Blues on the Radio: the Live Downtown Games, UV safety and more in July

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan is pleased to collaborate with its four Live Downtown partners (Compuware, Quicken Loans, Strategic Staffing Solutions and DTE Energy) to bring the first Live Downtown Games to life in downtown Detroit. The daily events, which celebrate the July 25, 2012 one-year anniversary of the Live Downtown program, will be a central point of discussion when Blues personalities take to the local airwaves in July.

The Healthier Michigan Radio Show

This month the spotlight is on some of the Blues’ partnerships and efforts downtown with Detroit’s Live Downtown Games and the Live Downtown initiative. Host Ann Thomas, of WJR-AM, convenes a full house of guests who all share a passion for Detroit:

  • Grace Derocha, registered dietitian and health coach, BCBSM
  • Tom Anderson, director of Wellness and Work Life, Compuware
  • Stephanie Stevenson, vice president of benefits, Quicken Loans
  • Carl Bentley, senior vice president, Strategic Staffing Solutions
  • Susan Bailey, manager of Wellness & Health Promotion, DTE Energy

The hour-long show will be available online or as a podcast after July 16, or be sure to tune in to it on the air on the following stations:

  • WJR in Detroit — 7-8 p.m. Monday, July 16
  • WJIM-AM in Lansing — 7-8 p.m. Tuesday, July 10
  • WTCM-FM in Traverse City — 9-10 p.m. Monday, July 9
  • WOOD-AM in Grand Rapids — 9-10 p.m. Sunday, July 8
  • WATZ-AM in Alpena — 11 a.m.-noon Wednesday, July 25

Tricia Keith

Live Downtown Games featured on ‘Destination 313’

Tricia Keith, the Blues’ vice president, Corporate Secretary and Services, will be a guest on Quicken Loans’ “Desination 313” radio show on WJR with hosts Paul W. Smith and Stephen Luigi Piazza, Quicken’s vice president. Daily events will take place July 23-27, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the central business district of downtown Detroit, with medals awarded daily and a Live Downtown Games champion crowned at the end of the week. (We’ll be talking more about the Games here in future blog posts.)

Listen for Keith’s appearance when the show airs at 7 p.m. Friday, July 20, or visit the Destination 313 website for a podcast version after the show airs.

On the Lansing, Saginaw airwaves

Kevin Klobucar

Joining the Blues on the Radio this month is guest Kevin Klobucar, president and CEO of Blue Care Network. Kevin chats with Johnny Burke of WHNN-FM in Saginaw and Stephanie McCoy of WITL-FM in Lansing about Healthy Blue Xtras, BCN’s new HMO Health Savings Account plan, and how the Blues work with the best hospitals and doctors in Michigan to enhance the quality of health care, reduce costs and improve health outcomes.

Tigers Radio

Andrew Hetzel, BCBSM’s vice president of Corporate Communications, joins play-by-play caller Dan Dickerson each Sunday throughout the month on the Detroit Tigers Radio Network. This month Hetzel discusses UV safety, the BCN HMO HSA plan, Keep Fit, a new individual plan from BCBSM, and more.

Photo by Girl.in.the.D

Blue Care Network’s Growing Upper Peninsula Network Offers More Ways to Get Healthy, Save Money

Blue Care Network has expanded its provider and hospital network to Houghton County, making it the third county in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula where residents can select from the Healthy Blue LivingSM suite of wellness-based HMO plans.

BCN is offering its Healthy Blue Living and Healthy Blue Living RewardsSM plans to groups enrolling at least 50 members.

Group customers that sponsor either of the two products have saved an average of 5 to 7 percent on premiums compared to other PPO products. More than 70 percent of members of the HBL are living healthy and have earned enhanced benefits, where they save most on premiums.

Healthy Blue Living, which is celebrating its fifth year of helping members get healthier, offers lower health care costs to members in exchange for committing to work toward key heath targets, such as Body Mass Index and blood pressure readings.

Similarly, Healthy Blue Living Rewards is an outcomes-based HMO that offers lower insurance costs when members achieve improved health results.

The expansion into Houghton County adds 11 primary care physicians, 84 specialists and Portage Health Hospital in Houghton to BCN’s growing U.P. network. BCN is now accepted in Mackinac, Marquette and Houghton counties.

BCN officially expanded its provider network in to the U.P. Oct. 1, 2011 with the addition of Marquette County. (Mackinac County had previously been included as part of the HMO’s West and Northern Michigan network.) The company hopes to further expand its Upper Peninsula network in 2012.

For more information, visit MiBCN.com or read the news release. You can also view a map of BCN’s service area.

Photo by pcfishhk

For Young Adults: There Really Are Affordable Alternatives to High-Cost Health Insurance Plans

Commencement photoIf you’re just getting ready for college graduation, there are a lot of things to be excited about, but chances are, health insurance isn’t one of them.

Young adults between the ages of 19 and 25 make up nearly one-fifth of the nation’s uninsured. As most young adults make their way into their mid-to-late 20s, the numbers get worse. For 26-to-34-year-olds the number jumps to 21 percent, according to the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. The likelihood of being uninsured varies by state, but one of the most common reasons cited is cost.

Managing Risk

The combination of good health and high debt keeps most young adults from considering health insurance. With mounting bills from student loans, credit cards, cell phone, cable and Internet usage, the last thing on the minds of many young adults is their health.

But having health insurance is important at every age. The Kaiser study cited above found that uninsured adults are “more than twice as likely to delay or forgo needed care as the insured.” Delaying any type of care, including preventive, can be detrimental to your overall health.

And what about accidents? They can happen to anyone at any time. For someone without health insurance the costs of treatment can be catastrophic. For example, if an uninsured patient seeks treatment for a concussion, an X-ray of the brain alone can cost around $1,450.   

