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Autumn 09

• Read our CEO’s editorial about health care reform, Page 3 • Enroll now in one of our Medicare plans, Page 5 • Dr. David offers healthy eating tips, Page 16

Dan Peterson of Little Rock, Ark., is a survivor of pancreatic cancer. See his story on Page 6.

A publication for the policyholders of the Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield family of companies


INSIDE 3 Out of the Blue 5 Great options for members 65 and over 6 Beating the odds: Dan Peterson’s journey 10

11 12 14 15 16 18 19 20

on Page 12 5 Medicare enrollment information 12

SilverSneakers adds to active lifestyle

19

Yarnell’s & Arkansas Blue Cross

Autumn 09

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.

21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28

with pancreatic cancer Can Zicam damage your sense of smell? Caffeine may reduce Alzheimer’s memory loss Beware: Tanning beds cause cancer Prepare for two flus this fall SilverSneakers adds to active lifestyle Prediabetes? Take the warning seriously! Lose weight The Healthy Weigh! Taking calcium supplements for weight loss? What not to feed Junior Senior Moments with Dr. David Where does your health-care dollar go? A sweet relationship: Yarnell’s and Arkansas Blue Cross From the Pharmacist ­— Are you an unintentional drug dealer? Curves offers discount to members What is a formulary? The Doctor’s Corner Three benefits added to group DentalBlue plans Mental Health Parity: What it means for you Women’s Health and Cancer Rights Act Blue & You Fitness Challengers win with better health Customer Service telephone numbers Good for you

Vice President, Communications and Product Development: Karen Raley Editor: Kelly Whitehorn — BNYou-Ed@arkbluecross.com Designer: Gio Bruno Photographer: Chip Bayer Contributors: Chip Bayer, Matthew Creasman, Damona Fisher, Kristy Fleming, Jennifer Gordon, Trey Hankins, Heather Iacobacci-Miller, Ryan Kravitz, Kathy Luzietti and Mark Morehead

A special thank you to Stacy Harter, a University of Arkansas at Little Rock graduate student, who contributed the article on chiropractic medicine in the Summer 09 edition of Blue & You.


Out of the

Blue A message from our CEO and President, Mark White

those who cannot afford coverage on their own. • We believe that the most significant issue we face in health care today is cost. To be successful, any reform enacted must address cost as the primary issue. It is cost that has created a situation

Our stance on health care reform In the ever-changing environment around health care

in which many Americans lack health coverage. It is the cost of health care that makes our current sys-

reform, there are a few constants. At Arkansas Blue

tem unsustainable. We must first address the cost in

Cross and Blue Shield, our position on health care re-

order to reform health care without bankrupting the

form has not changed.

country in the process.

• We support health care reform. We believe chang-

As an industry, we must be — and are — prepared to

ing our current system is important to Americans

make radical changes in the way we do business. One

individually and collectively. The rate of growth in

much-maligned insurance company practice is denying

health-care costs today is not sustainable for the

coverage or payment for those with pre-existing medi-

long term. The impact of these costs on our na-

cal conditions. Early in the health-care discussions, our

tion’s ability to compete in a global economy and

industry pledged to support guaranteeing coverage for

on hard-working Americans will be unbearable. We

everyone despite any pre-existing health condition

believe so strongly in the need for change that we

they might have. But to make this proposal affordable,

will support responsible changes even if they require

we must have laws that require everyone who can

that we as a health insurance company significantly

afford it to purchase insurance and stiff penalties for

change the way we do business.

those who fail to do so. Without these laws, people

• We believe that every American should have ac-

would not buy insurance until they got sick. And we all

cess to high-quality, affordable health care, and

know you don’t wait until after you’ve burned dinner to

that any reform enacted should address the problem

turn off the oven.

of the uninsured by providing financial assistance to

But other changes are needed to make health care Blue & You Autumn 2009

3


available and affordable for all Americans. Remember

the patient together so that everyone has access to the

that the problem is the cost of health-care services,

information they need to best treat each patient and get

which directly impacts your health insurance costs.

their claims paid. This means when you see your doctor

Health-care costs drive health insurance costs — not

or visit the emergency room, the physician or nurse

the other way around. There are a number of reform ini-

should be able to enter your name and other identifi-

tiatives that hold promise for addressing our cost prob-

able information in a computer and review your medical

lem. The most important has not been part of the public

records. This will help avoid delays in care and unneces-

debate. Payment reform is an important first step if we

sary tests, as well as give the health-care providers a

are serious about controlling the cost of health care.

clear understanding of your medical history.

We must change how we pay health-care providers, not necessarily how much we pay them. Today, doctors, hospitals and other health-service providers are paid for each service they provide, even if that service isn’t helpful or already has been done. This method of payment is called “fee-forservice.” In this environment, patients

4

often see specialists and undergo many tests and procedures with no one coordinating the care they receive from one doctor to the next. We need a system in which doctors and hospitals are paid to treat a patient’s “medical episode” rather than each medical

Let me give an example: your 80-year-old mother goes to the emergency room and the doctor doesn’t

We need a system in which doctors and hospitals are paid to treat a patient’s

“medical episode”

rather than each medical service provided.

have any experience treating her. He has no access to her medical records. He may have to order more tests, prescribe more medicines and take more time trying to diagnosis the problem. Some of these procedures are probably not necessary and may actually be harmful. The doctor won’t know if the same tests or procedures were conducted just a few months before. He could save time and money if he had access to her medical history, and he would be more effective in treating her

service provided. An episode might be a hysterectomy

with the appropriate information at his fingertips. That is

or a heart attack or any other condition for which a

the promise of improved health IT.

patient might seek medical care. When we pay doctors

As you listen to all the discussion surrounding the

and hospitals to treat a patient’s medical episode, they

current health-care debate, I encourage you to keep

are incented to coordinate the care the patient receives,

one question in mind. How will this particular proposal

avoid duplicate and unnecessary testing and provide

or plan help control cost? Responsible health care

care that has been proven effective and necessary.

reform will build on our current employer-based system

Another important initiative that will contribute to a

in ways that make it more affordable. Will huge, new

more efficient system is the expansion of health infor-

government bureaucracies control costs? How about in-

mation technology (IT) in the health-care delivery sys-

creasing taxes or placing new demands on employers?

tem. This initiative already is included in many reform

I hope that each of you will take the time to consider all

proposals and is part of the American Recovery and

the proposals out there and make an educated decision

Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009. We need a system

about what is best for you and those you love. That’s

that links the health plan, the doctor, the hospital and

the American way.

Blue & You Autumn 2009


GREAT OPTIONS for members 65 and over If you are eligible for Medicare, November 15 is an

coverage) in 27 counties and affordable premiums

important date to remember. From November 15 until

in all Arkansas counties. Medi-Pak Advantage MA-

December 31, you can purchase a Part D prescription

PD (PFFS) plans are Medicare PFFS plans, which

drug plan or Medicare Advantage plan. You also can

combine all the benefits of original Medicare (Part A

change the plan you have. The federal government’s

hospital and Part B medical) with valuable extras.

