Healthcare News & Stories

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Individual/Family

5 Tips To Consider For Open Enrollment 2022

Fall has arrived, and with it, the Open Enrollment period for your health insurance plan. Here are important tips to keep in mind as you select your coverage. The Annual Open Enrollment starts November 1, 2022. 
What Is Open Enrollment?
Open Enrollment is a specially designated period of time that you have to enroll yourself and any family members in a health insurance plan. During the open enrollment period, you have the ability to:
HealthPlans of NC

Health Plans of NC Staff

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Medicare

Answers To 10 Common Medicare Questions

Annual Open Enrollment for Medicare is October 15- December 7; compare plans and options with our licensed Health Plans of NC agents at no cost to you; reach out to the agent on this page for more info or a free quote! 
Medicare decisions are highly personal. And there may be as many different questions about Medicare as there are beneficiaries—maybe more. But certain questions seem to come up more often than others. Here are some of the most common Medicare questions and answers.
How Do I Know What Medicare Coverage Is Right For Me?
HealthPlans of NC

Health Plans of NC Staff

Blue Cross NC
Individual/Family

Blue Cross NC Announces $0 Premiums, Enhanced Benefits For Highly Rated 2022 Medicare Advantage Plan

DURHAM, N.C. – Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (Blue Cross NC) announced it will again offer plans with $0 premiums for Medicare beneficiaries in its Blue Medicare Advantage service area along with extra benefits, including a 100% coverage dental plan, higher over-the-counter allowances, copay reductions, and a Part B premium reduction on its 2022 Medicare Advantage (MA) plans.
“Providing seniors with the most benefits at the lowest possible cost is a top priority for Blue Cross NC,” said Dr. Tunde Sotunde, President and CEO of Blue Cross NC. “Making our Medicare plans more robust, accessible, and affordable is just one of the ways we’re working to make health care better for all North Carolinians.”
For 2022, Blue Cross NC Medicare Advantage HMO and PPO plans were rated 4.5 out of 5 stars by Medicare, which demonstrates high performance in six different categories:
HealthPlans of NC

Original Article Blue Cross NC Media Center News Release via Blue Cross NC

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Health

How To Find A Therapist If You've Never Had One Before

Mental health professionals are in high demand right now. Given that we’re eighteen months into a deadly global pandemic, this is no surprise. Many of us are grieving the loss of loved ones, jobs, plans, and normalcy. And if that’s not hard enough, the stresses of our everyday lives haven’t stopped.
At Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (Blue Cross NC), your total health is our top priority, now more than ever, including your mental and emotional health.
If you’re struggling with your mental health and need some extra support, you’re not alone. Studies show that the rate of anxiety and depression has risen significantly among American adults during the pandemic. And our children’s mental health is suffering, too.
HealthPlans of NC

via Blue Cross NC by Emilie Poplett

Coworkers
Health

Has The Pandemic Made You Consider A Job Change?

Has the pandemic made you rethink your priorities?
Are you considering a job change or possibly working for yourself? Health insurance benefits and your cost share could play a large role in your decision. Here is what you need to know.
How will a job change impact your health insurance coverage?
HealthPlans of NC

Health Plans of NC Staff

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Health

Do I Still Need A Mask? Breaking Down The COVID-19 Delta Variant & New Masking Guidelines

With the state slowly reopening, it can be difficult to know where and when to wear a mask. Does it matter if you’re vaccinated? What if you have kids who aren’t? How do the new COVID variants play in?
These are common questions. We’re here to help you make sense of the latest guidelines so you can keep yourself, your family, and your community safe.
The Delta variant is more contagious than previous strains of covid-19.
HealthPlans of NC

via Blue Cross NC by Dr. Von Nguyen

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Health

A Mom's Perspective On Managing A Pandemic Back-To-School Season

One morning in early April – for the first time in 390 days – I packed two lunches, made sure my kids had on their school uniforms, loaded them in the car and took our place in the morning carline.
I was glad for my face mask to hide my emotions as a teacher checked their temperatures and they headed up the stairs to their school building – my fifth grade son with a protective arm around his kindergartner sister, a purple Post-It note with her name and her teacher’s name on her chest.
She’d never been inside the building as a student before.
HealthPlans of NC

