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Blue & You - Summer 2009

Dr. David offers healthy living tips, Page 20 Brenda and Malvin Lansdell stop and smell the flowers after Malvin’s recovery from cardiac surgery. See their story on Page 10.

Dr. David offers healthy living tips, Page 20
Brenda and Malvin Lansdell stop and smell the flowers after Malvin’s recovery from cardiac surgery. See their story on Page 10.

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Summer 09

• Arkansas Tech University celebrates health, Page 22

• Dr. David offers healthy living tips, Page 20

• Our new affordable health insurance plans, Page 8

Brenda and Malvin Lansdell

stop and smell the flowers

after Malvin’s recovery from

cardiac surgery. See their

story on Page 10.

A publication for the policyholders of the Arkansas

Blue Cross and Blue Shield family of companies


on Page 18

6 Pandemic preparedness

18 Busy life finds time for

SilverSneakers

22 Arkansas Tech focuses on health

INSIDE

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Out of the Blue

Coffee and tea linked to lower risk of uterine cancer

Head injuries: When to seek medical care

Breastfeeding for future health

10 heart-healthy foods

Valproate use during pregnancy

Keep yourself healthy

Salmonella

Our new affordable health insurance plans

Cost sharing: What is it? How does it help you?

The HEART of a family

FDA warns against skin patches during MRI scans

Good for you starts with us

Grants available for health-improvement programs

The Joy of Cooking reflects the public’s joy of eating

Lose weight The Healthy Weigh!

Wait before using some weight-loss supplements

Senior Moments with Dr. David

BlueCard lands Satisfaction Award

Can sports drinks harm your teeth?

Do the changes in COBRA affect you?

The Doctor’s Corner

Chiropractic medicine for lower back pain

Arkansas Blue Cross has a heart

BlueAnn Ewe joins Perritt Primary School

Financial Information Privacy Notice

From the Pharmacist —

Generic drugs: Use with confidence!

Arkansas Blue Cross helps city of Mena

Customer Service telephone numbers

Good for you

Summer 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.

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


Out of the

Blue

A message from our

CEO and President,

Mark White

Health care needs meaningful reform

According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid

services (CMS), we spend an average of $7,868 per

person each year on health care. If we do nothing, this

is projected to grow to $11,684 by 2015. We have the

highest proportion of health-care spending to the Gross

National Product (GNP) in the world (16.6 percent) and

without significant change, it is projected to grow even

faster during the next 10 years. Our economy can’t

sustain this rate of growth, so our health-care system

must change.

Organizations and people on the frontlines of creating

health policy — employers, consumers, health-care

providers, insurers, public health professionals and others

— want meaningful change. We believe everyone

should have good health coverage. We must implement

system reforms to promote more effective and efficient

health care. We also must develop creative ways to

increase the number of people who have insurance coverage

so society does not have to support the cost of

providing care to the uninsured.

We want to increase coverage and promote access

to affordable and effective health care. Reform should

build on — not take away — employer-sponsored insurance

plans. It should create safety-net programs for

hard working individuals and families who just cannot

make ends meet. Those who lose their jobs due to the

economy should have more options to maintain their

insurance. Health-care reform should make health coverage

more affordable and assure fair reimbursement to

those who provide effective care.

To become a healthier nation, individually and collectively,

we must focus on healthy lifestyles and disease

prevention rather than just treating illness. By eliminating

poor diet, inactivity and tobacco use, the Centers

for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 80

percent of heart disease and stroke, 80 percent of type

2 diabetes and 40 percent of cancer could be eliminated.

We have to focus our attention on resources for

wellness, prevention and primary care.

In many ways, our system is working. Americans

are fortunate to have the best clinical outcomes in the

world, and life expectancy continues to rise. However,

we need to improve the efficiency of our system and

pay for the quality of the care, not the quantity. We

also must figure out how to pay for the prevention of

illnesses.

Meaningful reform must be the result of a careful

and balanced approach. It must include all stakeholders,

and it must build on our current system. Health care

has, and always will be, a shared responsibility. Individuals,

employers, government, insurance companies,

doctors and hospitals all will have to do their share for

meaningful reform to occur. We support health-care reform.

We will do our part to modify the current system

so it works for all Arkansans. By taking a balanced and

steady approach, Arkansas and the United States will

be healthier — both physically and financially.

3

Blue & You Summer 2009


Coffee and tea linked to

lower risk of uterine cancer

In a recent article published in the International Journal of Cancer, researchers

found that of the 1,100 women surveyed, those who drank caffeinated coffee and

tea had a lower risk of uterine cancer. Research suggests that caffeine may induce

enzymes that help neutralize cancer-causing substances. However, the research

team noted that both tea and coffee contain various antioxidant compounds that

also may be responsible for protecting body cells from damage.

Source: Reuters Health

Head injuries:

When to seek medical care

Breastfeeding

for future health

4

Head injuries are not uncommon. While most are minor, they can

be serious and even fatal. How do you know when to seek medical

care? MedlinePlus lists the following symptoms that are indicative of

a more serious head injury and require medical care:

• Changes in, or unequal size of pupils

• Convulsions

• Distorted features of the face

• Fluid draining from nose, mouth or ears (may be clear or bloody)

• Bruising of the face, swelling at the site of the injury or scalp

wound

• Impaired hearing, smell, taste or vision

• Inability to move one or more limbs

• Irritability (especially in children), personality changes or unusual

behavior

• Loss of consciousness, confusion or drowsiness

• Restlessness, clumsiness or lack of coordination

• Severe headache

• Slurred speech or blurred vision

• Stiff neck or vomiting

Source: MedlinePlus

Not only is breastfeeding good

for your baby, there may be

positive long-term health effects

for women who nurse. A recent

study, conducted by Eleanor Bimla

Schwartz, MD, assistant professor

of medicine at the University

of Pittsburgh and colleagues, suggests

that breastfeeding lowers

women’s risks for heart disease,

diabetes and stroke. The researchers

found that the longer women

nursed, the lower their chances

were for developing these

illnesses.

Source: WebMD

Blue & You Summer 2009


10 He a r t -He a lt h y Fo o d s

Protect your heart with these top heart-healthy foods

that are packed with healthy fats, antioxidants and other

essential nutrients:

1. Salmon — one of the healthiest fish choices; high

in protein and vitamin D.

2. Oatmeal — daily consumption

of a bowl of oatmeal can lower

blood cholesterol, due to its

soluble fiber content.

3. Avocado — packed with

heart-healthy fat.

4. Olive Oil — can help

regulate cholesterol and

is anti-inflammatory.

5. Nuts — almonds and

walnuts are the healthiest.

6. Berries — rich in anti-inflammatories.

7. Spinach — packed with essential nutrients.

8. Legumes — such as chickpeas, lentils, black beans

and kidney beans.