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)

Beginning Jan. 1, 2010, our Medi-Pak Advan-

calls this time period the Annual Election Period (AEP).

tage (PFFS) customers have a great new benefit!

If you join a plan during the AEP, or make changes to

Arkansas Blue Cross has contracted with more than

an existing plan, your new benefits will be effective

6,000 doctors and hospitals all over the state that

Jan. 1, 2010.

have agreed to accept our Medi-Pak Advantage

Medi-Pak Choice plans offer peace of mind Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield’s Medi-Pak Choice plans provide the same affordability, convenience and peace of mind you’ve come to expect from us. For 2010, Arkansas Blue Cross will offer: • Three Medi-Pak Rx Prescription Drug Plans (PDP) with competitively priced monthly premiums – Basic at $25.90, Classic at $57.20 and Premier at $86.50. Our Medi-Pak Rx (PDP) plans cover all Medicareapproved generic drugs plus an extensive list of brand-name prescription drugs. In addition, more than 95 percent of the pharmacies in Arkansas are in our network. • $0 premiums for Medi-Pak Advantage MA-PD Private Fee-for-Service (PFFS) plans (includes drug

members as valued patients. No more searching for a doctor who will accept your health plan. You will know in advance the doctors and hospitals that will accept your plan. And when you use these doctors and hospitals, you’ll have lower out-of-pocket costs. Plus, our Medi-Pak Advantage members will continue to receive a membership in the SilverSneakers® Fitness Program at no additional cost. • $0 premiums for Medi-Pak Advantage MA (PFFS) (does not include drug coverage) in 52 counties. These plans offer all the health benefits of our Medi-Pak Advantage MA-PD plans, but do not include drug coverage. Members have access to a network of 6,000 doctors and hospitals that have agreed to accept their plan and receive a SilverSneakers membership. Great options, continued on Page 18

Blue & You Autumn 2009

5


Beating the odds: up, and Dan was sent home. Dan and Donna Peterson enjoy the view from their front porch.

Two days later Dan returned to the hospital, still in pain, and was admitted. After a few more tests, Dan’s doctor walked into the room and told his family he had bad news. “It was like the air was sucked out of the room,” Donna said, still fighting back tears from that painful memory. “He said that Dan had stage-four pancreatic cancer and he needed to go home and settle his affairs because he only had a few

6

months to live.” Dan’s pancreas had an adenocarcinoma, a cancer originating in glandular tissue, and it had spread to two locations in his liver. There was no talk of oncologists, surgery or other treatments. The doctor suggested that Dan and his family start saying goodbye. Donna said that the only thing keeping her together at that point was that she had to be strong for their five children. “I couldn’t eat; I couldn’t take a deep breath; I

Miracles can happen. Dan

Peterson is living proof.

In late 2002, Dan began having severe pain in his upper abdomen. After a few days with no relief, he and his wife, Donna, went to the emergency room at a local hospital. Blue & You Autumn 2009

Dan endured several tests, including a CAT scan, and was diagnosed with pancreatitis — inflammation of the pancreas. One of the medical professionals noted that there was “something” on the CAT scan results but did not suggest any follow

couldn’t imagine life without him.” Dan went back to his job as a human resources director for the Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System and contacted his friend, Nick Lang, M.D., a surgical oncologist who was chief of staff for the Department of Veteran’s Affairs


Dan Peterson’s journey with pancreatic cancer (DVA) hospital at the time and who

many people.

now is chief medical officer for the

“I will always be grateful to her

University of Arkansas for Medical

for that,” Donna said. “She gave me

Sciences (UAMS). Lang contacted

my world back.”

waiting rooms of the Cancer Institute who had come for the excellent, state-of-the-art treatment. Part of the reason UAMS is rec-

Laura Hutchins, M.D., director of

ognized nationally for its treatment

the UAMS division of Hematology/

of rare cancers is that its missions

Oncology and director of clinical

of teaching, healing, searching and

research for the UAMS Winthrop P.

serving are interwoven into the

Rockefeller Cancer Institute.

daily activities of its employees. Dr.

The Cancer Institute has a tight-

Makhoul said he originally planned

knit group of physicians and re-

to only stay a short time at UAMS,

searchers who focus on specific

but found he enjoyed the balance

types of cancer, one of the reasons

of treating patients, heading the

it’s been named a Blue Distinction Center of Excellence for Rare Cancers by the Blue Cross and Blue

Dan and Donna before he was diagnosed with cancer.

That glimmer of hope shone

fellowship program, interacting with the residents and working on his own research.

Shield Association. Dr. Hutchins

even brighter as they visited with

quickly paired Dan up with Issam

Dr. Makhoul himself. His warm

Excellence for Rare Cancers, the

Makhoul, M.D., associate professor

demeanor and positive attitude

Cancer Institute must meet high

of medicine in the division of Hema-

allowed them to think toward the

quality standards established by an

tology/Oncology.

future for the first time in weeks.

expert panel of physicians, surgeons

He told Dan that he believed he had

and other health-care professionals.

and Donna at Dr. Makhoul’s office

at least a year to live, if not longer,

When a hospital has been desig-

was Michelle Welch, R.N., Dr. Mak-

and that his team would try several

nated a Blue Distinction Center, you

houl’s nurse. Donna remembers her

of the latest therapies to shrink

know they have expertise in that

shock when Michelle said, “It’s not

the tumor and look into ongoing

specialty, that they focus on quality,

over — we have lots of things we’re

research to see if new treatments

and that they have a history of pa-

going to throw at you.” Michelle

were available.

tients with

The first person to talk with Dan

confirmed that it is true that the

“We had considered going out of

As a Blue Distinction Center of

Issam Makhoul, M.D.

positive

prognosis for pancreatic cancer

state for Dan’s treatment,” Donna

outcomes.

is not good for anyone, but given

said, “but after that first visit we

Hospitals

Dan’s relatively young age of 57, and

realized how blessed we were to

provide

his excellent health otherwise (at

live in Little Rock, so close to such a

care differ-

the time he also was a warrant offi-

renowned medical center.” She said

ently, and

cer in the Arkansas National Guard),

she and Dan visited with people

the Blue

she felt he had a better chance than

from throughout the country in the

Cross and Blue & You Autumn 2009

7


member and health-care team to maximize the benefits available and help them return to self-managing their care.” “I had no idea in the beginning that there would be that kind of help, but any time I had a question I knew I could call Brenda,” Donna said. Part of Dan’s treatment still includes a nightly infusion of IV fluids, and the port must be changed weekly. For sev-

8

Blue Shield Association has created

A few days after Dan’s diagnosis,

eral months, nurses came

a process where hospitals can dem-

Donna listened to a voicemail from

out to change the port, but then the

onstrate their expertise.

