introducing New Family Dental Plan plan â€” P. 16 ~ ~ Introducing
Spring 2003 Summer 2003
from the n e w s
s t o r i e s
HEALTH f r o m
U.S. limiting costs of drugs for Medicare According to an article in The New York Times, the federal government has begun to weigh cost as a factor in deciding whether Medicare should pay for new drugs and medical procedures. Recently, federal officials have adopted policies to limit what Medicare pays for prescription drugs.
a c r o s s
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c o u n t r y
The total number of prescriptions for “branded generics” last year was less than a third of the total for traditional generics.
Study confirms life-saving benefit of mammograms
There is a definite link between fitness levels and medical costs. Although the connection seems obvious, Americans aren’t taking the connection seriously, according to The Wall Street Journal. As Americans head toward retirement, they will be responsible for more and more of their medical costs, but the prospect of extra medical expenses has not translated into healthier living. Although some people do everything right and still come down with a costly, long-term disease, studies show that people can reduce their chances of developing many chronic illnesses (such as heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity) by quitting smoking, exercising and eating right.
According to The Associated Press and Reuters Health, the largest and most rigorous study to date concerning the survival benefits of mammograms indicates that women who get them regularly could reduce their risk of dying of breast cancer by 28 percent. The study, conducted by a team of scientists from Sweden, Britain, Taiwan and the United States, was based on 210,000 Swedish women ages 20 to 69. Thanks to improvements in drugs used to treat breast cancer, even the women who refused mammograms were still 16 percent less likely to die of breast cancer. Deaths from breast cancer in the United States have fallen by nearly 30 percent since 1990, but experts are unsure of how much of this is a r esult of the gr owing use of mammograms to detect the cancer in its early stages.
Generic drug makers take on patents through “branded generics”
Federal government announces new efforts to reduce minority chronic disease risks
The Wall Street Journal recently reported that generic drug manufacturers increasingly are taking market share from their brandname counterparts by introducing “branded generics” — similar products that have the same effects as brand-name pharmaceuticals but are made of slightly different ingredients. These new drugs sometimes provide consumers quicker access to low-cost alternatives, but these new tactics allow generic-drug firms to raise their own prices. Traditional generic drugs must contain the same active ingredients as the brand-name drug, and tests must show that generic drugs react in the body the same way as the brandname drug. “Branded drugs” may include slightly different compounds, and may last longer than their branded counterparts.
In April 2003, during recognition of the annual National Minority Cancer Awareness Week, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson announced several new efforts aimed at pr eventing cancer and reducing health disparities among minority populations. The initiatives focus on nutrition, colorectal cancer, preventive health care and comprehensive cancer control programs. Historically, minority populations have experienced a disproportionate burden of death and disease from chronic illnesses. For more information on the initiatives, see the following Web sites: www.9aday.cancer.gov; www.cdc.gov/cancer/screenforlife; www.healthgap.omhrc.gov; and www.cancercontrolplanet.cancer.gov.
Exercise can curb your medical bills
Blue & You Summer 2003
Customer Service Numbers Little Rock Toll-free Number (501) Number
State/Public School Employees 378-2437 1-800-482-8416 e-mail: email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org Medi-Pak (Medicare supplement)
Medicare (for beneficiaries only): Part A (hospital benefits) Part B (physician benefits)
378-3151 1-877-356-2368 378-2320 1-800-482-5525
UniqueCare, UniqueCare Blue, Blue Select®, BlueCare PPO & PPO Plus (individual products) 378-2010 1-800-238-8379 Group Services
Federal Employee Program (FEP)
Pharmacy Customer Service (AdvancePCS): Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield Health Advantage BlueAdvantage Administrators Specialty Rx
1-800-863-5561 1-800-863-5567 1-888-293-3748 1-866-295-2779
For information about obtaining coverage, call: Category
Little Rock Toll-free Number (501) Number
Medi-Pak (Medicare supplement)
BasicBlue®, BlueCare PPO & PPO Plus (individual products) 378-2937 1-800-392-2583
Regional Office locations are: Central, Little Rock; Northeast, Jonesboro; Northwest, Fayetteville; South Central, Hot Springs; Southeast, Pine Bluff; Southwest, Texarkana; and West Central, Fort Smith. Customers who live in these regions may contact the regional offices or call the appropriate toll-free telephone numbers above.
www.ArkansasBlueCross.com www.HealthAdvantage-hmo.com www.BlueAdvantageArkansas.com www.BlueAndYouFoundationArkansas.org www.BlueAnnEwe-ark.com
is published four times a year by Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield for the company’s members, health care professionals and other persons interested in health care and wellness.
Blue & You Summer 2003
INSIDE THIS ISSUE
From the Health files ................................... 2 Be sensible in the sun .............................. 4-5 The dog days of summer ........................... 6-7 Water: It’s the real thing .............................. 7 Was it something I ate? ............................ 8-9 Summer stings and bites ....................... 10-11 RWIs: Is the pool really clean? .................. 12 Sensible summer foot care ........................ 13 That pesky poison ivy ................................ 14 Financial information privacy notice ......... 15 New IVR system answers a need ................ 16 Introducing BlueCare Dental ................. 16-17 Blue & You Foundation puts out the call ... 17 Health Advantage making contact ............. 18 New building for Medicare operations ....... 18 My Blueprint users are winners ................. 19 Sparkling at the PRISM awards .................. 19 Best of Blue national awards ..................... 19 24/7 access to pharmacy Web site ............ 20 Copayment changes for three-tier plans .... 20 “Don’t Start” winners announced ......... 21-22 Blue & Your Community ............................. 23 Blue On-Line .............................................. 24
Vice President of Advertising and Communications: Patrick O’Sullivan Editor: Kelly Whitehorn — BNYou-Ed@arkbluecross.com Designer: Gio Bruno Contributors: Tammi Bradley, Janice Drennan, Damona Fisher and Kathy Luzietti
Be sensible in the
un protection is important year-round; but it becomes critical in summer, when more people are outdoors for extended periods of time. Even a few serious sunburns can increase your risk of skin cancer. Sun exposure also causes premature aging of the skin and, for some people, photosensitive reactions.
Skin Cancer Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States, and its incidence is rising. People living in southern states, including Arkansas, where the sun’s UV radiation is more intense, have a one in three (33 percent) chance of developing some form of skin cancer.
Everyone is at risk. You are more at risk if you: • burn easily. • have multiple or atypical moles. • have a fair complexion. • have blue, gray or green eyes. • have red or blond hair. • have a family history of skin cancer. • experience chronic exposure to the sun because of your occupation or location.
Premature Aging and Other Skin Damage Tanned skin is damaged skin. Young sunbathers probably don’t realize that sunlight causes wrinkles and premature aging of the skin. Exposure over time can even cause the skin to have a leathery appearance. Age spots (flat, brown spots) appear most often on sun-exposed areas of the skin. Tanning booths are as damaging as
sunlight. The FDA warns that some tanning operators may claim that their sunlamps are safer than the sun, but this is not true. Tanning beds and booths have the same cancer-causing ultraviolet (UV) radiation as the sun. Some tanning beds have UVA (ultraviolet A) sunlamps and claim to be safer than beds that produce UVB (ultraviolet B) radiation because UVA does not cause burns as often as UVB. However, UVA radiation penetrates the skin more deeply than UVB and is responsible for long-term skin damage, such as aging, blood vessel damage and skin cancer. A tanning bed may have 10 times the amount of UVA radiation as the sun.