9. Flaxseed — studies show it can help

stabilize blood sugar levels and is high in

dietary fiber.

10. Soy — edamame, tofu

and soy milk are sources

of lean protein and vital

minerals.

Sources: Health.com,

WebMD

5

Valproate use during pregnancy

associated with impaired cognitive development

The antiepileptic drug valproate has been linked to an increased likelihood

of impaired cognitive development for children exposed while still

in the womb. This study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine,

enrolled women taking one of four drugs for epilepsy while pregnant.

Researches then assessed cognitive function of their children at

age three. According to the study, those children exposed to valproate

had significantly lower IQs than those exposed to other antiepileptic

drugs (carbamazepine, lamotrigine or phenytoin). Autumn Klein, M.D., in

Journal Watch Neurology, concluded, “Unless valproate is the only drug

that will control a particular patient’s seizures, it should be avoided in

women who might become pregnant.”

Sources: New England Journal of Medicine, Medscape.com

Blue & You Summer 2009


Pandemic

preparedness

Keep yourself

healthy

6

In June, the World Health Organization

(WHO) declared that the

novel H1N1 influenza virus, also

known as swine flu, had reached

pandemic proportions throughout

the world. The announcement of the

first global influenza epidemic in 41

years is in recognition of the widespread

nature of the disease; the

illness itself has been rated as only

moderate in severity.

The symptoms of H1N1 are similar

to those experienced in seasonal

flu —

It makes good sense to

fever,

have the preparations chills,

on hand to ease your aches,

family through a crisis. fatigue

and

cough — and can include runny

nose, sore throat, nausea, vomiting

or diarrhea. While there are no vaccines

available to protect humans

against swine flu, the Centers for

Disease Control and Prevention

recommend the antiviral treatments

Tamiflu and Relenza.

At Arkansas Blue Cross and

Blue Shield, we have been working

closely with officials at the Arkansas

Department of Health and other

state agencies to prepare for a flu

pandemic. We have made extensive

plans to keep our services going if

the pandemic affects large populations

in the United States and to

have the latest local information on

our Web sites.

It makes good sense to have the

preparations on hand to ease your

family through a crisis, whether it

is caused by a pandemic or another

type of emergency.

Please continue to read our

publication, Blue & You, and any

correspondence we may send in

the future regarding flu pandemic

preparedness.

The CDC suggests the following

everyday tips to help prevent the

spread of germs:

• Cover your nose and mouth

with a tissue when you cough

or sneeze, then throw the tissue

in the trash.

• Wash your hands often with

soap and water, especially after

you cough or sneeze. Alcoholbased

hand cleaners also are

effective.

• Avoid touching your eyes, nose

or mouth.

• Try to avoid close contact with

sick people.

• Stay home and limit contact

with others if you get sick with

the flu.

Sources: CDC, WebMd

Blue & You Summer 2009


7

Salmonella

Salmonella bacteria may be small, but they can make

you sick in a big way. If you are one of the more than

40,000 who have experienced Salmonellosis each year

in the United States, then you know that food safety is

vital for your health and the health of your family.

People with Salmonellosis experience diarrhea, abdominal

cramps and fever, along with chills, headache,

nausea and vomiting within eight to 72 hours after

eating contaminated food. Symptoms usually disappear

within four to seven days, but Salmonella infections

can be life-threatening for infants, young children, pregnant

women and their unborn babies, older adults, and

people with weakened immune systems.

Any raw food of animal origin, such as meat, poultry,

milk and dairy products, eggs, seafood and some fruits

and vegetables may carry Salmonella bacteria. The

bacteria only can be killed by cooking meat, poultry, and

egg products thoroughly and by washing fruits and vegetables.

The bacteria also can cross contaminate foods

that come in contact with surfaces like cutting boards

where contaminated meats were prepared.

The only way to know for certain if a person has

Salmonellosis is to perform a laboratory test of a stool

sample for the bacteria. And because many milder

cases are not reported, the Centers for Disease Control

and Prevention estimate the actual number of cases

each year may be much higher.

Sources: Department of Health and Human Services,

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Blue & You Summer 2009


8

Our new affordable

health insurance plans

Affordable, comprehensive protection is something

Arkansans have come to expect from Arkansas Blue

Cross and Blue Shield. To continue this tradition, beginning

June 1, our two new health insurance plans —

Comprehensive Blue PPO and HSA Blue PPO II — will

be available for individuals and families under the age of

65 and not on Medicare. Both plans offer:

• Doctor and specialist visits with no referrals needed

• Wellness benefits with no deductible

• 100 percent coverage for children’s preventive care

• Prescription drug coverage

• Inpatient and outpatient hospital services

• And, an optional maternity rider

As the name implies, Comprehensive Blue PPO provides

comprehensive major medical coverage within a

preferred provider organization (PPO). The plan features

$500, $1,000, $2,500, $5,000 and $10,000 deductible

options with low, predictable copayments for doctor

and specialist visits.

HSA Blue PPO II is an HSA-compatible health insurance

plan. If policyholders choose, they may open a

separate HSA (health savings account) from the financial

institution of their choice and reap the associated

tax benefits. All HSA contributions are tax-deductible,

which means a policyholder’s taxable income is reduced

by the amount contributed to the HSA each year.

The plan features deductible options of $1,500, $2,500

and $5,000 for individuals and deductibles of $3,000,

$5,000 and $10,000 for families. After the deductible is

met, the plan pays 100 percent of covered expenses.

Both plans feature a $5,000,000 lifetime maximum

benefit for each covered person. In addition, policyholders

have the option of purchasing term life insurance

and critical illness coverage — both underwritten by

USAble Life — at the time of application.

“At a time when managing out-of-pocket health-care

expenses is most critical, we are excited to introduce

our two new very affordable health plans,” said Ron

DeBerry, senior vice president of Statewide Business.

“With several deductible options and features, Comprehensive

Blue PPO and HSA Blue PPO II will give

prospective policyholders the choices they desire when

buying health insurance. Also, with up to $5,000,000 in

lifetime maximum benefits for each covered person on

the plan, Arkansas Blue Cross continues to provide the

protection our policyholders want and need.”

If you know someone who could benefit from either

Comprehensive Blue PPO or HSA Blue PPO II, they

may call toll free 1-800-392-2583, visit us online at

arkansasbluecross.com/free or contact a local independent

agent for more information.

Blue & You Summer 2009


Cost sharing:

What is it?

How does it help you?

Cost sharing is

when you pay

a portion of

your health-care

costs and Arkansas

Blue Cross and Blue

Shield pays a larger

part. We share

the costs.

For example, cost

sharing is having a

copayment when you

visit the doctor or

get a prescription

filled at your

local pharmacy.