Brenda Strange, R.N., C.C.M., case

Petersons received a notice that the

If you are looking for a hospital with a Blue Distinction designation, go to our Web sites and visit our “Members” section. We do the work for you, so you can be assured you are receiving the best care possible. The Petersons also were grateful to have Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield as their health insurance provider. “Arkansas Blue Cross has just been fantastic,” Dan said,

If you are looking for a hospital with a Blue Distinction designation, go to our Web sites and visit our “Members” section. We do the work for you, so you can be assured you are receiving the best care possible.

number of visits was running out. Donna immediately called Brenda for help. “We were able to offer an alternative benefit plan that would allow for an extension of Dan’s skilled nursing visits to support Donna,” Brenda remembered. “This allowed Dan to receive some of his treatments at home, which would have otherwise caused him to return to the hospital

remembering the ease of getting

management coordinator for Arkan-

during acute episodes of his ill-

his expensive treatments covered.

sas Blue Cross. Donna dismissed

ness.” For more about case manag-

When Dan retired from the National

the first call, but Brenda was insis-

ers at Arkansas Blue Cross, visit

Guard he qualified for Tricare, a

tent and, through one of the visiting

our Web site at arkansasbluecross.

program for retired military mem-

nurses, got Donna to call her back.

com and select “Case Management

bers. Still, he insisted on keeping

Brenda explained that case manag-

Services” under the “Members”

Arkansas Blue Cross as his second-

ers don’t direct member’s care, as

section.

ary insurance because he knew the

some often think. “As a case man-

Dan’s treatment included visits

importance of having good health-

ager, I help coordinate the plan of

to the Central Arkansas Radiation

care coverage.

care already in place, work with the

Therapy Institute (CARTI) along with

Blue & You Autumn 2009


powerful doses of chemotherapy

marker,

that thinned his hair but not his spir-

they

it. At one point Dan asked Brenda,

drew a

“Why do you think I’m still here?”

face on

and her answer was, “Because you

Dan’s

make everyone better.”

belly,

sas Blue Cross approved the “de-

using the scar from the operation as

signer” drug for Dan, which is now

had shrunk enough that the doc-

a frown. They tried to keep straight

an accepted medication for certain

tors decided to try to remove it.

faces as Dr. Makhoul lifted Dan’s

types of pancreatic cancer.

With the waiting room packed with

shirt, but it was no use and they

One of the misunderstandings

family members, Ralph Broadwater,

burst out laughing. As time went

people have about cancer is that

M.D., chief of Surgical Oncology for

by Dr. Makhoul and his staff found

they consider it all to be the same

UAMS, started the operation, only

quirky notes on the door of the ex-

thing. Dr. Makhoul said he often

to stop three hours later in frustra-

amination room, silver nail polish on

hears people ask, “Why can’t you

tion. The tumor was too close to a

Dan’s toes when they became dis-

cure cancer?” but in reality there

main artery. He was, however, able

colored from the medication — any-

are many subsets of cancers, some

to remove one of the tumors on

thing to make light of the situation.

much more easily treatable than

the liver; the other had disappeared

“We relied a lot on humor and just

others.

from the treatments.

staying in the moment,” Dan said.

By September 2003, Dan’s tumor

While the operation wasn’t suc-

Go to Blue & You Online on our Arkansas Blue Cross and Health Advantage Web sites for more on Dan’s journey.

By 2005, the chemotherapy had

Research began about 25 years ago into the link between genetics

cessful, Dan continued to keep a

taken a toll on Dan’s bone marrow.

and certain forms of cancer. “We

positive outlook and to “live in the

Dr. Makhoul found information

now are harvesting the fruits of this

moment.” During a long wait to

regarding a medication not yet ap-

work,” Dr. Makhoul said, through

see Dr. Makhoul, Dan and Donna

proved for pancreatic cancer, but

medications focused on specific hu-

decided to have some fun. Using a

one that sounded promising. Arkan-

man genes that may contribute to a person’s predisposition for a type of cancer. In Dan’s case, even though pancreatic cancer in general is difficult to treat, his specific cancer responded extremely well to the medications, and his excellent overall physical health allowed him to endure treatments that many other patients couldn’t have tolerated. “There is no question in my mind that he is cured at this point,” Dr. Makhoul said of Dan. Almost seven years after his jourPeterson, continued on Page 21

Blue & You Autumn 2009

9


Caffeine may reduce

Alzheimer’s Can Zicam damage your sense of smell? The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has received more than 130 reports of loss of sense of smell associated with the following Zicam products: ®

10

memory loss

In a recent study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, researchers found that caffeine may reverse memory loss associated with the illness. The study was conducted using mice bred to develop

1. Zicam Cold Remedy Nasal Gel

symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. They were given 500

2. Zicam Cold Remedy Nasal Swabs

milligrams of caffeine in their water daily upon develop-

3. Zicam Cold Remedy Swabs, Kid’s Size (a discontin-

ing memory problems. Mice that drank the caffeinated

ued product)

water performed better on memory tests and thinking

The FDA advises consumers to stop using these

skills over the mice given plain water. They also expe-

over-the-counter cold remedy products due to the risk

rienced a nearly 50 percent reduction in the level of

of loss of sense of smell, which may be long lasting or

beta-amyloid — a protein found in the brains of people

permanent. If you have used any of these products and

with Alzheimer’s disease.

experienced a loss of sense of smell, you are encour-

Human studies are planned based on these positive

aged to contact your health-care professional.

findings.

Source: FDA

Source: WebMD

Beware:

Tanning beds and other sources of ultraviolet radia-

Tanning beds cause cancer

age of 30.

tion are in the top cancer risk category — as deadly as

Researchers also found evidence that UV-emitting

arsenic and mustard gas — according to a study from

tanning devices are associated with ocular melanoma.

the International Agency for Research on Cancer.

Ocular melanoma is a cancer of the eye that can be

The research showed that skin cancer risk increases by 75 percent when tanning beds are used before the Blue & You Autumn 2009

lethal, especially if it spreads to the liver, a common complication.


Prepare for

two flus this fall Every flu season has the potential to cause a lot

local level, vaccinations will be available for everyone

of illness, doctor’s visits, hospitalizations and deaths,

from the ages of 25 through 64 years. Current studies

but this year the Centers for Disease Control and

indicate that the risk for infection among persons age

Prevention (CDC) is concerned that the novel H1N1

65 or older is less than the risk for younger age groups.

(swine) influenza virus could result in a particularly

However, once vaccine demand among high-risk groups

severe flu season.

has been met, vaccinations will be offered to people

Vaccines are the best tool we have to prevent the

65 or older. People 65 and older should continue to get

flu, so this year, plan to vaccinate twice — once for the

the seasonal flu shot as soon as it becomes available in

seasonal flu and once for the H1N1 flu. Vaccinations

their area.

for the seasonal flu already may be available in some

My Blueprint, our self-service online member portal,

areas, and the H1N1 vaccine is expected to be ready

can help you access information on your health-care cov-

sometime this fall. The H1N1 vaccine is not intended to

erage 24/7, which could be helpful during a flu outbreak.

replace the seasonal flu vaccine — it is intended to be used alongside the seasonal flu vaccine. The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommends that the following groups receive the novel H1N1 (swine) influenza vaccine when it becomes available:

* Pregnant women are more at risk from swine flu Pregnant women may be at higher risk for severe complications from the H1N1 swine flu virus. Therefore, the CDC recommends that pregnant women should receive the same treatment and prevention regimens as

• Pregnant women*

recommended for seasonal flu — oseltamivir (Tamiflu®)

• People who live with or care for children younger

and zanamivir (Relenza®) or a vaccine when available.

than 6 months of age

If you are pregnant and suspect you may have been

• Health-care and emergency services personnel • Persons between the ages of 6 months through 24 years of age • People from ages 25 through 64 years who are at

exposed to the H1N1 virus, or are experiencing flu-like symptoms, contact your physician right away. Source: CDC

higher risk for novel H1N1 because of chronic health disorders or compromised immune systems. Once the demand for vaccine for the prioritized groups has been met at the

Go to Blue & You Online on our Arkansas Blue Cross and Health Advantage Web sites for more on the H1N1 flu. Blue & You Autumn 2009

11


SilverSneakers adds to active lifestyle

Pat Hagemeier of Russellville, Ark., and her husband, Dean, make exercise a part of their life together.

