Flu Facts
The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. The best way to prevent the flu is by getting a flu shot each year.
  • Three strains of influenza are expected this flu season, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The new flu shot will cover them all, including last year’s H1N1 flu.
  • It takes about two weeks for a flu shot to work. The sooner you get a flu shot, the sooner you’re protected.
  • The vaccine should cover you through the entire flu season, which typically ends in May.
Get Vaccinated
The single best way to prevent the flu is to get a flu vaccine each season. There are two types of flu vaccines:
  • The flu shot. It’s an inactivated vaccine (containing killed virus). The shot is approved for use in people 6 months of age and older, including healthy people, people with chronic medical conditions and pregnant women.
  • The nasal spray flu vaccine. It’s a vaccine made with live, weakened flu viruses that do not cause the flu. It is approved for use in healthy* people 2-49 years of age who are not pregnant.
Healthy Tips to Avoid the Flu
  • Get a flu shot. Prevention really is the best medicine.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Proper hand washing technique includes washing with soap and warm water for 15 to 20 seconds.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Try to stay in good general health. Get plenty of sleep, exercise, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids and eat nutritious food.
  • If you get the flu, stay home from work, school, and social gatherings. In this way you will help prevent others from catching your illness.
  • Try not to touch your eyes, nose, or mouth. Germs often spread this way.
Stay Informed
  • A source for updated information on the flu is the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Hotline at: 1-800-CDC-INFO (1-800-232-4636). This line is available in English and Spanish, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.



 
The majority of Blue Cross members can get a flu shot without any out-of-pocket expenses. This means you don’t have to pay coinsurance, copayments or deductibles. All you have to do is see a doctor or pharmacy in our networks.

Flu vaccines are included in your covered wellness and preventive care benefits. You may not know that your policy includes an extensive wellness package!

This applied to almost every Blue Cross member with:
  • Blue Max
  • BlueSaver
  • Blue Select
  • Blue Value
  • Preferred Care PPO
  • trueBlue
  • Premier Blue
  • POS from HMO Louisiana
  • HMO from HMO Louisiana

  • There are very few exceptions.
  • If you get your insurance through a large company, it’s possible your company could have opted out of the flu shot benefit. So check with your Human Resources Department to find out.
  • If you have Blue Cross, but not a regular health insurance policy, your policy may either cover the shot from another source (like Medicare or Medicaid) or not cover the shot at all.
These types of policies include:
  • Medicare Supplement policies
  • Medicare Part D policies
  • VIP
  • CSD
  • Dental
  • Life Insurance
  • Disability Insurance
  • Long-Term Care Insurance
If you want to be completely sure that the shot is covered with no out-of-pocket costs, call the customer service number on the back of your ID card or e-mail us. We’ll be happy to answer your questions.


 
Getting a yearly flu vaccine is the first and most important step in staying healthy this flu season. The flu vaccine protects against the three main flu strains that are expected to cause the most illness during the flu season. Keep in mind the flu spreads easily, so take precautions such as getting your shot, to stay well and protect your loved ones, too!

 
If you haven’t had your annual check-up yet, schedule it! Your doctor can give you the flu shot while you’re there. Did you know your annual physical is also covered with no out-of-pocket costs? That’s right. The majority of Blue Cross policies cover annual physicals and other wellness and preventive tests without coinsurance, copayments or payment toward your deductible.

If you’ve already had your annual visit, either make an appointment with your doctor or go to an in-network pharmacy offering the shots. The in-network doctor or pharmacy will file a claim on your behalf. You won’t have any out-of-pocket costs!

For a complete listing of in-network doctors and pharmacies, go to our online directory.


 
Yes, the FluMist ® , or the nasal-spray flu vaccine, is covered the same as the flu shot. Please be aware that it’s not for everyone and not all locations administer it. If you’re interested in the FluMist ®, you may want to talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

For more information on the nasal-spray flu vaccine, you can go the Centers for Disease Control.


