Blueprint - AUTUMN 2023

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A publication for the policyholders of the Arkansas<br />

Blue Cross and Blue Shield family of companies <strong>AUTUMN</strong> <strong>2023</strong><br />

Lending a Hand & Heart<br />

Peer support specialists lift members on recovery journey<br />

PAGE 4<br />

Seniors rise to<br />

Blue & You Fitness<br />

Challenge<br />

PAGE 3<br />

Blue & You Foundation<br />

mini grants make<br />

a big difference<br />

PAGE 6<br />

Arkansas Blue Cross<br />

encourages students to<br />

choose healthcare futures<br />


AWordwith Curtis Barnett<br />

Our President and Chief Executive Officer<br />

Taking good care of expectant mothers<br />

Anticipating the birth of a child is<br />

an amazing time to dream about<br />

and plan for their life’s journey<br />

ahead. It should be. Certainly, a<br />

healthy pregnancy shouldn’t be<br />

determined by who you are or<br />

where you live, but in the United<br />

States and Arkansas, that’s what<br />

the data shows. The Arkansas<br />

Center for Health Improvement<br />

(ACHI) has collected some<br />

sobering numbers.<br />

Arkansas has the highest maternal<br />

mortality rate in the nation, making<br />

it one of the riskiest places to<br />

have a baby. In fact, mothers who<br />

are Black, Indigenous and People<br />

of Color in Arkansas are two to<br />

three times more likely to die from<br />

pregnancy-associated causes as<br />

Caucasian mothers. Our state<br />

also has the third-highest infant<br />

mortality rate.<br />

Why are Arkansas mothers at risk?<br />

There are several reasons:<br />

• Nearly half of Arkansas<br />

counties, 37 of 75, are maternity<br />

care deserts. These are counties<br />

without any hospitals or birth<br />

centers offering obstetric<br />

care and without any obstetric<br />

providers, according to a report<br />

by the March of Dimes analyzing<br />

federal Health Resources and<br />

Services Administration data.<br />

• About 10% of mothers in<br />

Arkansas are uninsured,<br />

and 20% do not get<br />

adequate prenatal care.<br />

• Arkansas ranks second in the<br />

nation for teen births, and many<br />

of these young mothers may<br />

not have access to prenatal<br />

or post-natal care or know<br />

where to get it.<br />

• Arkansans have a high rate of<br />

chronic illnesses like high blood<br />

pressure, obesity, and diabetes,<br />

which can raise the risk of<br />

pregnancy complications.<br />

• Many women in Arkansas also<br />

are having babies later in life,<br />

when they may have a higher<br />

risk of complications.<br />

• We also have a high rate of<br />

cesarean section births, which<br />

can lead to complications.<br />

These are daunting issues, but the<br />

good news is that most pregnancyrelated<br />

deaths and illnesses are<br />

preventable.<br />

At Arkansas Blue Cross and<br />

Blue Shield, we are dedicated to<br />

improving the health of expectant<br />

mothers before, during, and after<br />

pregnancy to reduce maternal<br />

fatalities and improve health<br />

equity. We are looking at how<br />

social determinants of health<br />

– where people live and work,<br />

available transportation, nearby<br />

healthcare, and education – impact<br />

maternal health and searching<br />

for ways to close gaps and make<br />

access to prenatal care available<br />

closer to home.<br />

For our members, we have<br />

programs that can help support you<br />

throughout your pregnancy, connect<br />

you to resources and work with<br />

you and your healthcare providers<br />

to have a healthier pregnancy.<br />

We have case managers who<br />

can come alongside our high-risk<br />

expectant mothers and walk you<br />

through the scary and celebratory<br />

times. Simply reach out and get<br />

connected through the customer<br />

service number on the back of your<br />

health plan ID card or check out the<br />

QR code found with the preventive<br />

checkups article on page 13 of this<br />

issue of <strong>Blueprint</strong>.<br />

We are committed to improving<br />

the lives of all Arkansans and<br />

will be working closely with our<br />

state and medical community to<br />

find solutions to improve these<br />

sobering statistics. Together,<br />

