A publication for the policyholders of the Arkansas
Blue Cross and Blue Shield family of companies
Don’t let your summer be a “bummer”
We work for
you – learn how
A mother’s pain
leads to advocacy
De Queen clinic has
knocks out some
as part of her
3 A Word with Curtis Barnett
on page 16.
Virtual health: Care. Anytime. Anywhere.
A mother’s pain leads to advocacy
2019 mini-grants hit new high for health
Outside in Arkansas: Nature’s air-conditioned hike
Working out solutions for health
Need care? Think about where.
Member’s courage earns posthumous Faces of Fearless ® award
Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield – Financial Information Privacy Notice
Arkansas Blue Cross moves up Forbes list
Customer Service contact information
Fearless Fans and Fireworks – July 19
Cover illustration by
Wendell “Buster” Hall
Blue & You SUMMER 2019
We work for you
Although misunderstood, our not-forprofit
mutual status puts members at
the center of our universe
Did you know Arkansas Blue Cross and
Blue Shield is a not-for-profit company?
If you didn’t know that, don’t feel
bad. Recent research revealed that
lots of people have a fundamental
misunderstanding about what kind of
company Arkansas Blue Cross actually is.
OK, here’s the official definition: We
are a private, not-for-profit, mutual
health insurance company.
Let’s break that down:
PRIVATE This simply means we are not
a publicly traded company that can issue
stock and of which large organizations,
mutual funds and the general public can
buy and own shares.
NOT-FOR-PROFIT Unlike for-profit
companies, our ultimate goal is not to
make profits for those who hold financial
interests in the company.
Like any business, we have to cover
our expenses, plan for the future and
maintain adequate financial reserves to
carry us through unforeseen events and
tough financial times. The difference
is that we do not pay dividends to
anyone. All the money stays in the
system. All revenue is used to pay
claims, fund new initiatives to improve
the health of our members, make various
investments in our infrastructure and
maintain ongoing business operations.
Period. Another important fact is
President and Chief Executive Officer
that, unlike a local nonprofit food
bank or homeless shelter (which are
charities), we are not tax-exempt.
Each year, Arkansas Blue Cross pays
tens of millions of dollars in state and
federal taxes. We typically pay more in
combined local, state and federal taxes
than we earn in net income.
MUTUAL This is perhaps the most
important part. In a mutual health
insurance company, policyholders
(members) actually own the company
entirely, but they are not paid profits.
The money individual members pay
in premiums is pooled and used for
the purposes mentioned previously.
“Mutual” simply means that every
member’s participation benefits every
Here are some key points about our notfor-profit
status and why it’s good for
our members and their communities:
• We give back to Arkansas. Arkansas
Blue Cross and its employees put
their resources, time and energy into
addressing key health-related issues
such as hunger and food insecurity –
as with our Fearless Food Fights, which
produced more than 1.1 million meals for
local food pantries last year. Arkansas
Blue Cross also maintains a separate
nonprofit giving foundation (the Blue &
You Foundation for a Healthier Arkansas)
that makes grants to health-promoting
community projects throughout
Arkansas. In its 17-year history, the Blue
& You Foundation has awarded more
than $33 million in grants to more than
1,500 applicants (in all 75 counties).
• We support state and local
economies by creating good
jobs and paying taxes. We employ
more than 2,900 people (in central
Arkansas and regional locations
throughout the state). Arkansas Blue
Cross consistently ranks among the
state’s top 25 employers. We’ve
been named one of the state’s “Best
Places to Work” by Arkansas Business
magazine for six consecutive years.
We are recognized as a state leader
in having policies that promote gender
equity in the workplace. And we
recently were ranked 33 rd nationally
on Forbes’ list of America’s Best
Midsize Employers. Incidentally, we
were the highest-rated insurer
and Arkansas-based company among
the 500 employers named to that
list. And as stated previously, we
pay state and federal taxes, totaling
several hundred million dollars in the
last 10-15 years alone.
• We are committed to Arkansas –
first and always. Arkansas Blue Cross
began as a “grassroots” organization,
formed by Arkansans to serve
Arkansans. And we’ve been doing so for
seven decades now. Arkansas is first ...
in our name, hearts, minds and work.
So when we say we are different and
that we exist to make our members’
lives better, that’s not just talk – it’s in
our corporate DNA. It’s who we are and
what we do. And it makes me proud to
say, “I work for Arkansas Blue Cross ...
which means I work for you.”
Blue & You SUMMER 2019 3
Middle of the night. Tug on the covers. Toddler.
Tummy hurts. Lamp turns on. Wow. Pajamas soaked
with sweat. Forehead fever check. Hot! Is that a rash?
We’ve all been there – needing to see your doctor but not
really being able to get there. Illness and injury often don’t
follow normal business hours. So when you need answers
in those times when getting to your doctor isn’t an option,
a virtual health visit might help.
Beginning July 1, 2019, Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue
Shield and Health Advantage members (whether covered
under individual or group health insurance policies*) will
have access to medical help – via smartphone or computer –
in those times when it’s difficult for you to go see your
regular doctor in person.
Virtual health – often referred to as “telehealth” or
“telemedicine” – is a service to help members have peace
of mind in knowing that even at 2 a.m. or in a hotel room five
states from home (or perhaps both), expert medical care is at
your fingertips – delivered by state-licensed, board-certified
physicians. Virtual health complements (and should never
replace) your relationship with your primary care physician.
Access to a physician through virtual health can help you
get answers and guidance and even medicine to address
pressing medical issues when time, distance or your schedule
get in the way of a trip to your doctor’s office.
If your doctor already provides you 24/7 telehealth access,
you can go that route. But if not, we’ve got you covered.
Signing up for virtual health
is quick and easy.
Is virtual health easy to use?
If you’re using FaceTime, Skype, etc., to chat with family and
friends, then you’re already familiar with this kind of twoway
audio/visual communication. The only difference is that
with virtual health, you’ll visit with a doctor who can help
with a diagnosis (for a defined menu of illnesses/conditions)
and even prescribe medicine, if you need it.
* Virtual health services are available beginning July 1, 2019, for fully insured members. “Fully insured” means members who purchase their health insurance directly
(individuals) and those whose health insurance is provided by their employer (group coverage) through Arkansas Blue Cross or Health Advantage. Some members of selffunded
groups also have virtual health. Virtual health currently is not available through Arkansas Blue Cross or Health Advantage for Medicare-eligible members, Federal
Employee Program Service Benefit Plan members or Arkansas State Employees/Public School Employees members. Members whose coverages include virtual health should
be able to successfully register online. Members whose coverages do not include virtual health will not be able to successfully register online. A check of your benefit
summary will indicate whether virtual health is available to you.