Maggie Brown via Blue Cross NC

Mother and child wearing masks
Health

7 Tips: Helping Children Overcome Anxieties About Returning To School

My eldest son is 11 years old. After months of home learning, he returned to the classroom last fall. The transition back to the classroom came earlier for our family than for most, but it was still marked by tremendous anxiety for my son. Being with peers isn’t always easy.
Many of us eagerly anticipate the moment when we can gather in groups again. We crave that vital sense of connection to our loved ones, to our peers and to our community. But that doesn’t mean reintegrating into social settings will be easy. It can be especially scary for children.
My son’s reluctance is not an isolated tale. Incidents of children refusing to return to group settings are on the rise. In particular, many parents have noted that their children with anxiety disorders were happier and more comfortable at home. While the pandemic has left most children feeling more stressed, we know that some children with social anxiety or OCD have actually been happier in social isolation.
HealthPlans of NC

Blue Cross NC By Nora Dennis

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Health

How To Tell Fact From Fiction With COVID-19 Information

KNOWING THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN FACT AND FICTION COULD SAVE LIVES.
The internet has given us access to information faster than ever. Unfortunately, that information is not always accurate. And the spread of misinformation has real consequences on our health care decisions.
In recent years, misinformation has proliferated throughout the internet. It can seem impossible to differentiate what is true and what isn’t. When COVID-19 arrived, public trust in institutions was already dwindling. That created the perfect storm for misinformation to spread, at a time when the difference between fact and fiction could save lives.
HealthPlans of NC

via Blue Cross NC by Zachary Newcastle

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Health

What To Expect With Your Child's COVID-19 Vaccine

Parents’ Questions, Answered
By now, you probably know that COVID-19 vaccines are available to kids and teens 12 and up.1 For many of us, the choice to get vaccinated was fairly straightforward. Making that choice for our kids, however, may feel more complicated.We want to help you find the information you need to make that decision. As always, we recommend talking to your child’s pediatrician if you have any questions or concerns.
Are COVID-19 vaccines safe for kids and teens?
HealthPlans of NC

Kristi Edwards via Blue Cross NC

Canoe on a lake at sunset
Health

If You're Looking For Summer Adventure, Try Paddling With These Beginner-Friendly Tips

It’s too hot to be outdoors?
Not if you’re near water. Or better yet, on it.
Sure, you might think. If you have a boat.
HealthPlans of NC

By Joe Miller via Blue Cross NC

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Health

Get More Benefits With Dual Medicaid-Medicare D-SNP Plans

Dual Special Needs Plans (D-SNPs) are specialized Medicare Advantage plans for people with
both Medicare and Medicaid and typically offer many extra benefits and features beyond
Original Medicare.
HealthPlans of NC

Health Plans of NC, Kelly Quinn

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Individual/Family

More People Now Eligible For Health Insurance Through The ACA

Better ACA subsidies have been announced, making health insurance coverage significantly more affordable for millions of people.
An average of three out of five eligible uninsured Americans can access $0 plans after advance payments of tax credits
An average of four out of five current HealthCare.gov consumers will be able to find a plan for $10 or less per month after advance payments of tax credits  
HealthPlans of NC

Health Plans of NC Staff

Child at the dentist
Health

How To Take Charge Of Your Dental & Vision Health Coverage

We all understand the importance of going to the doctor when we are feeling unwell or for our annual checkup. But what about making sure that our teeth and eyes are healthy too?
If you’re working on your health by getting annual physicals, eating healthier, or exercising, you should consider taking care of your dental health and vision care as well. It makes a difference.
Why Dental Care Matters
HealthPlans of NC

Payden Wilhemson via Blue Cross NC

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Health

6 Surprising Ways Hiking Can Improve Your Mental Health

It’s curious how well-versed we are in the physical benefits of hiking. The activity can:
Reduce the risk of heart disease
Reduce your risk of hypertension, or high blood pressure. (Hiking regularly has been shown to lower blood pressure by 4 to 10 points.)
HealthPlans of NC

From Blue Cross NC By Joe Miller

People laughing together
Health

Conversations With A Compassion Warrior: A Social Worker On LGBTQ+ Mental Health

In discussing LGBTQ+ behavioral health, centering the voices of LGBTQ+ behavioral health specialists is essential.
We reached out to Hayden Dawes LCSW, LCAS to clarify the role of health plans in supporting whole health for our LGBTQ+ members. Here’s what he had to say.
Helpful terms
HealthPlans of NC

