TULSA, OK -- Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma says it will waive co-pays and deductibles for administration of the H1N1 (swine) flu vaccine.
The company issued a news release Friday morning.
"The H1N1 virus is expected to be a serious threat this flu season and we want to help our members protect themselves as best they can," said Paul Handel, M.D., chief medical officer for Health Care Service Corporation.
Health Care Service Corp. operates Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma.
The federal government is providing the H1N1 vaccine for free to health care providers, but those providers may charge fees for its administration. As a result, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma will pay the administration fee at no cost to its fully-insured group health plan members and individual health plan members under the age of 65.
Members with Medicare supplement plans already have their vaccinations covered through their Medicare benefits.
"This effort supports the CDC's recommendations and stresses the importance of receiving vaccination for individuals who are at higher risk of medical complications from H1N1," Handel said.
Because of a limited supply of the vaccine, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is recommending the vaccine for people in high risk groups. Members who fit into one of these groups should contact their doctor:
• Pregnant women
• People who live with or care for children younger than 6 months of age
• Health care 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
In order to benefit from this special coverage, a member must receive the vaccination from a provider in the Blue Cross and Blue Shield network.
While Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma also strongly encourages its members to receive seasonal flu shots, this offer to cover the administration costs only relates to the H1N1 flu vaccine.
Coverage for other vaccines will be in accordance with the individual's health plan.