Blue & You - Summer 2013

Get Ready for Changes Under the Health Care Law; Live Fearless; Arkansas Blue Cross tops national customer survey; Financial Information Privacy Notice

Get Ready for Changes Under the Health Care Law;
Live Fearless;
Arkansas Blue Cross tops national customer survey;
Financial Information Privacy Notice


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

Representatives of Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield are

ready to help you. Call or come by one of our locations.







Arkansas Blue Cross tops

national customer survey



Financial Information

Privacy Notice





employee Michael

Stewart greets

a customer at

the Shackleford



3 Out of the Blue





The health care law and you

The Health Insurance Marketplace –

how it might help you

Meetings for small businesses

Arkansas’ Health Care Independence

Program: Do you qualify?





Customers rank Arkansas Blue Cross

as a top Blue Plan in the nation

Over-the-counter medicines

Your role in health care

Will Arkansas have enough doctors?

Member discounts

Grants available for health programs


Live Fearless – our new advertising



New ArkansasBlue health insurance

store opens in Pine Bluff


Fast food and asthma

Binge drinking studies

Lose weight the Healthy Weigh!


The “freedom” of short-term coverage

Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield –

Financial Information Privacy Notice



Is memory loss from aging

or lack of sleep? Maybe both.

Blue News



Customer Service telephone numbers

Health care law timeline



Blue & You 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.

Health information from sources outside of Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue

Shield do not necessarily represent the official position of the company.

EDITOR: Jennifer Sullivan – bnyou-ed@arkbluecross.com • DESIGNER: Ryan Kravitz • PHOTOGRAPHER: Chip Bayer

CONTRIBUTORS: Will Ballard, Chip Bayer, Gio Bruno, Matthew Creasman, Damona Fisher, Kristy Fleming, Lauren

Green,Trey Hankins, Heather Iacobacci-Miller, Genny Kirchner, Kathy Luzietti, Wendy McCullar, Mark Morehead,

Alex Roberts, Kelly Whitehorn and Stephen Wilson



on the


Sara Harris, ArkansasBlue team leader,

consults with a customer about the

upcoming health care law changes.


Upcoming changes under the health care law

It has been a busy year for the health care

industry, and it is only halfway through. We

have seen remarkable progress made toward

implementing provisions of the new health care

law as they become effective, but I know many

of you still have concerns about the changes yet

to be implemented. You can rest assured that our

team at Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield has

been working to determine how to best address

these challenges.

Arkansas Medicaid expansion

Arkansas historically has had one of the most

restrictive Medicaid programs in the country,

and I applaud the bipartisan efforts of the

Arkansas Legislature and Gov. Mike Beebe

to create the Arkansas Medicaid private

option that was signed into law in April.

Arkansas is the first state in the nation to

create a system allowing qualified low-income

Arkansans to purchase subsidized private

insurance through the state’s Health Insurance

Marketplace, but other states are watching with

interest. For the first three years, this program

will be funded entirely with federal money.

Expanding Medicaid to provide health care

coverage to low income Arkansans is the right

thing to do. It not only benefits people who are

struggling financially, it benefits their families,

the business owners who hire these workers,

our health care providers and the state’s

economy. Ultimately, we will see the benefits

of a healthier population.

Controlling health care costs

Many of you may have heard news reports

concerning increases in premium costs as a

result of new regulations under the health care

law. There are provisions of the law that will

increase costs for some, but there will be both

winners and losers under the new regulations.


a message from our President and CEO,


Why are costs increasing for some? The law

requires the insurance industry to cover more

services, offer some services at no cost to the

member, and calculate premiums according

to new guidelines. There also are a number of

new taxes and fees included within the law.

Certainly, most Americans understand that when

you provide free or reduced-cost insurance to

millions of people and cover more services,

there will be a cost associated with it.

In this issue of Blue & You, we explain some of

the new provisions within the health care law

and what we believe you can expect regarding

your coverage. Some of you will find that your

coverage will be less expensive in the future;

for others, it will be more costly. Regardless of

the impact, Arkansas Blue Cross has spent the

past two years working to find solutions that

will provide you and your family affordable

insurance options.

If you purchase health care coverage for

you and your family on your own, we will be

reaching out to you this summer to request

a health insurance review. During a phone

call or a visit we can cover any changes the

law will require and make you aware of the

most affordable choices available to you.

It is important that you are informed about

your options and you that maintain your

“grandfathered” status until you have the

information needed to aid in the decision

process. Our customer support teams are

CHANGES continued on page 23





“Will it impact my coverage?”

Whether your health insurance coverage will

change as a result of new health care rules that

go into effect January 1, 2014, depends on when

you bought your health insurance and whether

you bought it at work or on your own.

Medicare Plans

If you are on a Medicare Supplement plan,

regardless of when it was purchased, you won’t

see any changes to your plan coverage in 2014

as a result of the health care law. If you have a

Medicare Advantage or Medicare Prescription

Drug Plan, the process for notifying you about

2014 changes at the end of September 2013

remains unchanged as a result of the law.

Plans purchased before March 2010

If your health plan was in place before the law

was passed in March 2010, whether purchased

through your employer or on your own, you

may have what is known as a “grandfathered”

plan. A number of changes already have

been made to these policies to meet new

legal requirements. Changes include allowing

children to stay on a parent’s health plan until

their 26th birthday and removing lifetime dollar

limits on some medical services. These plans

will not see any big changes in 2014. If you are

unsure whether your plan is grandfathered, call

the customer service number on your ID card or

contact your human resources administrator.

Employer Plans (purchased after March 2010)

If you have coverage through a company with

100 or more employees, many changes required

by the health care law already have been applied

to your health plan. These required changes

included removing any annual or lifetime dollar

limits on certain medical services and adding

preventive services if your plan did not include

them. A major change that will be implemented

relates to your total out-of-pocket cost. When

this rule is put in place for your health plan, all

deductibles, coinsurance and copayments will

count toward your out-of-pocket maximum.