Blue & You
Contact virtual health for nonemergency conditions such as:
• Common cold
• Ear problems
• Insect bites
• Pink eye
• Respiratory problems
• Sore throat
• Urinary problems
• And more …
And if you’re not familiar with video chats and the like, don’t
worry – the technology is very user-friendly, even for beginners.
Virtual health (powered by MDLIVE):
• Lets you (and anyone covered under your health plan)
see a physician after hours or away from home
• Boasts an average wait time of less than 10 minutes
• Features 24/7 availability of primary care physicians
Your health plan treats virtual health visits the same as a visit
with your primary care physician. Your normal copayments,
coinsurance and deductibles apply. You just pay online at the
time of service.
What can virtual health be used for?
Virtual health is intended for nonemergency conditions you
normally would see your primary doctor to assess and treat.
If you have a broken bone, excessive bleeding, dangerously
high fever, a bad burn, symptoms of heart attack or stroke, etc.,
you should get to the nearest emergency room (ER) as soon
as possible. Also, virtual health currently does not cover skin
conditions (except acne) or mental/behavioral/emotional health
conditions. For those conditions, please see a specialist.
Sign up for virtual health today!
1. Members should go to MyVirtualHealth.com
2. If you are not registered for My Blueprint,
that’s the first step, and you can do that from
the MyVirtualHealth.com site
• You should select the Register button below
the Member sign-in area
• You will be prompted to enter your name,
member ID number and date of birth
• You will be prompted to establish a
My Blueprint username and password
• Your My Blueprint sign-up is complete!
3. If you’re already registered in My Blueprint, simply go to
MyVirtualHealth.com and log in to the Member signin
area, using your My Blueprint username and password
4. Once signed in to My Blueprint, select the
Virtual Health button, which takes you to our
virtual health provider (MDLIVE)
• You will be prompted to provide a username
and password for the virtual health service
• You will be prompted to enter a username
and choose a security question
• You’re signed up!
Sign up for virtual health now to get care right where you
are ... right when you need it ... before you need a doctor on
the other end of the line or link ... before there’s a tug on the
covers ... and tomorrow is too long to wait.
Copyright © 2018 MDLIVE Inc. All Rights Reserved. MDLIVE does not replace the primary care physician and is not an insurance product. MDLIVE may not be available in certain
states and is subject to state regulations. MDLIVE does not prescribe DEA controlled substances and may not prescribe non-therapeutic drugs and certain other drugs, which may
be harmful because of their potential for abuse. MDLIVE does not guarantee patients will receive a prescription. Healthcare professionals using the platform have the right to deny
care if based on professional judgment a case is inappropriate for telehealth or for misuse of services. MDLIVE and the MDLIVE logo are registered trademarks of MDLIVE, Inc.
telehealth services on behalf of Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield.
Blue & You SUMMER 2019 5
leads to advocacy
Paula Cunningham’s story gives a voice –
and a face – to the opioid crisis
On August 29, 2018, I sat at my son’s bedside and looked
at his sweet face, remembering the child he once was;
imagining his laughter and sweet smile that would fill ...
and light up ... the room. I remembered the big hugs he
gave. I watched as the machine moved his chest up and
down rhythmically, lulling me back to the memories of the
days when he would run through the house with excitement
over just about anything. I remembered the tender, loving
heart underneath that big laugh. I remembered the son who
hated to see me cry and hated it more when he was the
reason I cried. So, I held back the tears, and I thanked God
for this beautiful child.
I held my son’s hand that night for the last time. I watched
as his heartbeat grew weaker and weaker. Surprisingly,
that wasn’t the hard part. The hard part was the past four
years, watching a disease consume my child. Watching a
drug turn my son into a machine that functioned only to
replace the drug that was keeping it running. Watching him
so desperately try to fight it on his own – trying to save his
family the pain it caused. Watching him die inside over the
shame people heaped on him.
Editor’s note: Paula Cunningham is the manager of Medical
Policy Administration for Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue
Shield. She also has been tragically affected by Arkansas’
opioid crisis, which claimed the life of her son, Parker.
Since her son’s passing last year, Cunningham has become
a passionate activist, seeking a pragmatic approach in
addressing the problem and encouraging compassion for
those whose lives are touched by it. This article is her very
Blue & You SUMMER 2019
I want you to hear my story so you
will know - and perhaps deeply feel -
the devastating effects of the opioid
epidemic. But there’s so much more that
I want you to know. I want you to know
that individuals suffering from opioid use
disorder are people. I want you to know
that substance use disorder is a chronic
medical condition and not a moral failing.
I want you to know the dangers of opioids.
And finally, I want you to know that there
is hope and there is help, whether it’s you
struggling with a substance use disorder
... or someone you love.
My son, Parker, suffered from opioid use disorder. The
pain of watching him lie helpless as the machine kept
him breathing was no more severe than watching him live
with and fight the disease. He didn’t want it any more than
someone wants cancer or another serious chronic illness. I
remember a head hung low with tears of shame and guilt
after a relapse. Yet he got back up and returned to treatment
to try again. I remember every cry of “I’m sorry” after another
unkept promise. I remember his great efforts to try to hide
the magnitude of his addiction from his family. I remember
his despair over a disease he couldn’t control. And finally,
I remember his fear. I didn’t see a young man with a drug
addiction. I saw a scared child desperate to find a way to
beat this monster of a disease so that he could live. I saw my
beautiful, sweet, quick-witted, loving child trying to hide the
pain and fear of a realization that he might not make it.
At some point in his early teens, Parker made a choice to
take an opiate that someone gave him. Shortly after, it
was no longer a choice for him. It wasn’t as simple as just
deciding to quit. Parker couldn’t quit on his own, no matter
how hard he tried. That’s hard for some to understand.
This lack of understanding leads to a stigma attached to
people with substance use disorder. This stigma is a mark
of disgrace, shame or judgment that is placed on someone
when we perceive that he or she is somehow at fault for an
illness or lacks the will or desire to overcome it. This belief
– that the person suffering from an opioid use disorder can
control it or is to blame – is wrong.
This stigma is also difficult for the family. I needed to talk about
my son’s illness, but many people aren’t comfortable talking
about addiction. Facing the fact that your child or loved one has
a serious chronic illness is tough enough, without the added
stigma and blame that often get placed on family members.