By Nora Dennis via Blue Cross NC

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Individual/Family

Some People Pay $0 For Health Insurance

In response to the COVID-19 national emergency, President Biden has signed into law the American Rescue Act of 2021  making health insurance coverage significantly more affordable for millions of people. This includes increasing the number of people eligible for subsidies and offering zero-dollar premiums for people with lower incomes. Starting April 1, more Americans will be able to qualify for a lower monthly premium through Affordable Care Act (ACA) health plans. 
Can I benefit from The American Rescue Act?
Whether you have private health insurance, lost coverage due to job loss, or are unable to afford a plan, the American Rescue Act may benefit you. The new law also allows people who previously made too much for subsidies to now qualify for premium subsidies.
HealthPlans of NC

Health Plans of NC Staff

We resolve to make health care simpler.
Individual/Family

5 Questions To Ask Before Picking A Health Insurance Plan

Health insurance can be complicated. Whether you’re purchasing health insurance for the first time or just needs some help navigating the marketplace, we have the answers to your most pressing questions.
1. When can you buy health insurance?
If you buy your health insurance through the marketplace, not through your employer, there are a few times you’re able to purchase a plan. The first is during Open Enrollment, which occurs each November and runs through December 15th.
HealthPlans of NC

Blue Cross NC

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Health

What's The Difference Between Medicare & Medicaid? Find Out If You're Eligible

I admit that I didn’t fully understand the difference between Medicare and Medicaid before I started working in health care. I know I’m not alone. It’s confusing, and I’ve come to realize that many people are unfamiliar with how each one works.
It’s important that we understand the options and benefits each program provides, as well as recent changes and enhancements that will offer not only increased access to health care, but better value for North Carolinians.
But first, let’s begin with the basic questions. What is Medicare? What is Medicaid?
HealthPlans of NC

From Blue Cross NC By Brian Edmonds

Family hiking
Health

Need Last-Minute Ideas For Celebrating Mother's Day? Take A Hike Your Mother Will Like!

In a tizzy over what to do for mom for Mother’s Day? It’s simple, really: she just wants to be with the family. And what better family activity is there, especially in spring, than taking a hike together!
Here are five hikes across the state that are especially good for a Mother’s Day outing. Included are the miles of trail available and a link for additional information.
1. Flower Hill Nature Preserve, Johnston County
HealthPlans of NC

via Blue Cross NC by Joe Miller

Spring buds on a branch
Health

5 Places To Find Spring In North Carolina

The temperature was in the 50s, the sky a blue we haven’t seen much of this year. I was scanning the ground along the Pump Station Trail, eager for signs of spring. It was the third week of February, late by seasonal norms for the first sign of spring’s first responders: the spring beauty, its five rounded pedals scanning the sky for sun like a satellite dish seeking a signal, and the trout lily, with its delicate fingers of crimson and yellow. Alas, the best I could do was one mottled leaf of a trout lily, barely penetrating the leaf litter. Spring was on the cusp.
And that’s OK, because when spring-like weather finally hits — when temperatures reach the 60s for two or three days straight and the sun quits being coy, we’re in for quite the show.
Ah, but where to catch the show that represents the psychological start of spring? Today, we look at five spots with excellent odds for spotting memorable ephemerals.
HealthPlans of NC

Joe Miller via Blue Cross NC

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Individual/Family

New Lower Costs Available On The ACA Marketplace!

New! Lower Cost on the Marketplace for Health Plans!
Making healthcare insurance significantly more affordable for millions of people. Start or switch to a better plan for less cost.
In response to the COVID-19 national emergency, President Biden has signed into law the American Rescue Act of 2021 which includes increasing the number of people eligible for subsidies and offers zero-dollar premiums for people with lower incomes. Starting April 1, more Americans will be able to qualify for a lower monthly premium through Affordable Care Act (ACA) health plans. 
HealthPlans of NC

Health Plans of NC Staff

Person taking their temperature
Health

3 Things You Need To Know About Breakthrough COVID-19 Infections

You may have heard in the news recently about “breakthrough cases,” or vaccinated people testing positive for COVID-19.
If you’re vaccinated, you might be worrying about whether your vaccine will hold up against the more contagious delta variant.
If you’re not vaccinated, you might be wondering why you should get vaccinated if you could get infected with COVID anyway.
HealthPlans of NC

via Blue Cross NC by Dr. Von Nguyen

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Individual/Family

Healthcare Premium Relief - New Subsidies Announced

The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 provides relief for Marketplace Premiums making plans more affordable to consumers. The law increases subsidy amounts and extends subsidy eligibility to households that were not eligible before.
Because of the COVID-19 Special Enrollment period currently in progress, the American public has the opportunity to apply for coverage or make changes to their existing coverage without the need of a qualifying life event.
This special enrollment period ends August 15, 2021.
HealthPlans of NC

Health Plans of NC Staff

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