VISUAL: The Proposed Financial Commitment to Michigan

Blues on the Radio: Focusing on Men’s Health Month in June

The June installment of The Healthier Michigan Radio Show focuses on BCBSM’s commitment to men’s health and the initiatives surrounding Men’s Health Month. WJR-AM program host Ann Thomas speaks with:

  • Ken Dallafior, Senior Vice President of Group Business and Corporate Marketing at Blue Cross, talks about how he and Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford have been hard at work on the Men of Michigan Health Challenge.
  • Dr. Ray Littleton, of Henry Ford Hospital, speaks about his involvement with the “Man Up! For Better Health” initiative. 
  • Marshall Booker, deacon of Messiah Baptist Church, and Cle Jackson, Blue Cross’s senior community liaison in West Michigan, discuss the annual “Real Men Can Cook” competition and how it’s proving that real men can cook healthy.

The hour-long show is available online or as a podcast, or listen to it on the air on the following stations:

  • WTCM-FM in Traverse City — 9-10 p.m. June 11
  • WATZ-AM in Alpena — 11 a.m.-noon June 20

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 childhood obesity, Healthy Blue Xtras and more. You can listen to Hetzel’s 3-minute segment with Dickerson on what the Blues are doing to combat childhood obesity here.

WTCM Radio

Jeff Connolly, president for West Michigan Operations and Managed Care for BCBSM, appears each Monday around 6:30 a.m. on WTCM. On June 18, he discusses Blue Care Network’s recent expansion in the Upper Peninsula, while summer savings members can realize through the Healthy Blue Xtras program are the focus June 25.

WOOD Radio

Connolly continues his regular appearances with WOOD-AM host Steve Kelly each Tuesday throughout June. Connolly and Kelly will discuss Men’s Health Week on June 12 and the Blues’ cardiovascular consortium partnership with Michigan hospitals June 19.

Winners Announced as Blue Cross’ Win by Losing Competition Completes its Sixth Round

Participants in the first six rounds of Win By Losing have lost the equivalent weight of three elephants.

Since fall of 2009, the Win by Losing weight-loss challenge has proven to be an effective and life-changing program for BCBSM members who participate. Throughout the six rounds held to date, participants from Blue Cross customer groups across the state have collectively lost more than 40,000 pounds — the weight equivalent of three elephants.

In round six, teams lost more than 11,300 pounds. TGI Direct, last year’s back-to-back winner, once again earned their bragging rights and this year, a few new companies earned theirs. Round six winners are:

Throughout this nine-week program, Blue Cross provides participating groups with weekly motivation via email and free tools on that are available for anyone’s use. Tools include wellness videos, meal plans, diet and exercise tips, and much more.

Round seven kicks off in August 2012. Visit or email for more information.

Photo by brittanyhock

In May, Spotlight Falls on Workplace Wellness and Avoiding the 3 p.m. Slump

It is 3 p.m. and you can feel your energy level begin to drop. With a deadline looming, napping is out of the question and you do not want another cup of coffee.

So what do you do to get over the 3 p.m. slump? Grab a few co-workers and try taking a brisk walk around the office. Even in short increments, a walk can help give you more energy, sleep better at night and stave of high blood pressure.

During the month of May, we’ll be giving special attention to the topic of workplace wellness. From giving tips on how to incorporate a little exercise into your day to showing examples of our customers who are actively encouraging workplace wellness, we want to make sure you have the tools you need to create healthy habits while you are at work.

Why We Focus on Wellness

According to the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease, health care costs for someone with a chronic disease are five times higher each year than for someone with no chronic disease. Obese men spend an additional $1,152 per person each year on health care than their peers. Obese women spend an additional $3,613. Conditions like obesity, heart disease, diabetes and asthma can either be prevented or easily managed by leading a healthy lifestyle.

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Lansing-Area Communities Share $10,000 in Wellness Grants After Record Blues’ Community Challenge

Lynda Hyde, left, shares her story with BCBSM walking advocate Jodi Davis at the Blues' Community Challenge and Winter Warm-Up recognition event in Lansing.

With a boost from the Blues, participants in the Winter Warm-Up and Blues’ Community Challenge took a few walks around the Earth this winter — and never left the Lansing area to do it. 

The occasion was a free eight-week walking and physical activity competition between nine Greater Lansing communities. Together, nearly 2,400 participants logged an astounding 208,862 miles — the equivalent of more than eight trips around the Earth’s equator. Teams from each of the nine communities competed by signing up community members to log their physical activity.

The competing communities benefitted by taking home grant awards from BCBSM totaling almost $10,000, including $3,000 to the winning city of Lansing. The money is used to support public health and wellness projects within each community, such as bike trails, playground equipment, park benches and recreational splash pads.

Here are the other winning communities:

  • City of Charlotte — $2,000
  • Delhi Township — $1,000
  • City of East Lansing — $750
  • Delta Township — $750
  • City of St. Johns — $750
  • City of Grand Ledge — $500
  • Lansing Township — $500
  • City of Williamston — $500

Encouraging Signs

The Winter Warm-up and the Blues Community Challenge are hopeful signs that more people are embracing fitness and physical activity as a way to achieve good health. We saw a 40 percent leap in the number of residents actively participating in this year’s Blues’ Community Challenge and Winter Warm-Up.

Lynda Hyde from St. Johns tearfully shared her story at the celebration event March 10. When she first registered, she could not walk for more than three or four minutes or finish the indoor course at the Lansing Mall.

She is now walking 15 to 17 minutes a day and can walk in a swimming pool for up to an hour. She no longer needs a cane and is motivated to continue exercising.