To counteract the stigma and wrap my head around the
seriousness of my son’s illness, I approached it as if Parker had
cancer. I knew there were many parents who faced life knowing
that their child was suffering from cancer or some other serious
illnesses and that those parents somehow managed. Therefore,
in my mind, I approached it as if my son had been diagnosed
with cancer. How would I handle it if he were battling cancer? I
would fight alongside my child as hard as I could. If he wanted
to fight and wanted treatment, I would help him get that
treatment and support him every step of the way.
Parker didn’t want this disease any more than anyone
else fighting a serious, chronic illness wants to stay ill.
I remember sitting with him while he cried, telling me he
just wanted to be normal – to be the son, brother, uncle and
grandson that his family deserved. I saw Parker trying his
best to fight, so I was determined to stand strong and fight
alongside him. After battling hard through several different
modes of treatment, including residential treatment,
intensive outpatient treatment and medication-assisted
treatment, my son lost the fight, following an accidental
overdose ... at just 20 years of age.
Blue & You SUMMER 2019 7
It has not been an easy journey – and certainly not one that
I chose. However, it’s what I have been given. I wish I could
sit back and pretend all of this isn’t happening. I wish I could
simply ignore the crisis that is going on in our state and in
our country. But I can’t. There simply is too much work to
be done. I don’t believe that any of us can afford to turn a
blind eye to this epidemic. It’s going to take all of us coming
together to do what we can in our own circles of influence
to end this opioid crisis. My plea to anyone reading this is to
ask yourself what you can do to make a difference.
What can you do?
• Decrease the stigma. The language we use matters.
This is the simplest, yet most profound, action we can
take. For people who have a substance use disorder,
the accompanying stigma often is a hindrance to their
seeking help and can negatively affect their treatment
and recovery. This stigma stems from a perception that
the person who has a substance use disorder can control
the addiction if he or she chooses to or that he/she is
somehow at fault for having the disorder. It’s important
to be aware of your language and your perceptions.
Use language such as, “a person with a substance use
disorder” or “a person struggling with addiction” rather
than harsher labels such as “addict,” “drug abuser” or
“junkie.” Remember, addiction is not a moral failing but
a chronic disease. Research has shown that addictive
substances can lead to changes in brain function and
decrease a person’s ability to control their substance use.
Repeated use significantly alters the brain’s chemistry and
circuitry, thereby creating a neurobiological disorder.
• Monitor, secure and dispose of prescription
medications. Often people who abuse opioids get them
from the medicine cabinets of family members or friends. It’s
essential that we lock up opioid medications and dispose of
any leftover pills. Arkansas has prescription drug take-back
events twice a year throughout the state, during which
unused medications may be dropped off for safe disposal.
Additional permanent disposal sites are located throughout
the state at various locations.
• Have lifesaving naloxone (Narcan) on hand if
you feel you might be in a position to intervene in
an opioid-related overdose. Naloxone is an opioid
antagonist that can be used to reverse the effects of
an opioid-induced overdose. Naloxone nasal spray is
fairly simple to use and is not harmful if the cause of
nonresponsiveness is not opioid-related. Naloxone
is available for purchase with a prescription at some
pharmacies in Arkansas. Naloxone purchased with a
prescription is covered by Arkansas Blue Cross.
Blue & You SUMMER 2019
Happier days – (From left) Paula Cunningham,
her son, Parker, and daughter, Lacy, celebrated
Parker’s high school graduation with a June
2016 family trip to Gulf Shores, Alabama.
• Seek help. Whether it is you or your family member
struggling with a substance use disorder, know that you
are not alone and that help is available. There are several
different treatments available, including residential
treatment, partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient
treatment and medication-assisted treatment. Medicationassisted
treatments (e.g., methadone, buprenorphine,
naltrexone), combined with counseling and behavioral
therapy, have been proven to reduce the rate of overdose
in people who have an opioid use disorder.
A variety of “12-step” programs (Alcoholics Anonymous,
Narcotics Anonymous and the faith-based Celebrate
Recovery program) and other self-help options
complement treatment of opioid use disorder. Al-Anon is
a 12-step program designed to help family members of
people struggling with substance use disorders.
• Advocacy and change. We all have an opportunity, in
our own circles of influence, to make a difference. Assess
needed change in your workplace, church, social settings,
civic groups or professional affiliations. Ask yourself if
you can do something to influence change. For example,
if you work in a health-related field, are you advocating
for medication-assisted treatment? If you are a member
of a civic group, could you suggest a speaker to promote
education and awareness? Each of us can do something.
No action is too small.
This is not just my story. This could be anyone’s story. This is
the story of the parents and loved ones of the other 47,000
victims of opioid-induced overdose in 2017 and the countless
others who were lost in 2018 and so far in 2019. The disease
of addiction knows no boundaries. It affects both males
and females across age groups, races, religions and social
statuses. The very real flesh-and-blood people struggling with
substance use disorder are our neighbors, our friends, our
co-workers, our family members ... and perhaps ourselves.
HIT NEW HIGH
The Blue & You Foundation for a
Healthier Arkansas awarded a recordhigh
316 mini-grants to community
projects throughout the state for 2019.
“Because of the many health needs in
Arkansas, the Foundation received a recordbreaking
60% increase in applications and
awarded 54% more grants this year to
organizations in 130 different communities,”
said Patrick O’Sullivan, executive director
of the Blue & You Foundation.
Of this year’s mini-grant recipients,
242 (77%) were first-time recipients,
29 of which were from new cities –
which brings the total number of Arkansas
cities funded by the Foundation to 241.
“These $1,000 mini-grants are used to
fund such things as automated external
defibrillators (AEDs) and bleeding-control
kits for use in public buildings, opioid
overdose spray kits for first responders,
exercise and healthy-eating programs and
addressing food insecurity,” said O’Sullivan.
Items purchased this year include:
• 79 automated external defibrillators
• 54 Stop the Bleed kits
• 14 naloxone kits
Find more information on this
year’s mini-grants (and all previous
grants) on the Foundation’s website:
Blue & You Foundation for a Healthier
Arkansas sets record for $1,000 awards
CHURCH SCHOOLS GOVERN-
Top 12 Areas Funded
126 64 63 60 3
TOTAL -- 316
84 28 20
20 19 18
15 11 10
8 8 8
Blue & You SUMMER 2019 9
Nature’s air-conditioned hike
Blanchard Springs Caverns offers three separate
guided-tour options for visitors: The Dripstone
Trail, the Discovery Trail and the Wild Cave Tour.
Here’s a brief description of each:
• The Dripstone Trail takes about an hour
to tour and is accessible to wheelchairs
and strollers (with assistance). The tour
covers four-tenths of a mile, has 50 stair
steps to navigate and has seating areas
along the trail for rest.