You pay a portion,

and Arkansas Blue Cross pays the rest.

Cost sharing is an important part of health insurance

because it helps control the cost of health insurance

premiums by giving people some “skin in the game.” In

other words, when the money comes out of our own

pockets, we think twice about how we spend it. People

who have health insurance often are insulated from

the true cost of health-care, so giving members some

responsibility for the cost of the services they receive

makes them more aware of the actual cost.

For example, most people will make sure they really

need to go to the emergency room (ER) or the doctor

when some of the cost comes directly out of their

checking account. They might rethink that ER visit for an

ear infection if they know it is a $100 or more copayment,

while waiting to see the doctor the next day

would be a $25 copayment. Most of us are more mindful

of how we spend our own money than we are about

how our health plan’s money is spent.

Health plans whose benefits include cost sharing are

more affordable, give members predictable costs for

medical services and help to ensure that those who

use health-care services have an increased awareness

of how much those services actually cost.

9

Blue & You Summer 2009


10

The HEART

of a family

Cardiac history

tests brothers

Brenda Lansdell was worried.

Malvin, her husband of 41 years,

was short of breath, and in January,

after a meal at their daughter’s

home, he could barely carry a bowl

out to their truck. When she asked

him about it, Malvin looked at her

and confessed, “I’m scared, but I’m

scared not to do something, too.”

Brenda understood all too well.

Every man in Malvin’s family has

had cardiovascular problems. Malvin

was one of seven brothers; his

oldest brother already had died of

a heart attack, and his twin brother

and a younger brother also had suffered

from heart attacks. His father

and uncle both had died of heart

attacks. Whether it was genetics or

good Southern cooking, the Lansdell

men seemed to live short lives.

At 64, Malvin recently had retired,

putting in 38 years at the Domtar

Ashdown Paper Mill. He and Brenda

were enjoying their home in Winthrop,

about 50 miles north of Texarkana.

A devoted husband and father

of two sons and a daughter, his new

focus had been on entertaining his

three grandchildren.

While aware of the family history

of cardiovascular disease, Malvin

considered himself to be in pretty

good shape, taking only high blood

pressure medicine and an aspirin a

day. “That aspirin is probably what

saved his life,” Brenda said, thinking

back on the situation.

Blue & You Summer 2009


The same day Malvin and Brenda

were visiting with a cardiologist,

his brother, Harold, told his wife,

Virginia, a fib. He casually mentioned

that he had a scheduled

doctor’s appointment and needed to

go to CHRISTUS St. Michael Health

System in Texarkana, Texas. Harold

didn’t want to scare Virginia, but he

was having a heart attack.

After some tests at the cardiologist’s

office, Malvin and Brenda

headed home, but were greeted

with an ominous phone call. The

staff at the office of Brent Robinson,

M.D., wanted Malvin to go to

CHRISTUS St. Michael as soon as

possible for cardiac catheterization,

which allows doctors to watch the

heart in action with the help of X-ray

equipment and a special dye. They

scheduled the procedure for the

next day. Meanwhile, Harold was

having coronary artery bypass grafts

on four of his arteries at CHRISTUS

St. Michael under the care of cardiothoracic

surgeon Billy Parsons, M.D.

For Malvin, the cardiac catheterization

began what he calls “the

great sleep.” He doesn’t remember

anything that happened for four

days — but Brenda does. Soon

after they took Malvin in for testing,

Brenda was told that they were taking

him to surgery. Once again, Dr.

Parsons was working on a Lansdell

man, this time performing five coronary

artery bypass grafts on Malvin.

While the urgency of the situation

left little time to choose their medical

facility, both Lansdell brothers a large number of cardiac patients

intensive cardiac services, serve

selected CHRISTUS St. Michael in and have proven positive outcomes

Texarkana, a hospital designated that far surpass other hospitals.

by the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Once you are in a Blue Distinction

Association as a Blue Distinction hospital, you are followed through

Center SM for Cardiac Care. In order your rehabilitation, so you continue

to receive this national recognition, to receive care far into recovery.

CHRISTUS St. Michael must meet The hospital and cardiac team must

high quality standards established have a program for ongoing quality

by an expert panel of physicians, management and ways to identify

surgeons and other health-care potential for improvement.

Brothers left to right: Harold and Malvin Lansdell.

If you are

looking for

a hospital

with a Blue

Distinction

designation,

go to our

Web sites

and visit our

“Member”

section.

professionals. When a hospital has We do the work for you, so you can

been designated a Blue Distinction

Center, you know they have best care possible. Other medical

be assured you are receiving the

expertise in that specialty, that they centers designated as Blue Distinction

Centers for Cardiac Care in

focus on quality, and that they have

a history of patients with positive the Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue

outcomes. Hospitals do provide Shield service area include Baptist

care differently, and Blue Cross has Health Medical Center in Little Rock,

created a process where hospitals and St. Bernards Regional Medical

can demonstrate their expertise. Center in Jonesboro.

It’s not easy becoming a Blue For Dr. Parsons, working on the

Distinction Center for Cardiac Care. two brothers within 24 hours of

Hospitals that make the grade must each other, “was a unique situation,”

be fully accredited and the cardiac

team must be board certified. and even twins before. But, as a

though he has worked on siblings

They must provide a wide range of Heart, continued on Page 12

11

Blue & You Summer 2009


12

Heart, continued from Page 11

Blue Distinction Center for Cardiac

Care and a hospital that has consistently

been in the top 5 percent for

HealthGrades, the leading independent

health-care ratings company,

CHRISTUS St. Michael is known for

its cardiac program, and it’s the first

place people think to go in the Texarkana

area when they are concerned

about their hearts.

“I think what sets us apart is the

willingness of our people to have

a team approach. From our CEO to

our nurses — what we do is more

than a job,” Dr. Parsons said.

Because of Texarkana’s location

between Little Rock and Dallas,

Parsons said CHRISTUS St. Michael

has a large service area, which

requires the staff to stay abreast of

the latest changes in medical knowledge

while staying with protocols

that have been tested and trusted.

He and Bruce Cannon, M.D., partners

in Texarkana Cardiovascular &

Thoracic Surgical Associates, are

both board certified general thoracic

surgeons as well as fellows of the

American College of Surgery and

American Board of Surgery.

The Lansdell brothers ended up

on the same floor, two doors down

from each other. “There were ‘name

alerts’ on everything,” Brenda chuckled,

remembering the precautions

the hospital took to keep down

the confusion. It even took Hillary

Cross, a case manager for Arkansas

Brenda and Malvin Lansdell meet with their Arkansas Blue Cross case

manager, Hillary Cross, RN.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield’s Southwest

Regional Office in Texarkana,

by surprise.

