Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Wants Members to "Stick It to the Flu"

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Cam Ward is encouraging Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (BCBSNC) members to roll up their sleeves and "stick it to the flu." The popular goalie helped BCBSNC kick off the statewide free flu shot effort today with a preview of radio and newspaper ads urging North Carolinians to get their vaccine.
 
BCBSNC announced today that once again it will offer free flu shots to its members starting October 1 at more than 700 retail locations throughout North Carolina and at regional clinics beginning October 3. Many large employer worksites and most participating physicians' offices will also offer free flu shots to BCBSNC members. In a series of radio and newspaper ads, the Stanley Cup-winning goalie declares that a flu shot is "the one shot I always let through." BCBSNC hopes Ward's popularity will drive its members and all North Carolinians to take this important preventive step to avoid the flu.
 
"Preventing the flu has never been easier, more convenient or affordable," said Dr. Bob Harris, senior vice president and chief medical officer for BCBSNC. "The flu shot is up to 90 percent effective in preventing influenza in most people. The more North Carolinians who get the shot, the fewer cases of flu we're going to see in our state as a whole."
 
BCBSNC administered over 163,000 free flu shots in 2005 and expects to surpass that number this year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) expects over 100 million doses of flu vaccine to be available.
 
"As the state's largest health insurer, we are proud to again support this program and happy to see more of our members taking advantage of it year after year," said Harris.
 
Severe flu can result in pneumonia and dehydration, and can cause complications for those with chronic illnesses. The CDC estimates that more than 200,000 people are hospitalized with the flu each year. The illness annually causes 36,000 deaths nationwide.
 
Regional and Retail Clinics Open to Everyone
All BCBSNC and PARTNERS members (except those enrolled in a comprehensive major medical plan), can get a free flu shot this year at BCBSNC-hosted regional clinics or at participating pharmacy and grocery store retail clinics throughout North Carolina. In addition, federal and state employees (both CMM and PPO) are eligible for the program. Medicare Part B recipients can get a free flu shot at either type of clinic, and Maxim Healthcare Services, who will administer the vaccines at all clinic locations, will file the claim on their behalf. Nonmembers can get a flu shot for $25 at the clinics, while supplies last.
 
Flu shot recipients age 18 and older must present their BCBSNC member ID card and a photo ID in order to receive their free flu shot. Children ages 9 to 17 can also receive a free flu shot at either the regional or retail clinics but must be accompanied by a parent. Children under the age of 9 will need to see their physician to receive their flu shot.
 
North Carolina employers with 100 or more employees covered by BCBSNC will also hold free flu shot clinics at their worksites. Through this effort, thousands of employees at hundreds of companies and state and federal agencies will have the opportunity to receive free flu shots at work.
 
The program will run through November while supplies last. In addition to the clinics, flu shots should be available at most participating physicians' offices throughout the fall and winter. In most instances, those shots are also free to BCBSNC members as long as no additional services are provided at the appointment.
 
To find the location and hours of operation of the retail clinics, members can call 1-866-534-7330. They can also visit bcbsnc.com/flu.
 
List of free regional clinics
 
ASHEVILLE
Location:
Renaissance Hotel
Date:
Sunday, Oct. 8
Time:
9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
CHARLOTTE
Location:
Cricket Arena
Date:
Wednesday, Oct. 25 and Thursday, Oct. 26
Time:
9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
CONCORD
Location:
Cabarrus Arena and Events Center
Date:
Thursday, Oct. 5
Time:
9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
DURHAM/CHAPEL HILL
Location:
American Legion Post
Date:
Sunday, Oct. 15
Time:
9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
FAYETTEVILLE
Location:
Holiday Inn Bordeaux
Date:
Tuesday, Oct. 24
Time:
9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
GREENSBORO
Location:
Greensboro Coliseum
Date:
Tuesday, Oct. 10 and Wednesday, Oct. 11
Time:
9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
GREENVILLE
Location:
Greenville Convention Center
Date:
Tuesday, Oct. 3 and Wednesday, Oct. 4
Time:
9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
HICKORY
Location:
Hickory Metro Convention Center
Date:
Thursday, Oct. 12 and Friday, Oct. 13
Time:
9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
RALEIGH
Location:
N.C. Fairgrounds
Date:
Monday, Nov. 6, Tuesday, Nov. 7 and Wednesday, Nov. 8
Time:
9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
WILMINGTON
Location:
Scottish Rite Temple
Date:
Friday, Oct. 20 and Saturday, Oct. 21
Time:
9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
WINSTON-SALEM
Location:
Lawrence Joel Coliseum
Date:
Tuesday, Oct. 17 and Wednesday, Oct. 18
Time:
9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
 
 
About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina:
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina is a leader in delivering innovative health care products, services and information to more nearly 3.4 million members, including approximately 744,000 served on behalf of other Blue Plans. For 73 years, the company has served its customers by offering health insurance at a competitive price and has served the people of North Carolina through support of community organizations, programs and events that promote good health. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Access BCBSNC online at bcbsnc.com.
 
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