Healthcare News & Stories

Blue Cross Blue Shield NC
Medicare

Blue Cross NC Announces Enhanced Benefits on 2021 Medicare Advantage Plans, Introduces Healthy Blue + Medicare

DURHAM, NC – Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (Blue Cross NC) announced that it will again offer $0 premiums for Medicare beneficiaries in its Blue Medicare Advantage service area along with drug coverage and enhanced benefits for its 2021 Medicare Advantage (MA) plans.
For 2021, Blue Cross NC’s MA plans will continue offering low primary care copays, no-cost gym memberships and coverage for hearing exams and hearing aids. Those with prescription drug coverage on their plan will also see the elimination of the deductible on tier 3 drugs and an enhanced formulary.
Also, for 2021, Healthy Blue + Medicare will be available to those who qualify for Medicare and Medicaid benefits in the following 18 counties: Alamance, Buncombe, Cabarrus, Cumberland, Davidson, Davie, Durham, Forsyth, Gaston, Guilford, Harnett, Mecklenburg, Orange, Rowan, Stokes, Surry, Wake and Yadkin.
HealthPlans of NC

Blue Cross NC Media Center

We resolve to help our communities stay healthy during covid-19
Health

Virtual Heart Health Training Serves Latino Communities

It’s no secret that Latino populations are disproportionately affected by COVID-19. The CDC reports that Latino people are 2.8 times more likely to get COVID-19 than white, non-Hispanic populations. They’re also 4.6 times more likely to be hospitalized because of the virus. So it’s especially important that we support these communities throughout the state.
One of our partners, the American Heart Association, is working to make a difference. In 2019, Blue Cross NC began a three-year investment of $750,000 in the association’s programs, including Promotores de Salud. The program trains community ambassadors in the fight against cardiovascular disease, a condition that may increase risk of severe COVID-19 symptoms.
The initial plan was to train about 60 Spanish-speaking ambassadors. Those ambassadors would help educate Latino communities in Charlotte and the Triangle about the dangers of cardiovascular disease. At the same time, the association hoped to increase education about prevention and management of COVID-19.
HealthPlans of NC

Blue Cross NC

Person getting a Covid-19 test
Health

What To Do If You Have Symptoms Of COVID-19

5 STEPS TO TAKE IF YOU HAVE COVID-19 SYMPTOMS
During a time with so many unknowns, knowing what to do if you think you have COVID-19 can be challenging. If you’re experiencing symptoms – such as trouble breathing, cough, fever or chills, sore throat, headache, body aches, nausea, vomiting, loss of taste or diarrhea – you should take the following steps.
1. Call your doctor.
HealthPlans of NC

Blue Cross NC

Woman on a Zoom call
Health

Five Tips To ROCK Your Virtual Interview!

Getting ready for an interview when things were “normal” was stressful enough. What do I wear? Where will I park? What questions will they ask? Adding a global pandemic and video interview to the mix adds a whole other layer of anxiety to an already nerve-wracking situation. How’s my lighting? Is my background OK? Will my dog bark?
We get it, and we’re right there with you. Ninety-eight percent of our workforce is working remotely and will be for at least the rest of 2020. So, chances are your interviewer is probably hoping their child doesn’t pop in the frame during your interview, too.
Putting your best foot forward virtually doesn’t have to be as stress-inducing when you’re prepared for the big day. To help ease your nerves, get ready for your video interview with these five tips:
HealthPlans of NC

Mary Page Troxler

Man wearing a mask caring for a sick person with a mask in a bed
Health

Tips To Care For Someone With COVID-19

FIND OUT HOW TO CARE FOR A LOVED ONE WITH COVID-19 WHILE KEEPING YOURSELF SAFE.
There’s no doubt everyone has developed new skills or taken on new responsibilities since the pandemic began. Some parents have become teachers. Some people have mastered online grocery shopping. Many have done both while also taking on the role as a caregiver for a loved one who has been sick with COVID-19.In fact, according to a recent Health of America report, 55% of current caregivers would not have identified as caregivers before COVID-19. And 61% of Americans are worried about having to take care of a friend, neighbor or family member with COVID-19.[1]We understand. Caring for someone who has COVID-19 comes with many challenges. How do you stay healthy while providing care for someone with a highly contagious virus? Here are some tips to keep in mind.
Tips to Care for Your Loved One
HealthPlans of NC