If your employer employs 51 to 100

employees, similar changes will become

effective in 2016.

Employers with 50 or fewer employees are

likely to see a number of changes to their

coverage if the plan is not a grandfathered plan.

The law requires that these health plans include

a core set of benefits (essential health benefits)

and cover preventive services at 100 percent

with no member out-of-pocket costs. Among

the preventive services provided with no cost

sharing are colonoscopies and contraceptives.

Also in 2014, your health plan will cover medical

conditions that previously required a waiting

period. Employers with two to 50 employees will

be invited to attend meetings with Arkansas Blue

Cross to discuss in detail how the health care

law is impacting our employer customers (see

article on page 9). After the meeting, employers

will be contacted by their agent or an Arkansas

Blue Cross representative, to determine the

most affordable option for their organization.

Those who bought coverage on their own

after March 2010

If you bought an individual or family health

plan (not a Medicare plan) on your own and it

was purchased after March 2010, you can keep

the policy you currently have until December 30,

2014, with no changes.

Some of our members will find the new health

plans to be more desirable. You may receive a

new kind of tax credit that lowers their monthly

health plan costs. If that is the case, your agent

or an Arkansas Blue Cross representative will

make you aware of a more affordable option.

New health care plans will cover preventive

health benefits at 100 percent, will have no

waiting periods for medical conditions and you

will have guaranteed approval for health care

coverage. Also, all deductibles, copayments

and coinsurance will go toward your out-ofpocket


We are here to help

This summer we are asking our members

with individual or family health plans (not

Medicare plans) to call us or their agent or

come in and let us check to see if a lower cost

plan will be available under the new law. Our

representatives are trained and ready to talk


“Will it impact what I pay?”

For many Americans who are not on

Medicare, the full implementation of the new

health care law in 2014 may mean a change in

what they pay monthly (called a premium). And

there will be winners and losers.

The extent to which the new rules will affect

your health plan depends in part on when your

coverage was purchased, and whether you

get coverage through an employer or if you

purchase coverage on your own for yourself

and/or your family. The new changes will have

the greatest impact on those who work for

companies with 50 or fewer employees and

those who buy coverage for themselves and

their families on their own or through an agent.

The amount you pay monthly (your premium)

may increase or decrease as a result of four

primary provisions contained in the new law.

They are:

• New taxes and fees

• New requirements regarding what

medical services must be covered

by insurance policies

• New rules concerning how insurance

companies must calculate members’

monthly costs

• The availability of tax credits or subsidies to

help pay for health insurance for individuals

and families who qualify

with you. You can call us at 1-800-310-3778 or

you can visit with us in person at one of our

offices around the state. Arkansas Blue Cross

has been providing Arkansans quality health

plans at affordable prices for 65 years, and

we look forward to working with you.

New Taxes and Fees

New taxes and fees included in the law will

have an impact on premiums. The money

collected from these fees will be used to

help pay for advance premium tax credits

(commonly called subsidies) which will be

available to Americans in low-to-middle

income ranges to help pay for health insurance.

These taxes and fees also will be used to fund

research into effective medical practices, to

help cover the cost of the Health Insurance

Marketplaces that will be established in every

state and to stabilize the insurance market in

the early reform years. Industry experts project

that the fee collected to help fund the tax credit

alone will add 2-3 percent to the cost of health

insurance. Collectively, the fees could add as

much as 3-5 percent to individual and employer

health plan premiums.

New Coverage Requirements

Health plans sold to individuals and employers

with 50 or fewer employees must cover a core

set of medical services called “essential health

benefits.” Many of these essential health

benefits were covered by Arkansas Blue Cross

health plans already, such as hospitalization and

emergency care. Others were offered, but the

buyer in some cases had the choice of whether

to purchase the coverage, such as maternity

and preventive care. Beginning in 2014, these

coverage requirements no longer will be

optional. In addition, more preventive services

have been added and the health plan must pay

100 percent of the cost of these services.

LAW continued on page 6



LAW continued from page 5

Because more services will be covered and the

health plan will pay more of the cost, premiums

will go up to cover the cost of these new health

plan benefits.

New rules around determining your monthly costs

Historically, insurance companies have

considered a number of factors when

calculating premiums for employers or

individuals purchasing coverage. These factors

include the health condition of the individual

or the employees in an employer’s group plan.

Those employers or individuals who have more

health conditions are likely to use more medical

services and are, therefore, charged a higher

rate. Beginning in 2014, health insurers will

not be allowed to consider health conditions in

developing premiums. As a result, those who

are less healthy may find their costs are less

and those who are healthier will pay more in

monthly premiums.

Age also has been an important consideration

in establishing premiums. Older people generally

use more medical services and, therefore, pay

more, while younger people who are not as

likely to need expensive medical care pay less.

Although age still will play a role in setting rates,

there will not be as a great a range between the

rate charged to a 24-year-old and the rate charged

to a 60-year-old. Younger people can expect to

pay higher rates when these rules are applied in

2014, and older people will pay less.

These are two of a number of new rules

regarding setting premiums that will begin

in 2014 and will cause changes in how much

people pay for coverage.

Advance premium tax credits

Beginning in January 2014, many low- and

middle-income Americans who do not have the

opportunity to enroll in an employer’s health

plan will be eligible to receive a new kind of

tax credit that lowers monthly premiums. The

amount of tax credit a household receives is

based on their household income and family

size. The lower the household income, the

higher the tax credit.

If you think your household may be eligible

for an advance premium tax credit, please

call Arkansas Blue Cross. We will help you

determine if you meet the requirements and

provide you with an estimate of what your

premium might be after the tax credit is applied.

Arkansas Blue Cross has the information you need

The health care law is complex and difficult to

understand. Some of our members will benefit

and others will not. You can count on Arkansas

Blue Cross to provide the accurate and reliable

guidance you need to understand how the

health care law affects you and those you love.

Please don’t make any changes to your health

insurance coverage without talking to us first.

If your current plan was issued before the law

passed, keeping it may be your best option.

