• Affinity Health Plan Coronavirus FAQs

    What is a coronavirus?

    A coronavirus is a family of viruses that cause illnesses ranging from the common cold to more serious respiratory illnesses. The virus that causes COVID-19 is a new coronavirus that was first discovered in Wuhan City, China and had not been seen in humans before.

    What symptoms do people with COVID-19 have?

    People with COVID-19 can have mild to severe symptoms. Some people may never have any symptoms, but can still carry the virus. The most common symptoms include fever, cough, and shortness of breath or difficulty breathing. Other symptoms include chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, and loss of taste or smell. It can take anywhere from 2-14 days for symptoms to appear.

    Who is most at risk?

    COVID-19 is a new disease. Based on the information we have, older adults and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions might be at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19. Health care workers caring for patients with the virus should also exercise extreme caution.

    What should I do if I am sick and I think I have the coronavirus (COVID-19)?

    Call your doctor. Your primary care physician will follow guidance from the NYSDOH to determine what next steps are best for you. Unless it’s an emergency, stay home. Do not go to public places and avoid public transportation. As always, if you are experiencing severe symptoms call 911 or go to your local emergency department. Severe symptoms include trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion, inability to stay awake, or bluish lips or face.

    Is there a vaccine against COVID-19?

    Currently, there is no vaccine against COVID-19. Researchers around the world are working to learn more about this virus and how to combat it.

    Should I wear a face mask to prevent myself from getting or infecting others with COVID-19?

    On April 15, 2020, New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo issued Executive Order 202.17. As a result, effective Friday, April 17, 2020, any individual who is over age two and able to medically tolerate a face covering will be required to cover their nose and mouth with a mask or cloth face covering when in a public place. This rule also applies when taking public or private transportation or riding in for-hire vehicles, and you are unable to maintain, or when not maintaining, social distance. When using a face covering, it is recommended that you:

    • Make sure that it fits properly and covers your nose and mouth.
    • Cloth face masks/coverings should be washed after each use and also if they get dirty or wet.
    • Remember that masks are not a replacement for keeping social distance. Masks should be used in any situation where social distancing is difficult to maintain, such as when you need to get groceries or medications.
    • Continue to practice thorough and frequent hand washing, covering your coughs or sneezes, and social distancing – even when wearing masks.
    • Stay home and continue to help flatten the curve.
    • For additional information, please consult NYSDOH Health Advisory: COVID-19 and the Use of Cloth Face Coverings.
    What can I do to protect myself and my family?

    The best way to prevent any virus from spreading is to:

    • Wash your hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. Using a hand sanitizer can help but washing your hands is preferable. Teach children early on how to properly wash their hands.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
    • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
    • Cover your mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, then throw the tissue in the trash. If you don’t have a tissue, cough into the crook of your elbow, not your hands.
    • Clean and disinfect surfaces and touchpoints like doorknobs, handles, light switches, and your phone.
    Is telehealth/telemedicine covered by Affinity Health Plan?

    Yes.

    What is the difference between telehealth services and telephone (audio only) calls?

    Telehealth is defined as the use of electronic information and communication technologies to deliver health care to patients at a distance. Medicaid, HARP, CHPlus and EP covered services provided via telehealth include assessment, diagnosis, consultation, treatment, education, care management and/or self-management. During the COVID-19 state of emergency, this definition is expanded to include telephone conversations. Therefore, telehealth currently includes telephonic, telemedicine, store and forward, and remote patient monitoring. During the state of emergency, all telehealth applications will be covered at all originating and distant sites as needed to properly care for the patient.

    Do I need to get tested?

    If you have symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19), call your doctor. Based on the details of your symptoms, your doctor will follow guidance from the NYSDOH to decide whether it’s recommended that you get tested. Don’t go to your local emergency room for COVID-19 testing. The ER is only for those who need the most critical care.

    Will my Affinity benefits cover coronavirus (COVID-19) testing and evaluation?

    Affinity is waiving copays for all diagnostic testing and evaluations related to coronavirus (COVID-19) testing. You will not be subject to any cost-sharing for the test or for the in-network provider visit.

    Are there any tests that I can purchase to test myself at home for coronavirus (COVID-19)?

    No. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not authorized any test that is available to purchase for testing yourself at home for COVID-19. Please be aware that there are unauthorized and fake COVID-19 tests for sale.

    Where can I get COVID-19 testing?

    New York State has increased its testing capacity to reach more than 60,000 diagnostic tests per day, and has more than 700 testing sites. We encourage eligible New Yorkers to find a nearby testing site and get tested.