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Coronavirus (COVID-19) – Trusted Information


Most likely you are seeing news reports on the coronavirus (COVID-19). COVID-19 is most commonly spread through respiratory droplets, so you should take the same steps that health care providers recommend to prevent the spread of the flu and other viruses, including washing your hands, avoiding touching your face, and covering coughs and sneezes.

Here is what the PEBTF is doing to keep you and your family healthy. Check back to this website for updates: 

Watch for COVID-19 Vaccine Scams - Information for All Members

As the country begins to distribute COVID-19 vaccines, there's no doubt scammers are already scheming.

Medicare covers the COVID-19 vaccine so there will be no cost to you. If anyone asks you to share your Medicare Number or pay for access to the vaccine, you can bet it's a scam.

Here's what to know

  • You can't pay to put your name on a list to get the vaccine.
  • You can't pay to get early access to a vaccine.
  • Don't share you personal or financial information if someone calls, texts, or emails you promising access to the vaccine for free

If you come across a COVID-19 vaccine scam, report it to the Federal Trade Commission or call us at 1-800-MEDICARE And check out the for trustworthy information on the COVID-19 vaccine.

Making Changes to Your PEBTF/REHP Health Benefits

For Active Employees and Non-Medicare Eligible Retirees April 1 Through December 31, 2021

You may make changes to your PEBTF/REHP health benefits without a qualifying life event, as follows:

  • You may enroll for coverage in a medical plan or a Supplemental Benefit Option (prescription drug, and for Active employees only – vision, dental and hearing aid benefits).
  • You may make a change to your current benefits or add dependents. For example, you may move from the Custom HMO to the Choice PPO.
  • You may terminate PEBTF/REHP medical benefits or any or all Supplemental Benefit Options provided that you attest in writing that you are enrolled, or immediately will enroll, in other medical or Supplemental Benefits Options coverage not sponsored by the PEBTF/REHP.

Any change:

  • Will apply to you and your dependents.
  • Will be as of the date specified on the Employee Enrollment/Change Form (PEBTF-2), but no earlier than the date that the form is received. REHP Non-Medicare eligible retirees, contact SERS. Non-SERS members should contact the PEBTF.
  • Shall remain in effect until December 31, 2021.

You may make only one plan change between April 1, 2021 and December 31, 2021, unless the change is due to a qualifying life event.

Also, you will want to consider deductible amounts under the Basic PPO and the Choice PPO options and any buy-up amounts for the Choice PPO.

With any medical plan options you are considering, you must check the plans’ provider directories which may be found on under the Links section. This is especially important if you are considering the Custom HMO because that plan offers a narrow network of providers.

Active Members: To make a plan change, contact the HR Service Center or your local HR office if your agency is not served by the HR Service Center.

Retiree Members: Contact the State Employees Retirement System (SERS) at 1-800-633-5461. Non-SERS members should contact the PEBTF.

For more information on your PEBTF options, contact the PEBTF at 1-800-522-7279.

Medical Plan Addresses COVID-19 Issues

The coronavirus outbreak has changed all of our lives. The many adjustments that we have needed to make include changes in the health care services we seek. In particular, many of us have needed services relating to COVID-19, and many more of us are seeking services through telemedicine.

To address concerns raised by the coronavirus outbreak, the PEBTF has enacted a number of amendments to the Medical Plan. These amendments are temporary. The PEBTF will evaluate developments as they occur, and will make decisions about how long to extend changes and whether additional Plan amendments or other adjustments are needed as the COVID-19 situation continues to evolve.

The amendments to the Medical Plan include:

  • The waiver of copays for laboratory fees for COVID-19 testing, related office visits, and certain other related expenses.
  • The waiver of copays for any telemedicine expenses.
  • The waiver of deductibles, coinsurance and copays for inpatient, emergency room and urgent care related to COVID-19.

To the extent applicable, these changes modify provisions in the SPD, REHP Benefits Handbook and the Summary of Benefits and Coverage for the Medical Plan. If you have any questions about these changes, please contact a PEBTF Benefit Services Representative at 1-800-522-7279.

Costs Waived for Diagnostic Testing, In-Network Inpatient, ER, and Urgent Care Through July 20, 2021

PEBTF/REHP medical plans will waive all deductibles, coinsurance and copays for diagnostic testing and in-network inpatient hospital care, ER or urgent care for COVID-19. The policy will cover the test kit for members who meet Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines for testing in any approved laboratory location.

Zero copay for Teledoc and Telemedicine Visits With Your Doctor Through July 20, 2021

Choice PPO offered by Aetna, Basic PPO offered by Highmark, and the Custom HMO plans offered by Aetna and Geisinger will offer zero copay Teladoc visits for any reason. You may also have a telemedicine visit with your doctor at no copay. Bronze Plan members: The visit is not subject to your deductible.

Using telemedicine allows you to see providers via video conference or over the phone as a way to limit any potential exposure you might have sitting in the doctor's office.

This benefit is not limited to coronavirus/COVID-19 related cases. Members may use telemedicine for any routine medical need such as cold, flu, allergy, rash, sinus infection and much more. Members can get care through Teladoc in two convenient ways:

  • Online: Visit the Teladoc website to download the Teladoc smartphone app. Use the app to create an account, fill out a short medical history questionnaire and schedule an online doctor visit.
  • By phone: Call Teladoc to request a call from a doctor. Teladoc will provide an estimate of when a doctor will contact the member.

Geisinger Custom HMO members, learn more about this service here.

Optum Behavioral Health Virtual Visits Offered at $0 Cost Through

July 20, 2021

During this time of COVID-19, you may prefer to talk to a mental health provider online, in the privacy and comfort of your own home. Virtual visits are a convenient option for PEBTF members who have busy schedules, have difficulty getting to appointments or where it may be a distance to visit a provider.

Optum offers two $0 copay options: Virtual visit and Talkspace. Active members can visit here, and Non-Medicare members can vist here for more information.

Dental Plan – Important Information About Your Next Visit

During these uncertain times, you want to feel confident that you are receiving dental care in a safe environment. It’s reassuring to know that dentists will now use special personal protective equipment (PPE) for every dental visit. For more information from your dental plan, United Concordia, click here.

Medicare Members: Look out for COVID-19 Scams

Unfortunately, scammers are using the COVID-19 pandemic to try to steal your Medicare Number, personal information, and money. And they're using robocalls, social media posts, and emails to do it.

Remember, if anyone reaches out to get your Medicare Number or personal information in exchange for something, you can bet it's a scam.

Be on the lookout, so you can stop scams before they happen. Here are recent Coronavirus scams to watch for:

  • Robocalls offering you respiratory masks they'll never send
  • Social media posts fraudulently seeking donations for non-existent charities, or claiming to give you stimulus funds if you enter your bank account information
  • Fake testing kits, cures, "immunity" pills, and offers for protective equipment

Visit for more information and tips on preventing Medicare scams and fraud.

Source: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services(CMS)

Updated 2/1/2021

Below are links to trusted resources for more information. 

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