12

Blue & You Autumn 2009


P

Center, adding that the SilverSneak-

dollar per mile as a travel kitty for a

started life as a self-proclaimed

ers classes are so popular, “there’s

mutual trip when they finished. “It

klutz, but her love of exercise has

always a room full” of 40 or more

took us varying amounts of time to

helped her overcome numerous

people. And the classes aren’t easy,

complete the goal because life has

obstacles.

even for a seasoned exerciser like

a way of constantly interfering with

Pat. “They push you a bit and chal-

plans, but eventually we all reached

she enrolled in an exercise class

lenge you to increase your endur-

the goal and we’re off to Greece

at the YWCA and was immediately

ance. You leave feeling really good.”

this fall!”

at Hagemeier of Russellville

When her children were small,

hooked. “I bought a Good House-

Pat and Dean have made the

keeping 78 rpm exercise record to

fitness center a part of their daily

included two surgeries for cancer.

use when I couldn’t find a class to

routine, even though they often

“The day my staples came out I

take and faithfully worked out to

don’t go at the same times. Pat said

asked the doctor if I could begin

it. I also got a 45 rpm record called

she likes to go early in the day for

walking again, and she said to just

“Chicken Fat,” and my children

the classes, while Dean often goes

not overdo it. I decided that I would

would join me in marching, doing

later in the day to use the whirlpool

try to walk around our block that day

jumping jacks and touching toes

and other facilities. She said the

and then double the distance each

during cooped-up winter days.”

fitness center has brought them

day. It was no time before I was

even closer together, because they

back up to four to six miles a day,

and other teachers would exercise

both see their friends and can share

and I felt great.” Recovery after the

to a video in the library at the end of

the latest news when they get back

second surgery was a bit slower,

the day and then walk the track. She

together for meals.

Pat said, but she still credits her

Later, as a school counselor, she

Part of life’s “interference” for Pat

said her children would often join

Dean, 76, is an avid bicycle rider

her on the walk to share their day.

who has participated three times in

“It was a wonderful time to talk and

the Des Moines Register’s Annual

to transition.”

Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa, a

another fitness goal. She partici-

seven-day bicycle ride. According to

pated in walking the half marathon

Wellness Fitness Center opened in

the Des Moines Register, the ride

at the Little Rock Marathon in early

Russellville, and Pat and her hus-

is the

band, Dean, began taking advantage

longest,

of all the classes and facilities. “I

largest

did weight lifting, cardio and stretch

and

classes and loved the way I felt.”

oldest

Two years ago, the center added

touring

the SilverSneakers Program, and

bicycle ride in the world.

About 17 years ago, St. Mary’s

®

Pat said that with those added

quick recovery with the fact that she was in excellent physical shape. This year, at age 71, Pat reached

Go to Blue & You Online on our Arkansas Blue Cross and Health Advantage Web sites for more on SilverSneakers and upcoming speaker events.

Walking is a big part of Pat’s exer-

March. “It was a great experience! Training for it with my dedicated

classes she is at the facility four or

cise regime, and for several years,

walking buddies, seeing the mass

five times a week.

she and two of her friends have

of racers committed to a single goal,

been virtually walking across the

hearing words of encouragement

“They’re fantastic,” Pat said of the staff at St. Mary’s Wellness Fitness

United States. They each put in one

Hagemeier, continued on Page 27

Blue & You Autumn 2009

13


Prediabetes? Take the warning seriously!

Lose weight The Healthy Weigh! The Healthy Weigh! Education Program is free for members of Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Health Advantage, Blue Cross and Blue Shield Service Benefit Plan (Federal Employee Program), and

is getting your blood sugar levels

eligible members of BlueAdvantage

that you are at risk for diabetes —

back to a normal range. You can

Administrators of Arkansas.

your blood sugar is higher than it

do this by making some lifestyle

should be. Most people who get

changes.

enrollment form and return it in the

type 2 diabetes have prediabetes

• Make healthy food choices.

self-addressed, postage-paid enve-

Prediabetes is a warning signal

14

To enroll, complete the attached

first, but the good news is that

Limit how much fat you eat and

lope included in this magazine. The

lifestyle changes may help you get

try to eat foods high in fiber. Try

program starts when you enroll.

your blood sugar back to normal

to eat about the same amount

and avoid or delay diabetes.

of carbohydrates at each meal.

to receive information through the

This helps keep your blood

mail, which you can read in the

sugar steady.

privacy of your own home and at

Often, prediabetes has no signs or symptoms. But it’s important to watch for the classic red flags of

• Watch your weight. If you are

After enrollment, you will begin

your own pace. The program is

type 2 diabetes, including:

overweight, losing just a small

completely voluntary, and you may

• Increased thirst

amount of weight may help.

leave the program at any time. If

• Be active. Exercise at least

you have further questions about

• Frequent urination • Extreme hunger

30 minutes each day. You may

the program, call the Health Educa-

• Unexplained weight loss

want to swim, bike or walk.

tion Program’s toll-free number at

• Fatigue

Remember, staying at a healthy

1-800-686-2609.

• Blurred vision

weight, eating healthy foods, and getting regular exercise can help

How is it treated? The key to treating prediabetes and preventing type 2 diabetes Blue & You Autumn 2009

prevent prediabetes.

Simply complete, sign and return the attached enrollment form in the self-addressed, postage-paid envelope.


What not to feed

Junior

Baby’s first year is full of new discoveries, including new foods. Several food items, however, should be left off the menu until a later time. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, babies are fine with breast milk or formula for their first four months, and then a bit of cereal can be added to the diet. Around six months, vegetable baby food can be introduced

Taking calcium supplements for weight loss? According to a new study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, taking calcium supplements may not prevent weight gain. The two-year study was meant to test claims that taking calcium supplements might prevent weight gain in overweight or obese individuals. The study included 340 overweight and obese individuals in their mid-30s. Participants were either given 1500 mg per day of calcium carbonate or a placebo to take with meals. Researchers found that there were no statistically or clinically significant differences in change in body weight or body fat mass between the two groups. While researchers conclude that taking calcium supplements is not beneficial for weightloss purposes, the researchers do note that taking them may help prevent fractures. Source: Annals of Internal Medicine

slowly, giving each new experience a few days to watch for allergic reactions. Within a few months of starting solid foods, your baby’s daily diet should include a variety of foods each day that may include the following: • Breast milk and/or formula • Meats

15

• Cereal • Vegetables • Fruits • Fish There are some foods your baby should not eat within the first year. The following foods are considered no-nos by pediatricians: Grapes – while these seem like a perfect size for babies, they can be a choking hazard. Also avoid apple chunks or any hard vegetables like carrots. Honey – this natural sweetener can contain botulism spores, which doesn’t pose a threat to adults but can poison babies. Nuts and peanut butter – these can cause allergic reactions and the nuts can cause babies to choke. Hot dogs and sausages – these are high in salt and fat and can be a choking hazard. Food and drinks with artificial sweeteners Teas and coffees Food with added spices, seasoning and salt Shellfish – could cause allergic reactions. Potato or corn chips – these are very salty and can be a choking hazard. Blue & You Autumn 2009


Senior Moments with Dr. David formula at the far lower right).