we can take good care of moms<br />

and their babies born here in the<br />

Natural State.<br />

2 <strong>AUTUMN</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

LifeQuest attendees earned points for the<br />

Blue & You Fitness Challenge through classes<br />

ranging from line dancing to tai chi.<br />

Retirees rise to the<br />

Challenge to improve<br />

health, wellness<br />

By Linda S. Haymes<br />

In their first year to take part in the Blue & You Fitness<br />

Challenge, the seniors from LifeQuest of Arkansas<br />

rocked this year’s competition, placing 6 th in the<br />

non-profit category and 43 rd out of all 74 teams.<br />

The free three-month challenge each spring<br />

encourages exercising and making healthier choices.<br />

Participants log activities for points that can lead to<br />

rewards and better health and fitness. The Challenge<br />

is hosted by Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield,<br />

the Arkansas Department of Health and the Arkansas<br />

Department of Human Services.<br />

The team’s involvement was outstanding.<br />

“I was amazed by their enthusiasm,” said Leah<br />

Greenfield, executive director of LifeQuest of Arkansas.<br />

“I’m a fitness enthusiast and try to walk 10,000<br />

steps a day anyway,” said Colleen Vollman, a retired<br />

accountant. “I thought I might as well get credit for it.”<br />

The team, with 46 LifeQuest members participating<br />

for the entire Challenge, amassed 1,428,353 points.<br />

That’s an average of 31,053 points per person.<br />

Photos by Cindy Momchilov/<br />

Camera Work Photography<br />

A week into the<br />

Blue & You Fitness<br />

Challenge, I knew it<br />

would be just what<br />

I needed ... it motivates me<br />

to keep moving toward wellness.<br />

I don’t expect to win any medals or trophies.<br />

Instead, the prize I want is feeling better, through<br />

my health and self-esteem.<br />

– Barbara Kane, LifeQuest of Arkansas member<br />

One member, Barbara Kane, was so excited she wrote<br />

Leah a letter.<br />

“Everyone did their own thing, but at one point, we<br />

planned to walk around the property together,” said<br />

June Brown, a retired pharmacist who garnered the<br />

most points among the group.<br />

The seniors walked, ran, and participated in tai chi,<br />

yoga and pickleball. They earned additional points<br />

through daily challenges ranging from drinking eight<br />

glasses of water to taking stairs instead of the elevator<br />

and learning about nutrition and stress management.<br />

“We really enjoyed just being<br />

together,” said June. “We need<br />

the socialization we get here.”<br />

Registration is now open for the 2024 Blue & You<br />

Fitness Challenge. Follow the QR code to learn more.<br />

<strong>AUTUMN</strong> <strong>2023</strong><br />


Peer support specialists (from left) Liz Greenbaum,<br />

Tojuana Greenlaw and Ashley LaHue<br />

New peer support specialists guide,<br />

support others toward recovery<br />

By Shellee Robbins and Tojuana Greenlaw<br />

When you’re going through a mental or behavioral health<br />

struggle, you need understanding from people who have<br />

learned experience. We get it.<br />

You are not alone.<br />

It's okay to say<br />

'I need help.'<br />

– Tojuana Greenlaw,<br />

peer support specialist<br />

4 <strong>AUTUMN</strong> <strong>2023</strong><br />

That’s why, in addition to local nurses and social workers,<br />

our behavioral health team also includes non-clinical,<br />

trained Arkansas Blue Cross employees who are certified<br />

peer support specialists. Working with the nurses and<br />

social workers, they serve as a single point of contact to<br />

coordinate integrated, whole-person care.<br />

The peer support specialists help members, who often<br />

have both physical and behavioral illnesses, connect to<br />

the medical care and resources they need for recovery,<br />

improved health and overall well-being.<br />

Peer support specialists Ashley LaHue, Liz Greenbaum, and<br />

Tojuana Greenlaw all have struggled with Substance Use<br />

Disorder (SUD), which can range from moderate to severe<br />

and can lead to addiction and mental health issues. They<br />

have “lived experience.”<br />

Simply put, they have walked the walk. But all three are now<br />

in lifelong recovery.

“Hurt, lonely and neglected,” is how Tojuana describes the<br />

emotions leading to her descent into addiction.<br />

She had a decent childhood, raised by both parents in<br />

a family-oriented home. Her struggle began when her<br />

parents separated and her mother, dealing with her own<br />

circumstances, left.<br />

“We were left with my father, who did the best he could,”<br />

Tojuana said. “This is a time in my life where the hurt was<br />

very real.”<br />

She spent the next 15 years on the streets with alcohol and<br />

drugs, trying to numb the pain and fill the void. She was<br />

arrested and had children of her own.<br />

“I found myself like a roaring tornado, tearing through the<br />

lives of the people I cared about most,” she said. In 2010,<br />

Tojuana entered treatment and began her recovery.<br />

She and the other peer support specialists, Ashley LaHue<br />

and Liz Greenbaum, have worked hard to achieve a lifelong<br />

recovery. They know it’s not a straight path, but one with<br />

ups and downs.<br />

Photo and cover portrait by<br />

Cindy Momchilov/Camera Work Photography<br />

Tojuana Greenlaw<br />

Today, Tojuana says she has never been happier.<br />

“I have a wonderful relationship with my children, three<br />

beautiful grandchildren, my family and most of all, myself.”<br />

“It’s only right that I now help others,” Tojuana said.<br />

“You are not alone. It’s okay to say, ‘I need help.’ ”<br />

According to a 2021 U.S. survey on substance use<br />

disorders among people aged 12 or older, 21.9% had<br />

used illicit drugs within the past year.<br />

The journey to recovery takes time, and our certified peer<br />

support specialists can help. For more information, or to<br />

speak to our team, call 800-225-1891, Monday – Friday,<br />

8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (CST). For virtual health options,<br />

benefits or to find a local provider, sign in or register for<br />

<strong>Blueprint</strong> Portal at blueprintportal.com.<br />

I found myself like a<br />

roaring tornado, tearing<br />

through the lives of the<br />

people I cared about most.<br />

– Tojuana Greenlaw,<br />

peer support specialist<br />

Many of our plans also provide 24/7 access to a substance<br />

use disorder program powered by Bright Heart Health.<br />

For more information about the program, visit<br />

brighthearthealth.com/contact-us or call 800-892-2695.<br />

Bright Heart Health is a separate company that provides substance use disorder services for eligible<br />

members of Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Health Advantage, and BlueAdvantage Administrators<br />

of Arkansas members, all independent licensees of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.<br />