Blanchard Springs Caverns:
A cool way to stay active
and beat summer’s heat
Getting outside in Arkansas in the summer can
be a sweaty proposition. But for those who
want to experience all “The Natural State” has
to offer and still keep cool, there is a wonderful
alternative – Blanchard Springs Caverns.
Located just 11 miles northwest of Mountain
View in the heart of the Ozark National Forest,
Blanchard Springs Caverns offers breathtaking
views and opportunities for adventure, all at a
comfy 58 degrees year-round. Known as “The
Living Cave” because it constantly changes,
• The Discovery Trail takes an hour and a
half and is a bit more strenuous than the
Dripstone Trail. There are approximately
700 stair steps to navigate, which means
it’s not recommended for those who
have health problems.
• The Wild Cave Tour is the one for
more adventurous souls. On this tour,
visitors get to “suit up” with hard
hats, kneepads, gloves, lights and
utility belts and take a three- to fourhour
tour in, around and through the
deepest of Blanchard Springs’ caverns.
It is extremely strenuous and is
recommended only for those who
don’t mind getting a real workout.
Participants must be at least 10 years
old, and adults must accompany
children 12 years old and younger.
Blue & You SUMMER 2019
All three trails provide opportunities to see calcite formations,
massive flowstones, stalagmites and stalactites. Cave bats are
rarely seen along the Dripstone Trail but are more frequently
encountered on the other two routes.
After a guided “spelunking” tour, visitors may take in the
beauty of the Ozark National Forest, perhaps by visiting the
year-round spring that gushes from the base of the mountain,
fishing on Mirror Lake, hiking beneath the waterfall that flows
over the dam or spending a leisurely night at the Blanchard
Springs Campground. There is so much to see and do, you can
log 10,000 steps before you know it. You can get in a day’s
exercise without breaking a sweat.
Who is Blanchard? ...
and other discoveries
Blanchard Springs Caverns is a
limestone cave system more than
200 feet underground in the midst
of the Ozark National Forest. It is
named for John H. Blanchard, a
native Kentuckian who moved to
Arkansas after the Civil War. He
homesteaded 160 acres in the Ozarks
and built a gristmill powered by the
spring that now bears his name.
Planning to drop in?
Blanchard Springs Caverns, which is
managed by the U.S. Forest Service, is
open (9:30 a.m. - 6 p.m.) seven days a week
from April through October. The rest of the
year, the caverns are closed on Mondays
and Tuesdays and on Thanksgiving Day,
Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.
Even though local residents were
aware of the cave’s existence
in the early 1930s, the first
documented visit was in 1934 by
William Hadley, a planner with the
Civilian Conservation Corps. It was
explored by amateurs in 1955 and by
professional explorers in 1960.
In 1971, scuba divers entered
through the spring entrance and
followed the underground river
through 4,000 feet of underwater
passages. They were able to map
all five caverns. The Dripstone Trail
opened to the public in 1973, and the
Discovery Trail opened in 1977.
Blue & You SUMMER 2019 11
Don’t let health issues turn your
dreamed-of getaway into a nightmare
hether it’s a road trip through
the Ozarks... a flight to Maine...
a cruise on the Atlantic ... or that
big family theme park blowout,
vacation should be a time to
relax and enjoy yourself and
your family, not stress about an
injury or illness. Here are some
tips that might help you enjoy
your vacation – getting there and
being there – to the fullest.
Some health events are caused
by outside forces. You catch a
virus that’s going around, eat
some bad potato salad or get
stung by a jellyfish. Others are
self-imposed. You overdo the
sunbathing and burn to a crisp,
take a curve too fast on that
rented scooter or maybe your
campsite is covered with poison
ivy – and fire ants. Yikes.
Prepare for where you’re going
and what you’ll be doing. Going
to the woods? Don’t forget insect
repellent and a first-aid kit ... and
maybe some calamine lotion and/
or anti-itch cream. Going to the
beach? Suncreen is a must-have.
The Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention (CDC) suggests
using one with a sun protection
factor (SPF) of at least 15 and
that it be applied on all exposed
skin at least every two hours
and anytime you come out of the
water. And you might want to take
a bottle of vinegar for jellyfish
stings. Going to a theme park?
Your backpack probably should
be stocked with motion-sickness
medicine, sunscreen, some basic
first-aid items, antacids and wet
wipes. And your shoes should
• Select a destination with everyone
in mind – Children with underdeveloped
immune systems and elderly individuals with
weaker immune systems may be at risk in
certain places. And it’s not just about exposure
to some rare disease in a subtropical region of
the world. In the United States, there is a rise in
measles cases, partially due to low vaccination
rates in recent years. Right now, roughly 764
cases have been reported (in 23 states).
• Don’t wait to vaccinate – According to
vaccines.gov (the U.S. Department of Health and
Human Services website), travelers should get
vaccinations four to six weeks before traveling.
The vaccines you get are based on where you’ll
be traveling, whether you’re pregnant and what
other vaccinations you’ve had.
• Travel insured – Emergency medical
expenses can bring a vacation to a full stop.
Treatments and transportation costs can
easily climb into the thousands, and that’s if
you’re vacationing in the United States. Costs
can reach tens of thousands of dollars if you
are overseas. Arkansas Blue Cross offers the
BlueCard travel benefit for domestic travelers
and the GeoBlue travel plan for international
travelers. Both plans offer reliable coverage
and peace of mind in the event of a
medical emergency. You can read more at
• Mind your meds – The Transportation
Security Administration (TSA) suggests that
travelers keep their medications in carryon
baggage instead of checked baggage.
That way you’ll have them if you need them
midflight or before arriving at your destination.
• Be practical – If your vacation involves a lot
of walking, having the right shoes can make a
huge difference. And don’t forget to factor in
the climate. All that fun can take a toll on your
body. Plan some down time to just rest.
Illustrations by Wendell “Buster” Hall
You should never take a
vacation from prescribed
medications. They can help
ensure your trip goes well.
So here are some pointers for
staying on track with your meds,
even when you’re far from home:
Stay on schedule
If you’re taking medications, make
sure they are easily accessible, and
take them as scheduled. Calendar
reminders in your cell phone, pill
boxes and reminder apps like Med
Minder can help you.
Carrying liquids and pills
For domestic flights, the federal
Transportation Safety Administration
(TSA) does not require you to show your medications
before boarding, unless they are in liquid form. Liquid
medications must be 3.4 ounces or less. Medications
in pill form of any amount can be carried aboard. All
medications must go through the airport scanner.
