COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions
We are closely monitoring the global pharmaceutical manufacturing environment and working with our suppliers to ensure we can continue filling prescriptions for our pharmacy patients and plan members at CVS Health. We are actively managing our supply to ensure our ability to continue to fill prescriptions in our retail, mail and specialty pharmacies.
We’re also balancing the growing interest in off-label use of certain prescription medications to treat COVID-19 pneumonia with the ongoing needs of patients and members who are prescribed these drugs to help manage chronic conditions such as lupus, HIV, rheumatoid arthritis and asthma. Our goal is to limit stockpiling of medication that could result in future shortages and gaps in care.
Our retail pharmacies are following dispensing guidelines regarding the use of these medications for COVID-19 that have been established in certain states. In states with no guidelines, our pharmacies are limiting the dispensing for COVID-19 treatment to a 10-day supply with no refills.
With consent of plan sponsors, CVS Caremark is setting appropriate coverage limits on the quantity of these medications for potential use in treating COVID-19. Plan members who already take these medications for approved uses will be able to bypass the new quantity limits.
Despite the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19, our goal is to ensure members have timely, safe access to their medications.
- Many members may now get early refills on most 30-day prescription maintenance medications and we encourage plan members to take advantage of 90-day benefits where applicable.
- Understanding that it may be harder for members to visit their health care providers during the COVID-19 outbreak, we are working with plan sponsors to extend previously approved prior authorizations for most medications set to expire before June 30. For example, if a current prior authorization is set to expire on May 15, the expiration date will be extended to August 15. This will not only provide members peace of mind, but also help to reduce the volume of phone calls and other administrative burdens on physicians’ offices and pharmacies.
- Members can access free home delivery of prescriptions from CVS Caremark Mail Service Pharmacy.
At this time, prescription copays are not being waived. However, if you are facing financial challenges, you may qualify for a copay assistance program.
Some of the companies that manufacture medications offer programs to help patients pay for their medications. The programs listed below are not affiliated with CVS Caremark®. We are providing this list to help you find financial assistance if you need it.
- RxAssist – Database for patient assistance programs; www.rxassist.org
- NeedyMeds – Coupons and copay assistance programs; www.needymeds.org
- Rx Assistance Program – Financial assistance based on need; www.pparx.org
- Rx Outreach – Non-profit online pharmacy; www.rxoutreach.org
- Rx Cut – Prescription discount card; www.rxcut.com
- Rx Saver by RetailMeNot – Coupons and retail pharmacy price comparisons; rxsaver.retailmenot.com
- SingleCare – Prescription discount card; www.singlecare.com
- Xubex Pharmacy Services – Online pharmacy and patient assistance; www.xubex.com
- GoodRx – Coupons and retail pharmacy price comparisons; www.goodrx.com
- Blink Health – Online pharmacy with local pharmacy pickup options; www.blinkhealth.com
- Patient Access Network Foundation – Database for patient assistance programs; www.panfoundation.org
- Cornerstones 4 Care – Financial assistance for Novo Nordisk diabetes medications; www.cornerstones4care.com/patient-assistance-program.html
Please note: If you use one of these programs, it is possible that the amount you pay out-of-pocket may not be applied to your plan’s deductible or out-of-pocket maximum.
CVS Caremark does not operate the websites/organizations listed here, nor is it responsible for the availability or reliability of their content. These listings do not imply or constitute an endorsement, sponsorship or recommendation by CVS Caremark.
If you are being asked to shelter in place and you have a prescription to fill, we strongly encourage you to choose home delivery. Home delivery is available at no extra cost through CVS Caremark Mail Service Pharmacy™ and CVS Pharmacy®. Check with your pharmacy to see if they are offering no-cost home delivery. Shelter-in-place orders do not typically apply to travel for essential services, such as going to the pharmacy to pick up medications. Check with your state or local government website for shelter-in-place details. Check with your pharmacy for any changes to hours of operation.
If you are filling your prescription at CVS Pharmacy and can’t wait one to two days for delivery, or if your medication can’t be delivered by mail (such as controlled substances and medications that require refrigeration), please use the drive-thru. Please note: Depending on the medication, you may be asked to show ID.
We are still learning about the novel Coronavirus that causes COVID-19 and how it spreads. At this time, the WHO and CDC have stated that the likelihood of novel Coronavirus contaminating cardboard or other shipping containers is low. Our shipping carriers follow CDC guidelines to protect their employees and recipients of our orders, and this includes best practices for cleaning, social distancing and sanitizing. Our shipping suppliers have largely relaxed the requirement for a physical signature for orders that would normally require one. We are sourcing additional personal protective equipment such as gloves and masks for our staff, and training staff on its proper and effective use. We regularly sanitize the bins that transport orders throughout pharmacy processes. For more information, please check the CDC guidance on their website regarding packages.
There is no evidence that COVID-19 can be transmitted through goods imported from other countries. Currently, there are no cases of COVID-19 in the United States associated with imported products.
