Early treatment is key to avoiding severe illness and hospitalizations.
People who test positive for Covid-19, particularly those who are uninsured or don’t have a primary care doctor, will have better access to treatments thanks to a time-limited telemedicine program launched by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services in partnership with StarMed Healthcare.
After a positive test, early treatment is key to avoiding severe illness and hospitalizations, and treatment may even reduce complications from post-Covid conditions, also called long Covid.
“More than 1 million people in North Carolina don’t have health insurance, which has made accessing care for Covid-19, as with other diseases, very challenging,” said NCDHHS Secretary Kody H. Kinsley. “This program provides a temporary bridge to care for many in rural and historically marginalized communities, but we still need long term investments to close the coverage gap.”
Free telemedicine appointments to screen for Covid-19 treatment eligibility will be available, while funding allows, to North Carolinians who have tested positive for Covid-19 with an at-home test or other method. To set up an appointment visit starmed.care/nc or call (704) 941-6000, seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. If the telemedicine provider determines a patient is eligible for oral antiviral treatment, such as Paxlovid, they can send a prescription to the patient’s chosen pharmacy or through a mail-order pharmacy.
“Authorized Covid-19 treatments like Paxlovid can prevent hospitalizations and save lives if started within five days of symptoms,” said NCDHHS Assistant Secretary for Public Health and State Public Health Officer Dr. Susan Kansagra. “Everyone, especially people at high risk of getting very sick from Covid-19, should have a plan to contact a health care provider right away if they test positive. This telemedicine program offers another option for quick access to lifesaving treatments.”
This telemedicine screening service is available regardless of insurance status and IDs are not required. If you have insurance, StarMed Healthcare will bill your health plan and NCDHHS will pay for any additional balance. If you do not have insurance, you will not be charged for your appointment. Oral antiviral pills are available at no-cost to the patient.
Covid-19 trends are again rising according to the NCDHHS Covid dashboard. Flu and RSV have already stretched hospital capacity this year. One way to help is to get vaccinated and boosted against Covid-19. Everyone six months of age and older should stay up to date with their Covid-19 vaccines and boosters. Find a vaccine location near you at MySpot.nc.gov.
Everyone six months or older should also get a flu vaccine annually. Visit MySpot.nc.gov/flu to find locations and more information.