Blue Cross NC

A couple looking at each other
Medicare

Signing Up For Medicare: Initial Enrollment Period

There are many different types of Medicare Enrollment Periods.  One is your Initial Enrollment Period (IEP).  If you are already receiving Social Security benefits, you will be automatically enrolled in Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance) and Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance.)  The same is true for people who receive benefits from the Railroad Retirement Board and people who have received disability benefits for 24 months.  If you are not getting these benefits, you must actively sign up for Medicare through medicare.gov or by visiting your local social security office.  You do not have to start your regular monthly social security benefits in order to get your entitled Medicare benefits.
Initial Enrollment Period
Your initial enrollment period is a 7-month period that:
HealthPlans of NC

Tara O'Neill

Panthers Logo
Health

Carolina Panthers & Blue Cross NC Work To Improve Food Security In Greater Charlotte Area With Panthers Neighborhood Kitchen Program

Charlotte, NC – The Carolina Panthers and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (Blue Cross NC) are teaming up to deliver meals to underserved areas of Charlotte through the Panthers Neighborhood Kitchen program.
The program will consist of six different meal distributions in some of Charlotte’s highest-need neighborhoods. Each event will distribute 300 individual prepared meals, all of which are chef specialties from three locally-owned, African American catering companies/chefs – Curbeam Cuisines (Chef Jeremy), Jimmy Pearls and Maiya Cooks (Chef Maiya).Meals will be served from a Panthers branded service trailer and will include a Panthers Legend alumni player, who will be available for interviews, and team mascot Sir Purr to provide an additional uplift for meal recipients.
The Panthers are collaborating with community partners The Boys & Girls Club of Greater Charlotte and Charlotte Black Owned for the program.
HealthPlans of NC

Blue Cross NC Media Center

We resolve to help you stay healthy during covid-19
Health

6 Mask Myths Debunked

Get the facts on face coverings and social distancing.
Health experts agree that one of the best ways to curb the spread of COVID-19 is to wear a cloth face covering. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends wearing fabric face coverings in public and around people who don’t live in your household. This is particularly important when it’s difficult to keep six feet of distance between yourself and others.
As more health agencies and local governments ask people to wear face coverings, some myths have gained traction. To help you sort through fact and fiction, we’ve debunked some of the most common myths.
HealthPlans of NC

Blue Cross NC

Chef with bags of food
Health

Local Chef Feeds 3,000 People Every Week Amid COVID-19

N’Gai Dickerson has cooked in country clubs, fancy restaurants and swanky hotels. But nothing gives him quite as much pride as hopping in his Mobile Kitchen to cook for his community.
Before the pandemic hit, N’Gai would drive across the North Carolina Triad to teach healthy eating and cooking classes in underserved communities. Working for the American Heart Association, N’Gai’s efforts helped address food insecurity in the region. But when the coronavirus reached North Carolina, he knew he had to change course.
With all his classes cancelled, N’Gai is now preparing 3,000 meals a week for people in need.
HealthPlans of NC

Emilie Poplett

Tents beside a lake
Health

Need A COVID-Safe Getaway? 2 Summer Adventures You Can Take In North Carolina

Yeah, it’s a bummer that you haven’t been able to take your annual summer vacation. Curse you, COVID-19! But you know what? Summer isn’t over. And if you choose to go on an adventure vacation, you can pick a low-risk option.
We offer up two options below. Both are three-day affairs, Friday through Sunday. Both involve establishing a base camp and exploring from there. Both involve campgrounds that embraced social distancing long before social distancing was a thing.
Itineraries reflect lodging and activity options deemed to be among the most virus-resistant.
HealthPlans of NC

Joe Miller

We resolve to serve our communities during covid-19
Health

Supporting Latino Communities Through COVID-19

For North Carolina, August marks five months of living in a world upended by COVID-19. By July, more than 100,00 North Carolinians had tested positive for COVID-19. And, like the nationwide trend [1], North Carolina’s communities of color are more affected by the virus.
In North Carolina, 9.6% of the population is Hispanic or Latino.[2] But by mid-June, the Hispanic and Latino community represented more than 44% of North Carolina’s COVID-19 cases. [3]
Prior to the pandemic, Latino communities faced greater health disparities. These disparities are caused by social and economic discrimination. Now, some challenges are proving even greater under the stress of a virus.
HealthPlans of NC

Melissa Biediger

Charlotte Hornets
Health

Hornets & Blue Cross NC Partner To Support Project Bolt With Weekly Meal Donations

