Healthcare News & Stories


Stethoscope and calculator
Health, Affordable Care Act, Individual/Family

Planning For A Medical Procedure? Find Out What You Could Be Paying

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, Covid 19

A Timeline Of COVID-19 Symptoms

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, Covid 19

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

Durham Tech van

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, Covid 19

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, Wellness, Blue Cross NC, Mental 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, Wellness, Mental 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, Covid 19

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

People video chatting on an ipad
Health, Covid 19

Tips For Managing Chronic Illnesses During COVID-19

Nurse case managers at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (Blue Cross NC) are working hard to help members with existing health conditions stay safe. Four of these nurses—Roanne Ray, Ebb Olwell, Cary Holt, and Grace Denton—compiled a few tips for protecting yourself and staying healthy.
HealthPlans of NC

Blue Cross NC

NC mountains

Looking For A Safe Summer Escape? Head To The North Carolina Mountains

June is about the time we start thinking about escaping to the mountains. During normal times, that is.
While these certainly aren’t normal times, there are some normal things that we can do. We can still get out and enjoy the splendor of our Southern Appalachian mountains.
We may not be ready for a full-scale, week-long mountain vacation, but a thoughtfully executed day trip to isn’t out of the question. Especially if you plan to spend it outdoors, on a trail. The key: finding a trail less likely to be crowded, and that won’t tax a body that’s been cooped up for three months now.
HealthPlans of NC

Joe Miller

Person wearing a mask
Health, Covid 19, Wellness

Pregnant? Here's What You Need To Know About COVID-19

Welcoming a new baby is a joyous time. You look forward to decorating the nursery, shopping for baby items and meeting your little one. But with the coronavirus outbreak, many new and expecting families are now experiencing worry.
Here are answers to questions new and expecting families may have right now.
HealthPlans of NC

Blue Cross NC

No community can truly be healthy until racism no longer exists.

Blue Cross NC Statement On Racism

We stand against racism.

We stand with our Black employees and members along with all others who are experiencing trauma as a result of the ongoing violence against Black lives in our country.
HealthPlans of NC

Blue Cross NC

Mental health support for your family, friends, and neighbors

How To Help Someone Who Is Struggling With Mental Health

For the past few weeks, I’ve noticed that my neighbor seems, well, a bit off. Once talkative and outgoing, he is now reserved and disinterested. When we do speak, his comments reflect hopelessness.
These interactions are common. I now have similar conversations with coworkers, friends and family members. Although it’s certainly not all “doom and gloom,” my loved ones mention sleepless nights, invasive thoughts, loneliness – and yes, hopelessness.
Indeed, research shows that during times of crisis, the prevalence of anxiety and depression is expected to double. Those with pre-existing mental health or substance-related conditions are among the most vulnerable. People at higher risk for contracting COVID-19 (such as older adults or those with underlying health conditions) may also experience more worry.
HealthPlans of NC

Blue Cross NC

Doctor on a video call

What Is Telehealth? Doctors Answer Your Questions About Virtual Care

To slow the spread of COVID-19, many people across the country are getting medical care virtually. More than ever before, our members are connecting with their doctors over the phone or on video chat.At Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, we’ve expanded virtual access to health care providers until July 31, 2020 in response to COVID-19. But if you’ve never used telehealth before, it may seem daunting.While some medical needs require an in-person visit, others work well with telehealth. We spoke with two physicians, Dr. Thomas Warcup of UNC Health and Dr. John Yeatts of Duke Health, to answer your questions.
Dr. Warcup: Telehealth is using a virtual platform to provide care. That can be telephone or video.
HealthPlans of NC

Blue Cross NC

People with a big pride flag in a street
Health, Wellness, Blue Cross NC

Bringing Your True Self To Work

Bringing your whole and best self to work is an aspirational goal for some. But for others, it’s a daunting challenge. According to a study by the Human Rights Campaign in 2014, 53 percent of the LGBTQ community concealed their sexuality at work and 35 percent lie about their personal lives.

At BCBSNC, we believe diversity in business matters for North Carolina and beyond and we’re committed to providing a welcoming, diverse and inclusive workplace for all employees. We partner with several organizations to support equality and offer an Employee Network (Spectrum) for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees and their allies.
HealthPlans of NC

Lydia Freeman

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