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23 October

Desk to 5K: Life Lessons from the Trails

Anyone who has spent time with me since I joined the company has had to endure listening to me speak about a passion of mine: running–and in particular, long distance running. But it’s important to understand that while you don’t immediately start out by running marathons, you do have to start somewhere. That starting place […]

22 October
16 October

ACA 2015: What You Need to Enroll

The ACA 2015 Annual Enrollment Period doesn’t begin until November 15, 2014, but now is the perfect time to start gathering the information and documents you’ll need for 2015 coverage. Whether you’re enrolling for the first time, renewing a policy, recalculating your subsidy, or just browsing, you’ll need some basic information to get started. Healthcare.gov […]

14 October

5 Stunning Fall Hikes in the North Carolina Piedmont Region

The beginning of fall can be a busy time: the start of school, slipping back into the routine of work, still operating under the assumption your favorite football team has a chance. So it’s understandable if you weren’t able to make the drive and catch fall’s colorful debut in the mountains. But that hardly means […]

10 October

Aiming High with Helping Hands: Inspiring 5K Running Stories

Reaching your fitness goals is hard work. It takes dedication and perseverance, but in the end, knowing how far you can go is worth the bumps along the way. That spirit of accomplishment is very much with us here at BCBSNC, especially right now.  As we speak, almost 200 employees are preparing to run a […]

10 October

The Health Care Sweet Spot: Health Plans That Help You Find It

Consumer Reports‘ annual health plan rankings came out two weeks ago. While that certainly gets some attention each year, there’s a new section that warrants a closer look if you’re interested in the costly problem of unnecessary medical treatment. The consumer magazine’s assessment of 507 private health insurance plans now includes a category called “Avoiding […]

09 October

Pack This, Not That! Avoid These Four School Lunch Pitfalls

Ten months of packing school lunches is a daunting task for any family. Keeping lunches healthy and offering a variety of foods with a busy schedule can be even more intimidating, especially if you have a picky eater in your family. There are plenty of ready-made lunch and snack options available, but while they’re convenient […]

07 October

Knowing The Signs and Symptoms of Depression

Depression is far more common than you think. The Centers for Disease Control estimates that one in ten adults report they are affected by depression, but many more suffer in silence, either embarrassed or ashamed to talk to their doctors. If left untreated, this surprisingly common mental health condition can have serious consequences. But by […]

06 October

Goodbye Pumpkin Spice Latte, Hello Pumpkin Pie Chia Pudding

Autumn and good food go hand in hand, and have done so for time out of mind. It’s a time to celebrate the harvest, to enjoy the bounty, and to knock back a pumpkin spice latte every day. Well, no. It’s not likely that the settlers had pumpkin spice lattes, but they surely had pumpkin. […]

01 October

5 North Carolina Hikes Worth Taking This Fall

You love fall color — and so does everyone else. This time of year, conga lines of cars snake along the Blue Ridge Parkway, U.S,. 441 through the Smokies and any number of other mountain roads in search of the color promised by tourism brochures. The good news: few of those folks will bother to […]

30 September

Debunking 3 E-Cigarette Myths

Smoking is more than just a bad habit. It’s the number one preventable cause of death in the U.S., killing more people than HIV, illegal drugs, alcohol and traffic accidents combined. A recent trend we’re seeing with smokers trying to kick the habit is trading in ordinary tobacco cigarettes for electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes or “vapers”). […]

26 September

Open Enrollment 2015: Dates to Know

It’s hard to believe that almost a year has passed since the Affordable Care Act went live and Open Enrollment 2014 began. And now we’re headed into Open Enrollment 2015. What’s Open Enrollment? Good question. Basically, it’s when you’re able to choose a health insurance plan on the Exchange for 2015. If you miss Open […]

23 September

Healthy Tailgating Snacks that Won’t Leave You Feeling Like a Linebacker

It’s fall, and that means football. As if by magic NFL games, college teams, and even Fantasy leagues are filling up your Facebook timeline. But let’s be honest, one of the highlights of football season is getting together with friends to tailgate with a huge spread of tasty dishes: wings, chips and creamy dips, fried […]

22 September

Four Things to Know About Fall Allergies

Fall is time for cooler temperatures, vibrant colored leaves, and, for some people, allergies. When most people think of allergies, they think of spring when so many flowers bloom. But in late August and early September, the flowers of ragweed are prevalent, and damp weather makes a good environment for mold to develop. These changes […]

17 September

No Flu For You: 5 Flu Shot Myths Debunked

It’s that time of year; flu season is upon us. That means flu shots. Maybe you’re ready to go and are rushing to Target because they’re offering discounts to shoppers who get the flu shot as an incentive. Great! You know the importance of getting the flu shot, not just for yourself but for your […]

16 September

3rd Annual Sort-A-Rama Volunteers Sort 170,000 Meals For Needy NC Families

The backdrop was an immense warehouse in RTP, filled with hundreds of bins and surrounded by a fleet of volunteers. The end result was over 170,000 meals sorted for distribution to needy families by the Food Bank of Central and Eastern NC. On September 11, 2014, employees from BASF, Food Lion, Cisco, and many other […]

15 September

Navigating In-Network and Out-of-Network Charges

Whether you’re signing up for a health plan, searching for a doctor or just checking to see if you owe anything, the terms “in-network” and “out-of-network” are bound to pop up. And sooner than you might expect. With open enrollment around the corner, keep this in mind: Know your network. It’s important because most of […]

10 September

In the Office: Viruses Spread Faster Than You Think

Enterovirus D68 has made news all across the world after an outbreak in the Midwest. In the last few days, the virus popped up in over ten states, causing symptoms like coughing, wheezing, and hypoxemia, particularly in children. With over hundreds of cases, Entervirus D68 has put children in both emergency rooms and intensive care […]

10 September

The Inside Scoop on Health Trackers and Wearables from Christine Evans of Fitbit

Walk in to any store from Target to Tory Burch, and you’ll see that health trackers and wearables are everywhere. There’s no denying it: The old-school pedometer has gotten a facelift. And with Apple’s recent announcement, we can be sure it’s certainly not going away any time soon. The new wearable devices and mobile apps not […]

09 September

How Will the Future of Health Care Be Different from the Present?

Imagine a future where you — the health care consumer — are truly in charge of your care. Where you have the information you need to make smart decisions. And where you shop for health services the way you’d shop for a new car or hire an electrician. Is this a safe prediction for health […]

05 September

5 Ways Not to Sabotage Your First 5K

Last October I ran my first 5K. I wish I could tell you that after months of training and planning that the whole thing went off without a hitch, that I had my best personal time, and I blasted through that finish line in a blaze of glory. But it was anything but that. I’ve […]

29 August

How to Start a #HealthyConversation

Our health is intensely personal. Yet it doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Which is why having “healthy” conversations – the kind where you talk about your health – are so important.If you have a family history of heart disease, cancer or diabetes, you need a healthy conversation. If you want to help a friend who’s […]

21 August

Just What Are “Bundled Payments?”

Health care has more than its share of confusing terminology and jargon. One of our goals at BCBSNC is to break down the terms and concepts to give you the knowledge you need as a health care consumer. In that spirit, we give you the latest term that’s catching on: Bundled payments. It’s essentially a […]

18 August

TGIM – Thank Goodness it’s… Monday?

More and more people actually look forward to the distraction work can bring to escape stress at home. It’s true! In fact, a recent study, When Work Becomes A Haven From Stress At Home, showed that participants’ cortisol levels, a hormone released in response to stress, spiked more when at home than at work.

08 August

Make it a Smooth Journey with These Healthy Travel Tips

There’s a reason that highways and airport terminals are decked out with signs for fast, greasy food. Marketers know that our options are limited when we travel, so they capitalize on stressed out moms and dads with tired kids. A good strategy for avoiding the pitfalls of travel eating is to have a game plan […]

06 August

Small Businesses, Big Ideas: BCBSNC Hosts N&O’s Shop Talk

According to the Small Business Administration, two thirds of new jobs are created by businesses with fewer than 500 employees. On the other hand, the SBA says, only about half of those businesses are still open after five years. So if you’re running a business – or thinking about starting one – how do you […]

