For More Information
Last updated: September 18, 2020
COVID-19 is a rapidly changing global health issue. Access the latest information from the following organizations:
- U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Illinois Department of Public Health
- World Health Organization
Northwestern Medicine Hotline
If you have additional questions, please contact the Northwestern Medicine COVID-19 Hotline by calling 312.47.COVID (312.472.6843). TTY for the hearing impaired, 630.933.4833.
CDC Multi-language Resources on COVID-19
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has developed COVID-19 web pages translated into Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese and Korean. In addition, the CDC has developed videos about COVID-19 in American Sign Language.
Northwestern Medicine Offers Help for Those Who Do Not Have Insurance
If you have recently lost access to health insurance due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there are programs available to assist you.
Health Insurance Marketplace
The Health Insurance Marketplace was established by the Affordable Care Act, or “Obamacare.” This service helps people sign up for affordable health insurance.
Normally, you can only sign up for these plans in November and December. You may be able to enroll in health insurance at other times if you have certain “life events,” such as:
- Losing health insurance coverage
- Getting married
- Having a baby
- Adopting a child
In these cases, you may qualify for a Special Enrollment Period. This means that you have 60 days before or 60 days after the “life event” to enroll in a plan.
There is a monthly fee, called a premium, for insurance. You may qualify for a lower monthly premium depending on your income. You will be redirected to apply for Medicaid if you meet income guidelines.
Northwestern Medicine accepts these Health Insurance Marketplace plans from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois:
- BlueChoice Preferred PPO®
- Blue Precision HMOSM
Not all primary care physicians are in-network with both plans. Check with your doctor if necessary.
For instructions on how to enroll in these plans, please call the Northwestern Medicine Health Resources Hotline at 312.926.7440. TTY for the hearing impaired, 312.926.6363.
Medicaid is a health insurance program available to some people based on income.
The Northwestern Medicine Financial Counseling Department can help you apply for Medicaid. Please call 800.423.0523 for assistance.
You can also apply for Medicaid online at abe.illinois.gov or by calling the Application for Benefits Eligibility (ABE) hotline at 800.843.6154.
If you qualify for Medicaid, you will need to choose a Medicaid managed care plan. Northwestern Medicine is in-network with these Medicaid managed care plans:
- Blue Cross Community Health Plan
- Meridian Health Plan
- CountyCare (this option is only available for residents of Cook County)
If you are starting Medicaid: A few weeks after you apply, you should receive a letter that explains how to choose a Medicaid managed care plan. You will automatically be assigned a plan if you do not choose one by the date listed in the letter. If this happens, you may be assigned to a plan that Northwestern Medicine does not accept. Please contact Illinois Client Enrollment Services to choose a Medicaid managed care plan or make changes to an automatic assignment by calling 877.912.8880.
If you are enrolled in Medicaid: You need to fill out a form every year to show you are still eligible. This is called redetermination. If you do not complete this, your Medicaid coverage will end, and you will need to start a new application. Reminders to update the form are usually sent in the mail. To ensure you stay covered, please contact Illinois Client Enrollment Services at 877.912.8880.
Northwestern Medicine Financial Assistance Program
You may be able to receive free or discounted care through the Northwestern Medicine Financial Assistance Program. If you are unable to afford your medical bills, you may qualify for this program even if you have health insurance. The application for this program requires documentation about you and your household’s financial circumstances, such as your income and assets. Please call our Financial Counseling Department at 800.423.0523 for more information and to apply.
More information is available at nm.org/financialassistance.
Paying for medication
Your health insurance plan may not cover the full cost of your medications. The Northwestern Medicine Financial Assistance Program does not cover medications. Consider the following if you need help paying for your medications.
Ask about coupons or patient assistance programs to lower your medication price from one of the following resources:
Medicine Assistance Tool
Ask your pharmacist if they know of any co-payment assistance cards, free trial cards or other financial assistance options available for your medications.