Chapel Hill, N.C. (Vocus) October 5, 2009
As part of the campaign, BCBSNC will cover the seasonal flu vaccine for customers with preventive health benefits. Some customers may be charged a copayment, deductible or coinsurance, depending on their specific benefits. BCBSNC is also encouraging customers to get the separate H1N1 vaccine, and is waiving out-of-pocket costs for eligible customers.
"A flu shot takes just seconds and is the most effective way to prevent the seasonal flu or to keep from passing it on to others," said Dr. Don Bradley, senior vice president and chief medical officer for BCBSNC. "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."
Along with its insured customers, BCBSNC administers health plans for companies and organizations that are self-insured (The employer pays BCBSNC to administer the plan). Employees with those self-insured companies should check with their supervisors or HR Department to determine how the seasonal and H1N1 vaccine will be covered.
BCBSNC's decision to cover the H1N1 vaccine is based on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, which predicts widespread H1N1 outbreaks this fall and winter.
Once the H1N1 vaccine is available, BCBSNC customers may also go to their physician, in-network pharmacist or CVS Minute Clinic to get a covered H1N1 vaccine. Customers are advised to contact their provider to ensure the vaccine is available.
To be fully protected against the seasonal and H1N1 flu, people should get both vaccines. These may be given on the same day. The 2009 H1N1 vaccine will not replace the seasonal flu vaccine.
The (CDC) lists the following priority groups for getting the H1N1 vaccine:
Severe flu can result in pneumonia and dehydration, and can cause complications for those with chronic illnesses. According to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, every year, between 1,000 and 2,000 people die of seasonal influenza and pneumonia in North Carolina. Nationally, the CDC estimates that more than 200,000 people are hospitalized with the seasonal flu each year and that it causes 36,000 deaths annually nationwide.
In order to find out whether a worksite will have a seasonal flu shot clinic, BCBSNC customers should contact their employer. Otherwise, customers should contact their physician for an appointment or visit a participating pharmacist or CVS MinuteClinic.
Seasonal flu shots are available at these locations (while supplies last):
Kimberley Colvin BCBSNC
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