Members of Blue Shield of California to receive administrative costs of the H1N1 virus vaccine

Blue Shield of California announced today that it will cover the administrative costs of the H1N1 virus (swine flu) vaccine for all its members, regardless of which plan they have. Blue Shield will be waiving prior authorizations, copays and deductibles for office visits when members go to an in-network doctor to get H1N1 vaccinations.

The U.S. Government will be providing H1N1 vaccinations (including the equipment, like syringes) free of charge. While providers will initially focus vaccination efforts on the most at-risk populations, members of all groups will be covered.

Blue Shield of California also provides prescription drug coverage for Tamiflu (oseltamivir) and Relenza (zanamivir) -- the two anti-viral drugs used to treat flu symptoms. The company has designated both drugs as Tier One prescriptions, which reduces the copayment that members make to get the medication. Coverage is also being extended for conditions authorized by the FDA under Emergency Use Authorization. This coverage applies to all members.

"We stand ready to help our members in every way possible," said Meredith Mathews, M.D., chief medical officer of Blue Shield of California. "We want to make it easy and affordable for everyone to get the care they need."

In addition, Blue Shield will be providing H1N1 educational materials to members in order to familiarize them with both prevention and treatment options.

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