Photosensitivity Some medications and food additives cause photosensitivity, leading to a burn or skin rash after only a few minutes of sun exposure. Some medications cause skin cell damage and skin eruptions that can persist for years. Photosensitivity also may be caused by chemicals in cosmetics and sunscreens applied to the skin. Medications that can cause photosensitive reactions include: • Antihistamines. • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). • Antibiotics, including tetracyclines and sulfonamides. • Antidepressants. • Cardiovascular drugs. Cosmetics to be avoided during sun exposure include any that contain musk Blue & You Summer 2003
sun ambrette, sandalwood oil and bergamot oil. Topical preparations containing alpha hydroxy acids, often used to treat wrinkles, also may cause photosensitivity.
Protection Protecting yourself and your family from the sun is simple. Planning for protection before you get out in the sun is the key to success. • Cover up. Wear tightly woven fabrics. Wear long sleeves and long pants when practical. Take a cover-up to the beach. • Avoid midday sun (10 a.m. to 2 p.m. standard time, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. daylight saving time). • Seek shade (tree, tent, umbrella, building shadow). • Wear a wide-brimmed hat. • Wear sunglasses that wrap around and block UV rays. Too much sun can damage the corneas of your eyes and lead to cataracts. • Use a sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or higher. • Use a sunscreen that blocks both UVA and UVB rays. UVB rays cause sunburn, and UVA rays penetrate to deeper layers of skin. • Apply sunscreen 20 to 30 minutes before you go outside. Apply it liberally and reapply often, especially after swimming or physical activity. • If you have allergies or photosensitivity, ask a dermatologist to recommend a sunscreen that won’t cause a skin reaction. • Don’t forget your ears, hands and tops of your feet when applying sunscreen. — Sources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, National Institute on Aging, National Cancer Institute, Arkansas Cancer Research Center (University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences)
Blue & You Summer 2003
Young sunbathers probably don’t realize that sunlight causes wrinkles and premature aging of the skin.
The â€œdog daysâ€?
n Arkansas, summers can be draining. With temperatures soaring into the high 90s, and humidity hovering at stifling levels, we all feel listless at times. During the heat of summer, itâ€™s important to take precautions to avoid heat-related illnesses. Drink plenty of water, exercise in the early mornings or evenings, treat any pre-existing conditions, wear loose and light-colored clothing, check the heat index daily and give yourself time to adjust to the heat before undertaking any athletic endeavors. The elderly and young children are most susceptible to heatstroke. One-half of all heat-related illnesses occur in people age 65 and older. Pre-existing conditions that may contribute to heatrelated illnesses include anorexia, cardiac disease, uncontrolled diabetes, uncontrolled high blood pressure, obesity, upper respiratory tract infection, cystic fibrosis and gastroenteritis. Medications that may contribute to heat-related illnesses include alpha adrenergics, anticholinergics, antihistamines, benzodiazepines, beta blockers, calcium channel blockers, neuroleptics, phenothiazine diuretics, and tricyclic antidepressants. There are three main heat-related illnesses: heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heatstroke.
Heat Cramps Signs of heat cramps include elevated body temperature, thirst and muscle cramps. Heat cramps often occur in athletes or other physically fit people and are caused by excessive heat exposure. When you have excessive activity with profuse sweating followed by too little fluid intake, it can result in painful muscle spasms (heat cramps) in calf or abdominal wall muscles.
Heat Exhaustion The symptoms of heat exhaustion include elevated body temperature, thirst, muscle cramps, nausea/
vomiting, headache, malaise, hypotension (low blood pressure), light-headedness/fainting, incoordination, confusion and irritability. Heat exhaustion occurs when persons are either water-depleted or sodium-depleted, although in reality they often overlap. Heat exhaustion from water depletion occurs most often in the elderly, who are more likely to have preexisting conditions or take medications that can make them more vulnerable to dehydration, especially during the summer. Heat exhaustion from sodium depletion often occurs in those who have maintained fluid in their system but have not replaced the sodium lost in sweat.
Heatstroke Heatstroke is the deadliest of heat illnesses. The symptoms of heatstroke are the same as those of heat cramps and heat exhaustion but also may include delirium/seizure/coma, renal failure, hyperventilation, pulmonary edema, arrhythmia and shock. Treatment for heatstroke must begin immediately. Classic heatstroke usually occurs during summer and usually affects those with advanced age or chronic medical conditions. Exertional heatstroke also occurs most often in summer and primarily affects outside laborers or athletes. Symptoms are similar to those of classic heatstroke, except that those with exertional heatstroke continue to sweat. When someone continues to sweat, heatstroke may be overlooked, and treatment could be delayed. Blue & You Summer 2003
of summer Remember, heatstroke is a medical emergency. Multiple organ systems can be affected. Heat-related illnesses can affect anyone. The best way to avoid them is to avoid overexerting yourself in summer heat. Take note of the following table to help you remember when to stay out of the heat.
Heat Index 130 degrees or higher
Extreme danger. Heatstroke highly likely with continued exposure
105 to 130 degrees
Dangerous. Heat cramps or heat exhaustion possible with prolonged exposure and/or physical activity
80 to 90 degrees
Caution. Fatigue possible with prolonged exposure or physical activity
The heat index combines humidity and temperature measurements to create a scale to describe how warm the air feels when humidity is high. Remember, summer heat and humidity can be a dangerous combination. Take care to keep yourself healthy during those uncomfortable summer days. — Sources: American Family Physician and NASD: Princeton University Outdoor Action
Water: It’s the real thing A
fter an hour or two outdoors during a hot southern summer, there’s probably only one thing on your mind — cold, clear and clean water. While it’s possible to live for weeks without food, a person can last only a few days without water. Water is the source of life. Up to 70 percent of the human body is made up of it. Body fluids that flow through all the blood vessels carrying nutrients and wastes are mostly water. Water fills cells and the spaces between them. It helps keep tissues healthy. Water also: • Is required for many of the body’s chemical reactions. • Dissolves vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. • Lubricates joints. • Helps regulate body temperature. Perspiration evaporates from the skin and cools the body, which helps keep body temperature within a tight range. If adequate water is not consumed on a daily basis, the body fluids will become out of balance, causing lifethreatening dehydration. Daily ingestion of water will help maintain good health. Adults should drink two quarts (eight cups) a day; children should drink four to eight cups daily, depending on age and size. Other fluids and even some foods contain water, and these can help meet daily water needs. Milk, fruit juices and even carbonated drinks are good water sources. But try to drink decaffeinated colas — caffeine, a diuretic, causes the body to lose water. One of water’s most important functions in the body is helping maintain fluid balance. Minerals called electrolytes dissolve in water and contain sodium, potassium and chloride. Electrolytes determine the balance of fluid inside cells and out. An imbalance isn’t healthy. Edema (fluid retention) is the condition by which too much water is inside the cells. Dehydration is the condition where there is an abnormal depletion of body fluids. Your fluid balance or imbalance can be impacted by medical conditions and medications. For more information on how to maintain a healthy fluid balance, contact your physician. — Sources: National Institutes of Health and www.healthanswers.com
Blue & You Summer 2003
hen planning that barbecue in the backyard or cookout at the campsite, be sure the shindig you and your family are enjoying doesn’t end up with everyone vying for time in the bathroom. Although America’s food supply is the safest in the world, the facts tell us that the food we eat may be the vehicle that transports a variety of unpleasant bacteria, viruses and parasites that can either cause a bad bellyache or perhaps be life-threatening to the weaker among us (including children and elderly). These unwelcome dinner guests cause 76 million cases of foodborne illnesses in the United State each year. They can be found in a variety of foods including meat, milk and other dairy products, spices, chocolate, seafood and even water. Specific foods that have been implicated in foodborne illnesses are unpasteurized fruit and vegetable juices and ciders; raw or undercooked eggs or foods containing undercooked eggs; chicken, tuna and potato and macaroni salads; cream-filled pastries; and fresh produce. Common symptoms of foodborne illnesses include diarrhea, abdominal cramping, fever, headache, vomiting, severe exhaustion, and sometimes blood or pus in the stools. However, symptoms may vary according to the type of bacteria and amount eaten. There are health conditions that may cause a bout of foodborne illness to be more severe. Those health conditions include liver disease, hemochromatosis (iron disorder), diabetes, stomach problems, cancer, immune disorders, and long-term steroid use (as with treatment for asthma and arthritis). When symptoms are severe, the ill person should visit a doctor or seek emergency help. For mild cases of foodborne illnesses, the individual should drink plenty of liquids to replace fluids lost through vomiting and diarrhea.
