Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

Concerned you have the coronavirus
(COVID-19)?

Most people have mild illness and are able to recover at home. If you have a fever or cough and are concerned you may have COVID-19, call your doctor to discuss. Keep track of your symptoms and if you have an emergency warning sign (such as trouble breathing), get medical attention right away.


COVID-19 Vaccines

In California, the state has received its first doses of the approved Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, which are being made available to people determined to be at greatest risk (identified as Phase 1a), such as front-line hospital/health care workers, and residents in long-term care facilities and nursing homes. Following that, Phase 1b includes essential workers (e.g. first responders, teachers) and seniors age 75 or older. California’s advisory plan for equitable distribution of the vaccine will roll out in phases and tiers and can be viewed at the state website at https://covid19.ca.gov/vaccines

The California Department of Public Health also provides vaccine information. The Department does not provide locations to obtain the vaccine, nor schedule a vaccination, but they will advise WHA members to contact your PCP or your County Health Department for locations and additional information. You can reach them by phone: 1.833.422.4255 or Website: cdph.ca.gov. Residents of California can find out what Tier they would be placed into (i.e. Tier 1A, 1B, 1C, 2A, 2B, 2C or Phase 2). Tier qualification is based on the person's age and profession (for example, if you are classified as an essential worker in healthcare).

You can find your County Health Department website by visiting covid19.ca.gov/get-local-information

Helpful information on vaccine availability from our medical groups:

For an overview of current vaccines, see this informational video courtesy of Dignity Health.

For additional information and FAQ's on vaccines see our COVID-19 flyer. 

Please keep in mind that COVID-19 vaccine distribution is a dynamic and fluid situation, which can change often with new guidelines from federal/state/local governments. Continue to monitor publicly available information, as well as that from your PCP, medical group and WHA’s website. 


COVID-19 Treatment

WHA is waiving all treatment costs associated with COVID-19 care in an effort to alleviate any unnecessary stress or out-of-pocket costs to impacted members. This financial assistance will apply to treatment between February 1, 2020 and March 31, 2021. This includes copayments and deductibles, if applicable, for office visits and hospitalization, and for services related to the treatment of COVID-19. 


COVID-19 Testing

If you have symptoms or have been exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID-19, call your doctor. They will determine whether you need to be tested. WHA will cover the test to determine if you currently have COVID-19, when ordered by a doctor. If you are asymptomatic (showing no symptoms) and have not been exposed to anyone with COVID-19, then testing is only covered if you have first reached out to your doctor. And then, you may be charged a copayment or deductible. Note: WHA doesn’t cover testing requested in order to travel or as an employment prerequisite.

You can also learn more about testing options from your medical group:


Hospitals

Some elective surgeries, non-essential medical, surgical, and dental procedures, my be re-scheduled. If you have a procedure scheduled or need to schedule a procedure, please call your provider's office for the latest information.


Prescription Medication

WHA is closely monitoring drug shortages listed on the FDA website. Your pharmacy also has up-to-date information from their suppliers regarding drug shortages. If you are affected by a drug shortage, your pharmacy can assist you or contact your prescribing provider to discuss alternative treatment options.  
  
If for some reason you are not able to access your current supply of prescription medications, or if you need an additional supply, you or your physician can call WHA Member Services to request an early refill at 888.563.2250. Note: CalPERS members should contact OptumRx at 855.505.8110 for early refill requests. 

Mail Order

Members are encouraged to fill their maintenance prescriptions through OptumRx's mail order program. This not only avoids you having to wait in line at the pharmacy during the COVID-19 outbreak, but it can give you up to a 90-day supply of your medication and may also save you money. To sign up for mail order, contact OptumRx at 844.568.4150 or 855.505.8110 for CalPERS members. 

You may also receive a 90-day supply of maintenance prescriptions by using the Select90 program at Walgreens or CVS Pharmacies. 

Exception: Early refills for controlled prescription medications will continue to require a prior authorization request be received from your prescribing physician. Controlled substance prescriptions can be filled by the OptumRx mail order pharmacy, but must be sent by your physician through a certified electronic prescribing system (EPCS certified). Paper or Fax prescriptions will not be filled. If you chose to use mail order for your controlled prescription medication needs, contact your doctor to make sure they are able to send these prescriptions electronically.