And if you drop it, you can’t get it back. If you

buy coverage on your own, call your agent or

Arkansas Blue Cross or come by one of our

locations for a health insurance review. We are

ready to help you evaluate your options and

select a plan that provides the coverage you want

at the lowest cost. Call 1-800-310-3778 today.

Could you receive help with

your health care costs?

We can help you find out in just a few

seconds. Literally.

If you are wondering if you will get a break on

the monthly cost of your health insurance plan

in 2014, we can give you a quick answer.

Just visit our website, arkansasbluecross.com,

and select “Will I qualify for a tax credit?,” and

you can get an answer by answering two simple

questions: household income and household

size. That’s it.

This “estimator” is for individuals or families

who purchase their health insurance on their

own (in other words, you do not have coverage

through your employer). Glad we can help!


the HEALTH INSURANCE Marketplace


Qualifying for a tax credit

Federal Poverty Level – 2013


in family 100% 133% 200% 300% 400%









Helping some Americans pay for health care

If you are one of millions of Americans under

age 65 who will purchase a health plan this

fall through the Health Insurance Marketplace

(exchange), you may be eligible for a $0

premium plan or a new kind of tax credit that

lowers your monthly premiums.

The Health Insurance Marketplace is a website

designed to determine if you are eligible for

financial help to cover your health insurance

costs. It also will help you and your family shop

for and purchase health insurance. Americans

may also contact the Health Insurance

Marketplace by telephone.

A Health Insurance Marketplace is being set

up in each state, either by the state itself, by the

federal government, or in Arkansas’ case, in

partnership with the federal government. Each

marketplace will be responsible for:

• Creating and maintaining a consumer

shopping website.

• Providing access to all information necessary

to determine if you are eligible for help

paying for your premium or if you qualify for

free coverage.

• Helping consumers shop for and purchase

health plans.

• Making sure all health plans offered on the

marketplace meet all the new regulations.

The Health Insurance Marketplace will be

open October 1 for people to purchase

coverage that begins January 1.









































NOTE: Federal minimum wage employee working 50 weeks per

year, 40 hours per week would earn $14,500.

Why buy on the marketplace?

Many Americans will be eligible to receive

advance premium tax credits (subsidies) if they

purchase a health plan through the marketplace.

An advance premium tax credit is a new tax credit

that you can use to lower your monthly premium

costs beginning January 1, 2014. (see chart below

to see if you might qualify.)

The amount of the advance premium tax credit

that each household will receive is calculated by

using their income, the size of their family and

other factors. This new tax credit helps lower- and

middle-income families. Some households, based

on their income, will receive additional financial

assistance when they receive medical care.

Essential health benefits

Every health plan sold to small employer

groups and individuals on the Health Insurance

Marketplace must include a core set of benefits

established by the law. Many of these services

are covered today by health plans sold by

Arkansas Blue Cross. Others, such as preventive

care and mental health services, are available to

purchase as options, but going forward, those

will be required.

The essential health benefits are included in

the following 10 categories:

1. Ambulatory patient services

2. Emergency services

3. Hospitalization

4. Maternity and newborn care

5. Mental health and substance

use disorder services, including

behavioral health treatment

6. Prescription drugs

7. Rehabilitative and habilitative

services and devices

8. Laboratory services

9. Preventive and wellness services

and chronic disease management

10. Pediatric services, including oral

and vision care

LAW continued on page 8



LAW continued from page 7

In addition, these essential health benefits

must be covered with no annual or lifetime

dollar limits. Preventive services, including

women’s preventive care and birth control must

be paid 100 percent by the health plan.

Metallic plans

People often found that it was difficult to

compare what their total cost would be from

one plan to the next. It was easy to compare

the monthly payments (premiums) but it was

difficult to compare how much you would pay

out of pocket for medical services. In an effort to

make it easier for people to determine what they

will pay for medical services, the health care

law standardized the health plans on and off the

Health Insurance Marketplace. Because these

health plans are called Bronze, Silver, Gold and

Platinum, they are referred to as Metallic Plans.

For instance, the lowest level of coverage,

called the Bronze plan, is designed to cover

60 percent of your total health care costs.

A person purchasing a Bronze plan will pay

more when they receive health care but less

month to month (their premium). A person

purchasing a Platinum plan will pay more

month to month, but pay less at the doctor’s

office. (See chart below.)

Because the law requires that insurance

companies offer plans that only fit these levels,

they are no longer allowed to offer plans that

don’t fit the requirements. For instance, you

won’t be able to purchase a plan to cover 75

percent of your medical costs. As a result of

this regulation, health insurance companies

will have to reduce the options available to

small employers and individuals.

Arkansas Blue Cross can estimate any

advance premium tax credits you may be

eligible to receive and can help you select

a health plan. You can buy an Arkansas Blue

Cross plan on and off the marketplace. Call

us at 1-800-310-3778 or come in for a health

insurance review.






60% * 70% * 80% * 90% *


*NOTE: Percentage shows how much of your total health care costs this plan pays.

? Have a question? Ask us!

The health care law is complex and confusing,

but Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield is here

to help. If you have questions regarding anything

to do with the health care law, we want to hear

from you in an email, post or tweet.

Our email address designated for the health

care law questions is HCRinfo@arkbluecross.com.

Send us an email and we will respond directly


to you. We usually can get an answer back

to you in a day or two. To find our corporate

Facebook page, just search for Arkansas Blue

Cross and Blue Shield. Our Twitter account

is arkbluecross.

If you are under 65 and have an individual or

family health plan you purchased on your own

or with the help of an agent, you can call your

agent or call us for a health insurance review at


We love to hear from you!





7 8




The Arkansas Health Care

Independence Program is a

new program for low income

Arkansans that will allow them

to shop for and enroll in Arkansas

Blue Cross and Blue Shield and

other health care plans on the

Health Insurance Marketplace.

These health plans will be

available at no cost to them.

People who choose this

program can use any of the

doctors or hospitals that other







Employers with two to 50 employees are invited to attend meetings with

Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield representatives to discuss in detail

how the health care law is impacting our employer customers.

Arkansas Blue Cross will hold meetings in 10 locations throughout

the state during August and September. After the meetings,

employers will be contacted by their agent or an Arkansas Blue Cross

representative. We hope to see you at one of the following locations:


Thursday, August 8

Hot Springs Convention Center


Tuesday, August 13

Hilton Garden Inn


Wednesday, August 21

Embassy Suites

Arkansas Blue Cross members

choose and will either pay

nothing or very little when

they receive medical care.

Call us at 1-800-310-3778

to find out if you qualify.

Beginning in October, we

can help you enroll.


Tuesday, August 27

Holiday Inn City Center


Wednesday, August 28

Embassy Suites


Thursday, August 29

ASU – Vada Sheid Development Center

(The Sheid)


Wednesday, September 4

Texarkana Country Club


Wednesday, September 11

El Dorado Conference Center


Thursday, September 12

Pine Bluff Convention Center

The Arkansas Health Care Independence Program: Do you qualify?

On April 23, Arkansas Gov. Mike

Beebe signed historic legislation

approving a Medicaid expansion

program in Arkansas, creating

the Arkansas Health Care

Independence Program.




Meetings will be held at 1:30-3 p.m. in all locations.






When was the last time you felt … FREE?

Free of worry? Free of fear?

Free of uncertainty?

It’s time to uncover that feeling again.

Because you are protected …

with the compassion of a CROSS

that’s been trusted for 65 YEARS;

the security of a SHIELD accepted

by more than 90 PERCENT

of doctors and specialists.

And the power of a card that

opens doors in IN ALL 50 STATES.

Giving you the freedom to love.

To dream. To dare. To believe. To laugh.

To dance like no one is watching.

Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield.


You’ve likely seen and heard our new

messages on television and radio for

several weeks now. What is it all about?

Health care financing was invented

during the Great Depression, and with

a new health care revolution on the

horizon, we know you may have concerns.

Arkansans have come to rely on Arkansas

Blue Cross and Blue Shield for more than

six decades — and you still can.

with the card that opens doors in 50 states

An independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

We’ll be here to guide you through this

rapidly evolving health care landscape.

Giving you strength to be fearless, even

in the face of change. Contact us about

affordable health coverage to protect you

and your family. So you can Live Fearless.


An independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

An independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.



Fast Food and Asthma

We all know fast food isn’t exactly ideal for

us. But, if your child has asthma, you may have

even more of a reason to cut out the fast food.

A recent study published in Thorax (a respiratory

medical journal, suggests that consuming fast

food more than three times a week can lead to an

increase in the severity of their asthma.

While the findings do not show that fast food is the

cause of asthma, they do suggest that children with

asthma who eat fast food often have more severe

asthma than children who do not eat fast food often.

Why? It appears that it may be due to the high

levels of saturated and trans fats and sugar found

in fast food; all of which are known to affect the

immune system.

Sources: Healthyliving.msn.com / Usnews.com

Studies tie binge drinking to future heart

disease and liver damage

Young people who party too hard may regret it later

in life, according to recent studies on alcohol’s lasting

effects on health.

In research published in the Journal of the American

College of Cardiology and in Alcoholism: Clinical

& Experimental Research, binge drinking has been

identified as a significant risk factor for both heart

disease and liver damage later in life.

In the study regarding heart health, researchers looked

at two groups of healthy nonsmoking students, ages 18

to 25. One group had a history of binge drinking and the

other group did not drink heavily. The study found that

binge drinkers had impaired function in two cell types

that control blood flow. These vascular changes can be

a precursor to hardening of the arteries, heart attack

and stroke.

The study focused on liver damage in binge drinkers

found that over time binge drinking can sensitize

the liver and make it prone to more subsequent

damage. High levels of alcohol were found to create

an inflammatory response in the liver, sending out

various damaging signals to systems in the body.

Both studies cautioned against the notion that

being young and healthy can protect people from

poor lifestyle behaviors or choices.

Source: Journal of the American College of Cardiology;

Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research



*Arkansas State and Public School Employees

can enroll in a weight-loss program administered

by the Employee Benefits Division.

Call 1-877-815-1017 for more information.

**Medi-Pak ® Medicare supplement and

Medi-Pak Rx insurance policyholders are

not eligible for The Healthy Weigh! program.

Lose weight

The Healthy Weigh! Education

Program is free for members of

Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue

Shield, Health Advantage (except

ARBenefits members*), Blue Cross

and Blue Shield Service Benefit

Plan (Federal Employee Program),

Medi-Pak Advantage (PFFS), Medi-

Pak Advantage PPO, and eligible

members of BlueAdvantage

Administrators of Arkansas.**

To enroll, complete the attached

enrollment form and return it in

the self-addressed, postage-paid

envelope included in this magazine.

The program starts when you enroll.

After enrollment, you will begin to

receive information through the mail,

which you can read in the privacy

of your own home and at your own

pace. The program is completely

voluntary, and you may leave the

program at any time. If you have

further questions about the program,

call the Health Education Program’s

toll-free number at 1-800-686-2609.

Simply complete, sign and return

the attached enrollment form in the

self-addressed, postage-paid envelope

to join The Healthy Weigh!

Is memory loss

from aging or

lack of sleep?

maybe both

The benefits of a good night’s sleep on the body are well known, but did you know it is

also beneficial for your brain? New findings are making strong correlations between sleep

and memory, and are shedding light on why older people may have trouble with both.

A study by the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute on Aging found a marked

difference in the brain-wave activity of younger people and older people while they sleep.

Looking deeper into the difference, they found that the lack of deep sleep in seniors

prevents their brains from storing memories in the location of the brain used for recalling

them over the long term. Instead their brains leave memories stored in the portion of the

brain that is used for short-term memory.

So, if you find yourself struggling to recall facts, or having more frequent “it’s-just-onthe-tip-of-my-tongue”

moments, make sleep a priority.