<strong>AUTUMN</strong> <strong>2023</strong><br />


Blue & You Foundation mini grants<br />

touch Arkansans’ lives By Kennedy T. Kinley<br />

When it comes to awarding grants,<br />

Rebecca Pittillo, executive director<br />

of the Blue & You Foundation for<br />

a Healthier Arkansas, knows that<br />

big things can often arrive in small<br />

packages – like mini grants.<br />

The Blue & You Foundation<br />

focuses on ways to make Arkansas<br />

communities healthier. In 2022<br />

alone, the foundation awarded<br />

$5 million in total grants to<br />

Arkansas nonprofits and<br />

governmental agencies, several<br />

of them for more than $100,000.<br />

In <strong>2023</strong> the foundation awarded<br />

209 new mini grants ranging from<br />

$500 to $2,000. Here are just a few<br />

examples of the mini grants the Blue<br />

& You Foundation awarded:<br />

Green Groceries<br />

Green Groceries, a farm-to-church<br />

ministry of Christ Episcopal Church<br />

in downtown Little Rock, is located in<br />

a food desert (an area where people<br />

have difficulty accessing healthy<br />

foods). People living in food deserts<br />

are likely to rely on processed foods<br />

they can buy in convenience stores.<br />

Unfortunately, these foods can<br />

contribute to poor health outcomes.<br />

Green Groceries’ mission is to<br />

support families in need with farmfresh<br />

groceries and strengthen the<br />

local food network by buying produce<br />

from Arkansas farmers. The program<br />

works to provide an annual average of<br />

more than 300 pounds of fresh locally<br />

grown fruits and vegetables, meat<br />

and eggs to participating families.<br />

The ministry strives to remove<br />

transportation and mobility barriers<br />

by using a network of volunteers to<br />

deliver the food.<br />

Green Groceries also hosts events<br />

where people can fill a grocery bag<br />

with healthy food to take home. The<br />

Blue & You Foundation’s $2,000 mini<br />

grant helps the program purchase<br />

even more fresh foods and expand the<br />

number of people they serve.<br />

“We are grateful for all the<br />

individuals and organizations –<br />

including the Blue & You Foundation<br />

– that support this unique food<br />

bank, now in its 10 th year," said<br />

Howison Hollenberg, Green<br />

Groceries' program director. "These<br />

investments of time and money<br />

have allowed us to grow, serving<br />

more people<br />

and giving<br />

away more<br />

food at each<br />

distribution."<br />

Howison<br />

Hollenberg<br />

6<br />

<strong>AUTUMN</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

Modest gifts make major impact<br />

Wendy Schaeffer, LPC<br />

Susan Wolf<br />

Gina Gomez<br />

Sgt. Jason McGlawn<br />

Gurdon<br />

High School<br />

Automated<br />

External<br />

Defibrillator<br />

“This grant provides<br />

an automated external<br />

defibrillator (AED) for<br />

rural Gurdon High School,<br />

where the nearest hospital<br />

is 23 miles away,” said<br />

Wendy Schaeffer, LPC,<br />

school-based health center<br />

coordinator. "Having the<br />

medical equipment ensures<br />

that we can respond<br />

appropriately to our more<br />

than 200 students, 30<br />

employees and visitors<br />

in the case of a cardiac<br />

emergency,” she said.<br />

White Hall<br />

Food Pantry<br />

The Blue & You Foundation<br />

mini grant allowed the<br />

White Hall Food Pantry<br />

to purchase premium<br />

ground meat, providing<br />

more protein to 61<br />

families in need.<br />

“Before this grant, the<br />

pantry could only provide<br />

canned meats, such as<br />

tuna, chicken and Vienna<br />

sausage,” said Susan Wolf,<br />

project coordinator. “Now,<br />

the pantry can provide<br />

fresh meat products to<br />

those in need.”<br />

El Centro<br />

Hispano En<br />

Arkansas,<br />

Jonesboro<br />

“The Blue & You Foundation<br />

mini grant allowed us to<br />

provide 20 car seats to<br />

Latina mothers completing<br />

our La Cuna (the Cradle)<br />

educational sessions and<br />

teach them how to use<br />

the devices and place the<br />

children in them correctly,”<br />

said Gina Gomez, executive<br />

director of El Centro Hispano<br />

En Arkansas. “Through this<br />

support, we can expand our<br />

efforts and provide equitable<br />

access to pre- and postnatal<br />

support for an even larger<br />

number of Latinas.”<br />

Searcy Police<br />

Department CPR<br />

Training<br />

“The Searcy Police<br />

Department is working to<br />

make our community safer<br />

by providing CPR/AED<br />

training to our department<br />

and the community, using<br />

the life-saving equipment<br />

provided by the mini<br />

grant from the Blue & You<br />

Foundation,” said Sgt. Jason<br />

McGlawn. The Searcy Police<br />

Department purchased<br />

a CPR/AED starter kit<br />

with adult and infant<br />

manikins, AED trainers, and<br />

accessories. “We are very<br />

thankful for this grant and<br />

the additional opportunities<br />

to serve our community.”<br />

Mini grants have the power to impact lives<br />

in your community! To learn more about<br />

Blue & You Foundation Mini Grants and other<br />

opportunities for funding, sign up for the e-newsletter at<br />

blueandyoufoundationarkansas.org to be well informed.<br />

<strong>AUTUMN</strong> <strong>2023</strong> 7

Arkansas Blue Cross<br />

encourages students to<br />

choose healthcare futures<br />

By Linda S. Haymes<br />

About 125 central Arkansas youngsters learned about mental<br />

health, diabetes prevention and careers in healthcare during<br />

the Life Skills for Youth (LSY) Health Academy <strong>2023</strong>, part of a<br />

10-week summer program for kindergarten through eighth-grade<br />

students. The program, sponsored by Arkansas Blue Cross<br />

and Blue Shield, included presentations on mental health and<br />

diabetes prevention by employees.<br />

Rebecca Pittillo, executive director of the Blue &<br />

You Foundation for a Healthier Arkansas, praised<br />

students for all they'd learned during the Life Skills<br />

for Youth Health Academy this summer.<br />

At the end of the program, students, parents and grandparents<br />

gathered for a closing "white coat ceremony," mimicking the ones<br />

held when medical school students start their clinical education.<br />

LSY staff members and Arkansas Blue Cross representatives<br />

presented each child completing the program with their very own<br />

white “doctor’s” coat. Four posters highlighting what the students<br />

had learned during the week were displayed nearby.<br />

8 <strong>AUTUMN</strong> <strong>2023</strong><br />

Curtis Barnett, Arkansas Blue Cross president and<br />

chief executive officer, congratulated students for<br />

taking part in the health academy and encouraged<br />

them to consider a career in healthcare as adults.

