TULSA, Oklahoma – Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma (BCBSOK) announced today it will authorize any member who was receiving treatment outside of Oklahoma prior to March 15 to continue receiving care closer to home if they prefer not to travel during the COVID-19 pandemic through August 31. This date is an extension from the original end date of June 30. Members can transition to an in-network provider in Oklahoma or BCBSOK will cover the costs to see an out-of-network provider in Oklahoma at the in-network rate.
“It is important to be flexible and work with our members and health care providers to help those who need specialized care,” said Joseph R. Cunningham, M.D., president of BCBSOK. “Extending this period to August 31 will continue to remove barriers for members so they can stay on track with their treatments closer to home.”
The coverage exception applies to BCBSOK fully insured PPO members, but the option will be shared with customers who provide their own group plans as well as other Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans, so they have the opportunity to participate and offer similar solutions to their members.
At the time of the original announcement in early May, Oklahoma State Senators, including Sen. Kim David, District 18, and Sen. Dave Rader, District 39, applauded the special exemption from BCBSOK.
“We are hearing from Oklahomans who desperately need to continue life-saving treatments for cancer and other conditions who no longer feel comfortable traveling out of our state to see their specialists,” said Oklahoma State Senator Kim David. “I especially appreciate BCBSOK’s leadership for providing this solution.”
As the August 31 date approaches, BCBSOK may extend the timeframe depending upon the status of the COVID-19 situation and ability for people to safely travel and resume care with their out-of-state providers.
Out-of-network treatment providers must meet BCBSOK’s requirements for reimbursement. If members have questions, they can call the number on their membership card for assistance.