How can you get better sleep?

• Turn off electronics a couple of

hours before bedtime.

• Avoid nicotine, caffeine and alcohol in

the evening.

• Stick to a schedule; don’t sleep late

on weekends.

• Exercise in the late afternoon.

• Keep your room cool and dark.

Place black tape over electronic

lights if necessary.

• Keep pets and children out of the bed.

• Take a hot shower or bath before

going to bed.

• When you wake up in the morning,

open the blinds or step outside as

soon as possible. Sunlight helps

regulate your biological clock.

• Seek medical help if you have a

sleep problem, especially if it

includes snoring.




Arkansas Blue Cross provides

family fun for members

Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield members enjoyed a

variety of family-friendly activities earlier this year. We appreciate

our members and always are looking for opportunities to add

value to our relationship. And, there is more to come!

Families at the Hop on Over Easter Party at ArkansasBlue

enjoyed dancing and playing games with Radio Disney. And,

two lucky families won season passes to the Museum of

Discovery and the Little Rock Zoo along with beach towels,

insect repellent, sunscreen, first-aid kits, bubbles and more.

ArkansasBlue is Arkansas’ first health insurance store, located

in the Shackleford Crossings shopping center in Little Rock.

The Easter Bunny and

BlueAnn Ewe interact with

a young admirer at the

ArkansasBlue Easter party.

During the Night at the Museum Pajama Party in June at the

Museum of Discovery in Little Rock, parents and children went on a scavenger hunt in the

Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield Amazing You Gallery for a chance to win prizes, and

shared healthy snacks in the Gigabyte room. BlueAnn Ewe was on hand to dance with the kids

and point out clues in the gallery. While all of our members could get in free to the event, we

also gave away 300 tickets to non-members at ArkansasBlue.

As part of our title sponsorship of the Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield Amazing You

Gallery inside the Museum of Discovery (designed to teach youth and families about the

body and how to keep it healthy), we have two member-appreciation days each year.

Mark your calendar — the next member-appreciation day at the Museum of Discovery

will be on Grandparent’s Day, Sunday, September 8.

Walk at Lunch

April 24 was National Walk @ Lunch Day (NW@LD), and Arkansas Blue Cross and

Blue Shield; Arkansas Center for Health Improvement; Me, Myself and I Workout;

Arkansas Department of Human Services; Arkansas Workers’ Compensation; and the

Arkansas Plant Board employees walked together to the Little Rock River Market.

NW@LD is an event designed to encourage employees to spend part of their lunch

break on this day walking in an effort to promote fitness and encourage regular

worksite wellness activities. NW@LD is part of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield

Association’s Walking Works program.


Customers Rank Arkansas Blue Cross

as a top Blue Plan in the Nation

Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield is one of the best Blue Plans in the nation in providing

valuable products, excellent customer service and gaining the trust of members, according to a

national survey of Blue Plan members.

A recent consumer brand index (CBI), a tool for understanding consumers’ perceptions of a brand or

company, was developed for the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association to determine how all the Blue

Plan markets rank with their members. There are 38 Blue Plans across the United States, but the survey

was more in-depth and actually involved 61 individual markets. The survey focused on three primary areas:

Did the Plan meet expectations? Is the Plan a company you can trust?

3. How do you feel and think about the Plan?

1. 2.

Out of a possible 100 points, Arkansas Blue Cross received an overall score of 82, tying two other

Blue Plan markets for the top score in the nation. The median score nationwide was 76. Members

were asked, based on everything they have seen, heard, read or experienced, how they think about

their Plan on a scale of 1 to 10. A score with a plus sign indicates that the score was significantly

different than the system-wide results. So how did Arkansas Blue Cross do, question-by-question?

Did your Plan meet expectations?

Arkansas Blue Cross: 8.3 +

Blue Plan national average: 7.7

Is your Plan a company you can trust?

Arkansas Blue Cross: 8.6 +

Blue Plan national average: 8.0

How do you feel and think about your Plan?

Arkansas Blue Cross: 8.2 +

Blue Plan national average: 7.8

“We are pleased that our members think so highly of us,” said Karen Raley, vice president of

Communications and Product Development at Arkansas Blue Cross. “We put our members first in

everything we do and these survey results let us know that our members recognize that.”

It is that “member first” attitude permeating every division within Arkansas Blue Cross that makes

it difficult to pinpoint who should get the most credit for the glowing CBI results. Customer Service

and other employees who interact directly with members leave a lasting impression of the company

as a whole. The Communications team provides a Web presence that is user-friendly and informative.

New member welcome kits provide vital information right up front that help members more

completely understand their benefits.

“It takes all of us to deliver the kind of service our members deserve, and all of our employees

should be pleased with these excellent ratings,” said Karen. “However, we have no intention of

relaxing now. Our industry as a whole is facing unprecedented challenges, and we need to raise

the bar — for ourselves and for Arkansas Blue Cross. Our customers deserve that.”

Heart Walk 2013

Arkansas Blue Cross had a great team showing at the Heart Walk held April 20

at Burns Park in North Little Rock. Employees and their family members walked

together to show their support for heart disease research. Blue definitely cares!




Over-the-counter medicines

Access + Knowledge = Power

More and more, Americans can go to their

favorite grocery store instead of to the doctor

when they need medicine. This immediate

access to medicine to treat an ailment gives us

immense power over our health, but it must be

balanced by the knowledge to use the medicine

correctly. The following information from the

U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

provides some great advice for using over-thecounter

(OTC) medicines responsibly.

The FDA determines whether medicines are

prescription (Rx) or OTC. The FDA also decides

when a prescription medicine is safe enough

to be sold directly to consumers, a regulatory

process known as Rx-to-OTC switch. More than

700 products sold over the counter today use

ingredients or dosage strengths available only

by prescription 30 years ago.