Photos by David Lewis Photography<br />

Rebecca Pittillo, executive director of the Blue & You<br />

Foundation for a Healthier Arkansas, and Curtis Barnett,<br />

Arkansas Blue Cross president and chief executive<br />

officer, spoke to the students and adults who gathered.<br />

“I want to congratulate all of you on your white coats,”<br />

Curtis said. “We need doctors, nurses and all other types<br />

of employees in this field. To work in healthcare, you<br />

need to be smart, so study, and you need to be trained,<br />

so continue to learn, and most importantly, you need to<br />

care about people.”<br />

LSY, a private, non-profit organization offering an afterschool<br />

program was created by and is led by “Coach”<br />

Larry Clark, Sr., an Arkansas Blue Cross retiree. The<br />

program provides a positive alternative for youth,<br />

offers mentorship, and develops life skills.<br />

Larry Clark, Sr., leads the private, non-profit<br />

youth mentoring program he founded in 2007<br />

to mentor, equip and empower youth.<br />

<strong>AUTUMN</strong> <strong>2023</strong><br />


ANNUAL NOTICE: 2024 summary<br />

of benefits and coverage<br />

available November 15 for individual /<br />

family policyholders<br />

As required by the Patient Protection<br />

and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), the<br />

Summary of Benefits and Coverage<br />

(SBC) (OMB Control Numbers 1545-<br />

2229, 1210-0147 and 0938-1146)<br />

provides information regarding<br />

coverage specifications and<br />

limitations that apply to the health<br />

insurance plan you have selected.<br />

Before the end of each year, Arkansas<br />

Blue Cross and Blue Shield provides<br />

members who have individual/family<br />

health insurance policies * (but do not<br />

have Medicare policies) with an SBC.<br />

This official communication includes<br />

information about the coverage<br />

provided by your health insurance plan<br />

in a summary format for the upcoming<br />

year. Beginning November 15, <strong>2023</strong>,<br />

you may access this information:<br />

• Online in the “Benefits” section<br />

of the Arkansas Blue Cross<br />

secure member self-service<br />

center, <strong>Blueprint</strong>Portal, at<br />

blueprintportal.com<br />

• By calling Arkansas Blue Cross<br />

customer service at 800-800-4298<br />

to receive a printed version<br />

After that date, you also may go to<br />

arkbluecross.com/sbc and enter your<br />

member number (found on your member<br />

ID card) into the SBC locator tool to<br />

review the document online and print it.<br />

If you make changes to your Arkansas<br />

Blue Cross health plan benefits that<br />

differ from your current coverage, a<br />

new summary will be created for you<br />

within seven work days of our receipt<br />

of your change request. It will be<br />

available to you in the same manner<br />

described above.<br />

Arkansas Blue Cross, Health<br />

Advantage and BlueAdvantage<br />

Administrators of Arkansas members<br />

who receive health coverage through<br />

an employer group will get their<br />

SBC from their employer group plan<br />

administrator at the appropriate time.<br />

*<br />

These are members who do not have<br />

health insurance through an employer,<br />

a Medicare health plan or short-term,<br />

limited-duration Blue policies.<br />

Women’s health and<br />

cancer rights act<br />

The Women’s Health and Cancer Rights Act of 1998 introduced<br />

changes in insurance coverage for a mastectomy. In accordance<br />

with the law, all group and individual health plans that provide<br />

medical and surgical benefits for mastectomy will cover<br />

reconstructive breast surgery, including:<br />

Reconstructive surgery on<br />

the breast on which the<br />

mastectomy was performed<br />

Reconstructive surgery on the<br />

unaffected breast to “produce<br />

a symmetrical appearance”<br />

Prostheses and treatment of complications<br />

of any stage of a mastectomy, including<br />

lymphedema (postsurgical fluid buildup)<br />

These provisions apply to all policies issued by Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Health Advantage and<br />

BlueAdvantage Administrators of Arkansas and are subject to the applicable copayments, coinsurance, benefit limitations,<br />

exclusions and benefit maximums. If you have questions about your insurance coverage, contact your group benefits<br />

administrator or a customer service representative at the number listed on the back of your health plan I.D. card.<br />