01 August

How Networking Works at BCBSNC and Why It Matters to You

Like many companies, BCBSNC sponsors and encourages internal networks for employees who share certain interests or have things in common. Employee networks help our workforce develop a sense of community with each other, regardless of location, job or department. There’s also a benefit that goes beyond our own 4,500 employees: Employee networks are helping us […]

25 July

How to Challenge Your Friends to Step Up

It’s basic but true: Your chances of starting and sticking with a fitness program increase if you’re among friends. The motivation and encouragement — and even a little healthy competition — that a group provides is hard to replicate by yourself. To help you get started, we want to share some tips that have proven […]

24 July

Why Are Some Insurers Issuing Rebates?

It might seem like a nice surprise to get a check in the mail that you weren’t expecting. But if that check comes from a health insurer, you might want to think about whether it really is a good deal. The Affordable Care Act requires individual and group health insurers to publicly report their medical […]

18 July

Suntans Fade, but the Sun’s Effects Last a Lifetime

Odds are we all know someone who has been affected by skin cancer. More than 1 million Americans are diagnosed with it each year, according to the American Cancer Society, including almost 60,000 people with melanoma — the most serious type. To avoid becoming one of these statistics, it’s important to know how to stay […]

17 July

What to Know and Do About Medical Overtreatment

Have you ever wondered if every medical test or procedure is really necessary? Clearly, some aren’t. The Institute of Medicine says $210 billion is wasted each year on medical overtreatment — tests and procedures that either aren’t necessary or duplicate previous tests. Overtreatment can even happen when you do something as simple as switching doctors. […]

10 July

Progress in the March Toward Better Health Care Value

You might not know it, but the odds are increasing that your doctor or hospital is getting paid for the quality of care you receive. The world of medical payments continues to shift in favor of health care value, and away from the volume of procedures performed, the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association says […]

02 July

Health Care Fraud: The $80 Billion Crime

In a nation that spends a few trillion dollars a year on health care, there are bound to be some who try to take advantage of the system for their own gain. After all, it’s just a drop in the bucket, right? Wrong. These fraudulent actions have a big and expensive impact. In 2013, the FBI estimated that health care fraud costs the U.S. $80 billion every year. Other estimates go even higher.

01 July
26 June
23 June

Another Private Exchange Opens for Business in NC

Get ready for more options when it comes to choosing your annual health benefits. BCBSNC is launching its first private exchange for North Carolina employers with at least 51 employees. Beginning Sept. 1, the exchange lets employers select up to four different medical plans to offer their employees from a menu of 18 plan options. […]

20 June
19 June

5 Easy Ways to Make Your Smoothies Even Healthier

by Veronica Verhoff, Onsite Nutritionist at BCBSNC   This time of year, smoothies become a go-to drink, both for their nutrient value and for their great taste. However, you may not be getting the most out of your smoothies. High sugar levels in many fruit smoothies lead to increased insulin (fat storage hormone) and reduced […]

19 June

U.S. Health Care Costs $2.8 Trillion. Do We Get Our Money’s Worth?

The United States spent $2.8 trillion on health care in 2012. So what did we get for our money? A last-place ranking in health quality and efficiency among 11 leading nations, according to a new report. The Commonwealth Fund measured a variety of health rankings and compared the results. Not only did the U.S. fare […]

16 June

The CSA in Your Back Yard: This Garden Comes in a Box

he Produce Box is at the forefront of the sustainable food movement spreading across the state. The Raleigh-based, family-owned company supports 40 North Carolina farms by getting their goods in consumers’ hands.

