Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina to Offer Health Risk Assessments for Employers and Individuals

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina to Offer Health Risk Assessments for Employers and Individuals











Chapel Hill, NC (Vocus) March 13, 2007

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina today announced an extensive new program aimed at helping employers and individuals understand and act on their health risks.

Your Health Profile, BCBSNC’s confidential health risk assessment (HRA), helps employers quantify the health risks that exist in their employee population. Using an aggregate summary report that comes from the HRA, employers can design and promote programs that target the specific needs of their workers — such as managing diabetes or increasing physical activity.

“Employers tell us they want more information to help them take specific, measurable actions toward containing rising medical costs,” said Bob Greczyn, BCBSNC president and CEO. “Your Health Profile can be one of the first and most important steps to creating a healthy workforce. A healthy workforce not only affects direct health costs such as medical claims, it also cuts down on the indirect costs of absenteeism and disability.”

Your Health Profile helps individuals who fill out the HRA to better understand their own health risks. Upon completion of the confidential questionnaire, BCBSNC members receive personalized assessments of their health status, complete with tips on developing an action plan for maintaining and improving their health.

BCBSNC is offering Your Health Profile through an agreement with Summex Corp., a unit of WebMD Health Corp. that provides comprehensive health and wellness programs to employers. The HRA becomes available to BCBSNC employer groups in early June.

Cook Endoscopy in Winston-Salem offered Your Health Profile to employees in January as part of a pilot program. “The HRA is a big part of our plans to promote workplace wellness,” said Maryann Atkins, Human Resources Benefits Specialist at the maker of medical devices. “It’s giving us some insight into the health issues our workforce is facing that we couldn’t have gained through any other means.”

How It Works

Your Health Profile consists of an online or paper questionnaire designed by Summex and administered by BCBSNC. Questions involve such health behaviors as physical activity, eating habits and tobacco use, as well as self-reporting of height, weight and medical history. The questionnaire takes about 15 to 20 minutes to complete.

Upon completion, individuals receive their personalized health report outlining health status and risks. The report may suggest actions to take to improve health. Individuals are encouraged to share their report with their physician.

Individuals whose reports show risks for certain health conditions — and who indicate a willingness to improve their health — will be enrolled in BCBSNC’s Member Health Partnerships. The program offers customized support and education to members with one or more health conditions such as diabetes, coronary artery disease, asthma or unhealthy weight. Also, members taking the HRA may access BCBSNC’s Online Healthy Living program for help with such lifestyle issues as weight loss and stress reduction. These tie-ins with existing BCBSNC programs enhance Your Health Profile, extending its reach beyond information and giving members the support they need to maintain and improve their health.

Employers with 50 or more employees completing the survey receive an aggregate summary report that includes suggested steps for addressing health issues within their employee population. The employer does not receive individual questionnaire results.

Who Is Eligible

Employer groups with coverage from BCBSNC, including self-funded employers who pay a fee to BCBSNC to administer their health plan, may use Your Health Profile. Workers at those employers who have chosen a BCBSNC plan will be given the opportunity to take the HRA. BCBSNC is offering Your Health Profile at no additional charge to employers and individuals when the survey is taken online.

Customers of BCBSNC’s Blue Advantage individual coverage also may take the HRA and receive a confidential health report. Blue Advantage customers should visit http://www.bcbsnc.com and click on “Member” to log into My Member Services, where Your Health Profile is available.

About BCBSNC:

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina is a leader in delivering innovative health care products, services and information to more than 3.4 million members, including approximately 749,000 served on behalf of other Blue Plans. For 73 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 http://www.bcbsnc.com

Contact: Kyle Marshall or Heidi Deja

BCBSNC Media Line: 919-765-3005    

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Why Drugs Cost Less Up North

Why Drugs Cost Less Up North










(PRWEB) June 25, 2004

The fact that more than 1 million Americans are now buying medicines from Canada, a number that rises by the month, prompts many people to ask a basic question:

Why do brand-name prescription drugs—most often American-made—usually cost so much less in Canada than in the United States?

And, by extension, are there any lessons in the Canadian experience that could be used to lower prices here?

International drug pricing is a complex topic. “Many things contribute to different prices between nations, from currency exchange rates to average income levels,” says David Gross of AARP’s Public Policy Institute. “But government price regulation is by far the most important factor.”