10 <strong>AUTUMN</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

Celebrating our<br />

Top women of impact<br />

Pittillo and Nash<br />

Creshelle Nash, M.D., medical<br />

director of Health Equity and<br />

Public Programs at Arkansas<br />

Blue Cross and Blue Shield,<br />

and Rebecca Pittillo, executive<br />

director of the Blue & You<br />

Foundation for a Healthier<br />

Arkansas, are the Top 100<br />

Women of Impact named by the<br />

Women’s Foundation of Arkansas.<br />

The list highlights women<br />

who have made an impact on<br />

Arkansas through<br />

their work.<br />

Dr. Nash was recognized for<br />

her work in bringing a health<br />

equity framework to Arkansas<br />

Blue Cross and providing<br />

leadership on public programs<br />

and products to improve health<br />

equity for all Arkansans.<br />

Rebecca works to improve<br />

behavioral health in Arkansas<br />

through the foundation's<br />

commitment to improve<br />

access, promote early<br />

intervention, normalize<br />

the conversation of mental<br />

health and fund community<br />

and school based programs<br />

which build life-long health,<br />

resiliency and well-being for<br />

children and families. The<br />

Foundation also promotes<br />

better health in the Natural<br />

State in several other areas<br />

and is committed to improving<br />

the lives of people in our<br />

communities.<br />

We are proud to have such<br />

amazing women as leaders<br />

at Arkansas Blue Cross!<br />

Attention ARHOME members!<br />

Don't risk losing your health insurance<br />

If you received a renewal form from the Arkansas Department of<br />

Human Services (DHS), fill it out and return it to DHS by the date<br />

they gave you to avoid losing your coverage if you are still eligible.<br />

Have questions? Call DHS at 844-872-2660, visit ar.gov/renew<br />

or visit a local DHS office.<br />

If you lose coverage, we are here to help.<br />

You’ll qualify for a Special Enrollment Period (SEP) which allows<br />

you to get a new health plan through the Health Insurance<br />

Marketplace, and you may even qualify for financial assistance.<br />

If you need help understanding this process,<br />

visit your nearest ArkansasBlue Welcome Center,<br />

arkbluecross.com/arhome<br />

or call 800-392-2583.<br />

School calming<br />

room funding<br />

Schools chosen to receive one of the<br />

$2,500 funding to create calming rooms<br />

will be announced November 1. One<br />

middle, junior or high school will be<br />

selected in each of Arkansas’ 75 counties<br />

in honor of Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue<br />

Shield’s 75 th anniversary in December.<br />

Visit arkbluecross.com/calming rooms<br />

for more information.<br />

<strong>AUTUMN</strong> <strong>2023</strong> 11

Proceed<br />

with caution:<br />

To take or not to<br />

take antibiotics<br />

As we approach fall and winter, also known as cold<br />

and flu season, it is important to understand when an<br />

antibiotic is needed and when it is not.<br />

When we feel under the weather, we expect and<br />

maybe even insist on being prescribed an antibiotic.<br />

It’s normal to want to get better fast. Before<br />

prescribing an antibiotic, however, your provider<br />

will need to determine whether a bacterial or viral<br />

infection is the cause of your illness.<br />

Antibiotics should not be used to treat illnesses such<br />

as the common cold, bronchitis, and some upper<br />

respiratory infections. In most cases, these are viral<br />

infections, and antibiotics are ineffective in treating<br />

viruses. Most viral infections can be effectively<br />

treated at home. Here are some at-home treatment<br />

tips for viral infections:<br />

• Get lots of rest.<br />

• Drink plenty of water.<br />

• Keep a humidifier by your bed to help<br />

with stuffiness.<br />

• Use saline nasal sprays or drops for a stuffy nose.<br />

• If you have a sore throat, try using ice chips,<br />

throat lozenges or spray.<br />

• If you have a fever, you can take a fever<br />

reducer such as Tylenol (acetaminophen)<br />

or Motrin/Advil (ibuprofen).<br />

12 <strong>AUTUMN</strong> <strong>2023</strong><br />

Common bacterial infections, such as strep throat,<br />

meningitis, and sinus infections, require treatment<br />

with an antibiotic. If you have one of these, your<br />

doctor may give you a prescription for an antibiotic.<br />

Antibiotics are a safe, effective tool when used to<br />

treat bacterial infections. It is very important to<br />

take antibiotics as prescribed and finish all your<br />

prescriptions, even after you begin to feel better.<br />

Common side effects from antibiotics include nausea,<br />

upset stomach, diarrhea and loss of appetite. This may<br />

result from the antibiotic killing good bacteria in your<br />

gut. Eating yogurt or taking a probiotic while taking<br />

your antibiotic can help minimize this side effect.<br />

Be Aware: Overuse of antibiotics can lead to bacteria<br />

becoming resistant and the antibiotic not working for<br />

you in the future.<br />

Ways you can help prevent both viral and bacterial<br />

infections include:<br />

• Washing your hands properly and often.<br />

• Avoiding those who are sick and staying home<br />

when you are sick.<br />

• Covering your mouth and nose when sneezing<br />

and coughing.<br />

• Making sure you are up to date with COVID<br />

and flu vaccines.<br />

• If you can get well without taking a course of<br />

antibiotics, then that’s the best course of action.