With new opportunities in self-medication come

new responsibilities and an increased need for

knowledge. The FDA and the Consumer Healthcare

Products Association (CHPA) have prepared the

following information to help Americans take

advantage of self-care opportunities.

by TREY GARDNER, Pharm D.,

Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield

OTC know-how: It’s on the label

You wouldn’t ignore your doctor’s instructions

for using a prescription medicine; so don’t

ignore the label when taking an OTC medicine.

Here’s what to look for:

• Product name

• Active ingredients — therapeutic substances

in medicine

• Purpose — product category (such as

antihistamine, antacid or cough suppressant)

• Uses — symptoms or diseases the product

will treat or prevent

• Warnings — when not to use the product,

when to stop taking it, when to see a

doctor and possible side effects

• Directions — how much to take,

how to take it, and how long to take it

• Other information — such as storage


• Inactive ingredients — substances

such as binders, colors or flavoring

Make sure you are reading the label correctly.

Always use enough light. It usually takes three

times more light to read the same line at age 60

than at age 30. If necessary, use your glasses or

contact lenses when reading labels.

Always remember to look for the statement

describing the tamper-evident feature(s) before

you buy the product and when you use it.

When it comes to medicines, more does

not necessarily mean better. You should never

misuse OTC medicines by taking them longer

or in higher doses than the label recommends.

Symptoms that persist are a clear signal it’s time

to see a doctor.


PHARMACY continued on page 21

the DOCTOR’S corner

Your role in health care

Health care is changing in many ways to

provide the highest quality of care while

keeping costs down. Doctors and their care

teams, hospitals, insurance companies,

employers and many others are learning their

roles as part of this new approach. What you

may not realize, however, is that you are a vital

part of that change. On its most basic level,

health care is between the person who delivers

care and the person who receives it. To achieve

better health outcomes, patients must make

good decisions based on complete information.

If you’ve been in your doctor’s office recently,

you may have noticed some changes. The clinic

may be using an electronic medical record.

Computerized records make it easier to keep

up with current and past problems, medication

lists, recommended screening tests, lab results

and needed immunizations. Some doctors and

facilities have developed systems to securely

share your information so those who need

to know a test result will have access to it

rather than delaying care or repeating the test.

There may be someone in the clinic who is

coordinating care between specialists or the

emergency room and your doctor. To improve

the clinic’s efficiency, you may be asked for

feedback about clinic services. Specialists and

primary care doctors are communicating more

in order to monitor costs and improve your care.

To achieve the highest quality of care,

both underuse and overuse of health care

resources must be avoided. With some of the

new payment methods, your doctor may be

eligible for higher payments if his patients

receive appropriate tests that have proven

beneficial. The health maintenance your doctor

recommends is to prevent or delay more

serious illness, and you should benefit from

following his advice and changing behaviors.

You may be asked to participate in an education

program for a condition like diabetes or

by CONNIE MEEKS, M.D. – Corporate Medical Director

Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield

low back pain. If your doctor recommends

a screening or a behavior change, consider

his advice. Take personal responsibility and

recognize that routine care is an investment in

better health for the long term.

In contrast, there are some overused

procedures that have not proven effective.

Leading medical specialty societies have

teamed up with Consumer Reports to spread

the word that doctors and patients should

have important conversations to decrease the

practice of ordering unnecessary tests and

procedures. The Choosing Wisely campaign

focuses on lists of “Five Things Physicians and

Patients Should Question,” created by each

participating specialty group. For instance, the

specialty group for family doctors recommends

that electrocardiograms or other cardiac

screenings for low-risk patients without

symptoms should not be ordered.

Pediatricians recommend against cough and

cold medicines for respiratory illnesses in children

under four years of age. Doctors will be spending

more time discussing with patients why certain

tests may or may not be needed. Your part in this

is to be open to discussions with your doctor and

to understand that there are new expectations

for him to provide advice supported by evidence,

discuss options and gain your cooperation in a

plan of care. This is shared decision making, so

there is an expectation that you will participate

and follow through with decided plans.

The goal of improved personal health is

not only that it is good for patients, but that

it will contribute to the improved financial

health of our country. The effort begins with

you taking responsibility.

Source: Choosing Wisely campaign,





The Blue & You Foundation for a Healthier

Arkansas recently collaborated with the Arkansas

Center for Health Improvement (ACHI) to fund a

study examining the current and future numbers

of physicians and specialists statewide.

The report, Arkansas Health Care

Workforce: A Guide for Policy Action,

provides a unique, multi-dimensional

look at how and where health care

is provided in Arkansas. This includes

location, office capacity, acceptance

of patients covered by Medicare and

Medicaid and the patient experience. Previous

studies either have been national in scope and based

on raw population-to-physician ratios or have relied

solely on survey information.

According to Patrick O’Sullivan, executive director

of the Blue & You Foundation, the report provides

a much-needed resource for informing policy

decisions that will result in meaningful solutions

for improving the health care system in Arkansas.

“Much discussion has centered on the idea that

we have a serious statewide shortage of doctors

and that this shortage will worsen due to an

aging health care workforce,” Patrick said. “At the

same time, there has been a lack of consistent

data to demonstrate the real picture in Arkansas.

ACHI has proven expertise for using information

from various sources to pull together a big picture

and identify policy implications. The Blue & You

Foundation is pleased to have partnered with

ACHI to provide policymakers and stakeholders a

guide for important decisions.”

The information in the report shows not only

the number of medical professionals needed, but

where they will be needed. The report describes a

severe shortage in the southeast and southwest

regions, but points to an excess supply in

central Arkansas. On a positive note, many clinic

managers surveyed said they expect to keep their

present staff and in many cases have plans to add

new clinicians.





The Blue & You Foundation funds a study to find out


Health Care Workforce

A Guide for

Policy Action

March 2013

Funded by:

The following are a few highlights

from the report:

• While there is a shortage of primary care

physicians, the presence in Arkansas of

physician extenders, like advanced

practice nurses and physician assistants,

make up all but 4 percent of the shortfall

in the supply of primary care clinicians.

• There are critical shortages of primary

care physicians and physician extenders

in some rural areas and a potential

oversupply in urban areas.