If you can’t remember anything else, remember this The No. 1 thing to remember to avoid foodborne illnesses is: keep it clean. Practice these four steps for food safety. 1. Wash your hands and surfaces often. With hot soapy water, wash your hands, cutting boards, dishes, utensils and countertops before, during and after food preparation. 2. Separate the food. Always keep raw meat, poultry, seafood and their juices away from other foods. 3. Cook to proper temperatures. Use a food thermometer to make sure foods are cooked to a safe internal temperature. 4. Refrigerate promptly. Be sure to refrigerate foods within two hours. Set your refrigerator no higher than 40 F and the freezer at 0 F.
Was it something I ate? Take preventive measures
• • •
The thought that the food you are consuming may make you sick is unappetizing, at the least. There are, however, steps to take to make sure your food is protected. When you are grocery shopping: • Pick up your packaged and canned goods first. • Don’t buy packages or cans that are torn or dented. • Don’t eat raw shellfish and use only pasteurized milk products and pasteurized or otherwise treated juices and ciders if you have a health problem, especially one that has impaired your immune system. Choose eggs that are refrigerated in the store, and open the carton and make sure the eggs are clean and are not cracked. Don’t buy frozen seafood if the package is torn, or if there are signs of frost or ice crystals on the package. Check for cleanliness at the meat or fish counter and salad bar. When shopping for shellfish, buy from markets that get their supplies from state-approved sources; stay clear of vendors who sell from roadside stands or the back of a truck. Take an ice chest along to keep frozen and perishable Blue & You Summer 2003
9 foods stored if you will be away from home for more than an hour.
Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold Hot or cold foods left standing at room temperature for an extended amount of time provide an ideal climate for bacteria to grow. Improper cooking also plays a significant role in foodborne illnesses. Beef, lamb and veal should be cooked to temperatures of 145 F; pork and ground beef to 160 F; whole poultry and thighs to 180 F; poultry breasts to 170 F; and ground chicken or turkey to 165 F. Eggs should be cooked until the whites and yolk are firm. Seafood should be cooked thoroughly to an internal temperature of at least 145 F; fish that is ground or flaked should be cooked to 155 F; and stuffed Blue & You Summer 2003
fish should be cooked to 165 F. Don’t thaw meat or other frozen food at room temperature; instead put them in the refrigerator for a day or two, or defrost submerged in cold water. Cooked foods should not be left standing on the table or counter for more than two hours. Hot dishes should be served immediately, and if the food has been reheated, it should be reheated to 160 F. Keep cold food in the refrigerator until they are ready to be served. Although there is a lot to remember when it comes to keeping your food free from bacteria, viruses and parasites — it’s worth the work to avoid foodborne illnesses. — Sources: U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture
A sting here, a bite there.
icks, bees, ants, mosquitoes, hornets, wasps, yellow jackets and other insects make enjoying the outdoors in summertime less than enjoyable. To reduce the chances that you may be bitten by some sort of stinging, flying insect, remember to: 1. Wear light-colored, smooth-finished clothing. 2. Avoid perfume and perfumed soaps, lotions or deodorants. 3. Wear clean clothing and bathe regularly. Sweat angers bees. 4. Try to cover as much of your body as possible with clothing. 5. Avoid flowers. 6. During the months of July, August and September, be sure to check around your home for new insect nests. 7. Keep outdoor areas clean and free from food. 8. If there is a single, stinging insect flying near you, remain still or lie face down on the ground. Swatting at an insect may cause it to sting. 9. If you are surrounded by a group of stinging insects, run to get away from them. Go indoors or jump into water. A shaded area is better than an open area when trying to get away.
You’ve been stung. What do you do now?
Have someone stay with you in case you have an allergic reaction. Wash the site with soap and water. The stinger can be removed by using gauze to wipe the area or by scraping a fingernail over the area — never squeeze the stinger or use tweezers (it will cause more venom to be released). Do not scratch the sting. This will cause the site to swell and itch more, and increase the chance of infection. The severity of an insect sting varies from person to person. A normal reaction to a sting would be pain, swelling and redness confined to the area around the sting site. A large local reaction would result in swelling that extends beyond the sting site. For example, a sting on the forearm might result in swelling in the entire arm. Although alarming in appearance, this type of reaction is usually treated the same as a normal
reaction. If the reaction seems highly unusual or very large, you may need medical attention.
Venomous vs. Non-venomous critters
Venomous insects include wasps, hornets, yellow jackets, all bees and fire ants. Non-venomous insects include chiggers, fleas, lice, scabies, bed bugs, ticks and mosquitoes. The differences are in relation to the nature of the bite or sting. Venomous insects attack as a defense mechanism by injecting painful, toxic venom through their stingers to punish you so you will stay away from them next time. Non-venomous insects bite and usually inject anticoagulant saliva in order to feed on your blood.
Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
Simply because ticks are non-venomous doesn’t mean that they can’t cause a person harm. Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF) is an infection that is transmitted by ticks. The signs and symptoms usually develop within one to 14 days after a tick bite. RMSF usually begins suddenly with a high fever with chills, muscle aches and a severe headache that may center around the forehead. Eyes may become red, muscles may be tender to the touch, and there may be generalized body swelling. The rash that makes RMSF a “spotted” fever may begin anytime between one and 10 days after the fever and headache start. The rash looks like small red spots and usually begins on the wrists and spreads over the body (not usually the face). As the infection progresses, the original red spots may change in appearance to look Blue & You Summer 2003
the joys of summer.
more like bruises or bloody patches under the skin. Usually, RMSF causes moderate to severe illness and may damage the liver, kidneys and lungs. Antibiotics have helped to decrease most of the suffering and danger resulting from the infection.