Urgent or Specialty Medication Needs
  • For urgent medication needs, continue to visit your local pharmacy.  
  • For specialty medication needs, continue to use the mail order option through OptumRx Specialty Pharmacy.
  • For assistance, contact OptumRx Specialty Pharmacy at 855.427.4682 or 855.821.7217 for CalPERS members. 

Members can find a participating pharmacy online or by contacting WHA Member Services at 888.563.2250. Note: CalPERS members can find a participating pharmacy by searching online or by contacting OptumRx at 855.505.8110.

    Looking for Health Coverage?

    During this time, finding or keeping your health coverage is more important than ever.

    Shop For Coverage

     

    Virtual Visits

    Get care without leaving the comfort of home — or your office. Learn more about the telehealth services available through our provider partners.

    Virtual Visits

     

    Crisis Line from Magellan

    WHA's behavioral health partner, Magellan Healthcare, opened a free 24-hour crisis line (1.800.327.7451) for anyone who needs help during these tumultuous times. The situation with COVID-19, in addition to the unrest in communities across the country, has sparked an unprecedented level of stress for many individuals.

    Mental Health

     

    Nurse24

    You have 24/7 access to a nurse advice line staffed with registered nurses through Nurse24™. You can speak directly with a nurse at 877.793.3655 or use the online chat feature.

    Nurse24

     

    Connect With Your Doctor

    Your medical group may offer an online service to email your doctor, request prescription refills, schedule an appointment, view lab test results, or access your medical record.

    Connect With Your Doctor

     

    Chat with Member Services

    Chat online with a WHA member service representative by logging into your MyWHA account and visiting our contact us page.

    This service is available during regular business hours.

     

    WHA's Secure Message Center

    Have a question about your benefits or coverage? Send us a secure message by logging into your MyWHA account and visiting our contact us page

    This service is available 24 hours per day.

     

    Printable Resources

    Handouts and posters created by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):


    Frequently Asked Questions

    What is the novel coronavirus?

    The novel coronavirus is a new coronavirus never identified before now. Referred to as the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), it is very different than the common coronavirus seen in humans that cause the common cold and other mild illnesses. The COVID-19 was identified first in Wuhan, China and has spread globally.

    Is there a test for it?  

    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. They will decide whether you need to be tested, but keep in mind that there is no treatment for COVID-19 and people who are mildly ill may be able to isolate and care for themselves at home.

    How does COVID-19 spread?

    COVID-19 is a new disease and we are still learning how it spreads, the severity of illness it causes, and to what extent it may spread in the United States.

    The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.

    • Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
    • Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

    These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. Learn more about what is known about the spread of COVID-19.

    How can I help protect myself?

    The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19. 

    • Sheltering in place is still the best way to help protect yourself and to prevent the spread of the virus.
    • When it becomes necessary to go out in public for essential services and where social distancing is difficult, the CDC recommends using simple cloth face coverings. The use of face coverings is a preventive measure to help slow the spread of the virus and to help those who do not know they have the virus from transmitting it to others. Search online for easy instructions on how to make cloth coverings from household items at a low cost.
    • Remember to continue practicing these preventive measures, and stay safe.
      • Stay home
        • Especially if you are sick, except to get medical care. Learn what to do if you are sick.
        • Leave only when necessary to restock essential supplies (food, medications, toilet paper, etc.)
      • Maintain social distancing
      • Wash hands frequently for at least 20 seconds
        • Wash your hands often with soap and warm (preferred) water for at least 20 seconds, especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
        • If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
      • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth 
        • Use a tissue or only after you have washed your hands
      • Cover coughs and sneezes
        • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow.
          Throw used tissues in the trash.
        • Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, clean your hands with a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
      • Clean and disinfect
        • Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, counter tops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.
        • If surfaces are dirty, clean them: Use detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection. 
    Is there a covered vaccine?

    WHA will follow governmental requirements for determining priority of patients to receive the vaccine. WHA will cover the vaccine and its administration without a copayment or deductible once it is FDA-approved for public use.

    Is there a treatment?

    There is no specific antiviral treatment for COVID-19. People with COVID-19 can seek medical care to help relieve symptoms. 

    Visit the CDC website for the latest information on COVID-19.  


    Resources

    Learn about the latest updates at California Department of Public Health.

    For more information on COVID-19 vaccines, roll-out, and trials in our area, visit the following public websites:

    Last review date: January 12, 2021

    WHA is closely monitoring the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). Learn more about COVID-19