13 June

Walking with Dinosaurs in Durham to Promote Outdoor Play

For generations, kids and adults alike have found adventure in the 86-acre grounds of the Museum of Life and Science in Durham. Filled with amazing plants, animals, and the errant dinosaur or two, it’s something of an institution. When my son was a toddler, he called it the “dinosaur place” and it’s always been a […]

10 June

Breast Cancer: A Common Enemy That Impacts Us All

by King Prather I never knew my grandparents. Two died before I was born, one died within a year and another died within six years after I was born. I had my picture taken with the last one and I can conjure up an image or two of her with an apron and a cast […]

06 June

The Drug That Costs $1,000 a Day — And Why You Should Care

You have to love the TV pitchman’s favorite question: “Why pay more?” But it’s no longer good for a chuckle when you find out there’s an actual answer. In the case of Sovaldi, the new hepatitis C drug, someone has to pay more — a lot more — than what the vast majority of other […]

04 June
30 May

You Don’t Snooze, You Lose: 20 Sleep Tips for #BetterSleepMonth

With more than half of Americans between the ages of 25-55 struggling to sleep at night, and more research pointing to the dangers of sleep debt for any age, it’s safe to say sleep — or lack therof – has big consequences, both for our health and well-being. From higher risk of obesity to the […]

27 May

Exchanging Glances: More Employers Looking at Private Exchanges

The first cycle of enrollments on the new government-run health exchanges is over. The next open enrollment period doesn’t start until November. Which makes this “quiet” period the perfect time to take stock of what’s happening with another new mechanism for obtaining health insurance: The private exchange. Private exchanges are the emerging marketplaces offered by […]

22 May
20 May

Building North Carolina Communities with KaBOOM!

by Kathy Higgins Vice President, Corporate Affairs President, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation      For today’s kids, outdoor play is being squeezed out by computer games, television, music and electronic gadgets. In addition, a recent Harris Interactive poll commissioned by KaBOOM! found that 59% of parents said there’s no place […]

19 May
16 May

Making More Resources Available to Our Military Veterans

Did you know that one out of every 10 people in North Carolina has served in the military? With so many of our friends, neighbors and relatives having served our country, all of us should find a way to express our appreciation. One way we do that is by recognizing that military servicemen, servicewomen and […]

08 May
06 May
30 April

5 Emergency Room Myths Busted

If you follow us on Facebook, you might have caught the recent conversation on our page about emergency room (ER) use. Folks felt strongly about this topic, and we had a ton of feedback on the subject. Here’s what we shared: “Half of ER visits aren’t emergencies, which wastes $38 billion a year.” You read […]

25 April
14 April
29 March

BCBSNC Billing Deadline Extended to April 4th for April 1st Coverage

We’ve seen a high volume of Individual Under 65 applications coming in for April coverage and decided to help our new customers by extending the first month’s initial payment due date to April 4. This is for both ON and OFF the Marketplace. Payment must be received by April 4 (not postmarked). Any applications that haven’t […]

26 March

Customer Service at BCBSNC: Your Time Really Does Matter to Us

by Tarsha Rowland, Vice President Customer Service Operations at BCBSNC We know it doesn’t always feel as if your time matters to us when you have to spend time on hold. We’re sorry that our customers have had difficulty getting answers from us. It’s frustrating for us to fall short of your expectations. The fact is that implementing […]

26 March

Why Talk Cost? The Health Care Cost Conversation in North Carolina

By Brad Wilson, CEO, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina I hope you’ve seen or heard about our Let’s Talk Cost initiative. Sometimes people ask me why we are running commercials and promoting a website dedicated to rising health care costs. I think a better question is: Why didn’t we, and others in the […]

17 March

National Nutrition Month: 5 Tips to Curb Stress Eating

by Veronica Verhoff March is National Nutrition Month, and we want to help you get into the nutritional swing of things. But that’s easier said than done. We know what it’s like–stress in our daily lives can make even simple decisions (apple, not candy bar) even harder than they should be. So while stress is […]

11 March
07 March

The Skinny on Narrow Networks

The old marketing phrase “one size fits all” has fallen on hard times. Whether shopping for smartphones or sweaters, consumers want their choices. That’s true even for health insurance. Partly in response to the Affordable Care Act, health insurers are offering consumers more plans to choose from, including plans that keep premiums lower by limiting […]

06 March

Shape NC: Hope in the Fight Against Childhood Obesity in North Carolina

When it comes to obesity prevention, it’s never too early to start.  Thanks to a recent study from the New England Journal of Medicine, we now know that children who are overweight when they start school are far more likely to be obese by the time they become teenagers. This means that we need to […]

