Frequently Asked Questions

The COVID-19 situation is constantly evolving, and these decisions are made with the best interest of patient, staff and community in mind. 

UW Health will provide a daily media update for the community.

UW Health COVID-19 Hotline

For questions, please call (608) 720-5300

  • 8am-11pm, Mon-Fri
  • 7am-11pm, Sat-Sun

Billing and Insurance

Do I need to pay in advance for COVID-19 testing, treatment or follow up care?

Patients are not required to pay in advance for COVID-19 testing, treatment or follow-up care with a UW Health provider. While patients may be billed for these services later, UW Health does not want anyone who is recommended for testing to postpone having the test or any treatment due to concerns about cost. COVID-19 testing and follow-up care will qualify for the UW Health Financial Assistance Program.

If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, cough, shortness of breath) contact your healthcare provider via phone, MyChart or Care Anywhere for a video visit.

What should I know about billing and insurance?

Insurance companies’ coverage policies are evolving quickly in response to COVID-19. Many are implementing policies to temporarily pay for telephone and telehealth/video visits in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and some are waiving cost sharing, including co-pays, coinsurance and deductibles for select services received from in-network providers. If you have questions about your specific insurance benefits, we ask that you please contact your insurance company using the number listed on the back of your card.

The sections below serve as a guide based on the information that is available at this time.

Telephone Visits

Insured Patients: Patients are notified during the scheduling process that scheduled telephone visits will be billed to their insurance. Claims will be submitted to the insurance company and co-pays/deductibles/co-insurance will be billed to the patient as determined by the payer.

Uninsured/Self-Pay patients and insured patients whose visits are denied by the payer as non-covered: Maximum out of pocket cost will be $26.80 per visit. Financial assistance is available to patients who quality.  Financial assistance program details can be found here

Telehealth/Video Visits

Insured Patients: Patients are notified during the scheduling process that scheduled video visits will be billed to their insurance. Claims will be submitted to the insurance company and co-pays/deductibles/co-insurance will be billed to the patient as determined by the payer.

Uninsured/Self-Pay patients and insured patients whose visits are denied by the payer as non-covered: The self-pay discount (currently 33%) will be applied to the total charges before the patient is billed. Financial assistance is available to patients who qualify.  Financial assistance program details can be found here

CareAnywhere (On-Demand) Video Visits

Quartz Patients: Claims will be submitted to the insurance company and co-pays/deductibles/co-insurance will be billed to the patient as determined by the payer.

Non-Quartz Patients: Pre-payment of $49 is required prior to the visit.

MyChart E-visits

Quartz Patients: Claims will be submitted to the insurance company and co-pays/deductibles/co-insurance will be billed to the patient as determined by the payer.

Non-Quartz Patients: Pre-payment of $30 is required prior to the visit.

Appointments

If I can't schedule my appointment now, should I call back?

If your provider has determined you do not need to be seen until UW Health returns to normal operations:

  • Plan to call us back in 6-8 weeks when we currently anticipate being able to return to normal operations.
  • UW Health will issue a press release on our website, and on the news when we return to normal operations. We will also be sending a MyChart announcement to our patients.
Is my appointment going to be changed to a telephone visit?
  • To support social distancing and slow the spread of COVID-19 we are reviewing all scheduled care to determine if it needs to be completed as planned, be done over the phone or postponed.
  • Our providers are currently reviewing all appointments scheduled over the next 3 weeks. As they make decisions about changes or postponements, we will contact the patients to inform them of the change.
  • If you do not hear about a change prior to your appointment, you should plan for your care to continue as scheduled.

Prevention

How do I prevent COVID-19 (coronavirus)?

Clean your hands often

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands

Avoid close contact

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Put distance between yourself and other people if COVID-19 is spreading in your community. This is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick.

How to protect others

  • Stay home if you are sick. Learn what to do if you are sick.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow
  • Throw used tissues in the trash
  • Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, clean your hands with a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
How do I prevent the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus)?
  • Avoid contact with people who are sick
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
  • Cough or sneeze into a tissue and then throw the tissue into the trash
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces
  • Stay home when you are sick, except to get medical care if you need it
  • Try to stay 6 feet away from other people in the community
Are younger adults at risk?

While the early data from China suggested that those aged 60 and older are at greatest risk, cases in the United States raise concerns about younger adults. Young adults are not immune from this serious illness and should protect themselves from exposure. Read more myths and facts

I have travel planned. Should I cancel my plans?

If you live in the State of Wisconsin, you must abide by the Safer-At-Home order. Answers to this question and others can be found on the Safer-At-Home Frequently Asked Questions page from the Office of the Governor.

What if I have recently traveled to a location with a Level 3 travel notice or have been in contact with someone who may have been ill with COVID-19 (coronavirus)?

Stay home for 14 days from the time you left an area with widespread, ongoing community spread (Level 3 Travel Health Notice countries) and practice social distancing.

Take these steps to monitor your health and practice social distancing (avoiding public places):

  • Take your temperature with a thermometer two times a day and monitor for fever. Also watch for cough or trouble breathing.
  • Stay home and avoid contact with others. Do not go to work or school for this 14-day period. Discuss your work situation with your employer before returning to work.
  • Do not take public transportation, taxis, or ride-shares during the time you are practicing social distancing
  • Avoid crowded places (such as shopping centers and movie theaters) and limit your activities in public
  • Keep your distance from others (about 6 feet or 2 meters)
I feel fine - do I need to take precautions?

It is looking like a sizable number of people can be infected by COVID-19 and show no symptoms. There’s a big threat to public health if infected people with no symptoms don’t isolate and spread the virus to others. So take all precautions even if you are feeling well. Read more myths and facts

Symptoms and Care

What are the symptoms of COVID-19 (coronavirus)?

The following symptoms may appear 2-14 days with the average being 5 days after exposure.

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

UW Health advises:

  • Stay home when you are sick and limit contact with others
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for 20 seconds or use hand sanitizing gel
  • Cover your cough with your elbow and sneeze into a tissue
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects in your home (cellphones, for example)
  • Do not travel while sick

If you have questions about COVID-19, call the UW Health COVID-19 Informational Hotline at (608) 720-5300. If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 contact your healthcare provider via phone, MyChart or Care Anywhere for a video visit.

UW Health, in conjunction with the CDC and the Wisconsin Department of Public Health, does not recommend wearing a mask if you are not sick. If you are experiencing severe respiratory symptoms, call 911.

Can I get tested for COVID-19 (coronavirus)?

If you do not have the symptoms for COVID-19, (fever, cough, shortness of breath), a test will not be performed at this time.

Who should get tested?
UW Health will only be testing those with symptoms such as fever, cough, and shortness of breath. We also prioritize testing those in our community with medical vulnerabilities, such as transplantation, heart disease, cancer, lung disease, diabetes, age greater than 60. Travel history is still a consideration, both international and domestic travel to areas with community spread of the disease. 

Where can I be tested?
If you meet the criteria for a test for COVID-19, it is really important that you call ahead first. You can call your clinic, the UW Health COVID-19 hotline (608) 720-5300 or send a message through MyChart. If you do not have symptoms for COVID-19 you will not be tested at this time.

UW Health has access to a number of options for testing, including some in home testing. Calling ahead of time is the best way to determine where to get tested if you qualify.

IF YOU ARE NOT HAVING AN EMERGENCY CONDITION PLEASE DO NOT COME DIRECTLY TO THE UW HEALTH EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT TO GET TESTED
 

Walk-in testing is significantly limited. Presenting to a location for just getting tested for COVID-19 could result in you getting sent home without being tested. For that reason you must call ahead. Call the UW Health COVID-19 hotline (608) 720-5300, call ahead to your UW Health clinics, or send a My Chart message BEFORE coming in.

I have a previously scheduled appointment and I am healthy, should I go?

We are asking some patients with non-urgent routine visits to complete their appointments via telephone or through online resources like Care Anywhere or Telehealth or reschedule appointments to a later date.

If UW Health needs to cancel your appointment, you will be contacted directly.

What do I do if I become ill?

