BCBSOK Covers H1N1 Vaccine for Members
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma recently announced that it will waive copays and deductibles for administration of the H1N1 (swine) flu vaccine.
“The H1N1 virus is expected to be a serious threat this flu season and we want to help our members protect themselves as best they can,” said Paul Handel, M.D., chief medical officer for Health Care Service Corporation – the company that operates Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma.
The federal government is providing the H1N1 vaccine for free to health care providers, but those providers may charge fees for its administration. As a result, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma will pay the administration fee at no cost to its fully-insured group health plan members and individual health plan members under the age of 65. Members with Medicare supplement plans already have their vaccinations covered through their Medicare benefits. Costs also will be covered for members of self-funded employer health plans, except for any employer that elects not to provide the special coverage.
“This effort supports the CDC’s recommendations and stresses the importance of receiving vaccination for individuals who are at higher risk of medical complications from H1N1,” Handel said.
Because of a limited supply of the vaccine, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is recommending the vaccine for people in high risk groups. Members who fit into one of these groups should contact their doctor:
- Pregnant women
- People who live with or care for children younger than 6 months of age
- Health care and emergency medical services personnel
- Persons between the ages of 6 months through 24 years
- People ages 25 through 64 years who have chronic health disorders or compromised immune systems
In order to benefit from this special coverage, a member must receive the vaccination from a provider in the Blue Cross and Blue Shield network. While Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma also strongly encourages its members to receive seasonal flu shots, this offer to cover the administration costs only relates to the H1N1 flu vaccine. Coverage for other vaccines will be in accordance with the individual’s health plan.
Throughout its 69-year history, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma has been committed to meeting the health care financing needs of Oklahomans. As the state’s oldest and largest customer-owned health insurer, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma provides health care benefit plans for more than 600,000 Oklahomans. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma is a division of Health Care Service Corporation, which also operates Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans in Illinois, New Mexico and Texas. Health Care Service Corporation is a mutual legal reserve company and an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.
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