 
Healthy You … from BLUE !
Getting healthy and staying healthy can be challenging. We make it easier by providing health improvement programs that are tailored to your busy lifestyle! Listed below are some of the wellness programs Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana offers its members.
  • Wellness Benfits
  • Reminder notices
  • Member newsletters
  • Comprehensive Health Information
  • WalkingWorks
  • Fighting Childhood Obesity
  • The Louisiana 2 Step
  • Educational Programs and Resources
  • Discount Programs
Providing wellness benefits
Most of our members can get their age-appropriate preventive and wellness tests with no out-of-pocket expenses. This means you don’t have to pay coinsurance, copayments or deductibles. All you have to do is see a doctor or pharmacy in our networks.
Important: Some exclusions apply. Check your contract benefits structure for applicable services.

Reminder notices
Our Medical Management team plays a special role in prevention by mailing notices or making reminder phone calls to targeted members, reminding them to take advantage of the preventive and wellness tests included in their premium.

Member newsletters
Most members receive our printed newsletters packed with information on prevention of illness, seasonal health issues, nutrition and fitness tips and benefit updates. Similar information is available to employer groups for employee distribution by way of free e-mail bulletins. Group leaders can email us to sign up for a free subscription.

Comprehensive Health Information
Comprehensive health information at the click of a mouse
Log on to www.bcbsla.com and find a wealth of comprehensive health and wellness information and tools.

WalkingWorks
WalkingWorks is a nationwide effort to promote more active lifestyles by encouraging participants to add more steps to their daily routines. Blue Cross offers the program to select group customers, as well as to any individual via our website.

Fighting Childhood Obesity
Blue Cross joined the LSU AgCenter to create Smart Bodies,a statewide program to conduct research on, prevent and combat childhood obesity. The Smart Bodies program is in grammar schools and includes three components:
  • The Louisiana Body Walk, a 35-foot-by-45-foot walk-through exhibit representing the human body
  • The OrganWise Guys, fun characters used throughout the Body Walk and in the classroom to help young children understand physiology and health behaviors
  • Take 10!, a series of classroom-based, grade-specific educational tools that encourage short bouts of physical activity integrated with academic lessons.
Visit www.SmartBodies.org to learn more about the program and how parents and educators can request a Smart Bodies visit to their school.

* The Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

The Louisiana 2 Step
The Louisiana Step is Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana’s a statewide public health campaign encouraging all Louisianians to eat right and move more. To see how you can eat right and move more, visit www.Louisiana2Step.com.

Educational programs and resources
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana’s Health & Quality Management Department conducts health promotion activities to empower members to strive for and/or maintain good health. These activities are designed to foster lifestyle changes and are intended to prevent illness and promote more optimum health.


 
Who should get a seasonal flu shot?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises the public to get a flu vaccination. However, it’s especially important that certain people get vaccinated. These include:
  • Pregnant women
  • Children younger than 5, but especially children younger than 2 years old
  • People 50 years of age and older
  • People of any age with certain chronic medical conditions
  • People who live in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities
  • People who live with or care for those at high risk for complications from flu, including healthcare or daycare workers
Can the flu shot give me the flu?
No, a flu shot cannot cause flu illness. The viruses contained in flu shots are inactivated (killed), which means they cannot cause infection. Flu vaccine manufacturers kill the viruses used in the vaccine during the process of making vaccine, and batches of flu vaccine are tested to make sure they are safe.

How does the flu spread?
Flu viruses are spread mainly from person to person through coughing or sneezing of people with influenza. Sometimes people may become infected by touching something with flu viruses on it and then touching their mouth or nose.

How can someone with the flu infect someone else?
Infected people may be able to infect others beginning one day before symptoms develop and up to seven or more days after becoming sick. That means that you may be able to pass on the flu to someone else before you know you are sick, as well as while you are sick.

How long can viruses live outside the body?
We know that some viruses and bacteria can live two hours or longer on surfaces like cafeteria tables, doorknobs, and desks. Frequent hand washing will help you reduce the chance of getting contamination from these common surfaces.

For more FAQs, visit the the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website (CLICK HERE).

Source –The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention