Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Offers Free Flu Shots to Its Members

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (BCBSNC) announced today that once again it is offering free flu shots to its members starting October 1. Flu shots will be available at regional high–risk clinics, more than 700 retail locations throughout North Carolina, many large employer worksites, as well as most participating physicians’ offices.
 
High–risk members can receive a free flu shot at regional clinics hosted by BCBSNC across the state from October 1 through October 24. A list of the regional high–risk clinics is included. All members, regardless of risk status, can receive a free flu shot at the retail clinics from October 25 through November 30, while supplies last. In addition, flu shots should be available at most participating physicians’ offices throughout the fall and winter.
 
Severe flu can result in pneumonia and dehydration, and can cause complications for those who have a chronic illness. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that more than 200,000 people are hospitalized with the flu each year. The illness annually causes 36,000 deaths nationwide.
 
"At Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, one of our goals is to help our members live healthier lives," said Bob Greczyn, BCBSNC president and CEO. "Getting an annual flu shot is just one way our members can take charge of their own health. Preventive measures, like getting a flu shot, are the best steps to take to ensure that our families stay healthy."
 
To maximize the effectiveness of the effort, BCBSNC is also providing free flu shot clinics at worksites of North Carolina employers with 100 or more employees covered by BCBSNC. Through this effort, thousands of employees at hundreds of companies and state and federal agencies will receive free flu shots at their workplaces.
 
Regional and Retail Clinics Open to Everyone
BCBSNC and PARTNERS members, as well as state and federal employees covered by plans administered by BCBSNC, can get a free flu shot this year at BCBSNC–hosted regional clinics or at participating pharmacy and grocery store retail locations throughout North Carolina.
 
Medicare Part B recipients can get a free flu shot at either type of clinic, and Maxim Healthcare Services will file the claim for Medicare beneficiaries. Nonmembers can get a flu shot for $25 at either the high–risk clinics or at the retail clinics, while supplies last.
 
From October 1 to October 24, only members or nonmembers considered to be at high–risk, as recommended by the CDC, will be eligible for the vaccine. Beginning October 25 through November 30, flu shots will be available to everyone, regardless of risk category, while supplies last. To find the free flu shot location nearest them, members can visit bcbsnc.com/flu or call 1–866–534–7330. Maxim Healthcare Services will administer the vaccines at all clinic locations.
 
Per the CDC, the 2005–2006 high–risk groups include the following: individuals affected by Hurricane Katrina, including evacuees; adults age 65 and older; pregnant women; anyone age 2 to 64 with a chronic health condition; parents of children age 6 months to 23 months; household contacts of children less than 6 months of age, and health care providers.
 
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 must be accompanied by a parent to receive a flu shot at either the regional or retail clinics. Children under the age of 9 will need to see their physician to receive their flu shot.
 
"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," said Dr. Bob Harris, BCBSNC chief medical officer. "As the state’s largest health insurer, we are proud to support this program for the third year in a row and happy to see more of our members taking advantage of it year after year."
 
Dates and Locations of High–Risk Regional Flu Shot Clinics
ASHEVILLE
Location:
Dates:
Times:
Renaissance Hotel
Saturday, October 1 and Sunday, October 2
9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
CHARLOTTE
Location:
Dates:
Times:
Northside Baptist Church
Saturday, October 15 and Saturday, October 22
9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
GREENSBORO
Location:
Dates:
Times:
Greensboro Coliseum
Monday, October 3 and Tuesday, October 4
9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
HICKORY
Location:
Dates:
Times:
Hickory Metro Convention Center
Friday, October 7 and Saturday, October 8
9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
RALEIGH
Location:
Dates:
Times:
RBC Center
Monday, October 10, Tuesday, October 11, and Wednesday, October 12
9 a.m. – 5 p.m., except Wed. Oct. 12 from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.
WILMINGTON
Location:
Dates:
Times:
Coast Line Convention Center
Friday, October 14 and Saturday, October 15
9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
WINSTON–SALEM
Location:
Dates:
Times:
Lawrence Joel Coliseum
Monday, October 10 and Tuesday, October 11
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 than 3.2 million members, including approximately 620,000 served on behalf of other Blue Plans. For 72 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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