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April 28, 2021

Independence Blue Cross offering help to members seeking COVID-19 vaccines

The health insurer is providing one-on-one assistance to people struggling to book appointments

Independence Blue Cross has expanded its efforts to help its members schedule COVID-19 vaccine appointments.

The health insurer is now reaching out to vaccine-eligible members to offer one-on-one assistance in scheduling appointments at specific Rite Aid locations in Philadelphia, Delaware and Montgomery counties. The company previously had focused its outreach efforts on certain Medicare Advantage members. 

To request assistance, Independence members can fill out a vaccine interest form. The company is reaching out to members as vaccine opportunities become available. 

Independence also plans to begin scheduling appointments at Rite Aid locations in Bucks and Chester counties soon. 

The outreach is part of an ongoing efforts to support vulnerable members during the pandemic.

"We are excited to be able to help our members get these important appointments and are glad to be working with Rite Aid to make it possible," Independence CEO Gregory E. Deavens said. "Vaccine eligibility has expanded but navigating the websites and other digital tools to make appointments is still hard for some people, depending on technology access and proficiency."

The initial outreach began in early March and focused on Medicare Advantage members who live in priority areas across Southeastern Pennsylvania.

Eligible members who were at most risk for severe disease, including people with a history of cancer, chronic kidney disease, diabetes and other conditions in Philadelphia and Delaware County were the first to be prioritized for the outreach.

Priority zip codes were chosen based on low vaccination rates, the availability of vaccines at Rite Aid locations and social barriers, including limited access to the internet and transportation.

So far, more than 20,000 members have been contacted and 2,000 vaccine appointments successfully scheduled.

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