Healthcare News & Stories

Wellness

Doctor giving a boy a vaccine
Health, Wellness

Top 10 Myths About Childhood Vaccines

According to the CDC, vaccinations have prevented over 21 million hospitalizations and 732,000 deaths among children in the last 20 years. In spite of that astounding statistic, a recent study from the University of Michigan found that 93% of pediatricians had at least one parent who refused a vaccination for their child during the past year.
The effects of this are all too well known. As recently as December of 2014, we saw an outbreak of Measles that affected over a hundred children as a result of unvaccinated children and adults. All of which could have been avoided with proper preventative care.
Unfortunately, there are many myths about vaccines that encourage or frighten parents into not vaccinating their children, and as a result, infections can easily spread among the unvaccinated. I want to take a few minutes to share some of the most commons myths about childhood vaccines and talk about the facts.
HealthPlans of NC

Dr. Larry Wu

Person hiking with dog
Health, Wellness, Mental 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

Family hiking
Health, Wellness

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, Wellness

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

2 people shaking hands
Health, Wellness, Mental Health

Real Men Go To Therapy: Know The Signs Of Depression In Men

Growing up I saw men in my family struggle with real emotions and avoid most deep conversations. I partly blame this on my Italian heritage, where men are expected to work hard, avoid feelings and push through pain. In my family, a man’s role was to provide and protect the family at all costs. If you showed any sign of weakness, that meant you were not in control.
As a kid I straddled two worlds: one trying to be the man that I thought was expected of me, and the other wanting to be able to express my feelings. I was an emotional kid, and I know it was hard for my dad to relate to me.
My emotions were all over the place:
HealthPlans of NC

James LaCorte via Blue Cross NC

Cartoon crowd of people
Health, Wellness, Mental Health

We Can't Ignore Racism In Healthcare

When we talk about racism, some people say, “You’re an insurance company. What does race have to do with anything?”
It’s a good question, and the answer is: a lot.
Some people may be surprised to find out how much race impacts health. For example:
HealthPlans of NC

Qi Zhou

Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion It's who we are
Health, Wellness, Mental Health

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion: Our Work Doesn't Stop!

We know racism and discrimination lead to health disparities and impact the health and safety of our employees, members and communities. Health inequity impacts all North Carolinians. North Carolina is consistently in the lower percentile of state health rankings. *Data shows our state’s health system ranked #36 of 50 states and #46 of 50 states for disparities. Think about that – #46 of 50 states. To ensure healthy communities for generations to come, we must work to transition from the bottom quartile to the top quartile.
At Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (Blue Cross NC), we cannot fulfill our mission to improve the health and well-being of our customers and communities without explicitly addressing disparities and health inequities. While we’ve laid groundwork as a company on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts for more than a decade, our work does not stop.
Like many companies, this summer we released a message standing against racism. We commissioned an internal task force to think about what Blue Cross NC should and can be doing for:
HealthPlans of NC

Tunde Sotunde

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Person wearing a mask
Health, Covid 19, Wellness

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

YOUR PREGNANCY RELATED COVID-19 QUESTIONS, ANSWERED.
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

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

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