Like RMSF, Lyme disease also is attributed to tick bites. In the majority of people, the first symptom of Lyme disease is a red rash. The telltale rash starts as a small red spot at the site of the tick bite. It expands over a period of time forming a circular rash. Sometimes it resembles a bull’s eye. A fever, headache, stiff neck, body aches and fatigue often accompany the rash. After several months of infection, more than half of those with Lyme disease who were not treated with antibiotics develop recurrent attacks of arthritis. Less Blue & You Summer 2003
often, people with untreated Lyme disease may develop heart abnormalities, eye problems and chronic skin disorders. Nearly all Lyme disease patients can be effectively treated with antibiotics. The sooner such therapy begins the quicker and more complete the recovery. The best way to avoid those irritating stings and bites is to protect yourself when outdoors. And, remember, if you have had an allergic reaction to an insect sting, it’s important to see your doctor. — Sources: American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, www.quickcare.org, NASD: University of Maine Cooperative Extension, National Institutes of Health, and The Nemours Foundation
o one likes to talk about it. Everyone cringes at the thought of it. But it’s a topic that we can’t ignore if we want to be safe while swimming this summer. No, we’re not talking about drowning, slipping or lightning in this article … although those are important aspects of water safety. Recreational Water Illnesses (RWIs) — swimming pools, waterparks, hot tubs, lakes, rivers or the ocean — have contributed to 15,000 swimmers becoming ill from swimming during the past decade. You may have even seen headlines from a few celebrities whose children have been affected.
Avoiding the germs Germs leading to RWIs are spread by swallowing water contaminated with feces or by skin exposure to contaminated water. The most common waterborne germs spread through recreational water are “crypto” (KRIP-toe), short for Cryptosporidium, Giardia (gee-ARE-dee-uh), E. coli 0157:H7, and Shigella (Shi-GEL-uh), which can cause diarrheal illnesses and skin rashes. Body fluids, including blood, feces and vomit (not the kind associated with simply swallowing too much pool water) are all considered potentially contaminated with bloodborne germs. The good news is that germs causing RWIs are killed by chlorine. However, chlorine doesn’t work right away. Although some germs can live only minutes in chlorine, it takes time to kill germs, and germs like Crypto can live in pools for days even in the best maintained pools. A diarrheal fecal accident is a higher risk event than a formed stool accident. Generally, people have more germs in their stool when they are sick with diarrhea, so they can spread the illness easier. The numbers of germs in the stool decrease in the weeks following the end of diarrhea. Germs in diarrhea can contaminate the water
HOW TO AVOID POOLand make others sick who swallow the water. In fact, for those persons living with compromised immune systems, some illnesses could be life-threatening or fatal. Healthy swimming behaviors are needed to protect you and your family from RWIs and will help stop germs from getting in the pool in the first place. Here are six “P-L-E-As” that promote healthy swimming: PLEASE — don’t swim when you have diarrhea … this is especially important for kids in diapers. You can spread germs into the water and make other people sick. PLEASE — don’t swallow the pool water. In fact, try your best to avoid even having water get in your mouth. PLEASE — wash your hands with soap and water after using the toilet or after changing diapers. You can protect others by realizing that germs on your body end up in the water. PLEASE — take your kids on bathroom breaks often. Waiting to hear “I have to go” may mean that it’s too late. PLEASE — change diapers in a bathroom and not at poolside. Germs can spread to surfaces and objects in and around the pool and spread disease. Swim diapers are unlikely to prevent diarrhea (which may contain germs) from leaking into the pool. Even though diapers or swim pants may hold in some feces, they are not leak-proof and can still contaminate the pool water. Blue & You Summer 2003
Both feet on RELATED ILLNESSES the ground: A guide to sensible foot care Therefore, it is recommended that you change your child often and make frequent trips to the toilet. Swim diapers or pants are not a remedy for frequent diaper changing. PLEASE — wash your child thoroughly (especially the backside) with soap and water before swimming. We all have invisible amounts of fecal matter on our bottoms that could end up in the pool. Not washing hands can spread germs. Wash your hands thoroughly before returning to the pool. Fecal accidents and poor hygiene are a concern and an inconvenience to both pool operators and patrons. Healthy swimming is a team effort. For the health of all swimmers, don’t swim when ill with diarrhea and wash hands thoroughly before returning poolside. NOTE: Since many factors affect the water quality at the beach, it is important for you to know about the environmental conditions that affect water quality. For more information about health risks associated with swimming in polluted natural bodies of water such as oceans, lakes and rivers, contact the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). — Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
ere comes the sun. Here come the sandals. With warm weather arriving in the Natural State, it’s only natural to exchange slacks for shorts and shoes for sandals. Because feet are more exposed during summer, they also are more vulnerable to injury and irritation. One of the most common problems in summer is heel fissures (cracks in the skin on the heels). Because dry, cracked heels are more common when wearing sandals, it’s probably a good idea to alternate sandals with closed shoes. In summertime, be sure to regularly apply lotion to your feet and use a pumice stone along with lotion to prevent corns and calluses from building up. Sandal-lovers also should do their best to avoid toenail trauma caused by sports injuries, wearing shoes that are too small, or even dropping things on your feet. Once toenails are damaged, fungus can enter, causing nails to turn thick and yellow. If an infection occurs, the toe can become red, hot and swollen, and pus may appear. Then it’s time to see a physician. Some other tips to keep your feet and toenails in tippy-toe shape for summer include: 1. Trim toenails straight across. This gives them an attractive look and prevents toenail edges from becoming ingrown and causing infection. 2. Wear properly fitting shoes to reduce the chance of blisters, corns and calluses from building up. 3. When purchasing shoes, don’t select them by the size marked on the box. Try on the shoe and see how it fits. 4. Keep the blood circulating to your feet as much as possible. Put your feet up when you are sitting or lying down, stretch if you’ve had to sit for a long period of time, take a walk, get a gentle foot massage or take a warm foot bath. People with diabetes need to be especially careful in summer. Because of a common condition called peripheral neuropathy (or numbness in the feet), they might not notice a cut or fissure in the skin caused by stepping on a piece of glass, a thorn or other sharp object on the ground. Years of wear and tear can be hard on your feet, so when it comes to taking care of them — don’t get “cold feet.” By practicing good foot care, your feet will be able to take you where you want to go for years to come. — Sources: National Institute on Aging, Duke Health and www.personalhealthzone.com
Blue & You Summer 2003
That pesky poison ivy
h, the great outdoors. As residents of the Natural State, Arkansans relish the sunny summer months and take every opportunity to enjoy the many outdoor activities that abound. From fishing and water sports on our many lakes and rivers to hiking along wilderness trails to gardening in our own backyards, we love to take advantage of long days outside. But beware, there’s a creeping, crawling culprit lurking about just itching to ruin your summer fun. It’s poison ivy, and it may be hiding out in an inviting patch of greenery near you.
“Leaves of three? Let it be.” To avoid a potentially ugly situation, when you venture outside, keep this simple rhyme in mind, “Leaves of three? Let it be.” Poison ivy usually has three broad, spoon-shaped leaves or leaflets, which can range in size from one-third of an inch to more than two inches. The leaves can have smooth or very notched edges, and their color can range from reddish in spring to green in summer to various shades of yellow, orange or red in autumn. A noxious weed, poison ivy has a toxic sap, called urushiol, in its roots, stems, leaves and fruit. The oily substance is released when the plant is bruised or damaged, which can happen when you touch the plant, when insects chew on the plant or even when the wind blows around it. Once the urushiol oil comes in contact with your skin, it can cause an allergic reaction (Rhus-dermatitis). Since urushiol oil doesn’t evaporate quickly, you can have a reaction not only through direct contact with the plant, but also by touching something that has touched the plant, such as tools, shoes, toys or clothing — or even by petting a pet that has come across poison ivy in the woods. You also can have a poison ivy reaction by inhaling the smoke from
a burning plant, so be careful of where you gather your campfire wood!
Quick, get the water! If you should come in contact with poison ivy, wash with cool water as soon as possible and continue rinsing the contaminated area frequently for the next six hours. (Use soap and water if you can.) Usually within 15 minutes of contact, the urushiol oil binds to skin proteins. However, if it’s washed off with water before that time, a reaction may be prevented. When packing supplies for hiking, camping or fishing trips, you might want to include disposable wipes with alcohol that you can use immediately after contact. Once the urushiol oil is fixed, however, it cannot be washed off or transferred to other areas.
Things that go bump The first symptom of poisoning is redness and severe itching of the skin. Then a rash erupts on the skin, frequently in a pattern of streaks or patches. Later, the rash turns into red bumps or, in severe cases, oozing blisters. Despite the myth, the rash is spread by the poisonous sap, not as the result of contamination from oozing sores. Any new lesions that may appear after the first few days are most likely caused by contact with contaminated items (clothes, shoes, etc.) that were not properly sanitized.
What to do? Calamine lotion is the old standard treatment for poison ivy rash, and while it may ease the suffering, time is the only cure — on average, five to 12 days. A serious rash, or one that covers a large area of skin, probably calls for a corticosteroid that must be prescribed by a doctor. — Sources: www.poison-ivy.org, www.poisonivy.aesir.com and WebMD.com Blue & You Summer 2003
Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield Financial Information Privacy Notice A
t Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield and its affiliates (HMO Partners, Inc. [d/b/a Health Advantage] and BlueAdvantage Administrators of Arkansas), we understand how important it is to keep your private information just that — private. Because of the nature of our business, we must collect some personal information from our members, but we also are committed to maintaining, securing and protecting that information.
How we protect your information
Arkansas Blue Cross and its affiliates use various security mechanisms to protect your personal data including electronic and physical measures as well as company policies that limit employee access to nonpublic personal financial information. Improper access and use of confidential information by an employee can result in disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment.
Customer Information Arkansas Blue Cross and its affiliates only compile information necessary for us to provide the services that you, our member, requests from us and to administer your business. We collect non-public personal financial information (defined as any information that can be tied back to a specific person and is gathered by any source that is not publicly available) about our members from: • Applications for insurance coverage. The application includes information such as name, address, personal identifiers such as social security number and medical information that you authorize us to collect. • Payment history and related financial transactions from the purchase and use of our products. • Information related to the fact that you have been or currently are a member.
Sharing of Information Arkansas Blue Cross and its affiliates do not disclose, and do not wish to reserve the right to disclose, nonpublic personal information about you to one another or to other parties except as permitted or required by law. Examples of instances in which Arkansas Blue Cross and its affiliates will provide information to one another or other third parties are: • To service or process products that you have requested. • To provide information as permitted and required by law to accrediting agencies. • To provide information to comply with federal, state or local laws in an administrative or judicial process. Blue & You Summer 2003
Disclosure of Privacy Notice Arkansas Blue Cross and its affiliates recognize and respect the privacy concerns of potential, current and former customers. Arkansas Blue Cross and its affiliates are committed to safeguarding this information. As required by state regulation, we must notify our members about how we handle non-public financial information of our members. Nothing has changed in the way we conduct our business. If you would like to review the Financial Information Privacy Notices for all Arkansas Blue Cross members, you can visit our Web site at www.ArkansasBlueCross.com or call the appropriate Arkansas Blue Cross company to receive the Privacy Notice. Our customer service areas are open from 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., Central Time, Monday through Friday. To receive a copy of the Privacy Notice, members should call: Arkansas Blue Cross — 1-800-238-8379 BlueAdvantage — 1-888-872-2531 (Call between 8:15 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., Central Time, Monday through Friday.) Health Advantage — 1-800-843-1329.
Coming soon: Interactive voice response system
eginning in early fall, Arkansas B Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Health Advantage and BlueAdvantage Administrators of Arkansas customers will be able to access personal health insurance information with a simple telephone call. The new interactive voice response (IVR) system recognizes speech patterns to help answer questions when customers call current customer service telephone lines. When customers call a customer service line, the new system immediately will answer, and by simply responding to the questions asked by the system — with no buttons to push — customers can get numerous questions answered quickly and easily. And even better, the IVR system will be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The new system can help customers who have questions about benefits, status of claims and
Customer Service available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week premium payments; and help customers to order a new ID card, a provider directory or a claim form. And, during regular business hours, customers can request — at any time during the telephone call — to speak to the next available customer service representative. Because the IVR system can’t help customers with all of their needs, Arkansas Blue Cross and its family of companies will have customer service representatives available during regular business hours. The IVR system is a service to our customers who have simple questions they need answered quickly; it’s there when they need it. As always, Arkansas Blue Cross and its family of companies is working to make being a part of the “Blue” family as beneficial and as easy as possible. The new IVR system simply is another way to meet the varying needs of our customers.
BlueCare Dental now available for individuals W
hen current and potential customers called Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield to express an interest in obtaining insurance coverage for their dental needs, Arkansas Blue Cross responded with a new dental product for individuals and families called BlueCare Dental. Arkansas Blue Cross (with input from customers and participating providers) has created a product that provides the coverage customers need at a more affordable price. According to Ron DeBerry, vice president of Statewide Business, “Up to this point, while we offer dental plans for groups, we have never had a plan for individuals and families.” Arkansas residents, age 64 or younger, are eligible to apply for coverage. BlueCare Dental covers routine preventive care with no deductible or waiting period. Routine preventive care includes the initial periodic examination, fluoride treatments, X-rays, sealants and emergency treatment. The benefits for these services are paid at 80 percent. After meeting a $50 deductible and a six-month waiting period, coverage extends to minor restorative services such as fillings and simple extractions. Benefits still are
paid at 80 percent. After a one-year waiting period, coverage includes root canals; oral surgery; surgical extractions; inlays, onlays and crowns; bridges, partials and dentures; and periodontics. These benefits are paid at 50 percent. The annual maximum benefit is $1,000 per member. BlueCare Dental customers may use any dentist they prefer, but only those who are contracted with Arkansas Blue Cross are required to file claims for their customers. It’s to the customer’s advantage to choose a dentist who is contracted with Arkansas Blue Cross. These dentists will not bill Arkansas Blue Cross customers for charges in excess of our allowable charges, up to the benefit-year maximum. Dentists who are not contracted with Arkansas Blue Cross may bill customers for the balance of the bill. David Bridges, president and chief executive officer of Health Advantage and senior vice president of Arkansas Blue Cross, said that customers who would like to apply for BlueCare Dental but find that their dentist is not a participating provider should contact their dentist about becoming a participating provider. “We’ve worked on our processes, visited with participating providers, Blue & You Summer 2003
second annual call for grant applications to support health programs T he board of directors of the Blue & You Foundation for a Healthier Arkansas has issued its second annual call for grant applications to fund 2004 health programs which support services to improve the health of Arkansans. The deadline for applications is Aug. 15, 2003. The grant applications will be reviewed in the fall and grants awarded in December for 2004 programs. “We are excited to announce our second year of funding health programs that make a difference in the health of the citizens of our state,” said Robert L. Shoptaw, chief executive officer of Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield and chairman of the foundation’s board of directors. “This is a new process that we hope over time will lead to a state of better health in Arkansas.
and have created an environment at Arkansas Blue Cross that is more ‘dentist-office friendly,’” said Bridges.