• Primary care clinicians may approach

the needed number statewide by 2020,

but shortages will remain in rural parts of

the state unless incentives are put in place.

• Creative solutions may involve policies

regarding expanded insurance coverage,

transportation resources and use of

information technology.

Demand greater than supply

Demand 20% or more

Demand 10% to 19%

Little or no supply shortage

Demand = Supply (+ 9%)

Supply 10% or more

Adequacy of Supply and Demand of Primary Care Providers

by County (2012)

To learn more about the report, go to the

ACHI website, achi.net.

Member Discounts

Metabolic Research Centers

Enjoy a 10 percent discount on all new program enrollment

fees at the Metabolic Research Center, a weight management

company with locations in Bentonville, Fort Smith, Fayetteville,

Conway and Little Rock.

The Metabolic program is unique because it addresses the

root cause of disorder eating and recurring weight gain. Their

personalized approach helps clients by identifying why as well as what they eat. They recognize and

affirm the unique and intrinsic worth of each individual by this one-on-one approach. The programs

at Metabolic were designed by the nation’s foremost experts in the field of disorder eating and are

administered nationally through Metabolic Research Centers. Metabolic Research Center offers to

deliver high-quality, cost-effective services and products to the clients they serve.

Save on Jenny Craig

As our member, you can choose a FREE 30-Day Program*

or 25 percent off a Premium Program* from Jenny Craig. ® Just

print the coupon on the national and statewide discounts page

on any of our websites.

Pick a program that works with you, not against you! MyDays

is a flexible, new weigh-loss choice that gives you the structure you need to stay on track and the

freedom to live your life. Eat five days of Jenny and two days of your own healthy choices. Your

consultant will help you find the program that fits your real life.

It’s about progress, not perfection. Your personal consultant will help you stay on track every step

of the way. Jenny has two options for consultations:

• Get weekly, face-to-face support and

motivation at one of more than 600 locations.

* Plus the cost of food and shipping, if applicable.

At participating centers. Restrictions apply.

Grants available for health programs

• Enjoy the convenience and privacy of getting

your support and motivation on the phone

each week.



Programs to improve the health of Arkansans, whether in a small town or throughout the state, have

until July 15 to submit applications for grants from the Blue & You Foundation for a Healthier Arkansas.

The grants of $5,000 to $150,000 may be used for general operational or specific program support

for an existing or new program. Any public charity, public school, government agency or non-profit

hospital in Arkansas is eligible to apply; however, grants are not made to individuals. Funds must be

used to produce positive health outcomes for Arkansans.

The grants will be awarded in November to fund health improvement programs during 2014.

Information about the grants and the online application submission process can be found at






health insurance store


Residents of Pine Bluff and southeast

Arkansas can speak face to face with health

insurance experts at the new ArkansasBlue

office at 509 Mallard Loop Drive in Pine Bluff.

Health insurance experts at the new location

will provide Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue

Shield members and insurance shoppers with

information about Arkansas Blue Cross insurance

plans, advice on which plan best covers them

and fits their budget, as well as assistance with

questions or concerns they may have about

purchasing or choosing health insurance.

ArkansasBlue also will provide visitors with

information on dental and other insurance plans.

And, with the full implementation of the health

care law approaching in 2014, visitors who have

purchased individual or family health insurance

plans can come in for health insurance reviews

to see how new regulations will impact their

health insurance coverage and cost.

“Arkansas Blue Cross has operated a fullservice

office in Pine Bluff since 1994, serving

members in a 13-county area with customer

service, individual and group product sales

and marketing, medical management and

provider services,” said Dwayne Pierce, regional

executive. “Our new location will allow us to

expand our services and provide more oneon-one

counseling about health and dental

insurance for individuals and families, especially

with the implementation of the new health

insurance law approaching.”

Walk-in members and shoppers also can

pick up informational brochures or digitally

walkthrough an online shopping experience

with an Arkansas Blue Cross representative.

Arkansas Blue Cross opened Arkansas’ first

health insurance store in 2011 in Little Rock to help

Arkansans better understand health insurance

products and how they work. The flagship store

has proven to be a resource for people needing

health insurance answers, and a gathering place

for fun and informative events.

The “freedom” of

short-term coverage

With the changes in the health insurance industry, some

people will find they need a health insurance policy to

fill a gap in coverage, or they may be looking for a more

affordable solution with comprehensive coverage.

Whether you need coverage

for one month or a longer

period, Arkansas Blue Cross and

Blue Shield has a solution for

you. We have affordable plans

designed to provide coverage for

the length of time you need it.

Essential Blue Freedom is a

comprehensive health insurance

policy that lasts 364 days,

with the freedom to reapply

for coverage. It is available to

Arkansas residents age 64 and

younger who are not eligible

for Medicaid or Medicare.


It offers affordable copayments

for doctor visits as well as

prescription drug coverage.

Your application is subject

to a medical review, and a

waiting period for pre-existing

conditions may apply, but

if you have no major health

problems and you are looking

for comprehensive coverage

at a great rate, it may be the

solution you need.

What happens after day 364?

You have the opportunity to

reapply for another Essential

Blue Freedom policy issued after

answering a few simple healthrelated

questions and by meeting

certain medical criteria. If you

fall outside the ranges, don’t

worry — you still may qualify for

reissue; however, your application

will be subject to review.

If you think Essential Blue

Freedom is an option for you,

call us at 1-800-392-2583!

We’d love to talk with you.

PHARMACY continued from page 16

Be sure to read the label for each product you

purchase. Just because two or more products

are from the same brand family doesn’t mean

they are meant to treat the same conditions or

contain the same ingredients.

Remember, if you read the label and still have

questions, talk to a doctor, nurse or pharmacist.

Medicine Interactions

Although mild and relatively uncommon,

interactions involving OTC medicines can

produce unwanted results or make medicines

less effective. It’s especially important to know

about medicine interactions if you’re taking Rx

and OTC medicines at the same time.