A BMI above 30 is considered obese, between 25 and 30 is defined as overweight and less than 18.5 is considered too thin. Studies show that those who are David A. Lipschitz, M.D., Ph.D.

overweight, but not obese, live the longest. However, they don’t live the healthiest with advancing age, and they are far more prone to cancer, diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and osteoarthritis. Remember, what we eat determines how long we live and the diseases we may endure late in life. Even at the ideal weight or below, you might have dietary habits that predispose you to hypertension, heart dis-

16

ease, cancer or even Alzheimer’s disease. No matter what you weigh, you must develop a healthy relationship with food. Start with these basic steps:

Don’t diet; eat healthy! Your choices can lead to a longer and better life There’s no denying it. The statistics prove it. With each passing decade, Americans are gaining more and more weight. We define being overweight or obese by the body mass index (BMI) — calculated by your weight over your height squared. You can find your own BMI by visiting the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute at nhlbisupport.com/bmi and entering your height and weight, or you can calculate it yourself (see calculation Blue & You Autumn 2009

1. Change how you eat Recognize your motives for eating. Are you even hungry? How do you hope to feel after your meal? Developing a healthy relationship with food often means changing lifelong habits. Second, slow down. A key element of developing a healthy relationship with food is actually noticing that you eat! Stop rushing through meals. Stop eating “on the run.” Enjoy every bite of food that passes your lips. Pay attention to it! Chew slowly, and notice how it tastes and feels. Regulate portion size. In the past 20 years, portion sizes for the average American meal have grown exponentially. Clearly, portion size is important. It’s not about depriving yourself of food; it is about giving your body the amount of food it needs to feel satisfied. 2. Educate yourself about food After you change how you eat, you can begin the process of changing what you eat. Remember — diets


Editor’s Note: David A. Lipschitz, M.D, Ph.D., is nationally recognized as a leader in the field of geriatrics. Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield is honored to have him as a contributor to Blue & You magazine. fail and the best diet by far is the “don’t diet, diet.” This is easy to follow: • Eat the right fats. A fat-free diet is unhealthy and may promote weight gain. The right fats are monounsaturated olive or canola oils and omega-3 fatty acids obtained in fatty fish, a handful of nuts or avocados. In moderation, these foods are good for you. • Eat the right protein. The right proteins are lean meat, fatty fish and legumes. • Eat as many fruits and vegetables as you want. Whole fruits are better than juices, and eat sugar-rich fruits (oranges, grapes) in moderation. Eat as much healthy salad or as many vegetables (for example: broccoli, zucchini or squash) as you want. • Watch the carbohydrates. Too much sugar and starch leads to weight gain, diabetes and other illnesses. Avoid empty calories such as sodas or candy. With each meal, eat no more than two servings of starch (bread, pasta, beans, rice or potatoes). Portion sizes should be no more than two thirds the size of your fist. • Don’t overuse supplements. The best way to get nutrients is from what you eat. Too much vitamins C, D and E, for example, can cause more harm than good. You can get adequate calcium and vitamin D either from dairy products or from a supplement. Those above age 70 should take a multivitamin without iron and a 1000 microgram B12 tablet.

3. Maintain the same weight. It is better to be overweight (pleasantly plump) than lose weight on a diet and gain it back with a vengeance.

Find your stable weight and stick with it. Learn to be happy with what you weigh and the way you look. In the long term, this will improve self-esteem, confidence and promote health.

4. Exercise. Find something you enjoying doing (walking, running, aerobics, swimming) to keep you feeling younger and healthier.

CalculateYour Own

BMI

1. Convert your height into inches. (For

example, if you were 5 feet, 4 inches tall your height would be 64 inches. 2. Square your height (64 X 64) 3. Divide your weight by the squared height (for example, 140 divided by 4096 = .0342) 4. Multiply by 703 (703 x .0342) 5. BMI = 24 in this example. … or go to nhlbisupport.com/bmi and enter your height and weight.

Blue & You Autumn 2009

17


Where does your health-care dollar go? Take a look. Nearly 75 percent of the private insurance health-care dollar nationwide goes toward hospitals, physician services and prescription drugs. While about 14 percent goes to administrative costs nationally, those costs at Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield are slightly below the national average.

18 Great options, continued from Page 5 Attention Medi-Pak Advantage and Medi-Pak Rx plan members If you have a Medicare Advantage or Medicare Part D plan, during October, you will receive an Annual Notice of Change (ANOC), which will explain any changes to your current plan that will become effective in January. If you are satisfied with your current plan, you are not required to change anything. Every year, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) requires companies to inform members of these changes prior to AEP, so that those who would like to shop their coverage have

Blue & You Autumn 2009

the opportunity to do so. The Annual Notice of Change includes a dedicated toll-free telephone number to call on or after November 15 to learn about plan options.

If you are interested in learning more about Medicare plans Call your local Medi-Pak Choice certified agent or 1-800392-2583 to learn more, or visit our Web site, arkansasbluecross. com. We love to hear from you! Also, if you have a friend or family member who doesn’t have our Part D prescription drug plan, we hope you’ll recommend that they enroll in Medi-Pak Rx (PDP) during the AEP.


A sweet relationship: Yarnell’s Ice Cream Co. and Arkansas Blue Cross

T

he taste of cold Yarnell’s ice cream

on a hot summer’s day is an Arkansas family tradition that dates back to 1932, and for 26 of those years, Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield has been a part of keeping that tradition healthy.

Albert Yarnell, chairman emeritus of Yarnell’s, and his granddaughter, Christina, chief operating officer of the family business, taste the various brands of ice cream as a final check to ensure the quality of their product.

The Searcy-based ice cream company’s 240 employees keep the mid-South supplied with dairy-based treats and work hand-in-hand with other manufacturers across the nation. The factory has been

19

modernized throughout the years to facilitate production of premium ice creams, sherbets, frozen yogurts, low-fat and low-sugar treats as well as a variety of ice cream sandwiches, ice cream bars and other novelty items. “We compete in the marketplace with national brands,” said Floyd Washburn, vice president of Human Resources and Quality Assurance for Yarnell’s Ice Cream Co. Likewise, Yarnell’s maintains high standards when it comes to the health of its employees. Washburn said Yarnell’s was one of the first compa-

knows they can rely on the Arkansas Blue Cross Central

nies in the state to hold a company-wide health fair for

Regional Office to handle any issues that may come up.

its employees, and offer incentives to those who at-

“Yarnell’s and Arkansas Blue Cross have a true part-

tend. Additional incentives are given to employees who

nership,” Washburn said. So, whether your passion is

don’t smoke.

