Healthcare News & Stories

Covid 19

Nurse with patient on sofa
Health, Covid 19

Post Pandemic Healthcare Issues

With many restrictions now eased and the world returning to a ‘new normal’ post pandemic, there are still ongoing health issues facing many North Carolinians. The stressful events we’ve experienced during the past two years, including significant changes to our normal lifestyle, are likely to have long-term effects on many people’s physical and mental health.
HealthPlans of NC

Health Plans of NC, Kelly Quinn

Woman holding Covid-19 rapid test
Individual/Family, Covid 19

Reimbursement Available For Over-The-Counter Covid-19 Rapid Tests

Did you know that insurance coverage has now been extended to cover at-home Covid rapid tests? Since January this year, private insurers are now required to cover the cost of rapid at-home tests when purchased over-the-counter.  
HealthPlans of NC

Health Plans of NC, Kelly Quinn

Woman at a shared counter with laptop, phone, pen, and notebook
Health, Covid 19

What Do Covid Restrictions Being Lifted Mean For Your Return To Work?

With Covid restrictions being lifted in the US, there are many steps currently being taken now by businesses and governments to get people back to work. While there may still be many uncertainties regarding the Covid-19 pandemic, many companies are reevaluating their current health and safety protocols and looking to adjust workplace guidance. Meaning more and more people are being asked to return to the workplace. 
HealthPlans of NC

Health Plans of NC, Kelly Quinn

Woman holding Covid-19 rapid test
Health, Covid 19

COVID-19 Healthcare Articles

Here is a list of articles that we’ve published regarding COVID-19 since the pandemic began to help you to synthesize how to go about protecting yourself and your family.
Post-Pandemic Healthcare Issues
How To Tell Fact From Fiction With COVID-19 Information
HealthPlans of NC

Health Plans of NC, Kelly Quinn

Coworkers
Health, Covid 19

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

Person wearing a mask in a grocery store
Health, Covid 19

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

Person looking at their phone
Health, Covid 19

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

Woman with mask giving a thumbs up
Health, Covid 19

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

People walking on a beach
Individual/Family, Covid 19, Affordable Care Act

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

Person taking their temperature
Health, Covid 19

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

People doing a video call on a laptop
Individual/Family, Affordable Care Act, Covid 19

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

ACA Affordable Care Act
Individual/Family, Affordable Care Act, Covid 19

ACA Opens Special Enrollment Period In Response To COVID-19: What You Need To Know

If you missed open enrollment for Affordable Care Act (ACA) health insurance, you now have another opportunity to sign up. 
On January 28, President Biden issued an Executive Order on strengthening Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act: 
“In light of the exceptional circumstances caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Secretary of Health and Human Services shall consider establishing a Special Enrollment Period for uninsured and under-insured Americans to seek coverage through the Federally Facilitated Marketplace.” 
HealthPlans of NC

Leslie Mckinney via Blue Cross

Vaccine image
Health, Covid 19

Why I Chose To Get The COVID-19 Vaccine: One Army Doctor Speaks Out

I felt fortunate this past month to have the opportunity to virtually sit down with Dr. Michael Minogue (“Mike”) to talk about his decision to get the COVID-19 vaccine. When our conversation began, I had no idea he was readying himself for deployment within the next three weeks. That left just enough time for him to receive his second dose of the Pfizer vaccine, and then head out.  
Dr. Minogue has been practicing medicine for nearly 30 years. He is a medical director at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina. He works part-time in the Durham Veteran Affairs Emergency Department. Dr. Minogue also serves in the Army Reserve as an emergency medicine doctor and a volunteer at Samaritan Health Center, a clinic for the underserved in our community.   
As a health care professional, Dr. Minogue was one of the first North Carolinians vaccinated in December 2020. Here’s what he shared about his decision to get the COVID-19 vaccine. 
HealthPlans of NC

Charlene Macielag via Blue Cross NC

Person wearing a mask getting a vaccine
Health, Covid 19, Wellness

Get The Facts About COVID-19 Vaccines: 5 Rumors Debunked

Recently the FDA approved COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna. Since then, you may have heard rumors about their safety and effectiveness on social media or from people you know.
It’s reasonable to have concerns about a new vaccine.
To help you separate fact from fiction, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Medical Directors are breaking down some of the most common myths.
HealthPlans of NC

Blue Cross NC

We resolve to make total health a priority
Health, Covid 19, Blue Cross NC

How To Manage OCD & Anxiety During The COVID-19 Outbreak

We’ve all heard people joke about their “OCD tendencies.” You might think of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) as a mild problem, or even a helpful behavior for “neat freaks.” But the truth is that OCD is a serious behavioral health condition. It impacts nearly 1 in 40 (or 2 to 3 million) adults in the United States at some point in their lives. It can significantly impact a person’s relationships with others, their work or school, and their sense of self.
We talked with Dr. Patrick McGrath, Head of Clinical Services at NOCD to learn more about this behavioral health condition during COVID-19.
Q: What impact has COVID-19 had on people with anxiety and OCD?
HealthPlans of NC

