Important Information Regarding COVID-19

First Choice by Select Health of South Carolina has been closely monitoring the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for the latest information about the coronavirus (COVID-19), and has been engaged in making the necessary plans based on guidance from the CDC. First Choice recommends that providers follow CDC, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, and state-specific guidance with regard to COVID-19 evaluation, testing, diagnosis, treatment, and reporting.

At Select Health of South Carolina, we care about your health and safety. For this reason, we are taking precautions concerning the COVID-19 pandemic.

COVID-19 vaccines

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently expanded the emergency use authorization of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to include adolescents 12 through 15 years of age. Following this decision, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended this vaccine now be used among this population.

Our members look to you, their trusted primary care provider for guidance and support in making health care decisions. We encourage you to continue to talk to your patients about the COVID-19 vaccination. For help finding a location for your patients to receive a vaccine in South Carolina, visit the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC) website:

If you have any questions about engaging members who have limited English proficiency, sensory impairment, and/or low literacy levels, or who need assistance with transportation, please contact Member Services at 1-888-276-2020.

COVID-19 testing

First Choice will cover all medically necessary services required to facilitate testing and treatment of COVID-19 for its eligible members, in accordance with federal and state guidance. No prior authorization is required for COVID-19 testing. Coronavirus testing codes follow:

Code Description
0202U Infectious disease detection by nucleic acid
86328 Immunoassay, COVID-19
86769 Antibody, COVID-19
87426 Coronavirus AG IA
87428 Coronavirus and Inf A&B AG IA
87635 Infectious agent detection by nucleic acid, COVID-19
87636 Infectious agent detection by nucleic acid, COVID-19 & Inf A&B
87637 Infectious agent detection by nucleic acid, COVID-19 & Inf A&B & RSV
87811 Infectious agent detection by immunoassay, COVID-19
C9803 Hospital outpatient clinic visit, COVID-19 specimen collection
G2023 Specimen collection, COVID-19
G2024 Specimen collection, COVID-19 individual 
U0001 CDC COVID-19 real-time PCR diagnostic panel
U0002 COVID-19, any technique, non-CDC
U0003 Infectious agent detection by nucleic acid, COVID-19, high throughput
U0004 COVID-19, any technique, non-CDC, high throughput

At-Home Tests

First Choice covers up to eight of the following at-home tests per month from a Medicaid-enrolled pharmacy:

  • BinaxNOW™ COVID-19 Antigen Self Test.
  • QuickVue® At-Home OTC COVID-19 Test.
  • InteliSwab® COVID-19 Rapid Test.
  • iHealth® COVID-19 Antigen Rapid Test.
  • CareStart™ COVID-19 Antigen Test.
First Choice cannot pay a member directly for a test they have purchased on their own. First Choice will reimburse only the pharmacy for at-home COVID-19 tests.

Reminder: In accordance with SCDHHS guidelines, Select Health of South Carolina continues to waive co-payments for evaluation and management (E/M) code range 99201-99499 for dates of service on or after March 15, 2020.

CDC links for more information:

If you suspect you or a patient has COVID-19

The CDC instructs providers to consult with local or state health departments to determine whether patients meet criteria for a Persons Under Investigation (PUI). Providers should immediately notify infection control personnel at their facility if they suspect COVID-19 in a patient. Please notify your state or local health department if a patient is classified as a PUI for COVID-19.

Providers should report recognized exposures, regularly monitor themselves for fever and symptoms of respiratory infection, and not report to work when ill. Providers in low-, medium-, or high-risk exposure categories who develop signs or symptoms compatible with COVID-19 are strongly encouraged to contact their established point of contact (public health authorities or their facility’s occupational health program) for medical evaluation prior to returning to work.

CDC links for more information:

Access and availability to care Office closures and use of telehealth during the COVID-19 response period 

Select Health of South Carolina continues to monitor the latest information regarding COVID-19, and wants to help ensure that our members have access to care for their health care needs. To help accomplish that, we ask that any participating provider who will be closing their office for an extended period of time notify Select Health of South Carolina at 1-800-741-6605, and patients/members, and indicate whether virtual visits, telephonic consultation, and/or secure web-portal consultation will be available during this period.

Select Health of South Carolina covers telehealth visits for our members in accordance with state and federal policy. Similar to Medicare, many states are adopting expanded or interim policies related to the originating site, payment for telephonic visits, and expanded licensure. 

If your office plans to close or limit onsite visits, and provide virtual, telephonic, or web-based support, please see updated guidance provided by the state: You can access recent telehealth guidance from the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) here: Select Health of South Carolina will provide updates as we receive them.

If your office is closing for an extended period of time and not offering virtual, telephonic, or web-based visits, please direct your patients who are our members to contact Select Health of South Carolina Member Services at 1-888-276-2020 (TTY: 1-888-765-9586). We have tools in place to connect members to alternate providers who can support their continued care. Members can also receive support by calling our 24/7 Nurse Call Line at 1-800-304-5436.

Access to language services for patients with limited English proficiency (LEP)

Select Health of South Carolina is dedicated to providing culturally competent health care. To support this effort, we offer interpretation services at no cost for our First Choice members. LSA's INTERPRETALK® program provides a fast and easy way to communicate with our LEP members. They have interpreters in more than 200 languages who are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Connecting with an interpreter

Call Member Services at 1-888-276-2020 (Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 9 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.) to access this free service. After hours, contact the 24/7 Nurse Call Line at 1-800-304-5436 to connect to an interpreter.

Be prepared to:

  • Provide the member's name.
  • Provide the Medicaid or First Choice ID number.
  • Tell the member's preferred language.
  • Ask for a medical interpreter.

After you provide this information to our Member Services department or the Nurse Call Line, you will be connected to an interpreter. Explain the objective of the call to the interpreter and then proceed by speaking to the member in the first person.

Mental health resources for providers

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and social distancing, many Americans are now dealing with depression, loneliness, and other mental health challenges, especially among the most vulnerable: those living alone; those with pre-existing physical and behavioral health conditions; and those lacking food, shelter and other resources.

Select Health understands that care goes beyond physical health, and we are committed to supporting whole-person care. Caring for your patients during COVID-19 may result in heavier workloads and increased stress. As you take care of others, it is also important to take care of yourself. The resources below include helpful reminders and resources for you and your patients.

Prescription refills

Members may refill their prescription medicines (non-opioid/non-controlled substance) earlier than usual to help ensure a sufficient supply. Medicaid members may also receive a temporary, 72-hour supply of medicines that normally require a prior authorization. Use of out-of-network pharmacies will be authorized upon member request when access to in-network pharmacies is difficult, unsafe, or not practical. 

Out-of-network providers

Use of certified out-of-network and/or out-of-state providers will be allowed for medically necessary services. 

For more resources and guidance, please access the CDC COVID-19 homepage or South Carolina's Department of Environmental Control (SCDHEC).