Access to Health Services

Are there any products that can prevent or treat the coronavirus?

There are currently no approved vaccines to prevent COVID-19 or drugs to treat it.  Medical research and clinical trials for potential drugs and vaccines are under way, though this process will take time.

Note that some individuals and companies are selling unproven and illegally marketed products that make false or unproven claims about their ability to treat or prevent COVID-19.  The public should note that at this time, products that claim to cure, treat, or prevent COVID-19 have not been evaluated by the FDA for safety and effectiveness and might be dangerous to you and your family.  For more details, see the FDA's warning.

 

If I have private insurance, will I have to pay for a coronavirus test?

The Families First Coronavirus Act requires that all private insurance plans cover coronavirus testing without deductibles, coinsurance, or co-pays.  That bill also prohibited plans from using tools like prior authorization to limit access to testing.  The CARES Act makes a technical correction to ensure that the policy covers all tests that meet the appropriate standards.  Insurers also have to cover fees for visits to the ER, an urgent care center, or a doctor’s office associated with getting a test without cost-sharing.

 

If I have private insurance, how does recent legislation affect the cost of a vaccine when one becomes available?

The Affordable Care Act requires that preventive services and vaccines be covered by private insurance without cost-sharing.  Normally, these services and vaccines are covered starting on the first day of the plan year beginning after they get a favorable rating or recommendation from the United States Preventive Services Task Force or the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.  Recently passed legislation requires that coverage without cost-sharing begin fifteen days after getting a favorable rating or recommendation.

 

I’ve heard there have been coronavirus scams.  How can I avoid falling victim?

Scammers are seeking to capitalize on the anxiety of the COVID-19 pandemic to prey on the public.  As the public health crisis worsens, consumers should beware of products fraudulently marketed as “vaccine” or “cure” for the coronavirus.  Also, the public should be aware of scams through emails impersonating reputable organizations, like the World Health Organization, in an attempt to steal personal identifiable information.  And, with the federal government preparing to send cash payments to help Americans weather the pandemic’s financial effects, con artists may pretend they are representing the government in an attempt to collect a “fee” that they claim is needed prior to receiving a payment.

Scammers are continuously updating their tactics to find new ways to trick consumers, so it is important to stay vigilant and take caution before handing over money or giving out personal identifiable information.  For more information, see the Federal Trade Commission’s website and the Federal Communications Commission’s website on ways to avoid coronavirus scams.

 

PA Department of Health Fact Sheet: How to Get Tested for COVID-19.

 

PA Department of Health Fact Sheet: Those at High Risk for COVID-19.

 

What should I do if I feel worried, stressed, or anxious?

Mental health is an important part of everyone’s health.  As COVID-19 continues to impact and change how we experience our daily lives, it is important to care for your own anxiety and personal safety.

The Department of Human Services has a Support & Referral Helpline staffed by skilled caseworkers who are available 24/7 to counsel Pennsylvanians struggling with anxiety and other challenging emotions due to the COVID-19 emergency and refer them to community-based resources that can further help to meet individual needs.  The number to call is 1-855-284-2494.   More information is available on the DHS website.

The PA Department of Health has created a helpful resource for those experiencing mental health concerns and stress related to COVID-19.

If you are experiencing any immediate family, domestic, or dating violence, call 911 immediately

For additional help, contact the 24-hour National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or chat online.

You can also visit the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence at pcadv.org.

Where can I find help for an opioid or other substance use disorder?

Resources and contact information to help with opioid and substance use during the COVID-19 emergency is available on the PA Department of Human Services website.

 

State and Local Health Departments

  • 1-877-PA-HEALTH (1-877-724-3258)
  • 412-687-2243
  • 215-345-3318
  • 610-344-6225
  • 814-451-6700
  • 610-278-5117
  • 215-686-5200
  • 610-437-7760
  • 610-865-7083
  • 570-208-4268
  • 717-849-2299

Last Updated: April 17, 2020