Homemade Vanilla or Woo Pig Chewy, the next time

After reviewing different health insurance companies,

you dip into a creamy scoop of Yarnell’s, you’ll know

Washburn said Arkansas Blue Cross consistently has

that the ice cream company you love trusts the health

risen to the top like cream. “The service level is excep-

insurance company that is good for you!

tional,” he said, adding that the human resources staff Blue & You Autumn 2009


Are you an unintentional drug You wouldn’t knowingly give your teenagers alcohol, cigarettes or illegal drugs, but if you are keeping

acetaminophen) for a non-medi-

Adolescents know where to look

cal use within the previous year.

for your medications, and with a lit-

• Roughly 15 percent of 12 grad-

tle online research, they might even

th

prescription medications in easy

ers reported using a prescription

know which of your medications

reach, you may be contributing to

drug (including amphetamines,

would give them the best high.

a problem that is reaching alarm-

sedatives/barbiturates, tranquil-

ing proportions across the United

izers, and opiates) for a non-med-

medications more secure:

States.

ical use within the previous year.

1. Know your medications. Are

During the past decade, there

20

dealer?

Here are a few tips to make your

Let me interpret that last bullet.

you taking any high-risk medica-

has been an increase in prescrip-

For every 20 friends your 12th grader

tions such as painkillers, anti-anx-

tion drug misuse by adolescents.

has, three of those friends (or pos-

iety pills, sleeping pills, attention-

The “Monitoring the Future Survey,”

sibly your child) may have misused

deficit pills, weight-loss pills or

an annual survey of about 50,000

a prescription drug within the last

steroids? If so, be careful where

high school students assessing their

year. That is a sobering statistic.

you leave them.

beliefs and extent of drug misuse,

So, how difficult is it for those

2. Know where your medications

has reported trends on substance

three friends to find their next sup-

are. Are your medications in a

misuse since 1975. The most recent

ply of prescription drugs? A recent

medicine cabinet, on a bathroom

survey reports that:

article published in the August edi-

counter, in a bedside drawer, in

• Roughly 14 percent of eighth

tion of the Journal of the American

a purse, in the refrigerator, in a

graders, 27 percent of 10th grad-

Academy of Child and Adolescent

kitchen cabinet or on a kitchen

ers, and 37 percent of 12 grad-

Psychiatry revealed that the most

counter? Are your high-risk medi-

ers reported illicit drug misuse

common source of free misused

cations locked up?

within the previous year.

prescription drugs is friends and

th

• Roughly 3 percent, 7 percent,

3. Know how much medication

family. The second most common

you have. Are you running out of

and 10 percent of eighth, 10 ,

source of prescription drugs, ex-

pills? Are you getting early refills?

and 12th graders, respectively,

cept painkillers, involved purchasing

Have you lost a bottle of pills? Is

reported using Vicodin (an opioid

the prescription medications from

this a recurring event? Recurrent

combination of hydrocodone and

friends and family.

events could signal a problem.

th

From the

Pharmacist

by Brandon Griffin, Pharm D., Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield

Blue & You Autumn 2009


Peterson, continued from Page 9

ney with pancreatic cancer began, Dan’s pancre4. Make sure that any family member or friend your adolescent sees on a regular basis knows this information. Let them know that you will be keeping a close eye on your household medications and that you would appreciate it if they would do the same. 5. Monitor your adolescent’s Internet use. There are many Web sites that provide information on what drugs to misuse, how to misuse them and how to find a source for them. 6. Visit the Web site: theantidrug. com. This excellent Web site for parents and other family members has numerous articles concerning misuse from psychological, medical and prevention perspectives. It also has testimonials from parents and family members, along with information regarding adolescent perspectives on drug misuse. While these steps may not prevent every case from happening, by adhering to them and educating yourself, the likelihood that your adolescent will grow up drug free will increase. We do our best to protect our infants and toddlers from the chemicals under our sinks, so let’s do our best to protect our adolescents from prescription drug misuse.

as shows no signs of cancer, but his body has suffered. Due to toxins building up in his body, Dan went into a coma for a week before doctors were able to devise a way to flush his system effectively. Today he still suffers from some equilibrium problems and can get a bit fuzzyheaded if his toxins get too high, but he is able to live a relatively normal life. The Petersons say they don’t know if it was Dr. Makhoul’s innovative approach to medicine, the excellent care from a Blue Distinction Center of Excellence, Dan’s positive attitude or divine intervention that helped him through one of the most aggressive cancers known, but they cherish each moment together and hope their story will inspire others to never give up and keep searching for treatments — even if it is the smallest of glimmers, there is still hope. For more information about pancreatic cancer and the latest research and treatments, the Petersons recommend the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, pancan.org.

Curves offers discounts to members There are 14 Curves locations in Arkansas offering discounts to our members — just by showing your insurance ID card. Participating Curves are: Benton, Bryant, Conway, Fayetteville, Jacksonville, Little Rock (four locations — Capitol Avenue, Shackleford, Kavanaugh and Chenonceau Boulevard), Maumelle, Morrilton, North Little Rock, Sherwood and Springdale. The discount is a $59 service fee (regularly $199) when purchasing a 12-month membership with a bank draft. The Curves program is dedicated to women’s fitness and allows participants to get an aerobic and strength training workout in just 30 minutes. Curves also offers a weight management program.

Go to Blue & You Online on our Arkansas Blue Cross and Health Advantage Web sites for more on Curves and wellness discounts. Blue & You Autumn 2009

21


What is a formulary? You may have heard someone from your health plan

What is the difference in cost between a generic and

refer to a “formulary.” It sounds more complicated than

a brand-name? Using the previous examples, you can

it really is ... a formulary is simply insurance jargon for

see the cost comparison in the chart below.

“prescription drug list.”

Usually, there are several prescription drug list co-

A prescription drug list is the list of drugs covered by

22

payment options (we call these options “Tiers” in the

your health plan. It usually includes both generic and

health insurance world). First Tier drugs have the low-

brand-name prescription drugs.

est copayments and Third Tier drugs have the highest

A generic drug is a drug that has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and is

copayment. • Lowest copayment/First Tier — The majority of

equal to its brand-name counterpart. For FDA approval,

the prescription drugs on the first level are the less

the generic drug must contain the same amounts of

expensive generic drugs.

the same active ingredients as the brand-name drug.