03 March

How Do You Walk 10k Steps a Day? One at a Time and All Together

You might have heard of the fitness gadget known as a Fitbit, one of many new tools available to help you keep tabs on your physical activity. And if you haven’t heard, these sorts of devices are basically sophisticated pedometers that can track and measure your movement throughout the day automatically. Some of the models can […]

25 February

How “One-Bill” Surgeries are Making a Difference in North Carolina

Insurance billing can be a real pain — we’re the first to admit that. That’s why, with the help of Triangle Orthopaedic Associates (TOA), we’ve expanded our efforts to provide better quality care and simpler billing to our customers who are having hip or knee replacement surgeries. Orthopedics This Week recently outlined the positive results […]

17 February

Let’s Talk Cost: The High Cost of Health Care

It’s sometimes shocking to see the price of health care. While rising medical costs are one of those issues that everyone agrees needs fixing, no one seems to agree on just how to do it. BCBSNC first began a conversation about health care costs when we launched the Let’s Talk Cost campaign in 2011. Today […]

05 February
04 February

Beyond the Call: How Jessica Helped a Customer Resolve Bills Exceeding $57K

While there are hundreds of stories we could share, this one really spoke to the heart of what it means to take care of our customers. The video below profiles Jessica, one of our amazing customer service professionals, helping a struggling customer. Like all of us here, Jessica cares deeply about our customers. Here’s how she […]

31 January

Hartley’s Live Fearless Story: Camp Victory Junction and an Amazing 5K

By now you may have seen our Live Fearless commercials, but we’ve known from the beginning that Live Fearless isn’t something for us to solely define. North Carolinians have their own Live Fearless stories – how they live with the freedom to dream and believe. They live for the challenge. They live for the accomplishment. […]

29 January
24 January
23 January

Neighbors Helping Neighbors: BCBSNC Retail Stores in North Carolina

Sometimes it just feels like there’s never enough time in the day. Wake up, go to work, do your job, come home, help the kids with their homework. Before you know it, it’s dark outside and you didn’t get through half of the tasks on the dreaded to-do list. We understand. We’re there with you. […]

22 January

Domestic Partners and the Affordable Care Act in North Carolina

The Affordable Care Act has created enrollment issues for thousands of North Carolinians, and recently we’ve received specific questions regarding enrollment for domestic partners. Currently, while some large employers (including ourselves) choose to cover domestic partners, that option isn’t yet available for our small group or individual customers. However, we are implementing changes that will […]

21 January

Four Ways to Protect Yourself Against Insurance Fraud

Credit card scams, identity theft and …  insurance fraud? Yes, it happens. As you might know, when applying on the the ACA Health Care Exchange for health insurance, applicants are required to provide personal information. Though the Exchange takes a number of security precautions, that doesn’t mean there’s no risk. This is of particular concern […]

14 January

5 Tips to Jump Start Your Career in 2014

By now, many of us have vowed to do a number of things in 2014 – some may have resolved to be healthier and save more money. Don’t let your career drop take a backseat

13 January

A Special Message From Brad Wilson, CEO of BCBSNC

Problems in Washington have made it hard for us in North Carolina to enroll customers and issue membership cards. Many are frustrated as they wait to speak with someone who can help. This is unacceptable.

09 January
08 January
03 January
02 January

Options for Customer Service Due to Large Call Volume

We continue to experience high volume of calls regarding insurance plans and Health Care Reform. Despite increased support staff, hold times continue to be longer than anticipated. Please review this previous blog post for details about making payments and how to use insurance if you don’t have an ID card. There are two options if you need […]

30 December
23 December
23 December
22 December

Desk to 5k: Anyone Can Do It

At BCBSNC we’re known for our dedication to improving the health of North Carolinians — and for our commitment to starting “at home.” One way we do that is by helping our employees live healthier lives. Our focus on health and wellness in the workplace has been recognized by the the Triangle Business Journal as […]

21 December
04 December

Wondering Where Our Neighbors Are on the North Carolina Health Exchange

If you go to healthcare.gov and search for a health plan in North Carolina — now that it’s working better– what will you find? For starters, you’ll see 26 different plans from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina. You’ll also find plans from Coventry Health Care of the Carolinas — but only if you live in one […]