• Know before you go – Is that over-the-counter
Sudafed illegal in Japan? You have a doctor’s
prescription for Ambien to help you sleep, and you’re
headed to Nigeria. Will that be a problem? Yes, and
yes. Many drugs approved in the United States are
banned in other countries. Check with the foreign
embassy of your destination country to find out which
medications are allowable and which are not.
• Keep it simple – When traveling with medications
that are allowable:
- Carry a note from your doctor (on his/her
letterhead) indicating your prescriptions
- Carry medicines in their original containers,
- Carry both the generic and prescription
names of your medicines with you
- Carry enough medicine for your trip – and
a bit more, in the event of travel delays
Blue & You SUMMER 2019 13
Illness or injury when traveling outside
Arkansas or outside the United States can
have a negative impact on your vacation,
but without the right coverage, it could
also hit you pretty hard in the pocketbook.
In either event, BlueCard and GeoBlue
travel benefits can have you covered.
BlueCard is a travel benefit (part of
your normal coverage) that allows
traditional and PPO members to
receive the same healthcare benefits
and balance-billing protection of their
local Blue Plan when traveling or living
outside Arkansas. BlueCard provides
national (and some international)
coverage. Without this benefit, the outof-network
cost of getting care outside
Arkansas could cost you big.
If you’re one of the millions of Americans
traveling abroad, our GeoBlue
supplemental travel plan (a specialized
policy that is separate from your normal
healthcare coverage) can cover you. The
GeoBlue plan offers customizable coverage
for business and leisure travelers,
expatriates, travel/tour groups, mariners,
missionaries and students. Again, having
this coverage when you are traveling
beyond the borders of the United States
can help protect you from racking up
potentially huge out-of-pocket expenses.
To learn more about BlueCard, call us at
1-800-880-0918. For information about
GeoBlue, simply call 1-800-392-2583.
Eating healthy on holiday
The temptation on vacation is to
indulge ... treat yourself ... splurge.
Plus, along highways and in airports
and on cruise ships, it can be tough
to find fare that isn’t laden with
fat, sugar or sodium. And veggies
seldom make the value menu. But
with a little extra effort, you can eat
for enjoyment and for health.
• Drink water – In addition to
keeping you hydrated, it will help
keep you full and is infinitely
better for you than sodas, which
can destabilize your blood sugar,
drain your energy and dampen
• Pack some snacks – Having
fruit and nuts in the car or a
backpack is a healthy way to keep
energy and spirits up between
meals and stave off hunger
pangs. You’ll also probably eat
less when you do stop.
• Go for grilled – Protein is
great for energy, and grilled
options are lower in fat and
are widely available.
• Shake the sodium – Too much
salt can play a role in raising
blood pressure, along with your
risk for heart attack, stroke and
kidney failure. There’s plenty of
sodium in fast-food fare, without
adding any. Bacon is a big sodium
add-on. Just leaving off bacon can
help a good bit.
• Say “yes” to less – Avoid
“super-sizing” meals. Leaving
off the fries or shake can make
Embrace the process
• Be wise about wellness –
In the lead-up to vacation, many
people put in longer hours at
the office, eat on the go and
skip their exercise routines as
they prepare to travel. Doing so
can compromise your immune
system, leaving you vulnerable
to sickness. Exposure to new
atmospheres, climates, foods and
odors can make you ill once you
reach your destination. Take care
of yourself before your vacation,
so you can enjoy yourself while
you’re on your vacation.
• Find a happy place – Traveling
can be stressful, and stress
can affect your health, along
with your enjoyment and the
Blue & You SUMMER 2019
enjoyment of those
traveling with you. Listen
to music, read a book or
initiate a conversation
with a family member or
friend – find a happy place
and hang out there until
you can get going again.
We can’t expect every
vacation to be illness- or
injury-free, but we can
take steps to be aware and
prepare for those times
when your escape from
reality meets reality.
Wendell “Buster” Hall
Whether by air, road or sea, here are some tips
for getting maximum enjoyment out of the trip.
In the air – Factor in the impact of jet lag by planning
some rest on your arrival. And since you’re in close quarters
with hundreds of people for hours at a time, good hand hygiene is a great
idea. On longer flights, avoid deep-vein thrombosis (potentially deadly blood
clots in the legs that can form when you sit in one position for a long time)
by occasionally getting up and walking around.
Also, consider whether you should fly at all. The Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention (CDC) says people who should not fly include:
• Infants less than 48 hours old
• Very pregnant women (36 weeks or more – 32 weeks or more for twins, etc.)
• Recent surgery patients (especially stomach, brain, eye or orthopedic)
• Anyone who has a recent stomach, eye or head injury
• People who recently had a heart attack or stroke
• Anyone suffering from chest pain, infectious diseases, swelling
of the brain, severe sinus/ear/nose infections, severe chronic
respiratory diseases, a collapsed lung, sickle cell disease or
uncontrolled psychotic illness
• Persons who have a fever of 100° F or greater and one or more of the
following: obvious signs of illness, skin rash, shortness of breath,
persistent, severe cough, confusion, bruising or bleeding (without
previous injury) persistent diarrhea or persistent vomiting that is not
due to motion sickness
For more on deciding whether you should travel by air or internationally, check
out the CDC’s guidelines at wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/page/health-status.
On the road – Motion-sickness medicine is handy to have for long car rides. These
days, too, distracted driving is a risk that could ruin your road trip. Drowsy driving,
too. For longer drives, having multiple drivers is a good idea – or getting a motel room
at the first sign of serious fatigue. And cleaning your car before hitting the road
At sea – Cruises can be delightful – but not if you’re too sick to notice. If you’re
prone to motion sickness on the road, prepare ahead for seasickness. If you’re new
to the experience, maybe a three-day cruise would be a better option than
a 21-day voyage, at least until you get your “sea legs.”
Blue & You SUMMER 2019 15
Progressive program creates
combo in a surprising place
We all know what a medical clinic looks like, right?
It’s a ficus tree and some magazines in a waiting room.
Diploma-covered walls. A series of small, clonelike exam
rooms – sink, rolling stool, paper-shrouded table, medical
poster and supply jar (alternately filled with cotton balls or
And, of course, there’s that door that leads to the fitness
center. An array of cool exercise machines. Upbeat music.
A high-energy atmosphere. Spandex-clad trainers and
clients of all ages and sizes. Patients pumping iron and
doing cardio, achieving a nearly 100% success rate on
medically indicated weight loss.
What’s that you say?! It’s in De Queen?!?!
