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2016-08-11

Medicaid takes on Zika mosquitoes

Contributed

Texas Medicaid will cover the cost of mosquito repellent for women who are between the ages of 10 and 45 or pregnant, Health & Human Services Executive Commissioner Charles Smith announced last week.
The decision responds to the possibility of local transmission of the Zika virus, which is spread primarily by mosquito bite. Zika can cause severe birth defects in unborn children whose mothers are infected while pregnant.
“The best way to protect yourself from Zika is by avoiding mosquito bites,” Smith said. “There is currently no vaccine to prevent the disease or drug to treat it, making it essential that people use mosquito repellent to protect women and unborn babies.”
To be covered, a doctor must prescribe the repellent and the client must pick it up at a pharmacy. Clients can present their Medicaid prescription card just like they would with any prescription.
Women in the following programs are covered:
• Medicaid
• CHIP
• CHIP-Perinate
• Healthy Texas Women
• Family Planning
Eligible women can get up to two cans per month through Oct. 31. Patients can call doctors to ask for a prescription, and the doctors may call it in to a pharmacy. Office visits should only be required if there is a medical necessity. All protocols and procedures were in place to allow clients to pick up the repellent starting August 9.
HHSC has previously determined the following Zika-related items are covered under current Texas Medicaid benefits that include family planning services, contraceptives, diagnostic testing. targeted case management, physical therapy, long term services and support, acetometophin and oral electrolytes for Zika symptoms and potential coverage for additional ultrasounds for pregnant women
For more information about the Zika virus, visit TexasZika.org.
See related article on page 8A.