Almost all Western governments, except the United States, control drug prices in varying ways. Canada’s system is unique. And, contrary to many assumptions, it does not simply set a price for each drug and demand that the manufacturer accept it in order to do business.

In fact, in the 15 years that Canada has had a say in drug prices, its regulatory agency has taken legal action only four times to compel a company to lower prices. In 20 other cases, companies have voluntarily done so.

In Canada the drug companies themselves set the price. “But they know what the rules are, so they set the price within that context,” says Wayne Critchley, executive director of Canada’s Patented Medicine Prices Review Board.

This government agency, with a staff of 40 and an annual budget of $ 4 million Canadian (about $ 3 million U.S.), was set up in 1987 under a new patent law that favored brand-name manufacturers and was designed to stimulate the growth of Canada’s own small drug industry.

Under its mandate, the board must ensure that prices of brand-name drugs still under patent protection are “not excessive.”

It reviews the prices of these drugs twice a year. (Generics and brand-name medicines whose patents have expired—about 35 percent of the market—are not regulated.)

To meet the “not excessive” yardstick, manufacturers must meet these guidelines:

Prices must not exceed the highest Canadian price of existing drugs used to treat the same disease.

For “breakthrough” drugs, which are unique and have no competitors, prices must be no higher than the median of the price for the same drug charged in seven other countries: Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Switzerland and the United States.

Over time, prices cannot be increased beyond the general rate of inflation, as reflected in Canada’s Consumer Price Index.

What happens if the rules aren’t met? In a recent case, which got as far as a formal hearing, drugmaker Schering Canada Inc. agreed to lower the price of the rheumatoid arthritis drug Remicade by 20 percent to meet the guidelines. The company also paid the government $ 7.8 million Canadian—an “offset” equal to the 20 percent it had overcharged since the drug came to market two years earlier.

If the review board decides a drugmaker’s overpricing is a deliberate attempt to flout the law, it can act punitively by doubling the amount of the offset. But such instances are rare. “We’re generally able to gain compliance very early on,” Critchley says. “Manufacturers want to comply with the law.”

Which is not to say that the system is not criticized, he adds. The drug industry often argues that the board should interpret the law to allow Canadian prices up to the highest in the seven other countries, instead of to the median. Many consumer groups, on the other hand, argue they should be pegged to the lowest.

The big change to emerge from the board’s activities is that Canadian prices for patented drugs dropped from being the highest in the world outside the United States to the midrange of European prices—from 23 percent above median foreign prices in 1987 to 5 to 10 percent below in recent years. (In contrast, Canadian prices that are not regulated, including generics, are 24 to 40 percent above the median of other countries.)

In 1987 manufacturers’ prices on patented drugs were on average 36 percent lower in Canada than in the United States, according to a board study. By 2001 they were on average 69 percent lower.

The review board system “has had a bigger impact on pricing than I ever anticipated,” says Tom Brogan, a former Canadian civil servant who helped write the 1987 law. “It’s not price control like it is, say, in France, where they come up with prices almost by edict. But it has made companies more careful of what their introductory price is.”

Another difference from the system in the United States is that the price of any drug in Canada is the same for everyone—the government, private insurers or uninsured patients (even Americans) who buy retail. U.S. prices vary widely according to each purchaser’s negotiating clout, or lack of it.

“The one thing we don’t have here is price discrimination,” Brogan says. Canadians, he adds, would never tolerate an American-style system “where those who can least afford it pay the highest price.”

Canada has a national, publicly funded system that guarantees health care to all citizens, who pay higher taxes, compared with Americans, for this and other social programs.

Ironically, though, this federal coverage does not extend to prescription drugs. Although almost everyone over age 65 has drug coverage, it is mainly provided by the provincial governments. Working Canadians are generally covered by their employers or pay retail.

So Canada’s drug coverage falls somewhere between the American system and that of European nations where coverage is most often universal. In this as in other things, Brogan says, Canada is “mentally halfway across the Atlantic.”

But there is another big difference between Canadian and American coverage that also affects prices. As the burden of cost falls on the provincial governments, particularly in subsidizing older Canadians who use drugs most, each province keeps a formulary—a list of which drugs it will cover based on value for money. Drugs that don’t make that list lose a large share of the market.

So in the case of new drugs, Brogan says, companies will often price “a little bit below [similar] products already listed to encourage provincial officials to include their drug. That contributes to a lower price.”

Many HMOs and other insurers in the United States now use formularies to curb costs. Some state Medicaid programs are also trying to introduce something similar, in the face of fierce opposition from the pharmaceutical industry.