The Charlotte Hornets and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (Blue Cross NC) announced they are teaming up to support Project BOLT, a nonprofit whose mission is to enhance the quality of life for marginalized citizens of the Charlotte community. The Hornets and Blue Cross NC are committing to a weekly donation of 300 meals for children in Charlotte over the next six weeks, along with a $10,000 donation to Project BOLT.
The meals, which will come from Uptown Yolk, will be donated on each of the next six Tuesdays, beginning tomorrow.  Hornets Legends Muggsy Bogues and Dell Curry will be on hand to tip off the program at the Little Rock Apartments.  Additional information can be found below.
“We are pleased to team with Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina to support Project BOLT, a local nonprofit doing important work in our community,” said Hornets President & Vice Chairman Fred Whitfield.  “Too many of our neighbors are struggling with food insecurity right now, especially some of our children who will not receive the assistance they normally would in school.  We hope these meals and the additional support from our two organizations will help Project BOLT provide relief to some of those in our community who need it.”
HealthPlans of NC

WCCB by Hanna Oliveto

Kids jumping into a pool
Health

How To Keep Kids Safe In The Water This Summer

A child at my son’s school tragically died this spring. He slipped while out fishing at a lake and drowned. He was only nine. I didn’t know this child personally, but I mourned his loss along with the rest of the school community. He had a big, beautiful smile, and those who knew him said he had an even bigger personality. My heart broke for his mother.
No parent, family or community should have to endure the loss of a child from drowning. Unfortunately, drowning is the leading cause of injury death for children aged 1 to 14, according to the CDC. Three children in our country die every day as a result of drowning.
Those kinds of stats make me want to keep my kids land-locked. But, like many children, they love water and are drawn to it. Our community pool is closed this summer, so we bought a small (and some might say “tacky”) above-ground pool. My son already knew how to swim, but my daughter has gone from wearing floaties to being a little mermaid in just weeks.
HealthPlans of NC

Maggie Brown

Smiling couple looking at baby clothes
Health

Life Changes? When & How To Let Your Health Insurer Know

Getting married, moving to a new home, and adopting children are exciting events in your life. When these changes happen the last thing, you may think about is letting your health insurer know.  It’s important to let us know of these exciting events or other unexpected changes so we can make sure you have the right coverage and we’re able to send important communications to you.
Examples of changes you should report
A Change in Name:
HealthPlans of NC

James LaCorte

Waterfall
Health

5 Cool Hikes For One Hot North Carolina Summer

“It’s a hundred degrees in the shade.”
It’s an old adage offered not literally, necessarily, but simply to convey that its one hot day. Lately, it’s been less adage than reality.
When the temperature stays this hot for this long, it’s hard to think about getting out for a hike. Unless you know where to go.
HealthPlans of NC

Joe Miller

Stethoscope and calculator
Health

Planning For A Medical Procedure? Find Out What You Could Be Paying (And Saving)

How would you feel if you were expected to buy a car, a television or even a meal, without knowing first how much it will cost you? Confused? Helpless? Frustrated?
Unfortunately, that’s exactly how many of us feel when we’re faced with planning a medical test or procedure. We have no idea how much an MRI or a series of blood tests will cost – much less a medical procedure or surgery. This makes a stressful situation even harder to navigate. And if the stress wasn’t enough, lack of health care pricing transparency costs our country more than $100 billion every year. As they say in Washington: that’s real money.
Why is this happening? Because health care is the last frontier of pricing secrecy.
HealthPlans of NC

Charlene Macielag

Person getting a covid-19 test in a car
Health

A Timeline Of COVID-19 Symptoms

FROM INITIAL SYMPTOMS TO RECOVERY, FIND OUT HOW COVID-19 SYMPTOMS PROGRESS.
You’ve been careful. You’ve stayed socially distant. You’ve worn a mask. You’ve washed your hands often. But others weren’t as careful. And when you went to grab takeout last week, you bumped shoulders with someone who had COVID-19. Little did you know, they had just coughed, and you are now infected.
You may not start feeling symptoms immediately, but when you do, what can you expect?
HealthPlans of NC

Dr. Larry Wu

Parents holding a baby
Health

The Unequal Burden of Coronavirus Among Communities of Color

Evidence continues to emerge showing a stark contrast in the impact of COVID-19 on community health. The novel coronavirus is striking minority groups, particularly African Americans, at disproportionally higher rates.
A number of factors are likely behind this disturbing trend including poorer access to healthcare, higher rates of chronic illness, limited testing, distrust of the healthcare system and underlying bias.
We recently spoke with Bridget Hurd, senior director of diversity and inclusion at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and a member of the Michigan Coronavirus Task Force on Racial Disparities, a high-level panel appointed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to better understand the key drivers of these disparities and determine what can be done to improve outcomes.
HealthPlans of NC

