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Insurance Insights

Take Your Best Shot at the Flu

Would you give your right arm to avoid getting the flu? You can when you get a flu shot, the best way to protect yourself against the flu each fall.

Influenza, commonly known as the flu, is a serious disease, and people of any age can get it. The flu causes an average of 36,000 deaths annually in the United States, mostly among those 65 or older, and more than 200,000 hospitalizations each year are attributed to the flu*.

The “flu season” is usually from November through April each year, so it is best to get your vaccination in October or November. Once you get vaccinated, your body makes protective antibodies in about two weeks.

UT SELECT Benefits and Influenza Vaccinations

Under the UT SELECT benefits plan, members can obtain their influenza vaccination shot at their physician’s office by paying the office visit copay.

If your flu shot is administered at a location other than at your provider's office (such as at a retail pharmacy or grocery store), the provider of the vaccination may or may not file the claim on your behalf. If the claim is filed, it is likely to be denied since the pharmacy (or retail location) is not a "valid provider" under the medical plan. Also, some institutions have been providing onsite flu shots. Contact your institution representative for more details.

To submit a claim, you may download a claim form at http://www.bcbstx.com/ut/forms.htm. Be aware that the claim will be processed accounting for the deductible and coinsurance. For information on deductible and coinsurance, please review the UT SELECT 2008-2009 Benefits Guide at http://www.utsystem.edu/benefits/pubs/medical_guide.pdf.

What You Should Know

The flu can lead to more serious health problems or even deaths, so keep in mind that the flu vaccine:

Aiming for better health this year? Don’t miss the shot so you can protect yourself against the flu. Arm yourself with more information about the flu shot and other important adult immunizations by visiting Blue Access for Members at www.bcbstx.com/ut.

*Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Benefits Reminder

The UT FLEX Grace Period for Medical Expense Reimbursement Accounts runs from September 1, 2008 through November 15, 2008, and the deadline to submit UT FLEX claims for all accounts for the 2007 – 2008 plan year is November 30, 2008.

For more information about the UT FLEX Grace Period and claim deadline, review the UT FLEX article (http://www.utsystem.edu/benefits/newsletter/articles/08sep_ben.htm) in the September 2008 “A Matter of Health” newsletter.

For more information about the UT FLEX accounts, visit www.utflex.com.

Contact Us

If you would like a specific topic discussed or have a question you would like answered in a future issue of this newsletter, please send your suggestions to benefits@utsystem.edu.

UT System Employee Benefits Web site: www.utsystem.edu/benefits/
UT System Retirement Programs Web site: www.utretirement.utsystem.edu
Your Local Benefits Office: www.utsystem.edu/benefits/contacts.asp#1