So how much does it cost? Monthly Premium Individual under age 19 $15 Individual age 19 through 64 $24 Individual and spouse $48 Individual and child(ren) $47 Individual, spouse and child(ren) $71 Those interested in more information may call 1-800392-2583 or contact a Farm Bureau or independent agent. Blue & You Summer 2003
Blue & You Foundation issues
Working together for better health is part of our mission at Arkansas Blue Cross. By working with other organizations and agencies who share this commitment, we believe we can have an even bigger impact on the health of Arkansans.” The Blue & You Foundation awarded its first grants totaling $962,100, at the end of 2002 to fund 12 programs statewide during 2003. Recipients of 2003 grants included the American Heart Association, American Lung Association of Arkansas, Arkansas Center for Health Improvement, Arkansas Post Girl Scout Council, BAPTIST HEALTH Foundation, Bess Chisum Stephens YWCA, Boston Mountain Rural Health Center, Inc., Family Network, Guadalupe Prenatal Clinic, KIDS FIRST, Safe Jonesboro Coalition and UAMS/Delta Area Health Education Center (AHEC). Arkansas Blue Cross established the Blue & You Foundation in December 2001 as a charitable foundation to promote better health in Arkansas. The Blue & You Foundation anticipates awarding up to $1 million in grants annually to non-profit or governmental organizations and programs that positively affect the health of Arkansans. Particular emphasis is given to projects affecting health care delivery, health care policy and health care economics. “We have a health care crisis in Arkansas that must be addressed,” said Shoptaw. “The poor health status of our citizens ranks 46th in the nation and contributes to rising medical costs. By providing funding and working together with other organizations, we hope to establish or expand a number of diverse health care projects that will benefit all Arkansans over the long term.” For more information or to receive a grant application, write to Blue & You Foundation, 601 S. Gaines Street, Little Rock, AR 72201 — or visit the foundation Web site at www.BlueAndYouFoundationArkansas.org for complete information and guidelines. The foundation is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association and serves the state of Arkansas. The foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization.
Health Advantage makes contact with new customers
nderstanding how your health insurance plan works is key to maximizing the benefits available to you, as well as the money you spend on your health care. Because Health Advantage wants to help its members understand their health insurance policies, and to verify that identification cards and benefit materials have been received, Health Advantage customer service represen-
tatives attempt to contact all new members within the first 90 days of the effective date of coverage. The representatives then review a few of the basic policies as well as answer any questions that customers may have. If Health Advantage is unable to reach its new customer by telephone, a postcard (left) is mailed to the new customer’s home address.
Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield purchases North Little Rock building A rkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield has purchased the 93,000 square-foot office building and adjoining property located at 515 West Pershing Boulevard in North Little Rock (formerly the Southwestern Bell offices) for $3.4 million, as the site for its Arkansas Medicare operations, according to Sharon K. Allen, president and chief operating officer of Arkansas Blue Cross. Approximately 370 Arkansas Blue Cross employees who currently work in two buildings in Little Rock will move to the North Little Rock location by year-end, following completion of renovations to the building. Newly-hired Dennis Robertson, former executive vice president and chief executive officer of the Arkansas Farm Bureau and affiliated companies, will serve as the chief executive officer of Arkansas’ Medicare operations. He will be joined by Charlie Clem and Reggie Favors, vice presidents of Public Programs for Arkansas Blue Cross, at the North Little Rock facility where they will manage operations. “We are pleased to be consolidating our Medicare Services to help perform our operations even more efficiently on behalf of the Medicare program,” said Allen. “Arkansas Blue Cross has a long history of serving the needs of Medicare beneficiaries in Arkansas and other states. When Arkansas Blue Cross began administering Medicare in 1966, there were approximately 45 employees who processed claims manually in Arkansas. Today, technological advances and computerization allow our staff to effectively handle more than 47 million
for its Medicare Services operations claims (Part A and Part B) with $4.3 billion in Medicare benefit dollars paid out annually for more than 2.6 million beneficiaries. Today, Arkansas Blue Cross has more than 850 employees who work with Medicare. “Our Medicare operations have grown tremendously. This relocation and centralization will help our Medicare work continue to be done efficiently,” said Allen. “I am elated and excited that Arkansas Blue Cross has chosen to relocate its local Medicare Services employees to the north side of the river,” said North Little Rock Mayor Patrick Henry Hays. “This will provide economic benefits to the city, and we are proud that they soon will become one of our corporate citizens. Arkansas Blue Cross is a highly respected company.” Arkansas Blue Cross has administered the Medicare Part A and Part B program in Arkansas since 1966; Louisiana Medicare Part B since 1985; Oklahoma/New Mexico Medicare Part B since 1997; and Missouri Medicare Part B since 1999. Arkansas Blue Cross also serves as the Data Center for contractors who process Medicare Part A claims for 10 states. Since 2002, Arkansas Blue Cross has been the sole national maintainer of the two computer software systems (FISS and APASS) that process more than 160 million Medicare Part A claims nationwide. “We have moved from a small contractor to a major player,” added Allen. “This is due to our increased (Medicare, continued on Page 22) Blue & You Summer 2003
My Blueprint users win gift cards T
en lucky members of Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Health Advantage or BlueAdvantage Administrators of Arkansas were selected at random to win a $50 Wal-Mart gift card. To qualify, these members registered to use My Blueprint, our new on-line customer self-service center, on either ArkansasBlueCross.com, HealthAdvantage-hmo.com or BlueAdvantageArkansas.com. The drawing was an-
nounced in the last issue of Blue & You. The winners were Victoria Gammil of Fort Smith, Esther Lane of Jonesboro, Chad McDaniel of Texarkana, Dale Russom of Jacksonville, Armetrius Singleton of Little Rock, Stephanie Wheetley of Bryant and members in Pine Bluff, Dierks, Fayetteville and Hot Springs.
Arkansas Blue Cross “sparkles” at PRISM Awards I
n April, Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield received four awards in the 2003 PRISM Awards program of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), Arkansas Chapter. Patrick O’Sullivan, vice president of Advertising and Communications, received the 2003 Crystal Award from PRSA for his distinguished career. PRISM Awards received included: — Blue & You (member magazine) for Publications. (Kelly Whitehorn, editor; Gio Bruno, designer). — ArkansasBlueCross.com for Web Sites. (Janice Drennan, content management; Web Team,
technical management). — Blue & Youth Health Program for Community Relations. (Damona Fisher, program management). — EweNews (kids health newsletter) for Other Publications. (Damona Fisher, editor). O’Sullivan, APR, ABC, was selected by his peers to receive the Crystal Award for 30 years of career accomplishment, his contributions to the profession and the community, and his commitment to the highest standards of the public relations profession.
Arkansas Blue Cross honored with Best of Blue awards A rkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield recently
received national honors from the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association for its Understanding Your Health Care Costs campaign and the Blue & Youth Health Program. The Understanding Your Health Care Costs campaign received the prestigious “Best of Blue” first-place award in the Healthcare Cost Campaign category of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association’s 2002 national competition, which honors outstanding communication programs produced by the 42 Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans nationwide. The Blue & Youth Health Program received the second-place award in the Community Relations/ Sponsorship category. The Understanding Your Health Care Costs campaign included a booklet (distributed in Sunday newspapers throughout the state and as an insert in the Arkansas Blue & You Summer 2003
Blue Cross customer magazine Blue & You), a video (distributed to employer groups) and a Web component. The campaign was an educational effort to help our customers, and all Arkansans, understand why health care costs are so high, what Arkansas Blue Cross is doing to hold down costs, and what individual consumers can do to hold down their costs. The Blue & Youth Health Program, featuring BlueAnn Ewe, is a health education effort designed to improve the well being of Arkansas citizens, starting with the young people of the state. The winning entries were chosen from more than 150 marketing and communications entries from throughout the United States. The entries were judged by an external panel of marketing and communications professionals based on research, planning, strategy, creative execution and measurable results.
Pharmacy Web site gives members immediate access 24/7 ooo
Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield members (and Health Advantage or BlueAdvantage Administrators of
Arkansas members who have their prescription benefits provided by Arkansas Blue Cross) now are able to go online to look up drug interaction information as well as find a wealth of general — and personal — information about prescription medications. Members covered by the drug benefits provided by the Arkansas Blue Cross family of companies will be able to visit their plan’s Web site and connect to the AdvanceRx.com link for free access to valuable information on pharmacies and pharmaceuticals. The AdvanceRx.com link is located within the ArkansasBlueCross.com, HealthAdvantage-hmo.com and the BlueAdvantageArkansas.com Web sites. The new feature allows members to: • Look up their specific drug coverage (formulary information and pricing). • Locate a pharmacy. • Access a drug dictionary. • Check drug-to-drug interactions. • Refill prescriptions and check order status (if mail orders apply in coverage). • View/print standard preferred drug list. Because AdvanceRx.com is hosted by AdvancePCS, the company that manages pharmacy benefits for the
Arkansas Blue Cross companies, information will be updated automatically, so members can be assured they are receiving timely and accurate information. Plus, members have access to information 24 hours a day, seven days a week. To access AdvanceRx.com, members will log on to their plan site, and click on the link to the Prescription Drug Information section. Members will be required to register to gain access to their personal information. Personal health information will be strictly confidential and accessed by members through a log-in ID and password. Coming soon is a prescription history component for members and then access to benefit summaries later this year. The AdvanceRx.com link provides better information about health issues and benefit details and can encourage appropriate drug use. This is another example of how Arkansas Blue Cross is connecting our members to leading edge health care services.
Copayment changes announced for three-tier plans A
rkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Health Advantage and BlueAdvantage Administrators of Arkansas made several copayment changes on June 15, 2003, in the nonsedating antihistamine class and attention deficit disorder/ attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADD/ADHD) class of medications for fully insured and self-insured plans that have the three-tier copayment plan design.
Non-Sedating Antihistamines (NSA) Beginning June 15, all dosage forms of Allegra®, Allegra-D® and Singulair®, which have been on secondtier copayment status in three-tier copayment plans, will move to third-tier copayment status. This will place all NSAs on the third-tier copayment level in three-tier copayment plans. Letters will go out to all members currently taking Singulair® and Allegra® products to notify them of this change.
ADD/ADHD Medications Also, beginning June 15, 2003, the following copayment changes were made in the ADD/ADHD class of drugs in three-tier copayment plans: 1. Straterra® is a preferred medication and has moved from third-tier copayment to second tier. 2. Concerta® remains preferred and remains on secondtier copayment status. 3. The following medications changed from second-tier copayment to third-tier copayment status: Adderall® Cylert® Dextrostat® Adderall XR® Dexedrine® Metadate CD® 4. All generic medications in this class will remain at first-tier copayment status. First-tier medications have the lowest copayment cost, and third-tier medications have the highest copayment cost. Blue & You Summer 2003
Winners Announced for “Don’t Start” E
rika Vang, age 11, a fifthing at an early age about how grader at Western Yell County the choices you make now Elementary School in can affect your health in the Belleville, was named the future is part of what our grand-prize winner in the mission is all about at Arkansecond annual “Don’t Start” sas Blue Cross. We want you Smoking Coloring Contest. to be healthy. As you have The contest was sponsored by shown in your storyboards, Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue there is nothing healthy about Shield, KASN-TV/UPN smoking. We hope the ‘Don’t Channel 38 and KLRT-TV/FOX Start’ Smoking Contest was a Channel 16, in partnership fun learning opportunity for with the American Lung you. Someday, chances are Association of Arkansas and good you will be asked or Erika Vang (center), age 11 of Belleville and grand-prize the Arkansas Department of tempted by someone to try a winner in the 2003 “Don’t Start” Smoking Contest, is all smiles with Chuck Spohn, Clear Channel CommunicaEducation. cigarette or other tobacco Seventeen other students tions; BlueAnn Ewe; the Wizard; and Miss Arkansas product. I hope you will Lauren Davidson, at the contest celebration party. from throughout the state remember what you’ve were finalists in the contest from elementary schools in learned through this program, stand firm, and just say, Belleville, Bergman, Cabot, Gosnell, Jonesboro, Little ‘no.’ We’re proud to have been a sponsor of this worthRock, Osceola, Paragould, Prairie Grove, Rison, while project for the second year, and I’m proud of the Texarkana, Van Buren, West Memphis and Yellville. commitment you all have made to stay smoke-free.” Vang’s winning storyboard has been turned into a “Studies have shown that when the arts are incorpo30-second public service announcement (PSA) and will rated into a message, it is retained for a much longer be shown on television stations statewide. period of time by the students,” said Karen Lackey, The “Don’t Start” Smoking Coloring Contest gave executive director of the American Lung Association of students in public, private and home schools in kindergarArkansas. “This anti-tobacco program is unique and ten through fifth grade an opportunity to write and provides thousands of kids an opportunity to get inillustrate a story about why it’s important to never begin volved in the fight against tobacco in a meaningful way. the dangerous habit of smoking. The contest helped Our goal is to have a future generation of healthier adults students “draw their way” to prizes and an opportunity to free of tobacco-related lung disease.” have their story transformed into a television PSA to be “Engraining the harm of smoking in the minds of our broadcast in Arkansas in the summer and fall of 2003. youth is imperative. Doing it in a fun and creative way is The object of the program was to get kids thinking to be commended,” said Chuck Spohn, vice president about why they should not use tobacco products and and general manager of Clear Channel Television. “I am what they can do because they aren’t sick from smoking. proud of the efforts of the American Lung Association of Kids used storyboard sheets to write a story and draw Arkansas, Arkansas Blue Cross, and FOX16/UPN38 for pictures depicting their story. They were encouraged to providing this educational and informational challenge to draw animals, people, cartoon characters or anything our youth.” their creative minds could think of to tell their story. A panel of judges picked three finalists in each grade In addition to the storyboards, teachers received a level. From those 18 finalists, judges selected an overall seven-minute educational video and Teacher’s Packet to winner, who received a $100 savings bond and a Sony help build a curriculum around the “Don’t Start” Contest. PlayStation 2, in addition to having her story turned into Sharon K. Allen, president and chief operating officer a PSA. All finalists received fun prizes, including DVD of Arkansas Blue Cross, told students, along with their players, VCRs, portable CD players, Wal-Mart gift cards, family members, parents, teachers, counselors and restaurant gift certificates, music CDs, and prize packs principals at the “Don’t Start” celebration party, “Learnfrom BlueAnn Ewe and FOX16/UPN38. See list of winners on next page > Blue & You Summer 2003
“ D o n ’t Start” F i n a li s t s
Rachel Hunt, age 5, Southside Elementary in Cabot, first-place finalist Micah Huckabee, age 6, Southside Elementary School in Cabot, second-place finalist Laura Jane Crocker, age 6, Valley View Elementary School in Jonesboro, third-place finalist
First Grade Kelsey Cates, age 7, Crowley’s Ridge Academy in Paragould, firstplace finalist Joel Morell, age 6, Pulaski Heights Elementary School in Little Rock, second-place finalist
Pictured here with his parents, Joel Morell, age 6, a student at Pulaski Heights Elementary School in Little Rock, was the second-place finalist for first grade.
Christopher Booker, age 7, West Elementary School in Osceola, third-place finalist
Second Grade Bradley Brown, age 8, Rison Elementary School in Rison, first-place finalist Taylor Farr, age 7, West Memphis Christian in West Memphis, second-place finalist Emily Long, age 7, Bergman Elementary School in Bergman, third-place finalist
Third Grade Keara Carey, age 9, Mitchell Academy in Little Rock, first-place finalist Kelly Sellers, age 8, Gosnell Elementary School in Gosnell, second-place finalist Mallory Lee, age 9, Martin Luther King Elementary School in Little Rock, third-place finalist
Fourth Grade Whitney Smith, age 9, Rena Elementary School in Van Buren, first-place finalist Gunner Dacus, age 10, Ridgefield Christian in Jonesboro, second-pace finalist Amy Stevens, age 10, Kilpatrick Elementary in Texarkana, third-place finalist
(Medicare, continued from Page 18)
contractor jurisdictions, systems role and desire and ability of our employees to be innovative and strive for excellence. Our success is due to our dedicated employees — willing to work together as a team. They’re the best employees anyone could ask for and a monument to efficiency.”
Erika Vang, age 11, Western Yell County Elementary School in Belleville, first-place finalist and grand-prize winner Samantha Johnson, age 11, Yellville-Summit School in Yellville, secondplace finalist Cody Davis, age 11, Prairie Grove Upper Elementary School in Prairie Grove, third-place finalist
Blue & You Summer 2003
rkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield strives to be a good corporate citizen. Our employees raise money and spend many hours helping those causes near and dear to the hearts of Arkansans. “Stomp” out Smoking Greenbrier High School’s capeless crusaders (a.k.a. High School Heroes) have been doing a lot of stomping in their school district this spring, spreading the word to middle-schoolers that smoking is not cool. These High School Heroes are specially trained high school students who present an anti-smoking program targeted to fourth-, fifth- and sixth-graders in their school district. High School Heroes serve as role models for the kids, pledging to remain smoke-free and delivering a strong testimony about the dangers of smoking and the appeals of tobacco advertising. BlueAnn Ewe was able to join the Heroes and perform the “BlueAnn Stomp,” a rap-dance about saying, “no” to cigarettes. The “BlueAnn Stomp” ties in the High School Heroes anti-smoking message and BlueAnn’s wellness message, which is taken statewide as well. BlueAnn appeared with the Greenbrier High School Heroes eight Greenbrier High School Heroes hang out times in the with BlueAnn at Greenbrier Middle School. schools. Sheep and Students say “no!” Celebrities of the human and mascot kind were on hand at the 16th Annual “Just Say No” drug prevention walk hosted by Perritt Primary School in Arkadelphia on April 18 — BlueAnn Ewe included! This was the fifth year that BlueAnn has been on hand to help lead the fight against drugs with hundreds of elementary students, high school mentors, teachers and administration staff, and community supporters. The Arkadelphia High School cheerleaders led an energizer on the school parking lot, then walked with the elementary students to the Siftings Herald newspaper office about a mile from the school. After a pep rally with anti-drug cheers led by the cheerBlue & You Summer 2003
leaders, community and state leaders greeted the walkers, pledging their support in the fight against drugs. This year, Miss Arkansas Lauren Davidson and Tony Johnson, a former professional football player with the New BlueAnn and Perritt Primary buddies take a Walk Against Drugs Orleans Saints, in Arkadelphia. Detroit Lions and Philadelphia Eagles, served as parade marshals. They were accompanied by BlueAnn, McGruff the Crime Dog and R.F. Ant. Clark County Sheriff’s Office and Arkadelphia Police Department officers, and members of the Arkadelphia Fire Department Rescue Unit attended the assembly. Always a highlight of the walk is getting to stop by Perritt Principal Wanda O’Quinn’s house for cookies, water and juice. It was a beautiful day for a walk … and to be drug-free! Boogie with BlueAnn More than 250 first- and second-graders got to “boogie” with the blue sheep recently as BlueAnn presented her Healthy ClassAct at Martin Luther King Elementary School in Little Rock. Students got to brush BlueAnn’s teeth, listen to her heart and jump rope with her as they learned about good habits and good health. At the end of the 30-minute health lesson, the students watched her “BlueAnn Rocks” animated, musical health messages and sang along with the “Safety Song,” “Squeaky Clean,” “You Need Your Rest,” and more.
Students at Martin Luther King Elementary School grin for BlueAnn to show how many have lost baby teeth.
www.ArkansasBlueCross.com www.HealthAdvantage-hmo.com www.BlueAdvantageArkansas.com www.BlueAndYouFoundationArkansas.org www.BlueAnnEwe-ark.com
Find Answers Although Arkansas Blue Cross and it affiliates strive to make useful information available on their Web sites, you may not find everything you need on-line. Please use our “Find Help” or “FAQ” sections if you have a question that is not answered on our sites. You’ll find the link to “Find Help” at the bottom of each page of ArkansasBlueCross.com and HealthAdvantage-hmo.com. This section has answers to common questions and allows you to submit your own question (“Ask a Question”). A “Find Help” link also Blue & You Summer 2003
appears in the navigation bar to the left of internal pages. When you click on the link, you will see a page with tabs at the top. The “Find Answers” tab reveals a list of common questions with answers. The most frequently asked questions appear at the top of the list. You’ll see questions organized as follows: Arkansas Blue Cross, Health Advantage HMO, Health Advantage POS, Federal Employees Service Benefit Program (FEP), State and School Employees, Open Access Plans and Fort Smith Choice. The list of questions is searchable by keyword. Click on the “Ask a Question” tab to submit your own question to Customer Service. If you haven’t asked a question before, you will be asked to create an account by submitting your e-mail address and selecting a password. A Customer Service representative will send you an e-mail to notify you when your answer is ready. You will need to log in to your account to get your answer. You’ll be able to see a history of your questions and answers after you log in. On BlueAdvantageArkansas.com, you’ll find answers to common questions in “Frequently Asked Questions” in the “Customer Service” section. A menu at the top of the page takes you to the following question categories: Benefits, BlueCard®, Claims, Health Plan Definitions, ID Card and Primary Care Network. If you don’t see your answer in the FAQ section, you may use the link at the bottom of each page called E-mail Customer Service to submit your own question. Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield P.O. Box 2181 Little Rock, AR 72203-2181