• Mid-range copayment/Second Tier — This is your

It usually is less expensive and is sold under a generic

mid-range copayment choice and includes covered

name for that drug (usually its chemical name).

brand-name drugs that have been selected because

There are generic versions of many brand-name

of their overall value. Consider this copayment op-

drugs that can save you money. (For example, the anti-

tion if you and your doctor decide that no First Tier

depressant Zoloft has a generic sold under the name

medication is right for you.

sertraline, and the cholesterol-lowering drug Zocor

• Highest copayment/Third Tier — Usually the most

has a generic called simvastatin.) Choosing lower-cost

expensive prescription drugs and the highest copay-

generic drugs is like using store-brand products at your

ment. It includes many brand-name medications.

grocery store — you can get the same product at a low-

Be sure to ask your doctor and/or pharmacist for

er price. In some cases, the generic version is made by

generic prescription drugs. It will save you out-of-pocket

the same company that makes the brand-name version.

expenses immediately and could keep your health plan

The generic version just comes in a different bottle.

costs down in the long run.

Brand name

Cost per pill

Generic

Cost per pill

Cost difference

Zoloft

$3.43

sertraline

$0.92

$2.51 per pill

Zocor

$4.98

simvastatin

$0.86

$4.12 per pill

Blue & You Autumn 2009


The

Doctor’s

Corner be healthy — it means eat a balanced diet, watch your calories and exercise regularly.

Want to lose weight? Count calories! Here’s the bottom line — the way you lose weight is to burn more calories than you consume. This is what determines weight loss, not the amount of carbs or fat in your diet. So, eat healthy foods and exercise. Although there are a million books out there advocating one diet approach or another, the New England Journal of Medicine recently published research that shows that for weight loss, the type of diet doesn’t really matter. People lost similar amounts of weight if they consumed similar amounts of calories regardless of the percentages of protein, fat and carbohydrates in their diet. Now, that doesn’t mean eat 1,500 calories worth of Twinkies each day and you’ll

Sleep is good for you Mom always told us that we should get plenty of rest to keep from getting sick. Turns out she was right. Researchers recently have discovered that people who get less than seven hours of sleep each night are more likely to develop a cold after exposure to a cold virus when compared to people who get more than seven hours of sleep. Additionally, research found that less than seven hours of sleep is associated with heart disease, obesity and premature death. These studies show that seven to eight hours of sleep per night is ideal for adults. Second-hand smoke: risky for seniors Older non-smokers exposed to tobacco smoke in the home are as much as 44 percent more likely to suffer from dementia (a decline in memory, reasoning and thinking), according to a recent study. It’s long been known that people who smoke are at an increased risk for dementia.

by Ray Bredfeldt, M.D., Regional Medical Director Northwest Region, Fayetteville

With cancer — it matters what we eat Research clearly shows a link between obesity and an increased risk for developing cancer. Now, a new study suggests that what we eat may determine how fast a cancer spreads to other parts of the body. The study found that a diet high in fat might cause cancer cells to spread faster throughout the body than a diet low in fat.

Stomach drug may interfere with heart drug Plavix, a prescription medication frequently prescribed for patients with heart disease or for prevention of stroke, may be less beneficial if a patient also is taking a medication for stomach ailments. The type of drug that may interfere with heart medication is called a proton pump inhibitor (PPI). Common PPIs are Achipex, Nexium, Prilosec, Protonix and Omeprazole. If you take one of these drugs plus Plavix, contact your doctor to see if there is an alternative medication you can take.

Blue & You Autumn 2009

23


Three benefits added to group DentalBlue plans New standard dental benefits will be added to group DentalBlue dental insurance plans for new and renewing small and large groups effective Oct. 1, 2009. Members with group dental plans through Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield should have received a let-

rollover maximum.

ter and Benefit Certificate in September with complete

Implants – Implants will be a major benefit in all group

details about the changes, but the following is a general

dental insurance plans. A dental implant is an artificial

overview of the new benefits:

tooth root that a dentist places into the jaw to hold a re-

Maximum rollover benefit – allows members to roll over a portion of their unused maximum to the next calendar year. A member is eligible for the rollover benefit if:

24

• The member has not reached the accumulated

• They have at least one paid dental claim in the current calendar year. • A member’s total paid claims for the year did not exceed the threshold amount. • The member is enrolled in the group dental plan on the last day of the calendar year.

placement tooth or bridge. Dental implants are an ideal option for people in good general oral health who have lost a tooth, or teeth, due to periodontal disease, an injury or some other reason. Implants will be covered at 50 percent, up to the maximum benefit. Family deductible (three times the individual deductible) – if a member has family coverage, once three family members have met the deductible, no further deductible will be required for the balance of the calendar year, regardless of whom in the family incurs a claim.

Mental Health Parity: What it mean changes to their benefits upon the renewal of their employer’s group health plan as a result of the act. If you receive a new ID card with a mental health assistance telephone number, your plan will include changes under Mental Health Parity. Members with individual health plans for those under The new Mental Health Parity Act, which takes effect later this year, requires that mental health benefits be equal to physical health benefits. Members under some employer group health plans with Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield and Health Advantage, and a number of plans administered by BlueAdvantage Administrators of Arkansas will see Blue & You Autumn 2009

age 65 and those over age 65 will not see changes to their existing plans. However, beginning October 15, Comprehensive Blue PPO (an individual plan for those under 65) will offer a mental health rider for an additional fee to new policies only. This rider must go through underwriting to be approved. The act: • Removes limits on the number of days for inpatient


Women’s Health and Cancer Rights Act The Women’s Health and Cancer Rights Act of 1998 introduced changes in insurance coverage for mastectomy. In accordance with the law, all group and individual health plans that provide medical and surgical benefits for mastectomy will cover reconstructive breast surgery, including: • Reconstructive surgery on the breast on which the mastectomy was performed. • Reconstructive surgery on the unaffected breast needed to “produce a symmetrical appearance.” • Prostheses and treatment of complications of any stage of a mastectomy, including lymphedema (post-

These provisions apply to all policies issued by Arkan-

surgical fluid buildup).

sas Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Health Advantage and

The provisions of the Women’s Health and Cancer

BlueAdvantage Administrators of Arkansas and are sub-

Rights Act of 1998 apply to all group health insurance

ject to the applicable copayments, coinsurance, benefit

coverage effective on the first day of the plan year

limitations, exclusions and benefit maximums.

(which in most cases is the anniversary date of the

If you have questions about your insurance coverage,

group contract) after Oct. 21, 1998. The law went into

contact your group benefits administrator or a customer

effect on all individual insurance policies issued, re-

service representative at your local Arkansas Blue

newed or in effect on or after Oct. 21, 1998.

Cross office.

ns for you hospital stays and outpatient visits per calendar year. • Requires that copayments, coinsurance must be

Outpatient: • Prior authorization of outpatient counseling services.

the same as for physical health benefits, and out-of-

Please call the telephone number for mental health

network mental health benefits must be provided if

services on your ID card.

provided for physical health. The following benefits will be required for members whose health plans were revised in response to the act: Inpatient: • Prior authorization of inpatient admissions for mental health and substance abuse. Please call the telephone number for mental health services on your ID card. • Concurrent stay review and discharge planning.

• 24/7 access to mental health professionals who will assist in locating and referring you to professional resources. To find out if your health plan includes modifications for the Mental Health Parity Act, you can contact your human resources administrator, check our Web sites and review your benefits information on My Blueprint, or call the customer service number on your health plan ID card. We love to hear from you!