UW Health advises:

  • Stay home when you are sick and limit contact with others. People who are mildly ill are able to isolate at home. Stay at home until you are instructed to leave to reduce the risk of spreading the disease. (Learn about self-isolation)
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for 20 seconds or use hand sanitizing gel
  • Cover your cough with your elbow and sneeze into a tissue
  • Avoid public areas
  • Avoid public transportation
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects in your home (cellphones, for example)
  • Do not travel while sick
  • Do not share personal items, like dishes, towels or bedding
  • Seek medical attention if your illness is worsening, but before you go to a doctor or clinic, call first
  • Wear a facemask before you enter a shared space
  • Practice self-care

If you have questions about COVID-19, call the UW Health COVID-19 Informational Hotline at (608) 720-5300. If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, cough, shortness of breath) contact your healthcare provider via phone, MyChart or Care Anywhere for a video visit.

UW Health, in conjunction with the CDC and the Wisconsin Department of Public Health, does not recommend wearing a mask if you are not sick. If you are experiencing severe respiratory symptoms, call 911.

Should I wear a mask?

UW Health, in conjunction with the CDC and the Wisconsin Department of Public Health, does not recommend wearing a mask if you are not sick. If you are experiencing severe respiratory symptoms, call 911.

For more information on the use of masks and how to prevent illness, please see the CDC guidelines.

How do I know if I have the flu or COVID-19?

Because symptoms are similar for flu and COVID-19, it is impossible to know for sure if you may have one or the other. Both are contagious viruses that cause respiratory illness.

Why it might be flu: Flu symptoms usually come on suddenly. Most who get the flu recover in two weeks or less, although about 1 percent of people need to be hospitalized.

Why it might be COVID-19: You are more likely to have COVID-19 if you have respiratory symptoms (dry cough, shortness of breath) AND one of the following is true:

  • You recently traveled to a country with community spread of the COVID-19 virus, such as China, Iran, Italy, Japan or South Korea
  • You have been in direct contact (were coughed on by or were within 6 feet of) with someone suspected of having COVID-19
  • There has been community spread of the COVID-19 virus in your area or to an area you traveled.
Where can I find additional information?
Should pregnant or breastfeeding individuals be concerned?

Information on COVID-19 is constantly updating. While there has not been documented evidence of COVID-19 being transmitted either through breastmilk or while the baby is in utero, it is important that individuals take steps to reduce their risk of exposure. Read information for pregnant and breastfeeding individuals and newborns

Are there good treatment drugs available?

In the media, the malaria drugs chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine have been suggested as treatments for COVID-19, but there is no known drug cure yet. Read more myths and facts

Can ibuprofen be harmful for someone diagnosed with COVID-19?

While there’s no evidence on ibuprofen risks for most people, consult with your healthcare provider on your best treatment for the virus. Read more myths and facts

Social Distance

Can I go out in public places?

If you live in the State of Wisconsin, you must abide by the Safer-At-Home order. Answers to this question and others can be found on the Safer-At-Home Frequently Asked Questions page from the Office of the Governor.

Can I have friends over?

If you live in the State of Wisconsin, you must abide by the Safer-At-Home order. Answers to this question and others can be found on the Safer-At-Home Frequently Asked Questions page from the Office of the Governor.

Information for Patients with Specific Health Concerns

High Risk and Elderly Patients

If you are at high risk or an older adult, UW Health recommends you review the Center for Disease Control’s advice on how to protect yourself from COVID-19 (Coronavirus).

Populations at additional risk include:

  • Those who have heart disease
  • Those with diabetes
  • Those with lung disease, including asthma
  • Those who are taking immune suppression drugs
  • Those who are being treated for cancer
  • Anyone age 60+

Review what high risk and elderly patients should know

Cancer Patients

The well-being and safety of our cancer patients at the UW Carbone is always our top priority. Information related to COVID-19 is constantly changing. Please review our precautions for cancer patients for information on appointments and ways to stay healthy.

Transplant Patients

The well-being and safety of our transplant patients is always our top priority. Information related to COVID-19 is constantly changing. Please continue to check this site for precautions for transplant patients.

Type 1 Diabetes Patients

While there is no higher risk of patients with Type 1 diabetes getting COVID-19, the risk of complications is higher especially in patients with consistently elevated blood sugar levels and secondary chronic disease. Remember to monitor blood glucose and ketones more frequently than usual, have a supply of and continue normal medications as scheduled, keep plenty of healthy carbohydrate (crackers, unsweetened fruit) foods on hand and be mindful that OTD medications like cough syrup and acetaminophen can affect blood glucose levels.