Want to knock out your chances of getting the flu? Well, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (BCBSNC) wants you to stick it to the flu by getting your flu shot. It is presenting this message through its Stick it to the Flu Campaign which will run through March.
As part of the campaign, BCBSNC will cover the cost of the seasonal flu vaccine for customers with preventive health benefits. A co-payment, deductible or coinsurance may be charged to some customers, depending on their specific benefits. BCBSNC is also suggesting that customers get the separate H1N1so vaccine, and the out-of-pocket costs will be waived for eligible customers.
Dr. Don Bradley, senior vice president and chief medical officer for BCBSNC, says that the flu shot is the best way to keep from getting the seasonal flu and transferring it to others. He says “We are making it easy for our customers to get their seasonal and H1N1 flu shots by simply visiting their primary care doctor, worksite clinic or participating pharmacist in the BCBSNC network.”
As with insured customers, BCBSNC issues health plans for companies and organizations that are self-insured (The employer pays BCBSNC to administer the plan). Employees of such self-insured companies can check with their supervisors or HR Department to determine how the seasonal and H1N1 vaccine will be paid.
BCBSNC, using guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, has decided to cover the H1N1 vaccine. The Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices has predicted extensive outbreaks this fall and winter.
When the H1N1 vaccine is available, BCBSNC customers have the option to go to their physician, in-network pharmacist or CVS Minute Clinic to get a H1N1 vaccine that will be covered. They advise customers to contact their provider to make sure that the vaccine is available.
It is strongly recommended that people get both vaccines to be completely protected against the seasonal and swine flu. These can be administered on the same day. The 2009 H1N1 vaccine does not replace the seasonal flu vaccine. You must get each vaccine for the best protection.
The CDC says that those who are the first to get the H1N1 vaccine are pregnant women, people who live with or provide care for infants less than 6 months of age, heath care and emergency medical services workers, children and young adults ages 6 months to 24 years and adults ages 25 to 65 years with medical conditions that have put them at a higher risk for flu-related complications.
More than 100 million doses of the seasonal flu vaccine will be available this flu season, according to the CDC estimations. The U.S. government plans to have 6 to 7 million doses of the H1N1 vaccine in October and 250 million doses by the end of the year. The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services reports that between 1000 to 2000 people die of seasonal influenza and pneumonia in North Carolina each year. The CDC estimates that more than 200,000 people are hospitalized with the seasonal flu every year and that there are 36,000 deaths from it yearly.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina is a leader in advanced health care products, services and information to more than 3.7 million customers, which includes 900,000 served on behalf of other Blue Plans. The company has served its customers for 76 years by offering health insurance at a reasonable and competitive price and has served the people of North Carolina through support of community organizations, programs and events that support good health. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. You can access BCBSNC online at www.bcbsnc.com.