Preventive<br />

checkups<br />

to support a<br />

healthy<br />

pregnancy<br />

by Creshelle Nash, M.D.<br />

medical director for Health Equity<br />

and Public Programs<br />

Getting care early in a pregnancy, and even before, can help protect moms and babies from complications<br />

and ensure a healthy birth. By discussing your specific needs and health conditions with your doctor, you<br />

can work together to decide on a care plan that lowers your risks.<br />

Typical prenatal care milestones<br />

Many women follow a similar pregnancy check-up<br />

timeline, but every pregnancy is unique.<br />

• Weeks 4 to 28 of pregnancy: In the earliest stage<br />

of pregnancy, expectant mothers visit their care<br />

provider once a month to get routine care such as<br />

physicals and pelvic exams, blood pressure and<br />

urine tests, prenatal vitamin prescriptions, and<br />

gestational diabetes screening.<br />

• Weeks 28 to 36 of pregnancy: At this stage,<br />

expectant mothers have checkups twice a month.<br />

At later checkups, your doctor may assess your weight,<br />

blood pressure, the baby’s heartbeat and growth. You<br />

may receive relevant vaccinations, such as Tdap.<br />

• Weeks 36 to 41 of pregnancy: During the final stage<br />

of pregnancy, expectant mothers typically visit their<br />

doctor every week.<br />

If you have complications during pregnancy, your<br />

provider may want to see you more often.<br />

Our whole person approach to prenatal care<br />

Your mental and behavioral health is just as<br />

important as your physical health during your<br />

pregnancy and after birth. Post-partum depression<br />

is more than “baby blues” and can sometimes be<br />

severe. If you feel something isn’t right, physically<br />

or mentally –during or after your pregnancy — make<br />

sure your doctor listens to your concerns.<br />

At Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield, we are<br />

committed to assisting parents in maintaining<br />

healthy behaviors<br />

before, during, and after<br />

pregnancy. Our Special<br />

Delivery Education<br />

Program is a free<br />

maternity program for<br />

pregnant members.<br />

Follow the QR code to<br />

learn more and sign up.<br />

<strong>AUTUMN</strong> <strong>2023</strong> 13

Medicare Annual<br />

Enrollment Period<br />

October 15 – December 7<br />

The Medicare Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) is<br />

almost here. It's time to decide which Medicare<br />

option is best for you — to stay with your current<br />

Arkansas Blue Medicare plan, choose a different<br />

Medicare Advantage plan, or return to Original<br />

Medicare. Arkansas Blue Medicare has some<br />

exciting plan options you won’t want to miss.<br />

The Annual Enrollment Period is October 15<br />

through December 7 with plans and benefits<br />

going into effect on January 1, 2024.<br />

What’s most important when it comes to your<br />

health coverage? Whether it’s a plan that delivers<br />

real savings, makes it easy to get needed care, or<br />

offers those extra benefits that give you peace of<br />

mind, we’re here to help you find the right Arkansas<br />

Blue Medicare plan that fits your needs and budget.<br />

Call your local licensed agent<br />

at 800-392-2583.<br />

Visit arkansasblue65.com/medicare<br />

and watch our short video or<br />

visit us in person at your nearby<br />

ArkansasBlue Welcome Center.<br />

What makes our plans special?<br />

• Many HMO and PPO plans with<br />

$0 monthly premiums and $0 to low copays<br />

• Comprehensive dental, vision, hearing,<br />

and prescription drug coverage<br />

• Excellent care from a large network<br />

of trusted providers and hospitals<br />

Arkansas Blue Medicare HMO and PPO<br />

plans include valuable extras designed<br />

to help you stay your healthiest:<br />

• New! Walmart Wellness Benefits Card for<br />

over-the-counter (OTC) health-related products<br />

• $0 Primary Care Provider visits<br />

• Valuable Healthy Blue Rewards<br />

• No-cost 24/7 Nurse Advice Line<br />

• $0 SilverSneakers ® Fitness Program Membership<br />

Registration ends December 7<br />

If you’re about to turn 65 or already have<br />

Medicare, now is the time to look at Arkansas<br />

Blue Medicare. Our plans deliver valuable<br />

benefits, savings, and rewards — all with the<br />

local support of the Arkansas Blue Cross and<br />

Blue Shield name you know and trust.<br />

Live your best life – connect with a local expert today!<br />

14<br />

<strong>AUTUMN</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

Open Enrollment<br />

