Blues Support National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day April 30

Like many people, you probably have some prescription or over-the-counter drugs lying around your medicine cabinet that are expired or you long ago stopped using. An event this weekend offers an easy and safer way to get rid of unused pharmaceuticals than flushing them down the toilet or leaving them some place where they might get stolen.

The federal Drug Enforcement Agency’s second Nationwide Prescription Drug Take-Back Day takes place Saturday, April 30 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m., with more than 4,700 drop-off sites across the country. The service is free and anonymous, with no questions asked of participants.

The DEA will accept all prescription and over-the-counter tablets and capsules, but not liquids, intravenous solutions or injectables. As of last week, the DEA listed 203 collection sites in Michigan. You can find one here.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan is proud to support this initiative to help prevent pill theft and abuse, a huge problem in the U.S.

The 2009 National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that more Americans abuse prescription drugs than use cocaine, hallucinogens and heroin combined. The survey also found that 53 million Americans aged 12 and older reported non-medical use of prescription drugs at some point in their life.

Want another good reason to safely dispose of pharmaceuticals? It prevents them from ending up in public sources of drinking water, where few water treatment facilities are equipped to adequately filter out the chemicals they contain.

During the first take-back event in September 2010, Americans turned in more than 245,000 pounds — 121 tons — of prescription drugs at nearly 4,100 sites. Michigan residents contributed nearly 6,700 pounds, or 3.3 tons.

Metro-Detroit’s African American Churches Compete For Wellness Grants in Our Body & Soul BLUE Walking Challenge

The African American church has always provided spiritual leadership, guidance and motivation to the community. In the Detroit-area thirteen churches are taking a stand and walking their way to a healthier lifestyle by competing in the Body & Soul BLUE wellness challenge, sponsored by American Cancer Society and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.

Health disparities in the African American community are significant:

  • 40 percent of African American men in Michigan will not live past their 65th birthday.
  • African American women are more likely to die from heart disease than women of other races.
  • African Americans of both genders are much more likely to develop and die from cancer than any other racial or ethnic population.

Although the factors creating health disparities in this country are complex, walking is a safe and simple form of exercise that can improve your health, mood and level of fitness. Blue Cross walking advocate, Jodi Davis lost more than 160 pounds by adopting a healthy lifestyle that included a sensible diet and an exercise regimen consisting of a brisk, daily walk of 1.5 miles each day – and she has kept the weight off for nearly 10 years.

A walking exercise routine can help:

  • Lower low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (the “bad” cholesterol)
  • Raise high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol (the “good” cholesterol)
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Reduce risk of or manage type 2 diabetes
  • Manage weight
  • Improve mood
  • Increase strength and fit

Source: The Mayo Clinic

With the U.S. spending more than ever on preventable health problems like those listed above, every step counts. Our Body & Soul BLUE challenge gives members of several metro-Detroit African American churches extra incentive to get moving by giving them grants to log the most walking miles of physical activity by the end of the 10-week period. Grant money is used to support health ministry efforts at the winning churches.

Personal Health Is Key to Community Health

The faith-based health and wellness challenge gives church leaders a chance to motivate their congregations to nurture their bodies, and their souls. A combination of pastoral leadership, educational activities, and the family environment of the church helps congregations make healthier nutrition and lifestyle choices.

Are you involved in a walking or exercise program? What kind of physical activity do you do to stay healthy and fit?

To learn more about the Body & Soul BLUE challenge, watch a video from last year’s challenge in Grand Rapids, Michigan below:

Photo Credit: Nick Harris 1

New HMO Plan Gives Michigan Consumers the Freedom to Self-Refer to Any Doctor: In or Out of Network

State of Michigan Welcome SignBlue Care Network’s new HMO plan allows patients to self-refer to any doctor whether the doctor is in or outside the network.