We Listened to You: Young Adult Plans For Under $100 a Month

This year we introduced a new product for young adults aged 19 to 30 called Young Adult Blue MaxSM. The product offers medical plus preventive dental and vision coverage for under $100 a month.

Young Adult Blue Max also includes an accidental injury deductible waiver, offering health care coverage that will protect you in the event of an accidental injury.

And for under $100 a month, you can finally have quality health care coverage at a cost that won’t break your budget.

For more information about Young Adult Blue Max, visit bcbsm.com/youngadult.

Photo Credit: NidaIM

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

A day in the Life of a BCBSM ID Card: Visiting the Dentist’s Office

Part 4: Dental Insurance

In part four of the A day in the life of a BCBSM ID card series, the ID card visits the dentist office. Dentists play a key role in keeping you healthy. That’s right. Oral health plays a very important role in overall health. Some medical conditions have symptoms that appear in the mouth. Regular dental visits can help spot oral health problems early on when treatment is likely to be simpler and more affordable. Research suggests there may be an association between gum disease and serious health conditions such as heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

In parts one through three of this series, we followed the BCBSM ID card everywhere from the primary care physician to the eye doctor to shopping for healthy products:

Part 1: Doctor’s office

Part 2: Eye doctor visit

Part 3: Healthy Blue XtrasSM

The Blues ID card helps you make the total body health connection with access to quality medical, dental, vision and prescription drug coverage.  Even better, you can conveniently access all your benefits with just one ID card.

Dental and Vision Blues ID Card

For information about dental coverage with the Blues, visit bcbsm.com/bluedental.

Special thanks to the staff of George E. Krull, DDS – Pediatric Dentistry for participating in the filming of this video.

A Day in the Life of a BCBSM ID Card Part Two: Eye Doctor Visit

In part two of this series, the Blues ID card stops at the eye doctor for an annual check- up. They say that eyes are the windows to the soul. But eyes are also the windows to health problems like diabetes and high blood pressure. Your eye doctor is sometimes the first person to identify early warning signs of health issues, while treating and helping you manage eye disorders such as glaucoma and cataracts. Keeping up with regular eye examinations can help you maintain total body health.

The Blues ID card is always on the move providing access to discounts and special offers on everything from groceries to fitness gear, and access to quality medical, dental, vision and prescription drug coverage. Stay tuned for more Blues ID card adventures.

For information about Blue Vision visit bcbsm.com/bluevision.

Special thanks to the doctors and staff of the Gaylord Eye Care Center for participating in the filming of this video.

BCBSM is working hard to help Michigan small businesses grow

The key to Michigan’s economic recovery is the growth of small businesses.

That’s why we are developing more affordable plans such as Simply BlueSM. This PPO plan is designed like no other and it’s the most competitively priced product that we’ve introduced in years.

Designed to give employers flexibility, Simply Blue has several deductible and co-payment plan options. It can also be paired with a health reimbursement arrangement or health savings account. Employers can complete their employee benefit package with dental, vision and prescription drug plans.

In addition to the introduction of Simply Blue, our product portfolio will also include PPO and HMO wellness-based and consumer-directed health plans. These new plans will be available to small business owners on Jan. 1, 2011.

Our goal is to help small businesses attract and retain top talent by offering quality health care coverage to their employees at a cost that won’t break their budget. It’s that simple. Now that’s how a small business grows.

New BCBSM website emphasizes the importance of total body health

Many people don’t know that regular dental and vision check ups can help catch early warning signs of health problems they may not even know they have. It takes more than just basic medical care to maintain overall health.

Our new website, Healthy from Head to Toe, provides a number of interesting insights about how combining medical, dental and vision care can make you feel better and lower your medical expenses.

If you’re a business owner, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan offers a combination of medical, dental and vision plans that can help your employees maintain better overall health, help reduce your health care costs and increase workplace productivity. And you can’t beat the convenience of having one ID card for medical, dental and vision services?

bcbsm.com/healthyh2t to learn more.

Heart attack survivor discusses value of the BCBSM coverage

When we talk about the cost of health care, it’s easy to get caught up in statistics: the numbers that illustrate the rising cost of care and the dollars that Blue Cross saves the health care system through its various collaborative initiatives.

What often gets lost in the sea of numbers is the personal stories — the tales of men and women whose lives have been transformed by care made affordable by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan insurance.

One such man is John Otterbacher, a psychotherapist and sailing aficionado who has struggled with heart problems since he was in his late 40s. He had his first heart attack in 1996, and has subsequently undergone eight separate heart procedures.

Read more of this post

Taking Health Care to the Next Level with Healthy Blue Living Rewards

Blue Care Network introduces Healthy Blue Living RewardsSM, Michigan’s first outcome-based HMO plan that rewards people with lower insurance costs for improving their health and achieving healthy results.

This product is an extension of our already successful Healthy Blue LivingSM product. It makes health care more affordable by taking personal accountability to the next level by lowering copays and deductibles for people who achieve healthy goals.

Healthy Blue Living Rewards’ goal is to improve people’s health, thus building a healthier workforce. This plan looks at specific health measures people can manage such as tobacco use, weight, blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar.

What makes Healthy Blue Living Rewards different from other health care products? Well, this is the second outcome-based wellness product we’ve launched this year, with Healthy Blue Outcomes being the other. These two outcome-based products are unique in Michigan and are among the first such products to be offered anywhere in the country.

Healthy Blue Living Rewards is a product the business community has been asking for, and BCN is once again first to market with an innovative and affordable solution. You can learn more about Healthy Blue Living and Healthy Blue Living Rewards by visiting MiBCN.com/hbl.