for 2024 coverage<br />

If you need an individual or family health plan for<br />

next year, the Open Enrollment Period (OEP) for<br />

2024 runs from November 1, <strong>2023</strong>, to January 15,<br />

2024. During OEP, you can decide to keep or change<br />

your existing plan. If you want your coverage to<br />

begin on January 1, you must enroll by December 15.<br />

We understand this is an important decision.<br />

Our friendly experts can help you find the best<br />

coverage for your needs and budget.<br />

Customer Service<br />

N U M B E R S<br />

May we help? For customer service, please call toll free:<br />

Arkansas Blue Medicare<br />

HMO Plans (H6158) 844-463-1088<br />

PPO Plans (H3554) 844-201-4934<br />

PFFS Plans (H4213) 877-233-7022<br />

BlueMedicare Classic/Classic Plus (HMO) 877-349-9335<br />

Arkansas Blue Medicare Prescription<br />

Drug Plans (S5795): 866-390-3369<br />

Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield<br />

Medicare Supplement Plans 800-238-8379<br />

Arkansas Blue Cross members 800-238-8379<br />

Arkansas Blue Cross Metallic members<br />

(Gold, Silver, Bronze, Catastrophic) 800-800-4298<br />

Health Advantage members 800-843-1329<br />

BlueAdvantage members 888-872-2531<br />

Pharmacy questions 888-293-3748<br />

Federal Employee Program members 800-482-6655<br />

Arkansas State Employees /<br />

Public School Employees 800-482-8416<br />

Looking for health or dental insurance? We can help!<br />

For individuals, families 800-392-2583<br />

For employer groups * 800-421-1112<br />

How to update your coverage<br />

Watch for your annual benefit update letter<br />

explaining your options in detail.<br />

If you want to discuss a new health plan:<br />

• Call 800-392-2583 to talk to a health<br />

insurance expert.<br />

• Visit an ArkansasBlue Welcome Center.<br />

To schedule an appointment at a location<br />

near you, visit arkbluecross.com/locations.<br />

• Visit arkbluecross.com/enroll to shop online<br />

for a new plan.<br />

• Call your local agent.<br />

Visit our websites<br />

for more information:<br />

• arkansasbluecross.com<br />

• arkbluemedicare.com<br />

• hub.arkansasbluecross.com<br />

• healthadvantage-hmo.com<br />

• blueadvantagearkansas.com<br />

• blueandyoufoundationarkansas.org<br />

Prefer to speak with someone close to home?<br />

Call or visit one of our Welcome Centers near you:<br />

Fayetteville<br />

3013 N. College Ave. 479-379-5180<br />

Fort Smith<br />

3501 Old Greenwood Road – Suite 3 479-648-1635<br />

Hot Springs<br />

1635 Higdon Ferry Road – Suite J 501-620-2620<br />

Jonesboro<br />

2110 Fair Park Blvd. – Suite I 870-935-4871<br />

Little Rock (MIDTOWN)<br />

416 S. University Ave. – Suite 110 501-396-8675<br />

Pine Bluff<br />

509 Mallard Loop 870-536-1223<br />

Rogers<br />

4602 W. Walnut St. 479-973-6675<br />

*<br />

Arkansas Blue Cross, Health Advantage and<br />

BlueAdvantage Administrators of Arkansas<br />

<strong>AUTUMN</strong> <strong>2023</strong><br />



Alison Melson<br />

EDITOR<br />

Linda S. Haymes<br />

Editor@arkbluecross.com<br />


Ryan Kravitz<br />

Mark Jansen, M.D.,<br />

vice president and<br />

chief medical officer<br />


Creshelle Nash, M.D.,<br />

medical director for Health<br />

Equity and Public Programs<br />

<strong>AUTUMN</strong> <strong>2023</strong> 15


U.S. POSTAGE<br />

PAID<br />



72201<br />

Fall for our fun<br />

ArkansasBlue<br />

Welcome Center<br />

events<br />


In the pink — In recognition<br />

of Breast Cancer Awareness<br />

Month, sw by any ArkansasBlue<br />

Welcome Center for a free gift<br />

and to register to win a pink<br />

NutriBullet for healthier eating.<br />

Holiday food drive — During the<br />

month of October, ArkansasBlue<br />

Welcome Centers will accept<br />

canned and boxed food to<br />

provide meals for those in need<br />

during the holiday season.<br />


Celebrating 75 years! — Join us<br />

at any ArkansasBlue Welcome<br />

Center on December 4 to<br />

celebrate the 75 th anniversary of<br />

Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue<br />

Shield. We’ll be giving away 75<br />

gift cards to different retailers<br />

and/or restaurants to the first 75<br />

people who visit us that day!<br />

Christmas spirit! — Beginning<br />

Thanksgiving week, the Jonesboro<br />

ArkansasBlue Welcome Center,<br />

2110 Fair Park Blvd., will give<br />

away free admission tickets<br />

to Arkansas Blue Cross night<br />

(December 14) at Christmas<br />

in the Park in Jonesboro,<br />

while supplies last.<br />


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