But is it likely that the United States will ever adopt Europe’s national price controls or even Canada’s “excessive price” rules?

Not if the pharmaceutical industry’s arguments prevail, as they have so far. Though many critics disagree, it argues that lowering American prices would harm research and prevent many new medicines from coming to market.

Brogan also says that “if the U.S. had Canadian prices, it would be very bad for the industry,” which would in turn put “immense pressure on Canada and other countries” to raise prices.

So are higher American prices subsidizing the rest of the world? “When I was in government I would have said absolutely not,” says Brogan, who now runs a company that advises governments, insurers and drug companies on prices. “But now I think it is. It takes money to bring a new drug to market, and somebody’s got to pay for it.”

In trying to bring prescription drug coverage into Medicare, Congress not only has to weigh the industry’s needs against consumers’ health, but also balance the social benefit with its overall cost—and increasingly analysts are saying it can’t be done without some way of reining in prices.

“It’s a huge dilemma,” Brogan says. “I don’t envy American policymakers.”

Why Drugs Cost Less Up North

Important Differences in American, Canadian Systems Produce Big Price Disparities

Low cost online pharmacies like North USA Pharmacy [http://www.northusapharmacy.com are one of the lowest prices for prescription drugs.

By Patricia Barry

AARP


















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Maximizing Members’ Value, CAA North & East Ontario Launches Blog

Maximizing Members’ Value, CAA North & East Ontario Launches Blog











Ontario, CA (PRWEB) March 11, 2008 –

Keeping their members informed is a top priority at CAA North and East Ontario, and launching a blog (http://www.caaneo.ca/about/blog/) was the next logical step in the development of their services. Offering travel service, savings, automotive expertise, insurance and helping with advocacy issues, CAA has been serving Canadian motorists for the past 100 years. The addition of the blog will act as a supplement to their website and offer tips and advice to their members and web site visitors, as well as travel tools and educational information.

“We’re a service-oriented organization,” says Martin Campbell, Manager, Web Commerce. “It’s important to us to be continually innovative and to complement our core services like roadside assistance and battery assists with new technology.”

CAA is known for assisting people with their car mishaps, but they also offer their members a lot of different savings and travel ideas. The addition of the blog to the website means that while customers are browsing the membership options, savings and travel section, they’ll have the opportunity to explore topics that are of interest in a more in-depth fashion.

“Our website is already a great resource for our clients,” says Campbell. “It only made sense to the evolution of the site to add the blog and it means that we’ll have a forum to foster better communication with our consumers. Hopefully, it will also be viewed as a source of information as well.”

CAA has been around since 1903 and is a federation of nine auto clubs serving over five million members across Canada. CAA North and East Ontario is one such club attending to members ranging from Sudbury to Ottawa. Check out their website at http://caaneo.ca.

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The Flairs Announce Shut Up and Drive & North American Tour

The Flairs Announce Shut Up and Drive & North American Tour










(PRWEB) April 15, 2006

After creating a buzz with their 2004 debut EP, The Flairs are ready to rock the world with the new full length CD Shut Up and Drive. The first single and video is a spin on Skid Row’s “18 & Life” which will hit rock radio this month, with the CD being released May 16th in Canada (Pacific Music/Warner) and June 13th in the U.S (Burnside). Hard-working as ever, The Flairs are preparing for their intensive cross Canada and US tours which kick off in Vancouver May 19th.

After virtually growing up in Tuuli and opening for bands such as The Donnas, Disturbed and Rock legends Cheap Trick, Dawn Mandarino (vocals and guitar) and Jen Foster (drums and vocals) decided to form their own band. The Flairs story started in the summer of 2002 when Dawn and Jen met Bif Naked’s guitar slinger, Gillian Hanna (lead guitar and vocals) as they played North American outdoor festivals and concerts. All three found the common ground and added Gillian’s brother Ryan Hanna (bass) to the trio and the band was officially born.

The Flairs attribute their unique sound to their individual influences; Dawn’s love for the Ramones, Jen’s ska-influenced punk in the vein of the Dance Hall Crashers, and Hanna’s passion for heavy guitar rock groups like Metallica and Guns ‘N Roses. Those influences go hand in hand with the bands that initially sparked their imagination like Veruca Salt, Nirvana, Garbage and Stone Temple Pilots. In the mix, they have created a sound they can call their own.

The Flairs constantly tour across North America appearing at festivals such as NXNE, Canadian Music Week, New Music West, Seattle’s ROCKRGRL Conference and L.A.’s International Pop Overthrow. They have shared the stage with David Lee Roth, Vanilla Ice and Robin Black. Two videos from their 2004 EP “Ready to Roll” and “Falling into Pieces” were played on MuchMusic on a regular basis.

The Flairs are also about to shoot a video for their second single off the album “Sorry 4 Lovin’ You” to be released during the 2006 summer tour. The Flairs are a forceful live act that continues to expand their already rabid-fan base with passion and drawing power. http://www.theflairs.com http://www.myspace.com/theflairs.com

2006 Tour Dates

Canada: (more tbc)

May 13th         The Azure – Vancouver, BC

May 19th         Lamplighter – Vancouver. BC

May 26th         Underground, Calgary. AB

May 27th         Velvet Underground, Edmonton, AB

May 28th         Drake Inn, Canmore, AB

May 29th         Wild Bills, Banff, AB

May 30th         Tongue ‘n’ Groove, Lethbridge, AB

May 31st         Distrikt, Regina, SK

June 1st             Roxy, Saskatoon, SK

June 2nd            Zoo, Winnipeg, MB

June 3rd            Kilroy’s, Thunder Bay, ON

June 6th            Foundation, Barrie, ON

June 17th         Zaphod’s, Ottawa, ON

June 23rd         Phog Lounge, Windsor, ON

June 24th         Call The Office, London, ON

U.S. Dates: (more tbc)

June 26th         Shadow Lounge, Pittsburgh, PA

June 28th         The Loft, York, PA

June 29th         Dragonfly, Harrisburg, PA

July 11th         Swayze’s, Atlanta, GA

July 21st         Headhunters Club, Austin, TX

July 25th         Burt’s Tiki Lounge, Albuquerque, NM

July 27th         Dive Bar, Las Vegas, NV

July 28th         Kiss or Kill Club, Los Angeles, CA

July 29th         The Anarchy Library, Downey, CA

July 30th         Zombie Lounge, San Diego, CA

July 31st         Cat Club, Los Angeles, CA

Aug 5th            G Street Pub, Sacramento, CA

Media Inquires Contact:

SKYLAR ENTERTAINMENT – Publicity

http://www.skylarentertainment.ca/

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Zion Health to Unveil Adama Minerals; a Unique Line of Natural Mineral Cosmetic Products at CosmoProf North America 2011.

Zion Health to Unveil Adama Minerals; a Unique Line of Natural Mineral Cosmetic Products at CosmoProf North America 2011.










San Francisco, CA (PRWEB) July 27, 2011

Zion Health, a leading provider of natural, mineral body care products is proud to announce its attendance for the first time at the CosmoProf international premier beauty event, in Las Vegas from July 31 to August 1. The event will be taking place at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center. Zion Health will be exhibiting at booth #D737.

Eddy Urbina, Executive Vice President of Sales said, “We are excited to attend CosmoProf for the first time. Our new line of Natural Mineral Body care products has surpassed our expected 2010 sales to Health Food Stores on the West Coast. We look forward to achieving greater success with the introduction of Adama Minerals to Spas and Salons in North America. “

CosmoProf 201 showcasing a wide array of personal care, spa, and wellness products, invites all professionals from the beauty industry to see trends and newness from within all segments of the beauty industry. Strong international participation solidified by the presence of country pavillons gives a global perspective on emerging trends.

Zion Health, Based in San Francisco, California, specializes in natural skin care products formulated with Calcium Montmorillonite clay, also known as Adama Minerals. Mineral contents have been scientifically analyzed to contain a high nutrient content with detoxifying properties. Minerals of Adama contain trace amounts of over 60 minerals, including but not limited to phosphorous, calcium, iron and magnesium.

Zion Health’s family of all-natural Mineral-based skin care products can be purchased at select Whole Foods Market locations, New Leaf Markets, Lassens Health Food Stores, Mothers Markets, Life Food Organics, Whole Foods Co-op, Bisbee Food Co-op, Erma’s Health Food, Fairway Markets, Akins/ Chamberlin’s Markets, and local health food stores throughout the United States. Zion products may also be purchased online at http://www.kanwaminerals.com.

Media Contact: Mysla Pechardo

Phone: 650-877-7330 x 251

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Vocus©Copyright 1997-

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