At this time, we do not foresee any disruptions to the supply chain as a result of COVID-19 that would affect your ability to fill prescriptions.
Check your current medication supply to make sure you have enough on hand. As always, we encourage you to refill your prescriptions on time.
For information on the status of your shipment and any service alerts, check with the carrier:
- U.S. Postal Service – https://about.usps.com/newsroom/service-alerts/
- UPS – https://www.ups.com/us/en/service-alerts.page?id=alert1
- FedEx – https://www.fedex.com/en-us/coronavirus.html
If you would like your specialty medications delivered to your home, you will need to change your delivery preference. To get started, sign in to CVSspecialty.com and change your delivery preference.
Our national delivery partners are also working to implement new policies for deliveries requiring signatures, including for shipped medications, which can help our plan members adhere to recommended social distancing practices and avoid potential exposure to the virus.
For example, in lieu of obtaining actual signatures, UPS will now enter a code and the name of the recipient so that the member does not have to physically sign via the UPS hand-held device, which can help minimize contact.
Common signs of infection include fever, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, or new loss of taste or smell.
In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure, and even death. Visit the CDC website for more information about symptoms.
To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that you:
- Wash your hands often
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth
- When you sneeze, cover your nose and mouth with a tissue
- Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects
- Drink plenty of fluids
- Aim for eight hours of sleep each night
- Eat a well-balanced diet
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick
Many states, counties, cities and countries have issued “stay at home” or “social distancing” orders. To help protect yourself and others from the spread of COVID-19, it is important to follow these orders and limit the amount of time spent outside the home and around other people.
COVID-19 is thought to spread primarily though human-to-human contact via respiratory droplets that are produced when a person coughs, sneezes, or even talks. Infected droplets may be inhaled or land on or in the noses or mouths of people nearby, spreading the disease.
It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads. Similarly, contracting the disease from an infected animal or pet is considered low risk.
COVID-19 is spreading very easily, more efficiently than the flu. For this reason, it is critical to practice social distancing, wear a mask, wash your hands properly and disinfect frequently used surfaces. For more information about the transmission of COVID-19, please see the CDC website.
No. There is currently no vaccine for this coronavirus.
Your health care provider may order laboratory tests on respiratory specimens and serum (part of your blood) to detect human coronaviruses. If you are experiencing symptoms, you should tell your health care provider about any recent travel.
Most people with the illness will recover on their own. However, it is important to treat symptoms and limit the chances of infecting others. If you suspect you may have COVID-19, stay at home and reach out to a local health care provider.
Although there are no specific treatments for illnesses caused by human coronaviruses, you can take the following actions to help relieve symptoms if you are mildly sick:
- Take pain and fever medications. Ask your pharmacist how they may interact with any medications you currently take. Caution: The CDC and American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommend not giving aspirin to children.
- Use a room humidifier or take a hot shower to help ease a sore throat and cough.
- Drink plenty of liquids.
- Stay home and rest.
Monitor your symptoms and reach out to a health care provider immediately if you experience any of the following:
- Trouble breathing
- Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
- New confusion or inability to arouse
- Bluish lips or face
For additional guidance on what to do if you or someone you know is sick, visit the CDC website.
If you are concerned about your symptoms, please call your local health care provider. Doctors are also available 24/7 by telemedicine to evaluate and treat symptoms, evaluate the risk of infection and triage next steps. Check to see if your plan includes a covered telemedicine offering.
If you have questions about the medication you’re taking, always ask your doctor or other qualified health providers for advice. Don’t stop taking your medication without asking your doctor first.
According to the CDC, if you are at higher risk for serious illness from COVID-19, it is extra important for you to take actions to reduce your risk of getting sick with the disease, including:
- Stocking up on supplies
- Taking everyday precautions to keep space between yourself and others
- Limiting close contact with people who are sick and wash your hands often
No, but since there is no treatment for COVID‐19, getting available immunizations for other lung infections like flu, pneumonia and whooping cough is important. This is especially important for those who have weakened immune systems or who may have a more serious illness.
The CDC recommends that anyone with symptoms of COVID‐19, who has been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19, or who lives in or has recently traveled from an area with ongoing spread of COVID-19 (such as a CDC-designated “Level 2” or “Level 3” advisory area) should contact their health care provider and be tested.
Patients who have concerns that they may have been exposed to COVID-19 or may have symptoms of COVID-19 should contact their health care provider. The tests will be nasal or pharyngeal swabs that are then sent to a laboratory.
CVS Health has established up to 1,400 locations across the country offering COVID-19 testing. For more information on test site locations in a specific state, please visit CVS.com.
Rapid-result COVID-19 testing is available in select states. Visit CVS.com for more information.
Patients must register in advance at CVS.com to schedule an appointment. Patients will need to pre-register, provide their insurance information as appropriate and verify their eligibility for testing. Once they have registered, the patient will be provided with an appointment window for that same day or up to two days out.
You can find more information on COVID-19 at: