When the first COVID-19 cases started appearing in the U.S., we had some very scary examples of what happened in other countries, with this disease overwhelming and even shutting down healthcare systems. Almost all of the original restrictions that state, local and federal officials put in place here, like stay-at-home orders, mask-wearing, business closures, etc. were aimed at slowing down the spread of the virus so we wouldn’t run out of ICU beds and ventilators. We had seen that happen in places like Italy, and it was very, very bad. Nothing you’d want to have happen here. Read more
Louisiana is opening back up. In this podcast, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana Healthcare Economist Mike Bertaut talks about the adjustments we are all making and why we can’t let our guard down. Mike also discusses the strong safety net Louisiana currently has for residents who lose their jobs and their health insurance during this pandemic.
Mike talks about the remarkable number of telehealth claims Blue Cross is processing right now, and goes into details about about Blue Cross’ data-sharing partnership with the State of Louisiana, including details on a presentation that Blue Cross’s Chief Analytics & Data Officer, Somesh Nigam, led this week, during the federal Department of Health and Human Services’ Data Science CoLab Demo Day.
Since I live with people who are at high risk for a bad outcome if they contract COVID-19, I have appointed myself “Chief Forager” for the household. If we need something, I’m the one who’s out there trying to find it. This covers grocery shopping, fuel buying, medicine gathering and a host of other tasks.
Thinking about how NOT to bring COVID-19 back home when I’ve been out in public has been quite the adventure. I’ve got a pair of “outside shoes” that get worn everywhere outside my house, which I take off in the garage as soon as I get home. I’ve got a couple of sets of clothes that also go only from the outside world to my home laundry room and then back on if I need to run errands. Read more
The other day, I was lamenting the fact that I haven’t seen a disinfecting wipe container in any store in a few months. I find them VERY handy nowadays for wiping doorknobs and other frequently touched surfaces or using them at the gas station and grocery store. I was just about out of wipes when I popped open a seldom-used cabinet and found a whole new package — NEVER OPENED.
A couple of years ago, with no idea that we’d be battling COVID-19, I stashed those away. I wasn’t “planning for a rainy day;” it was just luck.
But thanks to the talented team of data scientists we have here at Blue Cross, luck isn’t our only method of being prepared and ready to respond to COVID-19. Read more
Sometimes, dealing with a big bureaucracy with a ton of rules can be really, really frustrating. Dealing with lots of rules and regulations often makes folks want to tear their hair out. Life can be pretty complex on its own, without tons of rules to follow.
Every now and then, though, having a bunch of rules and regulations is a good thing. Like the many different ways you can trigger a Special Enrollment Period on healthcare.gov. Many of these also work for seniors who are Medicare eligible. We’ll talk about each of those and their options for healthcare coverage. Read more
Welcome to our first podcast in the age of COVID-19. In this podcast, Mike and his producer, Lindsey, talk about what has changed at Blue Cross (about 90% of our employees are working from home), along with how we’ve adjusted programs and services for our members. And, he talks about what hasn’t changed — our commitment to continue serving our customers.
Mike explains why it’s vital to continue seeking treatment for regular health concerns. Emergencies like heart attacks and appendicitis don’t stop in the face of a public health crisis, but more Americans are delaying care for them, at a great risk. Mike discusses how telehealth can help you figure out if and when you need to head to the hospital. Read more