“I went to the front desk to ask

for the room number for Mr. Lansdell

and they said ‘which one?’”

she said. Malvin is covered under

BlueAdvantage Administrators of

Arkansas and Harold is covered under

the Federal Employee Program

under another Blue Cross plan, so

he was not on her list of patients

to follow.

For Brenda, curled up in a chair

with her shoes off in Malvin’s

hospital room, seeing Hillary walk

through the door was a breath of

fresh air.

“When she said, ‘Hi, I’m Hillary

Cross, a case manager with Arkan-

Blue & You Summer 2009


sas Blue Cross, and I’m a registered

nurse,’ it made me feel good right

then,” Brenda said. While the staff

had been very helpful, Brenda

said she trusted Hillary to help her

understand the medical terms and

plan their next steps to getting

Malvin home.

Harold and Malvin Lansdell were patients at the same time at

CHRISTUS St. Michael Health System.

“She’s been there for me to talk

to,” Brenda said of the many conversations

she has had with Hillary in

person and over the telephone.

Through the medical tests they

also discovered that Malvin had diabetes,

so Hillary provided them with

information on lifestyle changes so

he could keep his blood sugar levels

in check. Perhaps it was because

of the medications, but at first

Malvin complained that the healthy

foods, “tasted like cardboard.” After

awhile, however, he had to admit,

“this cardboard tastes pretty good.”

As the two brothers became

more mobile, the confusion increased.

Brenda said at one point a

hospital aide came to the room and

asked for Mr. Lansdell. “He’s down

the hall,” she said. The aide looked

on the chart, looked back to the

room number and then in confusion

looked back at Brenda. “He’s

visiting the other

Mr. Lansdell,”

she explained,

laughing.

Harold, with his

four bypasses,

recovered faster

than Malvin, and

soon was released

to continue his recovery

with home

health services.

Still, Malvin only

was in the hospital

about a week

before he also was released.

Hillary continued to call

their home and check

on their needs.

Malvin said that

while the case

management

service from Arkansas

Blue Cross

was tremendous,

“they did a good

job on claims processing,

too.” He said everything

was handled smoothly so he didn’t

have any concerns, and they even

received a small check back on a

service that was overpaid. Having

a dependable health plan administered

by BlueAdvantage also took

the stress off Brenda so she could

focus on helping Malvin get back to

his old routine.

With Malvin nearing 65, they

started looking at Medicare supplement

and prescription plans. Brenda

said they could have looked elsewhere,

but after their experience

with Arkansas Blue Cross, they

visited with their friend, insurance

agent Ray Tipton in Ashdown, to

sign up for the Arkansas Blue Cross

Medi-Pak products. Now they can

focus on the things that matter

most, like grandchildren, fishing and

spending time together.

Editor’s Note: The day after Malvin

gave this interview, he was fishing

on Texarkana Lake and caught, as he

described it, “the biggest crappie I

had ever seen.”

13

Blue & You Summer 2009


Preparing for an MRI

Before the exam you will be asked to fill

out a screening form asking about anything

that might create a health risk or interfere

with imaging. These items include:

• Cardiac pacemaker or implantable defibrillator.

• Catheter that has metal components

that may pose a risk of a burn injury.

• A ferromagnetic metal clip placed to

prevent bleeding from an intracranial

aneurysm.

• An implanted medication pump (used to

deliver insulin or a pain-relieving drug).

• A cochlear (inner ear) implant.

Source: American College of Radiology

14

FDA warns against

skin patches during MRI scans

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently

advised against wearing medicated skin patches during

an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scan. Some

medicated patches may contain aluminum or other

metals in the non-adhesive backing. During an MRI

scan, the metal potentially can conduct electricity and

cause a skin burn at the site of the patch. Many patches

containing metals provide a label warning patients to

remove the patch before undergoing an MRI scan because

of the risk of burns. However, the FDA has found

that not all patches containing metal provide a warning.

The FDA is in the process of compiling a list of all

patches that contain metals to ensure that they are

properly labeled with a warning about the potential

risks of burns. If in doubt, Sandra Kweder, M.D., deputy

director of the FDA’s Office of New Drugs, recommends

that patients remove their patches prior to an MRI scan

and put them back on afterwards.

Sources: FDA and WebMd

Blue & You Summer 2009


When it comes to serving our customers,

we’re the best!

When you need a question about your

benefits answered accurately, when you

need your claims paid quickly and efficiently,

and when you just

need good customer

service whether you

are at home or traveling,

you have the

right health insurance

company to meet

your needs.

All of the Blue plans

throughout the United

States measure how

they are meeting members’ needs and expectations,

and then they compare how they are doing against

all of the other Blue Plans. And, for the fourth quarter

of 2008, we were the best in the nation —

ranked No. 1!

When you need service right here, right now —

you can feel comfortable knowing that the company

that you trust to take care of your health-care coverage

takes that job seriously — and all of the employees

at Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield are doing

their part when our members need help in times of a

health crisis or when then need health information or

support.

“This remarkable achievement shows the commitment

of everyone in the company to our members,”

said Mark White, president and chief executive officer

of Arkansas Blue Cross.

Grants available for

health-improvement

programs

The Blue & You Foundation for a Healthier Arkansas

is accepting applications for grants ranging from $5,000

to $150,000 to fund health-improvement programs in

Arkansas.

The Blue & You Foundation, established in 2001 by

Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield, awards about $1

million in grants annually to nonprofit and governmental

organizations and programs that positively affect the

health of Arkansans. In its first seven years of operation,

the foundation has awarded more than $8.5 million

to 129 health-improvement programs in Arkansas.

The deadline to apply for a grant is July 15, 2009.

Information about applying for grants can be found at

BlueAndYouFoundationArkansas.org, or may be requested

by writing to:

Blue & You Foundation

USAble Corporate Center

320 West Capitol, Suite 200

Little Rock, AR 72201

Applications will be reviewed in the fall and grants

will be awarded in November for programs to be

implemented in 2010.

15

Blue & You Summer 2009


16

The Joy of

Cooking

reflects

the

public’s

joy of

eating

It’s been 70 years since the first

issue of The Joy of Cooking hit the

bookstore shelves. Since that time,

the average calories per serving of

18 of its classic recipes increased

more than 35 percent per serving.

Why? Throughout the years, the

recipes have called for ingredients

higher in calories and small, but

regular, increases in serving sizes.

The calories and portion sizes reflect

Average Calories of 18 classic recipes

by The Joy of Cooking publication year

Average Total Calories

Per Recipe

Average Calories Per

Serving

Average Number of

Servings Per Recipe

well-established cultural changes

that include more and more food,

which leads to expanding waistlines

(see graph).

When cooking, be sure to use

low-calorie ingredients and look for

low-calorie recipe options. When

trying to lose weight, every calorie

counts.

Source: Annals of Internal Medicine

1936 1963 2006

2123 2250 3051

268 294 384

12.9 12.7 12.7

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

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.

