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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 wearing a mask looking out a window
Health

Fear Of COVID-19 Vaccines Is Real - Should It Be?

A few days ago, I talked to a relative who has chosen not to get a COVID-19 vaccine. When I asked her why she doesn’t want it, she shared that she’s terrified of what the vaccine would do to her.
When I listened to my relative speak, I could hear the fear in her voice. And it was real.
Of course, there are a lot of other reasons why people aren’t getting vaccinated. They’re making a political statement, they don’t have easy access to the vaccine, or they just don’t like being told what to do. But for millions of people, the number one roadblock is fear. But what’s driving that fear?
HealthPlans of NC

By Emilie Poplett via Blue Cross NC

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

We resolve to make health care better.
Health, Blue Cross NC

How Blue Cross NC Is Reshaping Behavioral Healthcare In NC

We’re transforming behavioral health treatment for our members and our state.
Even before the onset of COVID-19, our country was struggling to effectively diagnose and treat behavioral health issues, which include mental health and substance use disorders. Suicide rates were on the rise, drug overdose deaths were dramatically increasing, and life expectancies for people with serious mental illness were lower before the pandemic began to impact our lives and well-being.[1]
Now, as 53% of adults report that their mental health has been negatively affected by worry and stress over the coronavirus, it is more important than ever to find innovative solutions to the behavioral health issues facing our state.[2]
HealthPlans of NC

Via Blue Cross NC By Ish Bhalla

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

Person looking at a smartphone beside a Christmas tree
Health, Mental Health

Spending The Holidays Alone? 3 Tips To Take Care Of Your Mental Health

QUICK READ
With COVID-19 cases rising, many of us have chosen to stay home for the holidays. This might bring up feelings of sadness or loneliness.
To cope with difficult feelings, make a self-care plan ahead of time.
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

Flu Shot calendar
Health, Wellness

No Flu For You: 5 Flu Shot Myths Debunked

It’s that time of year; flu season is upon us. That means flu shots.
Maybe you’re ready to go and are rushing to Target because they’re offering discounts to shoppers who get the flu shot as an incentive. Great! You know the importance of getting the flu shot, not just for yourself but for your loved ones, too.
But maybe you’re not so ready. Maybe you’ve heard something that’s swayed your opinion this year. Something that scared you or made you think twice. We get it. Every year rumors circulate about getting vaccinated, from the outlandish to the plausible. And it’s hard to know what’s true and what’s not, especially in this age of lightning fast communications.
HealthPlans of NC

Allison Bonner

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

Pivot Health Coach app
Health, Blue Cross NC, Wellness

Blue Cross NC Launches No-Cost Virtual Programs For Members To Quit Smoking & Reverse Type 2 Diabetes

DURHAM, N.C. – Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (Blue Cross NC) announced it is teaming up with Carrot Inc. and Virta Health to help address two of the largest ongoing health issues facing Americans today – smoking and type 2 diabetes. These programs will be available at no additional cost to eligible members beginning November 2020. They support Blue Cross NC’s commitment to make health care better, simpler, and more affordable by providing members easy access to care through digital technology.
“We resolve to make whole person care a priority, and that means we have to think beyond treating conditions, and work to prevent and reverse them,” said Von Nguyen, vice president of clinical operations and innovations at Blue Cross NC. “We are excited to team up with Carrot and Virta and bring their innovative, life-changing programs directly to the homes of our members and address some of North Carolina’s most pressing health issues.”
Virta and Carrot’s programs will be available to individual under-65 members and fully insured group members beginning November 2020.
HealthPlans of NC

Blue Cross NC Media Center

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

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, 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

Woman on a Zoom call
Health, Wellness

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, 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

Panthers Logo
Health, Blue Cross NC

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, 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

Chef with bags of food
Health, Blue Cross NC

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, 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

We resolve to serve our communities during covid-19
Health, Covid 19

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, Blue Cross NC

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, Wellness

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, Blue Cross NC, Individual/Family, Medicare

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, Wellness, Blue Cross NC

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

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