Insurance commissioner and state fire marshal on frontline for coronavirus

Published 4:35 pm Friday, March 6, 2020

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RALEIGH — The North Carolina Department of Insurance is ready and prepared in case of a coronavirus outbreak in the state. Insurance Commissioner and State Fire Marshal Mike Causey is working directly with major insurance companies, the medical community, legislators, other state agencies and first responders to be on the offense if North Carolina’s consumers are in need.

“I encourage North Carolinians to stay calm and live life as usual but take preventative actions — just as you would during the flu season,” Causey said.

If you are exposed, diagnostic tests and supportive care is covered under most healthcare policies with the state’s major insurance companies.

Blue Cross NC, the state’s largest insurance carrier, has announced it has taken steps to improve members access to doctors and medications if needed. As of Friday, it will expand virtual access to doctors and allow doctors to monitor members at home to minimize the spread of infection and ease the burden on emergency rooms.

It is also expediting the approvals needed to support members who need hospitalization, post-acute care and medical equipment as a result of the virus.

The Office of State Fire Marshal, a branch of the Department of Insurance, has notified the state’s fire chiefs and first responders how to identify and manage coronavirus cases. The office is also on standby in case it is called to serve if Gov. Roy Cooper activates the state Emergency Operation Center.

Causey recommends consumers heed the following actions distributed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to help prevent the spread of this virus:

  • 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, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.