In most HMOs, a network of contracted doctors and hospitals provides health care to HMO members who select a primary care physician. This primary care physician then provides and coordinates medical care. Traditionally, HMOs, or health maintenance organizations, do not provide coverage for medical services considered out of network. When health care is not coordinated through the HMO member’s primary care physician, the patient assumes responsibility for the total cost.

Blue Care Network’s Blue Elect Plus HMO is different.

Member-Driven

Blue Elect Plus allows members to self-refer to any doctor without a referral, giving employees more freedom of choice than traditional HMOs. It is replacing the Blue Elect Self-Referral OptionSM, which offers limited self-referrals to BCN-approved doctors.

With BCN’s Blue Elect Plus no referrals are needed – ever – whether the doctor is in or out of network. Members pay the least when a doctor or service provider is in BCN’s network.

Managed Care Made Flexible

We heard from Blues agents that customers love the benefits of managed care but wanted a product that offers more flexibility, explained Kathleen Pierce, BCN product development manager.

All in all, we think we have a product that’s right for groups of all sizes, across Michigan, according to Pierce. In one week since launch, agent feedback has been 100 percent positive. “We’re committed to developing the right products at the right time.”

Attractive and Affordable

To make Blue Elect Plus even more attractive, the company rolled in 100 percent coverage of some popular benefits.

Blue Care Network and BCBSM

Blue Care Network is Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan’s subsidiary that administers HMO plans for customers. An HMO is a type of managed care organization that focuses on maintaining and improving health.

Other BCN products for individuals include BlueCaid, MyBlue Medigapsm and OneBluesm. For employers and group customers, BCN has several options, including:

To find an agent who can help you select the right health insurance plan for you or your business, contact us.

Photo credit: jimmywayne

Lansing-Area Residents Log More Than 130,200 Miles To Compete for Wellness Grants in BCBSM’s Blues Community Challenge

Blues Community Challenge Participants Represent their Communities at the Lansing Mall for the End-of-Challenge Celebration

Blues Community Challenge participants represent their communities at the Lansing Mall to Celebrate the end of the eight-week walking wellness challenge

Nine Lansing-area communities walked the equivalent of 4,592 marathons, or more than five times around the Earth’s equator, in an eight-week walking challenge. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan awarded the communities, whose residents logged more than 130,200 miles in the 2011 Community Partners in Health Winter Warm-Up Blues’ Community Challenge, grants to continue encouraging residents to engage in healthy activities.

The challenge encouraged positive lifestyle habits like exercise and healthy eating and participants tracked their physical activity throughout the competition.

At the close of the challenge, BCBSM sponsored a celebration event at the Lansing Mall on April 2 to reward the participating communities with wellness grants. The grants will fund a health and wellness projects within each city or township. The challenge winner, Delhi Township, received a $3,000 grant to support its ongoing commitment to community wellness.

The following communities participated in the walking challenge and received grants from BCBSM to continue supporting community wellness initiatives:

  • Charlotte
  • East Lansing
  • Grand Ledge
  • Lansing
  • Williamston
  • Delhi Township
  • Delta Township
  • Lansing Township
  • Meridian Township

BCBSM’s walking and healthy living advocate, Jodi Davis led several of the challenge events over the course of the eight weeks and helped congratulate the communities and their residents who participated at the challenge’s closing reception. Jodi Davis lost more than 160 pounds nearly 10 years ago by adopting a healthy diet and walking 1.5 miles each and every day. Jodi is also a featured blogger at BCBSM’s aHealthierMichigan.org. Lansing resident and walking weight-loss success, Jon Stanton was also on-hand to help motivate the challenge participants. Jodi and Jon have a close connection: she helped him lose more than 200 pounds and keep it off. See Jon and Jodi in this video recap of the celebration at the Lansing Mall:

For BCBSM’s official press release about the Blues Community Challenge, visit our online newsroom.

For more information about Community Partners in Health initiatives, visit http://cphlansing.com/.

Congratulations to everyone who participated in the Lansing Winter Warm-Up and Blues Community Challenge – you’re all winners!