Yes. De Queen. The Wellness Center (Lofton Family Clinic
and AMP Fitness), is an innovative integrated primary care
practice/fitness center that is transforming lives in this
largely rural area in southwest Arkansas, partly through its
participation in the Comprehensive Primary Care Plus (CPC+)
program. CPC+ is a unique public-private partnership under
the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS),
in which practices are supported by 56 aligned payers
(including Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield) in 18
regions. This partnership gives practices additional financial
resources and flexibility to make investments, improve
quality of care and increase clinical efficiency.
Blue & You SUMMER 2019
swings a kettlebell
(one of her favorites) as
part of her workout.
A surprising place
De Queen (population 6,595) is the county seat of Sevier
County (population 17,139) and sits just 8 miles from the
Oklahoma border and 50 miles north of Texarkana, the
nearest larger city. Sevier County ranks near the bottom
third of Arkansas’ 75 counties on health behaviors (like a
39% adult obesity rate and 32% rate of physical inactivity*)
and 73 rd in clinical care (due to poor showings on diabetes
monitoring, mammography screening,
preventable hospital stays, etc.*).
Perhaps De Queen is not the spot you’d
expect to be on the leading edge of a
So how did this happen? Turns out
it was a happy confluence of events
spanning the past decade. Jason D.
Lofton, M.D., moved to De Queen about
12 years ago and opened a family
medicine practice. Two years later,
he found a new space in the quaint,
historic downtown area and moved his
practice there. Next door, there was
a vacant basement-level space that
sparked a vision. Dr. Lofton, a running/
fitness enthusiast, saw an opportunity
to merge two of his passions –
medicine and fitness. Soon, he opened
AMP Fitness adjacent to his clinic.
For years, the two sides coexisted
happily but separately. The clinic grew.
And AMP Fitness built a loyal clientele.
But there was a disconnect – a wall,
if you will, literally and figuratively.
Dr. Lofton had a number of patients
who had health problems like obesity,
high blood pressure, diabetes and
congestive heart failure. It’s an all-toofamiliar
scenario: Patient comes in with
one or more of these conditions. Doctor
tells the patient he/she could really
benefit from a wellness plan (which,
of course, is code for weight loss). The
disconnects? Cost. Lack of interest/
willpower. A busy schedule. Selfconsciousness
(“No one there looks
like me.”). Whatever the reason, for too
many patients, the recommendation
went no farther than the clinic door.
Patients relied on prescriptions. Some
improved. Many just maintained.
An answer to prayer
Dr. Lofton prayed for a change. Then the
answers started to come. Dr. Lofton had
signed on as a CPC clinic a few years
ago and had done some innovative
things – like buying a car that clinic
staff can use to perform house calls. But
Worley visits with Dr. Lofton about her progress on her wellness goals.
now he had a different idea. Maybe he
could use some of the CPC+ money to
break down some of the barriers that
were keeping his patients from pursuing
a wellness plan. What if he used some
of those funds to subsidize personaltraining
time for patients who have a
medical need? What if this step would
take away the excuses patients used to
side-step a wellness regimen? But first,
he’d need the right trainer. More prayers.
Erik Smith was an elite coach, having
helped guide the De Queen Leopards to
four state soccer championships. And
his name kept coming to Dr. Lofton’s
mind as he sought direction on how
to make his idea work. After several
months of discussions, Smith realized
that trading in the high-pressure world
of high school athletics for a similar
salary as a personal wellness trainer
would be better for his own well-being
... and his family’s.
So the stage was set. Dr. Lofton now
began to give his patients for whom
transformative weight loss was
medically necessary a more direct path
to get there. He offered patients with
body mass index (BMI) scores of 30
or greater free membership at AMP
Fitness. And the wall came down. Many
patients jumped at the offer. Patients
also now saw more people of their
own age and fitness levels at the gym.
Then the positive results became sort
of infectious. Rapid weight loss. Better
sleep. Falling cholesterol levels and
blood pressures. More energy, etc.
“I think having the more continuous
contact that comes from the patients
being seen here at the clinic and also
coming next door to exercise regularly
is a big part of this program’s success,”
Dr. Lofton observed. “I have always
talked with my patients about diet and
exercise, and I’ve never seen this kind
of success. We are seeing results we’ve
never seen before.”
“Last September, I weighed about 232
pounds, and I was on medicine for
diabetes and high blood pressure,” said
patient Karen Cannon. “Now I am 187
pounds, and I don’t take anything but a
vitamin.” Cannon has lived in De Queen
for more than 48 years and has been Dr.
Lofton’s patient for the past 10 years.
In fact, when she first became his
patient, she joined AMP Fitness briefly
but didn’t like it. “It wasn’t that I thought
I didn’t need it,” she explained. “But
when you’ve gained a bunch of weight,
you don’t want a lot of thin people to see
you in workout clothes.” And though her
conditions (and Dr. Lofton’s advice) had
not changed much, now, at the age of 74,
* According to County Health Rankings & Roadmaps, a collaboration between the Robert Wood Johnson
Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute (countyhealthrankings.org/)
Blue & You SUMMER 2019 17
it was the offer of free help and guidance
and the presence of some of her fellow
patients that prompted her to leave her
comfort zone and adopt a new wellness
mindset. “I hate to run,” Cannon confided.
“I’m more of a walker. But here, there’s so
much you can do, you don’t have to stick
with one thing. I like a variety. ... I just
think staying active is the most important
thing. Of course, it’s more fun to exercise
if somebody is doing it with you. Plus,
Erik is so positive and encouraging. He
praises you even when he probably
shouldn’t. Then, when the weight just
starts falling off, it really makes you want
to keep going.”
Another patient, Carolyn Ng, age 64,
who has had weight struggles for
many years, has lost 31 pounds so far
(with 24 more to go), has reduced her
blood pressure and now takes much
less medicine. “I don’t get tired quite
as easily, I don’t have dizzy spells like I
did, and I am hardly taking any insulin
anymore – after 12 or 13 years of being
on it,” Ng said. “But the main thing is
that I’m feeling better about myself
mentally, even more than physically. I’m
excited, too, because I know I’ll be able
to do more without my knees and back
hurting all the time. And I’m already
fitting into clothes I haven’t gotten
into in quite a while.” Ng said the
integrated approach and attentiveness
of the staff have helped her succeed
more than anything else she has ever
tried. “Everybody seems to care about
you – from the bottom to the top – and
they all take the time to answer all your
questions.” she added.
At the age of 74, a third patient, Majorie
Worley, has some very special reasons to
improve her health – her grandkids. The
lifelong Sevier County resident recently
moved from Dierks to De Queen, where
she lives with her daughter and son-inlaw
and helps care for their three children
(ages 5, 9 and 11). She has been a patient
of Dr. Lofton for about five years but is
new to the wellness program. Just two
weeks in, she already had lost nearly 10
pounds, and her blood
pressure had dropped
from 150/80 to 107/70.