Blue & You Summer 2009


Wait before using some

weight loss supplements

If you are one of millions of Americans buying

over-the-counter (OTC) weight loss supplements sold

on various Web sites and in some retail stores and

beauty salons, you may be taking in more than you

bargained for.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently

identified 72 weight loss products it considers to be

tainted by undeclared active ingredients. That means

the products contain ingredients that have not been

approved by the FDA for sale in the United States and

may put consumers’ lives at risk.

Some of the products claim to be “natural” or to

contain only “herbal” ingredients but actually contain

potentially harmful ingredients not listed on the products’

labels. The FDA has inspected a number of companies

associated with the sale of these illegal products

and currently is seeking product recalls. These products

are illegal and include the following undeclared active

pharmaceutical ingredients:

• Sibutramine – a prescription appetite suppressant

and a controlled substance.

• Fenproporex – a controlled substance not approved

in the United States.

• Fluoxetine – a prescription antidepressant.

• Bumetanide – a potent prescription diuretic.

• Furosemide – a potent prescription diuretic.

• Rimonabant – a drug not approved in the

United States.

• Cetilistat – an experimental obesity drug not approved

in the United States.

• Phenytoin – an anti-seizure medication.

• Phenolphthalein – a solution used in chemical

experiments and a suspected cancer-causing agent

that is not approved in the United States.

The FDA warns that these OTC supplements can

cause profound health risks, including high blood pressure,

seizures, heart attack and stroke. If you have

taken supplements containing any of these ingredients,

you should talk to your doctor as soon as possible. Before

starting a weight loss program, you should always

discuss your plan with your doctor.

A complete list of the drugs can be found at fda.gov/

cder/consumerinfo/weight_loss_products.htm.

17

Blue & You Summer 2009


Busy life finds

time for

18

SilverSneakers

Blue & You Summer 2009


Rita Nelson is always on the go. If she’s not at her home in

Gurdon, she’s at the lake house in Hot Springs. In fact it only was

recently that she found the time to retire. But, if you think that

opened the door for this spunky 88-year-old to slow down —

think again!

During her near-nine decades, she always has led a healthy lifestyle,

and believes that taking care of yourself is an important part

of taking care of business and others. Sometimes it’s mind over

matter … sometimes it’s a matter of mind and body … and always,

it’s heart and soul with Rita.

Rita participates in yoga early in the week when she is in Gurdon.

When she heard about the SilverSneakers ® Fitness Program

at the Hot Springs YMCA, she decided that would fit into her busy

schedule for the second part of her week. After about 10 months

of workouts, she can tell you, “You

Not too many

use your toes to your fingernails!”

Rita said the SilverSneakers routine people can

is “very invigorating” and “it does

make you feel better” which is a good keep up with

thing since she still does all her own

Rita.

housework. She also walks on a treadmill

in the morning to stay physically fit.

Not too many people can keep up with Rita, but Ralph Berdikoski

is giving it a go. The two have known each other for years, and

Ralph started helping Rita by coming over to mow her three acres

of land. Finally, one day, he asked her, “Why don’t we spend our

golden years together?”

Rita said they had a wonderful wedding on Oct. 2, 2004, with a

reception at the Majestic Hotel in Hot Springs. She added that he

is very active for an 84 year old!

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.

19

Blue & You Summer 2009


20

Senior Moments

You and your doctor

David A. Lipschitz, M.D, Ph.D.

Living a healthy life used to be simple — eat right

and exercise. Today, we have made living a healthy life

so very, very complicated. Read this book, listen to this

doctor and take this special, highly formulated just-foryou

vitamin. It’s overwhelming!

In this world of overly complex health care, there is

one glaring void in the discussion. You may know what

vitamin to take or what exercise routine to follow, but

most patients do not know how to build a healthy relationship

with their doctors. More than anything else,

with Dr. David

this is the most vital step to living the healthiest life

possible.

With this in mind, I have made it my mission to help

everyone — of every age — to be empowered consumers

of health care. Your relationship with your doctor is

a two-way street — you must play an active role. The

more educated you are about your health, the better

the relationship. Know what to expect before you

walk into the doctor’s office. Know what to ask. Do

your homework, and be prepared. Trust me, there is a

formula to developing a better relationship with your

doctor. Here’s how:

1. Get an annual physical. This is the perfect opportunity

to get a bottom-line assessment of your health.

And, it’s the prime time to start building a trusting,

healthy relationship with your primary care physician.

Make sure he or she does a complete examination

and discusses any health issues or concerns. Tell

your physician you want to do everything possible to

promote your health and ask him to help develop a

lifestyle plan for disease prevention.

At your yearly physical, you should expect:

• A comprehensive health history

• A complete physical examination

• Appropriate screening tests

• A plan for the future

2. If you have a health concern, educate yourself

first! Remember, your doctor may not adequately

explain all of the details of your condition. It is critically

important that you do as much research as you

can before you put on the clinic gown.

Here are some tips:

• Go online. Review reputable consumer health

Blue & You Summer 2009


Web sites such as WebMd.com. (If you’re not

computer savvy, visit the library.)

• Get the basics — What is your condition?

What are the symptoms? What are the concerns

or complications with this condition?

What are your treatment options?

• Take notes. When doing any health research,

online or otherwise, you are going to have

questions. Write them down and take them

with you when you visit your doctor.

3. When developing a treatment plan, always ask

these questions.

• Why is this the recommended course of

treatment?

• What are the side effects?

• What is the expected outcome, and what

percentage of patients achieve successful

results?

• Is this the most affordable and rational treatment

plan for me?

Follow these three steps and you will be well on

your way to being an educated consumer of health

care. Remember — when it comes to building a

healthy relationship with your doctor, take an active

role. Both you and your doctor play a part when it

comes to your health.

So, get engaged and be empowered!

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.

BlueCard lands

Satisfaction Award

Nothing frustrates

people

more than getting

caught in the

middle of claims

payment issues

between the

doctor’s office or

hospital and the

insurance company.

At Arkansas

Blue Cross and

Blue Shield, we

Left to right, Virginia Collier, manager

of BlueCard Claims; Dan Stevens,

get it — in fact we

manager of Provider Network Operations;

and Alicia Clayton, manager

get it so well that

of BlueCard Customer Service.

we received the

Provider Satisfaction Award for 2008.

Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield was in the top

five Blue plans to achieve a service level greater than

80 percent on a national provider satisfaction survey for

BlueCard, our program that allows members traveling

or living outside the state to see doctors and hospitals

contracted with other Blue plans.

More than 600 surveys were conducted in the Arkansas

Blue Cross market, and more than 30,000 were

conducted nationally. Providers rated the plans on

overall satisfaction and a variety of claims processing

issues.

