should wear a mask all the time.
- Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze by coughing or sneezing into your elbow. If you cough or sneeze into your hands, be sure to wash with soap and water before touching anything.
- Throw out any used tissues right away.
- Clean public surfaces well.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Avoid shaking hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Get a flu vaccine annually.
The COVID-19 outbreak has and continues to be a public health emergency around the world. It’s natural to feel worried about the virus or about the health of our friends and families. Here are a few things you can do:
- Take care of your body. Keep eating healthy and exercising when you can. Try deep breathing or meditation. Focus on the things you can control.
- Connect with others. Share your feelings with a friend or family member. If you’re feeling more worried than usual, think about talking to a therapist or mental health provider.
- Share facts about COVID-19 and the actual risk to others. Trust the science. Get your news and information from trustworthy sources.
- For more information, see the CDC’s suggestions for coping with stress.
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.
Your plan covers COVID-19 testing and treatment. This means we will pay for any tests, medical visits, or medications. Testing and treatment must be ordered by an in-network healthcare provider. If you have a copay or other costs, you should not have to pay them. For questions about what your plan covers, call the phone number on the back of your member ID card.
No, you do not need to get approval. This is sometimes called “prior authorization.” If you’re getting tested or treated by an in-network healthcare provider, you do not need to ask us for approval first. For questions about prior authorization, call the phone number on the back of your member ID card.
You should get testing and treatment for COVID-19 from an in-network healthcare provider. This means a medical provider who is in your health plan. To find an in-network provider, call the phone number on the back of your member ID card. You can also visit your health plan website and click on “Find a Provider.”
If you’re not sure if you have COVID, you can schedule a telehealth visit with your provider. This is a good option for non-urgent care. The best part is that you won’t even have to leave home!
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.
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.
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. Your plan covers COVID-19 testing and treatment. This means we will pay for any tests, medical visits, or medications. Testing and treatment must be ordered by an in-network healthcare provider. If you have a copay or other costs, you should not have to pay these amounts. For questions about what your plan covers, call the phone number on the back of your member ID card.
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.
- An HHSC Policy Flexibility for Member Appeals Is Ending March 31
- Younger Age Groups Now Eligible for Bivalent COVID-19 Booster Vaccines - 11/15/2022
- Counterfeit At-Home OTC COVID-19 Diagnostics Tests - 05/12/2022
- COVID-19 At-home Test Kits Available as a Pharmacy Benefit - 1/18/22
- Help Texas Fight COVID-19: Enroll Your Child in Texas CARES - 11/9/20
- Similarities and Differences Between the Flu and COVID-19 - 11/5/20
- COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE) Extended by Federal Government - 08/19/20
- Is it ok to See My Doctor for non-COVID Issues? – 06/25/20
- How to Create Positive New Habits in our New World - 06/18/20
- Mental Health and COVID-19 - 05/20/20
- Meal Planning During COVID-19 - 04/29/20
- Coronavirus: When and How to Wash Your Hands – 04/17/20
- Over-the-Counter (OTC) Item Limited Availability and Temporary Delays - 03/20/20
- Telehealth Services for Coronavirus – 03/16/20
- Coronavirus: What You Need to Know – 03/13/20 (updated 3/16/20)
- Coronavirus: What You Need to Know – 02/28/20 (updated 3/13/20)
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.