Blue & You Autumn 2009

25


Blue & You Fitness Challengers win with better health Groups from 41 states, including almost 12,000 participants, scored better health through the 2009 Blue &

commitment to spend some time exercising and reap the rewards of better fitness. “The 11,791 participants logged 262,681.5 hours of

You Fitness Challenge. For six years, the Blue & You Fitness Challenge (formerly the Arkansas Fitness Challenge) has helped

exercise during the Challenge, up from 221,465.5 hours of exercise in 2008,” Cooper said. “The Challenge continues

participants improve their

26

fitness levels. The annual

to yield great results,” said

exercise contest, held March

John Selig, director of DHS.

1 through May 31, encourages

“Our online survey was com-

individuals toward the public

pleted by 2,628 contest par-

health recommendation of 30

ticipants. Almost 84 percent

minutes of physical activity

of respondents said they

each day, most days of the week. The contest promotes

reached their personal goals through the Challenge.”

wellness in the community and at the worksite by orga-

Respondents also indicated they had lowered their

nizing groups that compete against like-size groups.

blood pressure (73 respondents), cholesterol levels (41

Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield, the Arkansas

respondents), weight (327 respondents), and blood

Department of Health (ADH) and the Arkansas Depart-

sugar (26 respondents). Ninety-six percent said they

ment of Human Services (DHS) serve as Challenge

would participate in future programs like the Blue & You

hosts each year. This year, representatives from other

Fitness Challenge.

companies, organizations and state agencies statewide

Charles McGrew, ADH deputy director and chief op-

— and outside of Arkansas — joined in the competi-

erating officer, said, “The costs in treating diseases that

tion and were recognized at the awards ceremonies (a

result from preventable diseases is skyrocketing. And

complete list of participants can be found at arkansas-

yet, 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise five or

bluecross.com) to “Invest in Fitness.”

more days a week can reduce so many of these risks.

“Exercise requires only a small investment of time and movement, and promises a great rate of return on your health,” said Richard Cooper, vice president of Human Resources for Arkansas Blue Cross and team

Programs like the Blue & You Fitness Challenge make positive steps toward turning the trend.” Now is the time to start planning for the 2010 Challenge.

champion for the Challenge. “A total of 167 groups representing large and small companies, banks, schools and universities, physician offices, churches, hospitals and state agencies made a

Blue & You Autumn 2009

Go to Blue & You Online on our Arkansas Blue Cross and Health Advantage Web sites for a list of the 2009 Blue & You Fitness Challenge winners.


We love to hear from you!

Hagemeier, continued from Page 13

shouted from the sidelines, crossing the finish line and

May we help? For customer service, please call:

having my 10-year-old grand-

Little Rock Number (501)

daughter run up to me and say,

Medi-Pak members

378-3062 1-800-338-2312

‘You did it, Grammy!’ made

Medi-Pak Advantage or Medi-Pak Rx

race day one to be remembered.”

Arkansas Blue Cross members

To enroll in SilverSneakers, Medi-Pak and Medi-Pak Advantage members can go to a participating fitness center near them and show their ID card. Fitness center staff will assist with enrollment and provide tours of the locations. Because new fitness centers are being added to the program regularly, members can go online to silversneakers.com to find all participating locations in Arkansas.

SilverSneakers Speaker Events Experts on aging are coming to a SilverSneakers location near you in October for fun talks on a variety of topics. Topics for the speaker events include: Nutrition for a Healthy Heart, What is Normal Aging and Breast Cancer Education and Awareness. Date October 1 October 6 October 8 October 9 October 13 October 14 October 15 October 19 October 21 October 22 October 23 October 30

City Jacksonville Arkadelphia Little Rock Little Rock Rogers Bella Vista, Russellville El Dorado, Fayetteville, Morrilton Nashville Clarksville Conway, Searcy Lonoke Cabot, Magnolia

1-866-390-3369

378-2010 1-800-238-8379

Pharmacy questions

1-800-863-5561

Specialty Rx Pharmacy questions

1-866-295-2779

Health Advantage members

378-2363 1-800-843-1329

Pharmacy questions BlueAdvantage members Pharmacy questions

1-800-863-5567

378-3600 1-888-872-2531

1-888-293-3748

State and Public School members 378-2364 1-800-482-8416 Federal Employee members

378-2531 1-800-482-6655

Looking for health or dental insurance? We can help! For individuals, families and those age 65 or older

378-2937 1-800-392-2583

For employer groups 378-3070 1-800-421-1112 (Arkansas Blue Cross Group Services, which includes Health Advantage and BlueAdvantage Administrators of Arkansas) Prefer to speak with someone close to home? Regional Office telephone numbers: Pine Bluff/Southeast Region 1800 West 73rd St. Jonesboro/Northeast Region 707 East Matthews Ave. Hot Springs/South Central Region 100 Greenwood Ave., Suite C Texarkana/Southwest Region 1710 Arkansas Boulevard Fayetteville/Northwest Region 516 East Milsap Rd., Suite 103 Fort Smith/West Central Region 3501 Old Greenwood Rd., Suite 5 Little Rock/Central Region 320 West Capitol Ave., Suite 900

Web sites:

Go to Blue & You Online on our Arkansas Blue Cross and Health Advantage Web sites for more on SilverSneakers speaker events.

Toll-free Number

1-800-236-0369 1-800-299-4124 1-800-588-5733 1-800-470-9621 1-800-817-7726 1-866-254-9117 1-800-421-1112

arkansasbluecross.com healthadvantage-hmo.com blueadvantagearkansas.com blueandyoufoundationarkansas.org blueannewe-ark.com

Blue & You Autumn 2009

27


At Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield, we are always looking for new ways to be "Good for You." Here are some of our latest accomplishments.

28

Is your child in college out of state? We have so much information that is good for you that

Well, we’re going to give you one less thing to worry

we have to share some of it online! Blue & You Online

about — your college student’s health-care benefits

contains longer versions of our featured stories, links

travel with him or her. With BlueCard®, he or she

for more information on hot topics, and fun photos

doesn’t have to worry about filing complicated claims

we couldn’t squeeze into our print version. Go to our

forms or dealing with billing hassles. He or she simply

Arkansas Blue Cross and Health Advantage Web sites

needs to present their Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue

(arkansasbluecross.com and healthadvantage-hmo.

Shield ID card before receiving care from a participat-

com) to find the Blue & You Online link and enjoy even

ing provider. He or she can call 1-800-810-BLUE (2583)

more information!

or visit arkansasbluecross.com (under “Need a Provider?” select the “Blue-

Easy online access to information

Card® Doctor and Hospital Finder”)

On the home page of any of our Web sites (see com-

to find a participating provider.

plete list on Page 27), you can register for an online

In an emergency situation, he

account that allows you to order an ID card, check the

or she can go to the near-

status of a claim for you or your dependent, find out

est hospital’s emergency

more information about your coverage and your ben-

room. He or she can use any

efits, manage your Personal Health Record, access

BlueCard provider in the state

health information and much more. It’s an easy way to

where they are living just as

get your personalized information. Go online and regis-

they would if they were home

ter today for My Blueprint!

with you.

Blue & You Autumn 2009


2009 - Autumn