“I’ve tried to lose
weight on my own
several times before,
and I’d stay on a diet
for two or three weeks,
but then I’d quit,”
Worley said. “And I
was addicted to my
recliner. But my three
grandkids are very
important to me. I want
to be able do things we
can enjoy together. I’d
like to be around for
their teenage years.”
Specifically, getting stronger, improving
her balance (after some recent falls) and
getting her blood pressure under control
without medicine are her main goals.
She’s already seen enough progress to
convince her that this approach works.
“It’s convenient to have somewhere you
can go and exercise, and yet the clinic
is right there, and they know everything
that is going on with you,” Worley said.
“I had been praying that I would find
something that would help me stick
with it and actually get healthier. Then
a lady at my church told me about this
program. So I thought, ‘There’s my
answer.’ This is exactly what I needed.
It gets me out of the house more and
gives me something to do. And when I
get home, I have so much more energy
to do housework or do things with my
grandkids. I am so grateful.”
A bright future
Smith gets a kick out of this new
dynamic. “Sometimes, in school, the
kids I was working with didn’t really
want to be there – they had to be
there,” Smith said.
“But here, everyone who comes
through those doors wants to improve
themselves and get better. I get to share
Smith (left) helps Cannon adjust an exercise
in their pride when they meet their
goals, but more than that, I know that
this is actually changing lives – blood
pressures are falling or cholesterol is
going down. I get to be a part of helping
people use fitness as an alternative to
taking medicine, and the gratification I
get from that is fantastic.”
Dr. Lofton says good news is traveling
fast. “Patients are starting to share their
success with their friends and neighbors
and families,” he said. “We are so excited
about this program and its potential that
we are considering offering it to patients
from other practices in our area. We are
doing this to have a healthier population in
Sevier County, so as long as we are seeing
success, I cannot see why we would limit
it for anyone.”
As for such a forward-thinking program
springing up in an unexpected place
– like De Queen? “We have a great
team here. We had an innovative idea.
And, thanks to a program like CPC+ and
payers like Arkansas Blue Cross, we
have some funds and discretion to make
an immediate change,” Dr. Lofton said.
“It only goes to show that just because
you’re in a small town, that doesn’t
mean you don’t have the opportunity
to do something great or unique or
Blue & You SUMMER 2019
Need care? Think about where.
PRIMARY CARE URGENT CARE EMERGENCY ROOM
Before you or a family member sit for hours in an emergency room or end up with medical costs not covered
by your health plan, learn more about your medical care options. It’s always best to know before you go!
Primary Care Physician
Your doctor, also called a primary care
physician (PCP), should be your first
choice for care. Your PCP is familiar
with your medical history, and a
scheduled office visit is the most
cost-effective method of care. When
necessary, your PCP’s clinic can refer
you to specialists within your health
plan and ensure that you receive the
right care in the right place, without
higher out-of-network costs. Your PCP
office also may be able to work you in
to be seen.
What if my PCP is not available?
If your doctor’s office is closed and
you aren’t sure if the condition is
an emergency, you still should call
the clinic’s after-hours number. The
medical professional on call can help
you determine if you should wait for a
priority visit at the clinic the next day,
visit an urgent care center or go to
the emergency room.
Urgent Care Clinic/Walk-In
Urgent care/walk-in clinics are for
medical symptoms, pain or conditions
that require immediate medical
attention but are not severe or
life-threatening and do not require
a hospital or emergency room
visit. Urgent care/walk-in facilities
generally are open for extended hours
and are available on a first-come,
What conditions may need
Urgent care conditions include things
like: asthma, bites, stings and allergic
reactions; diarrhea; nausea and
vomiting; ear and eye infections;
flu, colds and other viral illnesses;
injuries; skin conditions; sprains and
strains; and urinary tract infections.
Emergency care is needed when
you have an unexpected onset
of symptoms, a severe medical
condition, an accident or an illness
that could place your health in
jeopardy if not treated immediately.
Severe symptoms or conditions
include chest pain, badly broken
bones, poisoning, serious burns,
loss of consciousness, etc.
Call 911 or go to the ER?
Call 911 or go to the ER immediately
if the answer is “yes” to any of
• Are the symptoms severe
• Did the symptoms occur
suddenly and unexpectedly?
• Is there uncontrolled bleeding,
extreme pain or broken bones?
• Is the person dehydrated or
having a dangerously
Know before you go!
Blue & You SUMMER 2019
Member’s courage earns posthumous
Faces of Fearless ® award
The courageous spirit of James Robert
“Bob” McIntosh of Hot Springs was
posthumously recognized recently with
a prestigious national honor at the Blue
Cross Blue Shield Association’s 2019
National Summit in Grapevine, Texas.
McIntosh (or “Coach Mac” as he was
known to many) faced a dire diagnosis
of stage 4 bladder cancer in June 2018
with a brave and resilient attitude through
chemotherapy and surgery that resulted
in his being declared cancer-free just six
months later. The prognosis appeared
promising, but sadly, just days after
receiving the news he had been chosen
as one of only two Faces of Fearless ®
honorees for 2019, he passed away,
following a brief illness. But his fearless
example lives on.
The annual Faces of Fearless ® Award
celebrates members of Blue Cross Blue
Shield Association-affiliated health plans
who overcome challenges in order to live a
healthier life. Each year, two honorees are
chosen from a national field of entries.
McIntosh, who was an educator and coach
at Lake Hamilton School for 34 years,
was guided through his cancer-treatment
journey by an Arkansas Blue Cross case
manager, Samantha Costello, B.S.N, R.N.,
whom he highly commended in his entry
to be considered as a Faces of Fearless
honoree. Costello attended the National
Summit and accepted the award on
In a future issue of Blue & You, you’ll be
able to learn more about McIntosh’s story
of incredible positivity and courage in the
face of a daunting diagnosis.
Blue & You SUMMER 2019
Northeast Arkansas staff: Blue goes great with pink
On April 27, staff from the ArkansasBlue location in northeast
Arkansas matched blue with pink in support of the 2019
Komen Northeast Arkansas Race for the Cure ® at Arkansas
State University’s Centennial Bank Stadium. Team Fearless
cheered on participants and handed out fun giveaway items.
Northwest Arkansas staff works the walks
Staff from the ArkansasBlue location in northwest Arkansas
had a busy April, attending the Northwest Arkansas Heart
Walk on April 13 at the Walmart AMP in Rogers and the
Komen Ozark More than Pink Walk TM on April 27 at Pinnacle
Hills Promenade Mall in Rogers. At each walk, Team Fearless
cheered on participants and handed out fun giveaway items.