Interview with Bridget Hurd via Blue Cross Blue Shield Progress Health

Couple smiling at each other
Medicare

Turning 65? The ABC and D of Medicare

f you’re turning 65, you’ve been inundated with correspondence from insurance companies offering supplements and prescription drug plans.  Here is why.  Original Medicare only covers about 80% of many healthcare services.
Original Medicare includes Part A and Part B.
Part A is hospital insurance that helps cover inpatient hospital care, skilled nursing facility care, hospice and home health care.  If you or your spouse has paid 40 quarters into the Social Security Program, then Part A has no monthly premium.
HealthPlans of NC

Tara O'Neill

Durham Tech van
Health

Mobile Clinic Provides Healthcare To Kids In Need

People without reliable transportation may have trouble accessing health care services. But missing important health visits like physicals, eye exams and dental check-ups can have long-lasting effects.
To help bridge these care gaps, Durham Technical Community College (Durham Tech) is taking huge strides. In June, they launched a mobile health lab where students and supervising doctors offer visual and dental health screenings. The lab serves mostly elementary-aged children in undeserved local neighborhoods.
The mobile health unit will provide services in Durham and Orange counties. It will reach students in communities that have over 50% of students on a free or reduced lunch plan.
HealthPlans of NC

Assandra Baysah

Pregnant woman monitoring heart rate
Health

New Report Shows Maternal Health Continues To Trend In The Wrong Direction

You would think that with each passing year, incidents of complications during pregnancy and childbirth would decrease. But the recent Health of America report from the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association shows otherwise.
Overall, pregnancy complications rose by more than 16% in recent years. Childbirth complications saw an increase of more than 14%. As a physician, this is troubling to me.
A review of 1.8 million pregnancies (ages 18-44) nationwide between 2014 and 2018 offered significant findings:
HealthPlans of NC

Janet McCauley

Child blowing bubbles
Health

100 Screen-Free Ways To Keep Kids Active This Summer

Many of us have wonderful memories of growing up and playing outside, carefree all summer. But today’s kids are more likely to be spending time in front of their mobile devices, computer, or TV. This can lead to being sedentary, feeling isolated, and getting bored.
In the United States, the percentage of children and adolescents with obesity has more than tripled since the 1970s (CDC). And with sports and summer camps on hold because of the coronavirus, our kids may be feeling especially stir crazy.
If we can help kids play and be more active, it will benefit them physically and emotionally.
HealthPlans of NC

Michelle Rogers

End racism sign
Health

“I Can't Breathe": Racial Injustice & Black Mental Health

2020 was supposed to be an awesome year. The beginning of a new decade. A fresh start.
Fast forward to March 2020. We found ourselves in a worldwide pandemic. Many of us felt this year couldn’t get any worse. But 2020 stood up, stretched, and said, “You ain’t seen nothin’ yet. I’m just getting started.”
May 25, 2020.  George Floyd was murdered, and the whole world watched in horror. This isn’t the first Black man killed unjustly on video. But for many people, this felt different. This was a slow, painful execution. We watched this man as the life slowly left his body, the knee of an officer on his neck. Unapologetic. No remorse. Even as the Black man pleaded and begged, “I can’t breathe. Please. I can’t breathe.”  Then, on instinct, he cried out for his mother to save him.
HealthPlans of NC

Brian Edmonds

2 kids in a canoe on a lake
Health

Paddling: Social Distancing & Serenity In One

The racks at the Great Outdoor Provision Co. store in Chapel Hill are typically stocked with canoes and kayaks. They were threadbare late last week. Of the few boats remaining, all but three had “sold” tags on them. Since late March, keeping enough boats in stock has been near impossible. More and more people are turning to one of the most social-distancing-friendly forms of outdoor recreation: paddling.“
Folks are (re)-discovering the joy of paddle sports,” says Chuck Millsaps, president of Great Outdoor Provision Co., with seven stores in North Carolina. “It has been encouraging to see folks take to the water for a bit of peace and perspective.”
Part of the beauty of paddling in these pandemic times is that keeping your distance from fellow paddlers is easy. You may see another paddler or two at the boat ramp. But out on the water it’s easy to keep your distance. And as escapes go, in the eyes of Jim Poling Sr., author of “The Canoe: An Illustrated History,” you’d be hard pressed to find a better alternative.“
HealthPlans of NC

Joe Miller

Ready to get started?
Get a free quote today.
Get Started