The holiday season often gives us more opportunity to relax with friends and family. Over the years, I’ve found this to be a valuable time to check in with my loved ones about their health and encourage them to make it a priority. As you visit with friends and family, consider having a conversation that includes these important questions.
Do you understand your health care insurance options?
Health care insurance can sometimes seem confusing; however, experts are available to help with coverage choices. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan continues to provide high-quality, affordable health care plans and products that our members expect and deserve. Our options are designed to meet every need and help our members make the best health plan choices during the annual enrollment period.
The 2023 Medicare annual election period began Oct. 15 and runs through Dec. 7. Our Medicare website features our product options; or friends and family can speak with a dedicated Medicare customer assistance line for those at 1-855-339-9235 (TTY:711)
Individual and family plans
Enrollment for 2023 individual and family plans began Nov. 1 and runs through Jan. 15, 2023. All our individual plan options are online. Access to Health Plan advisors for the individual marketplace is available to help individuals under age 65 choose the right plan, calculate costs and find out about eligibility for subsidies at 1-855-237-3501 (TTY: 711).
Do you have a primary care doctor?
Primary care doctors personally know their patients and coordinate their care. They are in the best position to spot health problems, track medications, understand your family history, connect all the dots and coordinate any specialty care you may need.
Our online search engine provides an easy way for members to find a doctor.
How are you feeling? How is your mental health?
Mental health and physical health are directly related. The pandemic shined new light on the critical nature of mental health and how it impacts everyone regardless of age, gender or background. We must be aware of the risk factors and warning signs of suicide.
I urge you to please make your mental health a priority – and know that it is always okay to ask for help. If you or someone you know is in an emergency or crisis, call or text 988 or call 800-273-8255.
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan is continuing and increasing our efforts to reach out with support and resources for customers, members and employees.
There are additional resources available to Blue Cross and Blue Care Network members at bcbsm.com, including many mental health and substance use services.
Have you been vaccinated?
Getting a yearly flu shot is the best way to prevent a potentially deadly disease. Flu shots are recommended every year for individuals ages six months and up.
Wondering where you can go to get a flu vaccine? Visit the “Find Flu Vaccines” page on Vaccines.gov, enter your 5-digit zip code and the type of flu shot you are seeking, and a list of locations that administer the shot will appear.
Health officials expect cases of COVID-19 to increase in the fall and winter months. Staying up to date on COVID vaccinations is the best way to protect individuals and communities against the virus.
Booster doses now available from Moderna and Pfizer have been updated to target the Omicron variant in circulation now, as well as the original strains that were covered by previous vaccines. These updated “bivalent” vaccines have received emergency use authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and are available at pharmacies and health care providers.
Use the CDC’s online tool to find out when you need a booster, and which type of booster dose best fits your status.
Have a safe and happy holiday season
Don’t miss your chance to ask your loved ones about their well-being and prepare them for a healthy 2023.
Daniel J. Loepp is president and CEO of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.
Photo credit: Getty Images