What does that mean for you? It means we work

hard to process claims quickly and accurately, so you

won’t get a telephone call or letter from your provider

asking for additional payments. It means that we are

proactive in resolving issues and making providers happy.

And by making your doctors and their staff happy,

they can focus on the most important part of their job

— taking care of you.

21

Blue & You Summer 2009


22

ATU’s centennial

celebrates education,

growth and

focuses on

health

David Moseley and staff

members take a stroll

through the Arkansas

Tech campus as part of

the Blue & You Fitness

Challenge.

Arkansas Tech University in

Russellville is 100 years old this

year, but through its partnership

with Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue

Shield, the faculty and staff are feeling

as young as ever.

“Our partnership works in many

ways,” said Arkansas Tech President

Robert Charles Brown, Ph.D. “The

provisions of wellness information

and preventive care are especially

beneficial because they keep our

faculty and staff healthy and

ultimately help to keep our

costs down.”

Set in the Ozark foothills, Arkansas

Tech serves almost 7,500

students with 862 faculty and staff

members and offers a wide range of

degrees and certificates. The campus

has experienced tremendous

growth in the past few years, something

Brown said can put a strain

on the budget. But while in today’s

economy some businesses are looking

to cut costs in areas like employee

benefits,

Brown said

that Arkansas

Tech recognizes

the importance

of maintaining good benefits. “It is

fundamental to our business model,”

he said.

Perhaps the value of human

resources is recognized more at

Arkansas Tech because of their

mission. “The only thing we offer

Blue & You Summer 2009


is human resources … that’s what

higher education is …” Brown said,

adding, “If you don’t have healthy

professors you don’t have a good

learning environment for

your students.”

Arkansas Tech

joined the Arkansas

Blue Cross family

in 1993, and in

that long relationship,

Brown said, the

members have taken

advantage of health fairs, a

diabetes lunch and learn, health

education programs and more.

Tech always has been focused on

education, but now a greater part

of that education is focused on

health and wellness. The cafeteria

often spotlights nutritional information

on select items and Tech Fit,

the fitness center is available to

faculty, staff and students. Students

in the wellness science degree

program can even coach faculty on

using the fitness center as part of

their course work.

Brown said the campus plans to

go smoke free this summer and

is looking into building a two-mile

walking trail around the campus.

Freshman orientation even includes

a focus on maintaining good health

to help students avoid the dreaded

“freshman 15” weight gain.

Mary Ann Rollans, dean of the

school of Community Education,

said that each year the campus

holds professional development

training for administrative professionals,

but this year, with about

70 faculty and staff entered into

the Blue & You Fitness

Challenge, there has

been such a focus

on health that they

decided on healthy

living as the theme.

The seminar included

tips from a

nutritionist and other

health-related topics.

David Moseley, senior vice president

of administration and finance,

has been the liaison between Arkansas

Tech and Arkansas Blue Cross,

and said that he is living proof of the

value of quality health insurance.

Moseley had a quadruple bypass in

1999, and said that if it weren’t for

regular checkups, “my story could

have been a whole lot different.”

Moseley said the relationship between

Arkansas Tech and Arkansas

Blue Cross is built on four things:

accessibility, trust, value and customer

service.

“All we have to do is call Dee

Rodgers or Sonya George in the

Central Regional Office,” he said of

the quick response they get to any

question or concern. And, he added,

“We trust Arkansas Blue Cross is

going to do what they say they are

going to do.”

Moseley said the long-term value

is apparent whenever a faculty or

staff member has to go to the doctor

or hospital. As far as customer

service is concerned — “You can’t

beat it,” he said.

Students and faculty members can

exercise at Tech Fit, a state-of-the-art

fitness center on campus.

23

Blue & You Summer 2009


24

A recent study suggests you may

be hurting your teeth after toning

your body if you guzzle a large amount of sports drinks.

Researchers at New York University College of Dentistry

took cow teeth, which are similar to human teeth,

cut them in half and soaked them in sports drinks for 75

to 90 minutes. Afterward, they found the acid from the

drinks caused damage to the tooth enamel, the dentin

(the second layer of the tooth) and caused considerable

staining.

While some opponents of the research say that the

study does not replicate real life, the implications of

the research still may be valuable, especially for those

who consume sports drinks on a regular basis. But,

you don’t have to give them up completely. The following

are suggested in order to prevent the possibility of

tooth erosion:

• Drink sports drinks in moderation.

• Sip sports drinks through a straw.

• Drink plenty of water to flush out the mouth.

Ironically, because sports drinks soften tooth enamel,

the researchers suggest you wait at least 30 minutes

before brushing your teeth after consuming them.

Instead of protecting your pearly whites, you could

actually cause more damage.

Sources: WebMD and CNN.com

Can

sports

drinks

harm

your

teeth?

Health insurance is important!

1. It protects you financially against

catastrophic costs due to an accident

or illness.

2. It provides you with a discount on the

medical services you receive.

Do the

changes in

COBRA

affect you?

They might if you have recently lost your job.

The COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation

Act) subsidy, which was passed as part of the

economic stimulus package in February, gives 65 percent

of COBRA premiums, for nine months, to workers

who are laid off between September 2008 and the

end of this year. The subsidy applies only to workers

laid off from companies with 20 or more workers. This

subsidy is not available to workers whose companies

have closed their doors.

For more information about COBRA, visit the U.S.

Department of Labor Web site at dol.gov.

If you are without a job and without insurance, we

have a plan to meet your needs. Visit arkansasbluecross.com

for more information.

Blue & You Summer 2009


The

Doctor’s

Corner

Take your fish oil today?

The oil found in fish and fish oil

supplements (omega-3 fatty acids)

recommends the following:

• Go to bed at the same time

every night.

by Ray Bredfeldt, M.D.,

Regional Medical Director

Northwest Region, Fayetteville

reduces the risk of macular degen-

• Avoid napping during the day.

eration, a common cause of blind-

• Avoid heavy foods and caffeine

(JAMA) should alleviate those fears.

ness related to aging. Researchers

four to six hours before bedtime.

Researchers reviewed 47 studies on

found that people who eat fish fre-

• Exercise regularly but not right

drugs used for various heart condi-

quently (especially tuna and salmon)

before going to bed.

tions, and found no evidence that

or who take fish oil supplements are

• Eliminate distracting light and

brand-name drugs were superior

less than half as likely to develop

macular degeneration as they age.

noise if possible.

• Avoid watching TV in bed. Watch-

to generic drugs in actual medical

practice.

25

ing TV for some people can

stimulate the mind, making it

more difficult to go to sleep.

• Make sure the room is cool.

• Try not to think about the

worries of the day after you

Smoking and colon cancer

go to bed.

It’s well known that smoking is

the major cause of lung cancer.

