Florida state employees are getting free access to telehealth services and flu shots administered in pharmacies as part of the effort to slow the spread of the new coronavirus.
“The flu can lead to more serious respiratory diseases that can result in hospitalization or death and individuals with certain health conditions are at a higher risk of flu complications, including many of the same high-risk indicators for Covid-19 complications,” Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) said in an executive order issued Thursday.
The State Group Insurance Program that provides coverage to state employees and their dependents usually limits treatment to in-person visits to doctors’ offices.
The program now includes telehealth services at no additional cost to state employees who are sick, under DeSantis’ order. The same services also are available to those who are not sick but want to keep appointments with their doctors to avoid exposure to people who may be ill.
State employees also can now receive flu shots at pharmacies. All cost sharing that would have been charged for their immunizations has been waived.
The extended coverage will continue as long as the state of emergency that DeSantis declared March 9 remains in effect.
Covid-19, as the disease caused by the virus is known, has symptoms similar to the flu. It can be transmitted through close contact with infected people.
Florida had a total of 2,355 cases of Covid-19 as of Thursday afternoon, according to state health department data. The state has confirmed 28 deaths from the disease.