Chelsea Moravek and Susan Foosness

Person holding a tissue to their nose
Health, Covid 19

Prepare For The Dual Hit Of Flu & COVID-19

The signs are everywhere. If leaves are falling, you’re probably seeing messages to get your flu shot. This year, that recommendation takes on even greater importance. The coming flu season on top of the COVID-19 pandemic could put more people at risk for severe illness and overwhelm doctor offices and hospitals just as COVID-19 infections are expected to start rising again.
It’s especially troubling since people may be postponing their annual physicals or putting off regular vaccinations. But getting your flu shot is one way to protect yourself – and others – this winter.
COVID-19 vs. influenza: What’s the difference?
HealthPlans of NC

Dr. Larry Wu

Woman covering her eyes beside a window in winter
Health, Covid 19, Wellness

When Pandemic Blues & Seasonal Depression Collide

The fall season brings cooler temperatures and changing leaves. But the shift from summer to fall also brings an adjustment for our bodies and minds: the end of daylight savings.
For all my non-Americans, or if you live under a rock (in which case you don’t see the sun anyway), daylight savings is when clocks are set an hour ahead in warmer months and set an hour back on colder months.
The end of Daylight Savings (which happens on November 1, 2020) means that it gets darker earlier in the day. This shift can place extra stress on people who are prone to seasonal depression.
HealthPlans of NC

Zachary Newcastle

Thanksgiving family waving at smartphone
Health, Covid 19

7 Creative Ways To Celebrate The Holidays Safely During COVID-19

To keep ourselves and our loved ones safe from COVID-19, many of us are staying home for the holidays this year. The CDC has put out guidelines for planning our winter holidays that typically involve large gatherings of family and friends, like Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Christmas, and New Year’s. And North Carolina remains in Phase 3 of COVID-19 precautions, which limits indoor gatherings to 10 people or fewer. While this year will undoubtedly look different from years past, our holiday celebrations can still be meaningful and enjoyable. We want to help you have a safe, healthy and fun holiday season. So, we asked Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina employees for some creative ideas to enjoy the season, 2020-style. Here’s what they said.
1. Send everyone a “build your own tacky sweater” kit.
You can buy these online or make your own. If making your own, try supplies like felt, buttons, pipe cleaners, googly eyes, stickers and a sewing kit! Then connect with your family or friends on video chat for crafting sessions leading up to the holidays.
HealthPlans of NC

Emilie Poplett

People wearing masks at an airport
Health, Covid 19

10 Holiday Traveling Tips To Keep You Safe From COVID-19

I’m tired of COVID-19! If I hear one more person use the term “new normal,” I’m going to cry. I can’t accept this is our “new normal,” and I’m ready for things to go back to the “real normal. ”But for now, COVID-19 has other plans. If you’d told me in February that come the end of the year, we’d be making our holiday plans around COVID-19, I would’ve thought you were crazy. But here we are. During the holidays many of us travel to visit family and friends. In 2019 55 million Americans travelled during Thanksgiving, and at Christmas, 115 million Americans travelled. That is a lot of us travelling! Recently the CDC shared that travel increases your chance of getting and spreading COVID-19. You may feel well and not have any symptoms, but you can still spread COVID-19. You can spread COVID-19 to others for 14 days after you are exposed to the virus. And studies are showing that even those without symptoms can have longer-term health complications from COVID-19.My family has decided to stay home for the holidays. While that is the right choice for our situation, yours may be different. Whatever you decide, stay safe and I hope these tips help you during your travels.
IF YOU ARE CONSIDERING TRAVELING THIS HOLIDAY SEASON, HERE ARE TEN THINGS TO CONSIDER.
1. Check the number of cases for the last seven days in the state you want to travel to and determine if you are comfortable with the trend.
HealthPlans of NC

James LaCorte

People wearing masks delivering groceries
Health, Covid 19

Supporting Our Seniors Amid COVID-19

North Carolina seniors are at risk. Here’s how we’re helping support them.
Adjusting to our new routines during COVID-19 looks different for everyone. For some, it’s fewer trips to the mall or more meals at home. But for at-risk individuals, it can mean complete isolation.
As we now know, COVID-19 causes the most severe health issues for adults over 60, with particularly fatal results for those 80 years and older. This is forcing many senior citizens in our communities to stay indoors. While it helps limit coronavirus exposure, it also limits interactions with friends and family.
HealthPlans of NC

Blue Cross NC

Person getting a Covid-19 test
Health, Covid 19

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

Man wearing a mask caring for a sick person with a mask in a bed
Health, Covid 19

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

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

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

Tents beside a lake
Health, Covid 19

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

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