New Partnership with Texas Medicare Advantage Plans to Help “Save our Seniors”
March 30, 2021
By: Jamie Dudensing
The COVID-19 crisis poses unprecedented challenges to Texas and our nation, touching every facet of American life. In the face of these challenges, Texas health insurance providers, Medicaid managed care plans, and Medicare Advantage plans are taking decisive actions to help patients and curb the spread of the virus, including:
- Proactively eliminating out-of-pockets for COVID-19 diagnostic testing, treatment, and vaccination
- Waiving out-of-pocket costs for telehealth services and expanding telehealth programs
- Fully covering the doctor visits and treatments needed to recover from this disease
- Reducing social barriers to help at-risk populations receive the care and support they need during the coronavirus crisis
We’re proactively using data to make sure Texas’ most vulnerable senior citizens don’t have to wait to get the COVID-19 vaccine, including:
- Identifying at-risk senior citizens who are most in need
- Scheduling appointments as soon as possible
- Helping them get to and from vaccination centers
Last week, Gov. Greg Abbott announced a new outreach partnership with Texas Medicare Advantage plans to enhance the state’s Save Our Seniors program. Participating Medicare Advantage plans include UnitedHealthcare, Humana, and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas.
HHSC will work with these partners to launch a direct outreach effort through email, phone calls, and direct mail to encourage seniors to get vaccinated against COVID-19 and provide them with the tools and information to receive a vaccine. This outreach partnership will reach approximately two million seniors. The Governor announced the new outreach partnership at a press conference in McAllen, one of the many communities participating in the Save Our Seniors program.
“With the continued success of the Save Our Seniors program, we are protecting more seniors in Texas from COVID-19,” said Governor Abbott. “This new outreach partnership will strengthen this program by helping us reach more seniors across the state and ensuring they have the tools and information they need to get a COVID-19 vaccine. Thank you to our partners for stepping up to protect seniors across our state. With more vaccines on the way and more Texans eligible, we will continue to make tremendous progress to ensure that every Texan who wants a vaccine will get one.”
Through the Save Our Seniors program, the Texas Division of Emergency Management and the Texas Military Department work alongside local jurisdictions to set up a central drive-through vaccine clinic in each community or administer directly to homebound seniors. The program was announced in February. Since the program’s launch, 90 counties have participated or are actively participating and nearly 24,000 Texans have been vaccinated through the initiative. The program has also steadily increased the number of doses allocated to the program.
Previously, the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) announced that COVID-19 vaccinations will be open to all Texans beginning March 29. DSHS has additionally directed vaccine providers to prioritize people 80 years old or older when scheduling appointments and accommodate anyone in that age group who presents for vaccination, whether or not they have an appointment, by immediately moving them to the front of the line. That will ensure vaccination of anyone 80 or older with as small a burden on themselves as possible. Texans can call 211 to find out more information about getting a COVID-19 vaccine.
Learn more about what Texas health insurance providers, Medicaid managed care plans, and Medicare Advantage plans are doing to address this crisis.