“It’s amazing how everything just seemed to line up, how each piece just fell into place,” Hyde said. “I feel like it is just meant to happen at this time in my life. It is now the time for me to lose weight.”

With the help of groups such as Community Health Partners, a nonprofit coalition of Lansing-area organizations dedicated to making mid-Michigan a healthy place to live, the Blues will continue to work hard to create active, healthy communities across the state. These efforts improve health status and control health care costs for everyone in the long run.

Blues on the Radio: Health Benefits of Walking Take Center Stage in April

Blue Cross personalities appear regularly on a variety of FM and AM radio programs throughout the state and we’re going to start sharing those interviews regularly here on Blues Perspectives.

The Healthier Michigan Radio Show

With National Walk at Lunch Day coming up on April 25, The Healthier Michigan Radio Show in April focuses on the health benefits of walking. Guests are Jodi Davis, the Blues’ walking advocate, who shares the steps she took to lose over 160 pounds; and Angela Jenkins, a health coach for Blue Cross who details the health benefits of walking and why National Walk at Lunch Day is a great opportunity to motivate coworkers, employees and just about anyone to take a walk for good health.

The hour-long show is  available online or as a podcast. It also airs at the following times on the following stations:

  • WJR-AM in Detroit, 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 3
  • WJIM-AM in Lansing, 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 3
  • WOOD-AM in Grand Rapids, 9 p.m. Sunday, April 8
  • WTCM-FM in Traverse City, 9 p.m. Monday, April 9

Talk of the Town

Also in April, Jeff Connolly, president of West Michigan Operations and Managed Care for the Blues, will speak with Steve Kelly of WOOD Radio on topics including Young Adult Blue MaxSM and other individual health plan products and National Walk at Lunch Day. Connolly is also a regular guest on the Talk of the Town segment on WOOD radio. Jeff will also begin having regular conversations on WTCM in Traverse City beginning in April.    

“Ernie” Encore Presentation

In addition to The Healthier Michigan Radio Show, Andy Hetzel, a frequent radio presence for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, sat down this month to talk with:

  • Ken Kal, Detroit Red Wings radio broadcaster
  • Dan Dickerson, Detroit Tigers radio broadcaster
  • George Blaha, Michigan State football and Detroit Pistons radio broadcaster

Hetzel, the Blues’ vice president of Corporate Communications, discusses “Ernie,” the play by Mitch Albom about legendary Tigers broadcaster Ernie Harwell, who also served as a walking advocate for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. BCBSM is bringing back the hit play for an encore presentation from May 3 through July 28 at the City Theater in Detroit.

Photo by Jens Dahlin

BluesWeek: 2012 Blues’ Community Challenge Kicks Off in Grand Rapids With Body & Soul

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan is teaming with the American Cancer Society to kick off the 2012 Blues’ Community Challenge Saturday, March 17 in Grand Rapids with Body & Soul. The Body & Soul challenge engages the African-American faith community in a 10-week wellness and nutrition initiative, with the winning churches to receive financial grants to support health ministry programs.

BCBSM awarded nearly $10,000 worth of wellness grants to the nine Lansing-area municipalities that participated in the Winter Warm-Up and Blues Community Challenge. There was a huge jump in the number of resident participants this year, with nearly 2,400 participants logging a record 208,862 miles during the eight-week walking and physical activity competition. Watch for a news release to go out Thursday.

National Nutrition Month collides with St. Patrick’s Day as the color green takes over. But instead of green beer, registered dietitian Grace Derocha will be offering tips on how to incorporate the color green for good health in your St. Patrick’s food on A Healthier Michigan and through media availabilities.

It may seem like spring has sprung early in Michigan, but there are Polar Plunge events taking place Saturday, March 17 in Kalamazoo and Marquette benefiting Special Olympics Michigan. Blue Cross is sponsoring Special Olympics Michigan’s Healthy Athletes Program.

In case you missed it…

As part of Patient Safety Awareness Week, A Healthier Michigan offered a pair of printable reminder cards to help prevent avoidable medication errors. The cards fit easily into any billfold and offer tips for what to ask a doctor who prescribes medications as well as a place to jot down which medications you’re currently taking.

The deadline is approaching for the “Make the Play for Healthy Habits” kid video contest on A Healthier Michigan. Children in grades 4 through 8 can submit a video showing how they would make Michigan healthier through March 25. The public gets to vote on the final 10 contestants to choose the lucky winner. The winning student will receive  a school assembly visit from Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford and an opportunity to guest blog on A Healthier Michigan.

BluesWeek is a weekly snapshot of initiatives, events and other newsworthy tidbits under way at BCBSM.

Photo by New Orleans Lady

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 or read the news release. You can also view a map of BCN’s service area.

Photo by pcfishhk

“Man Up!” to End the Health Disparities in the African-American Community

Serious health disparities continue to threaten the health of the African-American men throughout our community and the United States. This is why we are once again co-sponsoring the 100 Black Men of Greater Detroit’s Man Up! for Better Health event this Friday and Saturday, September 9 and 10.

How great is the need for this type of event? Tremendous, especially when you consider these sad facts:  Read more of this post

5 Reasons Why People Need Health Insurance

If you’re one of the roughly 50 million uninsured Americans, you may wonder why individual health insurance is so important – especially if you’re young and healthy.

There are smart ways to save money, but skipping out on health insurance isn’t one of them. Studies show that uninsured individuals don’t receive the same quality or amount of preventive care those with insurance enjoy and may be putting themselves at greater financial risk than their insured counterparts.

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