Sleeping is good for

Generic vs. Brand-name

Doctors also know that smoking

your heart

heart medications?

is strongly associated with throat,

People who do not get enough

No difference!

kidney, bladder, cervix, stomach

sleep put their health at risk. A

The U.S. Food and Drug Adminis-

and pancreas cancer. A new study

study published recently in the Ar-

tration (FDA) requires that all ge-

recently published in the Journal of

chives of Internal Medicine showed

neric drugs meet the same stan-

the American Medical Association

that people who sleep less than

dards as the original drug. Despite

(JAMA) has determined that colon

seven and one-half hours per night

this requirement, many people still

cancer can be added to this long

are 59 percent more likely to have a

wonder whether generic and brand-

list. Smokers were found to be 18

heart attack, stroke or die suddenly

name heart medications are equal

percent more likely to develop colon

from heart disease. If you have

in their effectiveness. A recent

cancer and 25 percent more likely to

trouble sleeping, the University

study published in the Journal of

die from it than non-smokers.

of Maryland Sleep Disorder Clinic

the American Medical Association

Blue & You Summer 2009


Chiropractic medicine:

26

About 80 percent of adults have experienced

low back pain at some point, making it the fifth

most common reason for all physician visits

in the United States. In many cases, the pain

subsides in a short period of time, but in other

cases, the pain is ongoing, indicating a serious

problem.

The back is a complicated structure of

bones, joints, ligaments and muscles. Injuring

any of these tissues can lead to pain and

possibly impair neck, arm or leg movement. A

healthy lower back provides structural support

for the entire body.

Medications frequently are prescribed

for low back pain, though they only provide

short-term benefits. More than 75 percent of

patients are prescribed at least one medication

for back pain at their initial office visit. But

medications are not the only treatments

available.

Studies show that noninvasive treatments

— such as spinal manipulation and massage

therapy — often provide longer benefits than

medications. A doctor of chiropractic medicine

often provides these noninvasive treatments.

Surgery is another option for treating low

back pain. However, more than 40 percent of

patients who underwent back surgery report

being dissatisfied with the results. Before

choosing surgery, it is recommended that patients

experience at least two years of noninvasive

interventions such as spinal manipulation.

When it comes to managing acute and

chronic back pain, there is no magic solution

that works for everyone. However, chiroprac-

Studies show that

noninvasive treatments

— such as spinal

manipulation and

massage therapy — often

provide longer benefits

than medications.

Blue & You Summer 2009


An effective option for low back pain

tic care has been successful for millions of Americans

looking to avoid surgery and/or regular pain medication.

Chiropractors are best known for their conservative

care of back and neck pain. However, doctors of chiropractic

medicine are capable of treating a broad range

of conditions and injuries. Not only is chiropractic care

beneficial for conditions such as these, but when other

health conditions exist, it may complement or even

support medical treatment. Patient satisfaction

rates are high when hands-on therapies

were used for treatment of various

conditions as an alternative to surgery

or pharmaceuticals.

Chiropractic doctors consult

with their patients in ways

similar to medical doctors.

Laboratory tests or diagnostic

imaging may be requested. A

chiropractic doctor will perform

a physical examination, paying

close attention to the patient’s posture,

motion, balance, muscle strength

and level of neurologic involvement. This allows

the chiropractic doctor to put the patient in one of three

broad categories: 1) nonspecific low back pain related

to joint and ligament laxity, strained or over-used muscles,

or sprained ligaments; 2) back pain potentially associated

with pinched nerves due to spinal stenosis or

disc protrusion; and 3) back pain potentially associated

with other spinal causes such as progressive neurologic

deficits, tumors or infection. Placing the patient in the

correct category helps guide the treatment.

Depending on the examination, a chiropractic treatment

plan may include any one or combination of the

following:

• Spinal manipulation

• Electrical muscle stimulation

• Traction

• Ultrasound

• Soft tissue massage

• Home treatment recommendations

• Lifting posture and lifestyles modifications

• Rehabilitative exercises

A treatment plan also may involve collaborative

care with other health-care providers,

such as your primary care physician,

orthopedist or neurologist.

The extent of a patient’s

problems coupled with the

hands-on nature of chiropractic

treatment may require

several office visits. While

many patients feel immediate

relief following chiropractic

treatment, it may take others two

to three weeks before they achieve

substantial progress. Your chiropractic

doctor should tell you how long the treatment

should last.

When choosing a doctor of chiropractic medicine,

the American Chiropractic Association (ACA) suggests

you select a chiropractic physician with whom you are

comfortable, who thoroughly answers your questions

and explains the recommended treatment plan.

To locate a chiropractic doctor in your area, visit one

of our Web sites listed on page 31.

Sources: American Chiropractic Association (ACA),

Consumer Reports, Annals of Internal Medicine

27

Blue & You Summer 2009


BlueAnn Ewe and the Arkansas Blue Cross Heart Walk team.

28

Arkansas Blue Cross has a heart

Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield has a “heart” sas Blue Cross’ health ambassador, joined more than

and encourages its employees to maintain a healthy 300 Arkansas Blue Cross employees on April 4 to walk

heart! As “You Have A Heart” sponsors of the American

Heart Association’s Heart Walk, Arkansas Blue the North Shore Riverwalk in North Little Rock.

in the American Heart Association’s Heart Walk held at

Cross formed a corporate team. BlueAnn Ewe, Arkan-

BlueAnn Ewe joins Perritt Primary School

BlueAnn Ewe joined the annual “Just Say No” drug

prevention walk hosted by Perritt Primary School in

Arkadelphia on April 10. BlueAnn led the fight against

drugs with hundreds of elementary students, high

school and college mentors, parents, teachers and

administration staff, and community supporters. Perritt’s

Nickelodeon singers got the day off to a great start

with two musical numbers that fit with the theme.

Arkadelphia High School cheerleaders and junior high

drill team members led a workout on the school lawn.

The students, along with BlueAnn, walked to the newspaper

office for another rally and then headed back to

the school, but not before stopping at the principal’s

house for juice and cookies. Community and state

leaders greeted the walkers, pledging their support in

the fight against drugs. Ashlen Batson, Miss Arkansas

2008, served as the keynote speaker. BlueAnn, Barney

the Badger and “No Smok-e-mon” were special guests

at the rally. Clark County Sheriff’s Office and Arkadelphia

Police Department officers, and members of the

Arkadelphia Fire Department Rescue Unit joined in the

assembly.

BlueAnn walks in the “Just Say NO” drug prevention walk

hosted by Perritt Primary School in Arkadelphia.

