• Premera Eliminates Member Costs for H1N1 Vaccine

    Cost-sharing For Fully-Insured Members to Be Waived

    MOUNTLAKE TERRACE, WA – (Sept. 16, 2009) – Premera Blue Cross today announced actions to provide peace of mind to its members in fully-insured plans by waiving member cost-sharing, including applicable co-pays and deductibles, associated with the H1N1 vaccine.

    “Premera has been planning and preparing for scenarios related to H1N1 flu since the issue arose this spring,” said Dr. Roki Chauhan, Premera’s Chief Medical Officer. “We are actively engaged with our associates, our members, our customers, and our network of healthcare providers to meet their respective needs on this issue.”

    Premera Waives Member Cost Sharing for H1N1 Vaccine

    Flu vaccinations, including the H1N1 vaccine, are generally an existing, covered-benefit for Premera Blue Cross customers. In addition to that existing coverage, Premera is choosing to waive applicable cost-sharing for members in fully-insured plans in the form of co-pays or deductibles that might otherwise be associated with the H1N1 vaccine.

    This action is a part of Premera’s efforts since April, when H1N1 came to the attention of the health community, to be prepared to provide continuous service to its providers, employer groups, and members in the event of a major flu outbreak. The decision to waive H1N1 vaccine cost-sharing for members in fully-insured plans until further notice is based on Premera’s recognition of the unique nature of this flu virus and the company’s desire to encourage appropriate member access to the vaccine.

    “We want our members to have peace of mind knowing that the H1N1 vaccine is a covered benefit – and now will not require any out-of-pocket expenses associated with the vaccination,” Chauhan added. “Members should also know that antiviral drugs sometimes prescribed by physicians for flu treatment are an existing part of standard Premera Blue Cross health benefit plans.

    “We urge our members in at-risk groups as defined by the CDC to receive vaccinations. In the meantime, we strongly encourage everyone to follow common sense steps to help minimize flu transmission,” Chauhan concluded.

    The CDC currently recommends individuals in the following groups receive the H1N1 vaccine:

    • Pregnant women
    • People who live with or care for children younger than 6 months of age
    • Healthcare and emergency medical services personnel
    • Persons between the ages of 6 months through 24 years
    • People ages 25 through 64 years who have chronic health disorders or compromised immune systems

    Premera remains actively engaged in monitoring and preparing for all appropriate steps to support its associates, members, customers, and network of healthcare providers during the upcoming flu season.

    All interested individuals are encouraged to stay updated on H1N1 at the CDC’s web page on the topic: http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/ 

    About Premera Blue Cross

    Our mission is to provide peace of mind to our members about their healthcare coverage. We provide health insurance and related services to more than 1.5 million people. Premera Blue Cross has operated in Washington since 1933, and Alaska since 1957. Premera Blue Cross is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association. Premera Blue Cross is a healthcare services contractor and does not offer health insurance products. Premera Blue Cross is a member of a family of companies based in Mountlake Terrace, Washington, that provide health, life, vision, dental, stop-loss, disability, and other related products and services.