Some medicines also can interact with foods

and beverages, as well as with health conditions

such as diabetes, kidney disease and high

blood pressure.

Here are a few medicine interaction cautions

for some common OTC ingredients:

• Avoid alcohol if you are taking

antihistamines, cough/cold products

with the ingredient dextromethorphan, or

medicines that treat sleeplessness.

• Do not use medicines that treat

sleeplessness if you are taking prescription

sedatives or tranquilizers.

• Check with your doctor before taking

products containing aspirin if you’re taking

a prescription blood thinner or if you have

diabetes or gout.

• Do not use laxatives when you have

stomach pain, nausea or vomiting.

• Unless directed by a doctor, do not use

a nasal decongestant if you are taking

a prescription medicine for high blood

pressure or depression, or if you have

heart or thyroid disease, diabetes,

or prostate problems.

This is not a complete list. Read the label!

Medicine labels change as new information

becomes available. That’s why it’s important to

read the label each time you take medicine.

Time for a Medicine Cabinet Checkup?

• Be sure to look through your medicine

supply at least once a year.

• Always store medicines in a cool, dry place

or as stated on the label.

• Throw away any medicines that are past

the expiration date.

• To make sure no one takes the wrong

medicine, keep all medicines in their

original containers.

Protect Yourself Against Tampering

Makers of OTC medicines seal most products

in tamper-evident packaging (TEP) to help

protect against criminal tampering. TEP works

by providing visible evidence if the package has

been disturbed. But OTC packaging cannot be

100 percent tamper-proof. Here’s how to help

protect yourself:

• Be alert to the tamper-evident features

on the package before you open it. These

features are described on the label.

• Inspect the outer packaging before you

buy it. When you get home, inspect the

medicine inside.

• Don’t buy an OTC product if the packaging

is damaged.

• Don’t use any medicine that looks

discolored or different in any way.

• If anything looks suspicious, be suspicious.

Contact the store where you bought the

product. Take it back!

• Never take medicines in the dark.

Source: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration

and the Consumer Healthcare Products

Association (CHPA)



Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield –

Financial Information Privacy Notice

At Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield

and its affiliates (including HMO Partners, Inc.

d/b/a Health Advantage), 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.

Customer Information

Arkansas Blue Cross and its affiliates only

compile information necessary for us to provide

the services that you, our member, request

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.

Arkansas Blue Cross


Health Advantage


Self-funded group members

should call Customer Service

using the toll-free telephone

number on their ID card.

Sharing of Information

Arkansas Blue Cross and its affiliates do not

disclose, and do not wish to reserve the right to

disclose, non-public 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.

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 non-public 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.

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. This Financial

Information Privacy Notice is provided to our

members as required by state regulation to

explain how we handle their non-public financial

information. It is also available on our website

at arkansasbluecross.com or from our Customer

Service Call Centers. Our customer service areas

are open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Central time,

Monday through Friday.



CHANGES continued from page 3

ready to provide you with the information you

need to make a good decision for you and your

family. You also can request a review with an

agent if you have one, or you can go to one of

our locations throughout the state.

If you are age 65 or older and have coverage

through one of our Medicare products, there

should be no changes to your health plan until

2016 as a result of the health care law. We will

discuss those changes in future issues.

If you are an employer with two to 50

employees, you will be receiving information

regarding Arkansas Blue Cross meetings being

held throughout the state to help our employer

customers learn how the new regulations may

impact their businesses. Afterward, you will be

contacted by an agent or an Arkansas Blue Cross

representative to discuss your situation in more

detail. Until then, our advice is that you not make

any changes to your health plan.

If you are an employer with 51 or more

employees, you likely already have been

discussing options with an agent or Arkansas

Blue Cross representative. If not, I encourage

you to do so in the coming months.

At Arkansas Blue Cross, we are concerned with

making health care affordable for everyone. We

applaud the efforts of our state for coming up

with a unique solution to take care of the many

Arkansans who can’t afford health care. And, we

will continue to provide our members with the

most affordable health care coverage available

by finding solutions that work within health care

reform regulations and giving our members the

protection they deserve.


May we help? For customer

service, please call:



Number (501)


Medi-Pak ® members 378-3062 1-800-338-2312

Medi-Pak ® Advantage members 1-877-233-7022

Medi-Pak ® Rx members 1-866-390-3369

Arkansas Blue Cross members 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 1-800-863-5567

BlueAdvantage members 378-3600 1-888-872-2531

• Pharmacy questions 1-888-293-3748

Federal Employee members 378-2531 1-800-482-6655

Looking for health or dental insurance? We can help!

For individuals, families 378-2937 1-800-392-2583

For employer groups* 378-3070 1-800-421-1112

*Arkansas Blue Cross, Health Advantage and BlueAdvantage Administrators of Arkansas

Prefer to speak with someone close to home?

Call or visit one of our offices near you:

• ArkansasBlue — Little Rock

2612 S. Shackleford Rd., Suite J 1-501-378-2222

• Fayetteville

516 East Millsap Rd., Suite 103 1-800-817-7726

• Fort Smith

3501 Old Greenwood Rd., Suite 5 1-866-254-9117

• Hot Springs

100 Greenwood Ave., Suite C 1-800-588-5733

• Jonesboro

707 East Matthews Ave. 1-800-299-4124

• Little Rock

601 Gaines Street 1-800-421-1112

• Pine Bluff

509 Mallard Loop 1-800-236-0369

• Texarkana

1710 Arkansas Boulevard 1-800-470-9621

Visit our websites for more information:

arkansasbluecross.com • healthadvantage-hmo.com • blueadvantagearkansas.com • blueandyoufoundationarkansas.org


the HEALTH CARE LAW timeline











A new tool to help determine if you

qualify for cost breaks launches on

our website, arkansasbluecross.com

2014 health care plans become

available for review on our website

Online marketplace opens

Final day to buy health insurance for a

January 1, 2014 effective date

New health insurance plans begin



Last day to sign up for health insurance

MPI 1624 6/13

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