Great Strides ... against Cystic Fibrosis
Team Fearless stepped it up for the Great Strides walk to
benefit the Arkansas Chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation
on Saturday, May 18, at the Little Rock Zoo. The walk raised
nearly $84,000 for the cause.
National Walk @ Lunch Day – a Capitol idea
Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield employees, sporting
blue shirts and comfy shoes, took to the streets on April 24 to
celebrate National Walk @ Lunch Day, part of the Blue Cross
Blue Shield Association’s Walking Works program. Team Blue
walked to the steps of the Arkansas Capitol (where they posed
for some celebratory photos) and back. On a designated day
each April, National Walk @ Lunch Day encourages employees
throughout the nation to spend part of their lunch break walking
and encourages regular worksite-based wellness activities.
State HR pros feed the funnels
A Fearless Food Fight broke out at the Hot Springs Convention
Center on April 4, with Arkansas Society of Human Resources
Management conference attendees producing the following
results to fight food insecurity:
• 140 conference attendees participated
• 28,088 meals were packed
• First Baptist Church in Van Buren, King’s Pantry
at Jubilee Family Church in Batesville and Hope
Place in Monticello received the meals
Taking steps against heart disease/stroke
Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield employees and their family
members participated in the Central Arkansas Heart Walk on April
27. Team Fearless joined other central Arkansans at the North
Shore Riverwalk Park in North Little Rock to support the fight
against heart disease and stroke.
Blue & You SUMMER 2019 21
Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield
is moving up in the world ... of
America’s best employers, that is.
Arkansas Blue Cross recently was
ranked as the 33 rd Best Midsized
Employer in the United States by
Forbes, a jump of 34 places over
last year’s 67 th -place ranking. In
addition, Arkansas Blue Cross ranked
first nationally among all midsized
companies in the insurance category
and was the No. 1 midsized employer
“At Arkansas Blue Cross, we strive
every day to build a workplace
culture where our employees feel
valued and appreciated,” said
Curtis Barnett, president and chief
executive officer of Arkansas Blue
Cross. “This recognition by Forbes is
particularly meaningful to us because
it is based upon employee feedback
and is not something we sought.”
Every year Forbes partners with
Statista, a market research company,
to evaluate the leading employers
throughout the nation by conducting
a survey among those in the best
position to make such an evaluation
– the employees. More than 50,000
respondents from companies with
at least 1,000 employees completed
an extensive questionnaire about
their working conditions, how they
feel about other employers in their
respective industries and how likely
they were to recommend their
employer to someone else. Only the
top 500 employers made the list.
“One of our core beliefs for many
years has been that highly engaged
employees are critical to having
strong customer and community
relationships,” said Barnett.
“Whether it’s the dedication and
compassion our employees display in
performing their jobs or the countless
hours they spend volunteering in the
community, we truly believe we have
the most talented, committed and
caring employees, which is essential
for a health plan like ours, whose
customers have significant and
CUSTOMER SERVICE NUMBERS
May we help?
For customer service, please call:
Visit our websites for more information:
TOLL FREE Number
Medi-Pak ® members 1-800-338-2312
Medi-Pak ® Advantage members 1-877-233-7022
Medi-Pak ® Rx members 1-866-390-3369
Arkansas Blue Cross members 1-800-238-8379
• Pharmacy questions 1-800-863-5561
• Specialty Rx pharmacy questions 1-866-295-2779
Arkansas Blue Cross Metallic members
(Gold, Silver, Bronze, Catastrophic) 1-800-800-4298
• Pharmacy questions 1-800-969-3983
Health Advantage members 1-800-843-1329
• Pharmacy questions 1-800-863-5567
BlueAdvantage members 1-888-872-2531
• Pharmacy questions 1-888-293-3748
Federal Employee members 1-800-482-6655
Arkansas State Employees /
Public School Employees 1-800-482-8416
Looking for health or dental insurance? We can help!
For individuals, families 1-800-392-2583
For employer groups* 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:
• Little Rock
2612 S. Shackleford Rd., Suite J 1-501-378-2222
516 East Millsap Rd., Suite 103 1-800-299-4109
• Fort Smith
3501 Old Greenwood Rd., Suite 3 1-800-299-4060
• Hot Springs
1635 Higdon Ferry Rd. – Suite J 1-800-588-5733
2110 Fair Park Blvd. – Suite I 1-800-299-4124
• Little Rock
601 S. Gaines St. 1-800-421-1112
507 W. Monroe Ave. – Suite B 1-888-872-2539
• Pine Bluff
509 Mallard Loop Dr. 1-800-236-0369
1710 Arkansas Blvd. 1-800-470-9621
B I L L
To pay by phone * ,
*Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drug plan product
members must call Customer Service to discuss available
payment options. Health Advantage conversion plans are not
eligible for online, mobile or pay-by-phone payment options.
Blue & You SUMMER 2019 23
Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield
Financial Information Privacy Notice
Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield and its affiliates
(including HMO Partners, Inc. d/b/a Health Advantage)
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
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
nonpublic 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
• 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
Self-funded group members
should call Customer Service
using the toll-free
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, nonpublic personal
information about you to our affiliates or other parties except
as permitted or required by law. Examples of instances in which
Arkansas Blue Cross and its affiliates may provide personallyidentifiable
information about your employees (including but
not limited to name, postal and email addresses, telephone
numbers, and related nonpublic financial information) to
affiliates or other third parties are:
• To service or process products that your employees
• 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.
• To provide information to a business associate
(including one of our affiliated companies) working
with Arkansas Blue Cross in providing services to your
health plan and your employees (our members).
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
Arkansas Blue Cross 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 for informational purposes and
will be updated and distributed as required by law. It is also
available on our website at arkansasbluecross.com or
from our Customer Service Call Centers. Our Customer Service
Call Centers are open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Central time,
Monday through Friday.
Blue & You SUMMER 2019
North Little Rock
Join us and the Arkansas Travelers at Dickey-
Stephens Park on Friday, July 19, for Fearless Fans
and Fireworks – a night of runs, revelry and rockets! Arkansas
Blue Cross and Blue Shield members who show a valid member
ID card will receive a $3 discount. Game time is 7:10 p.m. So bring
the whole gang, enjoy a ballpark adventure night, root for the
Travs as they battle the Frisco Rough Riders out on the diamond,
save some money and finish the festivities with a real bang!
Thank you for choosing Arkansas Blue Cross!