If you are experiencing a life-threatening medical emergency, please call 911 or the number for your local emergency service. Always consult a medical professional for serious symptoms or emergencies.
If you’re feeling sick…
Per CDC guidelines, if you or a family member feels sick, call your doctor or urgent care center first rather than going in person. Learn about COVID-19 symptoms and other facts here.
If you’re not experiencing flu-like symptoms, the best action you can take to protect yourself and others is to wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, cover your mouth with a tissue when sneezing or coughing, and avoid touching your eyes, mouth, and nose. Also, make sure your immunizations—including flu and pneumonia shots if appropriate—are current.
How can I get tested for COVID-19?
If you feel sick with fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, it’s best to call your doctor or urgent care center instead of going in person. That way they can set up a safe space for when you arrive. If your doctor believes you need to be tested, there is no pre-authorization required and testing will be covered under your usual health plan benefits.
If you’re not experiencing flu-like symptoms, the best thing you can do is to keep practicing healthy habits like regular hand washing, covering your mouth when sneezing and coughing, etc. People who are feeling healthy do not need to get tested for COVID-19.
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
Symptoms reported in patients with COVID-19 include mild to severe fever, cough, difficulty breathing, chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, new loss of taste or smell, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea. Symptoms may occur 2-14 days after exposure to COVID-19. For the latest information about COVID-19, please visit the CDC website.
What should I do if I have symptoms of COVID-19?
If you have symptoms like those listed above, limit your exposure to others and call your doctor or urgent care. If you need help finding a doctor or urgent care center, call the number on the back of your RGA member ID card.
Is there a vaccine for COVID-19?
There is no vaccine currently available. We want you to know that while several vaccine trials are underway and being fast-tracked, any mention of a vaccine timeline at this point is speculative. We know that some sources are saying that a vaccine is possible this fall. Please know that we do not expect a vaccine to be available for the general public for at least nine months. Additionally, be wary of advertisments of vaccines or medications to treat coronavirus which are not recommended by the CDC, your local health department, or your physician. This week the FDA issued warning letters to several companies for selling fraudulent products that claim to prevent, treat, mitigate, diagnose or cure COVID-19.
Is there a treatment for COVID-19?
There is no specific treatment for COVID-19. However, many of the symptoms can be treated. Treatment of those symptoms would depend on the patient.
What can I do to protect myself?
There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19. The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, the CDC recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
Should I be using a facemask?
- The CDC now recommends the use of cloth face coverings in public settings where it’s difficult to maintain social distancing. Follow CDC recommendations for use and washing of face masks.
- It’s important to continue social distancing, hand washing, and avoiding close contact with those who are sick, in addition to wearing a facemask in public.
- Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).
What should I do if I believe I was in contact with someone with COVID-19?
The CDC has the most relevant and up-to-date resources for people who think they may have been exposed to COVID-19.
We are committed to taking action to ensure our members have access to the care they need. If your doctor recommends COVID-19 testing, you can get the FDA-approved test without pre-approval. If you are confused about what’s covered and what isn’t, you’re not alone. Self-insured plans follow a different set of regulations than fully-insured plans. Many employers are reviewing and updating their plan benefits in light of the pandemic. You can view the most current information about your coverage by signing in to your myRGA account.
As a member, you can…
Access your health plan account. Sign in to your myRGA account to find in-network health care providers, specific benefits, and cost-sharing information for treatment and testing of COVID-19 and other viral respiratory conditions. If you receive a COVID-19 test via a drive-thru location, the test will be covered the same as in a doctor’s office. Request early prescription refills. If you need help, call the number for pharmacy benefits on your HMA member ID card. Talk to your health care provider about telehealth/telemedicine. Telehealth options may be available through your plan. Sign in to your HMA account and review your coverage for telehealth and telemedicine as not every plan offers these services.
Self-care and mental health during COVID-19:
Be kind to yourself. This outbreak affects each of us differently and that’s okay.
Taking care of our members during a pandemic means that every day we hear first-hand about their very personal experiences during this pandemic. The coronavirus affects all of our members. Some members may see it as a mere disruption to their daily lives while other members experience it as a life-altering trauma. We continue to see an increasing volume of members in need of mental health care. Mental health is real and we are here to help.
We highly encourage you to log in to your myRGA member portal and review your plan’s mental health and telemedicine benefits and coverage. Many community-based mental health providers now offer therapy through telemedicine so that existing patients can continue treatment in a virtual setting.
If this is your first time exploring your therapy options, you can find in-network therapists on our member portal through three simple clicks:
- Click on the tile labeled 'find a doctor or hospital'
- Type ‘therapist’ into the search bar
- Check the filters on the left for ‘accepting new patients’ and if desired, ‘telehealth’
We encourage members to take advantage of EAP options that their employer may offer as a separate benefit. Most EAP programs offer 2-6 telephonic or in-person visits with licensed professionals at no additional cost to the plan or member. These services are typically available to any member living in a household, not only to members on an employer’s health plan.
We also encourage members to access mental health crisis lines such as:
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1.800.273.8255)
The Washington Recovery Help Line (1.866.789.1511)
County-based crisis lines available to all residents:
These national mental health organizations have curated a wealth of additional information and resources:
Routine or elective care during COVID-19
If you have been postponing routine care, such as childhood immunizations or care for a chronic condition, now may be a good time to reach out to your doctor to check in. Some visits can be held using telehealth, but others may require an in-person visit. It is important to avoid delays in follow up clinical care with your doctor. This is especially true for people with chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, or chronic lung issues such as asthma or COPD.
Many doctor’s offices have established a new protocol for scheduling routine visits, keeping waiting areas safe, and requiring personal protective equipment, such as masks, for all visitors.
- Questions to ask your doctor when scheduling a follow-up visit include:
- Can this visit be conducted through telehealth or virtual care?
- What is the protocol to park, check in, and be seen for an in-person office visit?
- What are the precautions being taken (such as wearing masks, limiting patient volume, or disinfection practices) to guard against COVID-19 for your patients and staff?
- Are sick patients separated from well patients when seen for in-person office visits?
- Do you have separate waiting areas for well visits or elective procedure follow up visits?
- Does a separate staff support routine clinical visits versus those assisting in sick patients?
- Are you scheduling well patient visits or elective procedure check ins at specific times of day, separating them from sick visits?
If you have been waiting for an elective procedure, such as a knee replacement, some practices are beginning to lift restrictions. Contact your doctor’s office directly to learn more about what or when such procedures may resume. To learn more, visit your state’s health department website.
There’s a lot of information out there about COVID-19. What sources should I trust?
Trusted sources for the most up-to-date information about COVID are the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization, and the health department in your state.