Blue & You Summer 2009


Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield

Financial Information Privacy Notice

At Arkansas Blue Cross and

Blue Shield and its affiliates

(HMO Partners, Inc. d/b/a Health

Advantage, and BlueAdvantage

Administrators of Arkansas), we

understand how important it is to

keep your private information just

that — private. Because of the

nature of our business, we must

collect some personal information

from our members, but we also are

committed to maintaining, securing

and protecting that information.

Customer Information

Arkansas Blue Cross and its

purchase and use of our

products.

• Information related to the fact

that you have been or currently

are a member.

Sharing of Information

Arkansas Blue Cross and its

affiliates do not disclose, and do not

wish to reserve the right to disclose,

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

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.

As required by state regulation, we

must notify our members about

how we handle non-public financial

information of our members. Nothing

29

affiliates only compile information

another or other third parties are:

has changed in the way we conduct

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

• 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.

our business. If you would like to

review the Financial Information

Privacy Notices for all Arkansas Blue

Cross members, you can visit our Web

site at arkansasbluecross.com or call

the appropriate Arkansas Blue Cross

affiliate company to receive the Privacy

Notice. Our customer service areas

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

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

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

Central time, Monday through Friday.

To receive a copy of the Privacy

Notice, members should call:

Arkansas Blue Cross —

1-800-238-8379.

Health Advantage — 1-800-843-1329.

BlueAdvantage Administrators of

Arkansas — Members should call

Customer Service using the toll-free

telephone number on their ID card.

Blue & You Summer 2009


30

Generic drugs: Use with confidence!

Rising prescription drug costs FDA to sell generic versions. Since

affect everyone, especially older they don’t have the investment, the

Americans, but many people manufacturers sell the generic drug

worry that generic versions of their at a lower price.

medications are not as good as the The FDA review process for generic

drugs is almost identical to the

brand-name version. If you are one

of these people — stop worrying! process for brand-name drugs:

Generic drugs can be used with • A brand-name drug must be

confidence.

FDA-approved before a generic

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration

(FDA) approves brand name must have the same active

can be created. The generic

and generic drug products sold in ingredient or ingredients and the

the United States, and the quality same strength as the brandname

drug.

standards are the same for both

products. The difference in price • The manufacturer must show

comes from the cost of developing the generic drug is bioequivalent

the drug.

to the brand-name drug. This

New drugs are developed under means that it will react in the

patent protection. Pharmaceutical same way in a person’s body.

companies invest large amounts • The generic drug’s label must

of money to be sure their products be essentially the same as the

are safe and effective, so they are approved drug.

allowed to sell the drug while the • The firm must document the generic

drug’s chemistry, manufac-

patent is in effect and they may sell

it at a higher cost to recoup their turing steps and quality control

investment. When patents on brandname

drugs near expiration, drug • The raw materials and finished

measures for FDA review.

manufacturers may apply to the

generic product must meet

From the

specifications set by U.S. Pharmacopoeia,

a non-profit, scientific

body that sets standards for

drug purity.

• Once on the market, the firm

must continue to monitor the

drug’s stability. Firms making

sterile drugs must submit data

assuring sterility.

• The firm must comply with federal

good manufacturing practice

regulations and undergo FDA

inspection to assure compliance.

Generic competition keeps costs

down and encourages drug companies

to develop newer and better

medicines. Generic drugs save

Americans an estimated $8 to $10

billion a year (according to the Congressional

Budget Office). Billions

more are saved when hospitals use

generics.

So the next time you get a prescription

filled, ask your pharmacist

if a generic version is available. Use

generics with confidence!

Source: U.S. Food and Drug

Administration

Pharmacist

by Trey Gardner, Pharm D.,

Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield

Blue & You Summer 2009


Arkansas Blue Cross

helps city of Mena

(Left to right) Ken Bell, managed care service representative

for the West Central Region in Fort Smith; Cindy Long, vice

president of Retail Banking and Human Development for

the Union Bank of Mena; Dr. Diann Gathright, Mena School

Superintendent; Martha Carlson, regional executive for the

West Central Region; and P.T. Plunkett, chairman of the

Bearcat Foundation, Inc.

When the city of Mena was devastated by a tornado

in April, Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield looked

for ways to help the residents recover from the storm.

A $5,000 donation was made to heavily damaged

Mena Middle School to replace academic equipment

and help purchase physical education equipment.

Arkansas Blue Cross employees raised an additional

$2,573 to help Mena’s residents recover.

“Arkansas Blue Cross is always looking for ways to

improve the lives of all Arkansans, and when our neighbors

are in need, we are there to lend a helping hand,”

said Martha Carlson, regional executive of the West

Central Regional Office, which serves Polk County

where Mena is located. Carlson presented the donation

to Mena Middle School.

Arkansas Blue Cross continually provides donations

to organizations and communities in need throughout

Arkansas through corporate sponsorship, the Blue &

You Foundation for a Healthier Arkansas and employee

fundraisers.

We love to hear from you!

May we help? For customer service please call:

Little Rock

Number (501)

Toll-free

Number

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

Medi-Pak Advantage or Medi-Pak Rx 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

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 1-800-236-0369

1800 West 73rd St.

Jonesboro/Northeast Region 1-800-299-4124

707 East Matthews Ave.

Hot Springs/South Central Region 1-800-588-5733

100 Greenwood Ave., Suite C

Texarkana/Southwest Region 1-800-470-9621

1710 Arkansas Boulevard

Fayetteville/Northwest Region 1-800-817-7726

516 East Milsap Rd., Suite 103

Fort Smith/West Central Region 1-866-254-9117

3501 Old Greenwood Rd., Suite 5

Little Rock/Central Region 1-800-421-1112

320 West Capitol Ave., Suite 900

Web sites:

arkansasbluecross.com

healthadvantage-hmo.com

blueadvantagearkansas.com

blueandyoufoundationarkansas.org

blueannewe-ark.com

31

Blue & You Summer 2009


32

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.

Wellness Discounts are good for you

As a member, you are entitled to numerous discounts!

Our discount wellness program connects you with

numerous resources such as health and fitness clubs,

weight management plans, sporting goods and fitness

and safety equipment vendors and more. For more

information, visit us online at arkansasbluecross.com,

healthadvantage-hmo.com or blueadvantagearkansas.

com depending on your policy.

Take ou r survey

Tell us what you think. Go to

arkansasbluecross.com and fill out the

survey on the home page for a chance to

win a gift card. We value your input.

Someone you know need

insurance?

Chances are, if you are receiving this

magazine, you already have insurance

with Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue

Shield or one of our affiliated companies.

However, you may have

a child who has “aged off” your

plan, a brother who no longer has

insurance through his employer,

or an uncle who just turned 65

and now is eligible for a Medicare

plan. Whatever the need, we can

help. Share our telephone number

— 1-800-392-2583 — with someone

today who needs health insurance,

and we’ll help them find a plan to fit their

needs and budget.

Blue & You Summer 2009

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