healthy l i v i n g prescription pointers WHEN YOUR PRIMARY CARE PHYSICIAN or other doctors who treat you prescribe a drug for you, remember to discuss your current health and medical history with them. Your doctor can take precautions to see that you receive drugs that are safe and effective for you. For example, you should make sure that your doctor knows if: ■ you have any drug allergies ■ you’re pregnant or plan to become pregnant ■ you have medical problems or conditions other than the one for which you will be taking the drug ■ you’re currently on any other medication, take any medication regularly or have taken other medication in recent weeks, including any prescription or over-the-counter drugs. (Examples of over-the-counter drugs include pain relievers, antacids, mineral and vitamin supplements and herbal remedies.) Don’t be afraid to ask your doctor questions about the drug he or she is prescribing. These questions might include: How much of the drug should I take and when? What should I do if I miss a dose? Are there any side effects? Are there any foods, beverages or other medications I should avoid while I’m taking this medication? Once you begin taking your medication, remember the following tips: ■ Follow your doctor’s recommendations on how much of the medication you should take each time and when you should take it. ■ Don’t share your prescription medication with anyone. It could be harmful to someone else. ■ Pay attention to the expiration date and throw away expired drugs. ■ Keep all medications out of the reach of children. Need After-Hours Care? CIGNA HealthCare requires your Primary Care Physician (PCP), or your PCP’s designated on-call doctor, to be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to provide advice or treatment in urgent situations. If you have an urgent situation, call your PCP for advice. Your PCP will direct you to the most appropriate place for care: a doctor’s office, an urgent care center or an emergency room. 4 GENERIC DRUGS: WHY THEY COST LESS Brand-name drugs cost more than generic drugs because the price reflects the pharmaceutical company’s expenses in developing, researching and marketing the drug. After 17 years the patent for the drug expires, and other companies may produce and sell generic versions of the same drug. Since the new producers do not have to cover the initial development costs in their price, the generic versions cost from 30 to 70 percent less. Not only do generic drugs cost less, but they also contain the same active ingredients as their brand-name counterparts, and their effectiveness and dosages are the same. CIGNA HealthCare We l l - B e i n g Finding a Physician Who Speaks Your Language CIGNA HealthCare—Louisiana members are from very diverse backgrounds. Would you like to find a physician who speaks a certain language? The following are two ways you can do so: 1. Call Member Services at the number listed on your CIGNA HealthCare ID card, and a Member Services Representative will assist you. 2. If you have Internet access, go to the CIGNA HealthCare Web site at www.cigna.com, click on “Provider Directory” and then click on “Physicians.” You will be able to search by ZIP Code first, then by language. w e s p e a k m a n y The Member Services Department is proud to offer Language Line, a simultaneous interpretation service available in 140 languages. It’s easy to use. Simply call the toll-free number on your CIGNA HealthCare ID card, tell the Member Services Representative that you need an interpreter, and let him or her know which language you speak. The Member Services Representative will then connect you to the appropriate interpreter. Most of the interpreters have language skills similar to those of a native speaker. The interpreter can translate questions or concerns that you have about benefits and health care services and will translate the answers for you. This service is free to CIGNA HealthCare members. Please note that our Member Services Department also has Spanish-speaking representatives who service most of our benefits plans. If you speak Spanish, you will be connected to either a Spanish-speaking Member Services Representative or to a Language Line interpreter, depending on your plan. l a n g u a g e s SM El Departamento de Servicios a los Miembros está orgulloso de poner a su disposición Language Line (Línea de Idiomas), un servicio de interpretación simultánea disponible en 140 idiomas. Es fácil de usar. Simplemente llame al número de teléfono gratuito que aparece en su tarjeta de identificación de CIGNA HealthCare, dígale al Representante de Servicios a los Miembros que usted necesita un intérprete, y indíquele el idioma que usted habla. El representante le conectará con el intérprete apropiado. La mayoría de los intérpretes hablan el idioma como si fuera su lengua natal. El intérprete le puede traducir preguntas o inquietudes que usted tenga sobre beneficios o servicios de atención médica, y le traducirá las respuestas. Este servicio es gratuito para miembros de CIGNA HealthCare. Nuestro Departamento de Servicios a los Miembros también cuenta con representantes que hablan español y quienes prestan servicios en la mayoría de los planes de beneficios. Si usted habla español, se le contectará con un Representante de Servicios a los Miembros que hable español o con un intérprete de la Línea de Idiomas, dependiendo del plan que usted tenga. 5 healthy l i v i n g A P P O I N T M E N T G U I D E L I N E S When Can I See My Doctor? WE ASK THE DOCTORS in the network to meet certain waiting time standards when scheduling appointments. This helps make sure that when you need health care you are able to see your Primary Care Physician (PCP) or a specialist promptly. These standards are based on medical necessity, with serious medical needs receiving priority. This is why it is important to call your PCP well in advance for routine appointments. Appointment standards for different situations are in the chart to the right. Please read them to find out how you can best use your healthplan. If you must cancel an appointment, be sure to notify your doctor’s office at least 24 hours in advance. Some physicians charge a fee for missed appointments. To learn more about appointment guidelines, call Member Services. a w a y w i t h TIMING IS EVERYTHING CIGNA HealthCare—Louisiana requests that physicians meet the appointment guidelines below. APPOINTMENT TIME FRAME PROVIDER Routine or physical exam Within 6 to 8 weeks PCP First visit after pregnancy is confirmed by a physician Within 2 weeks PCP or OB/GYN Well-baby or well-child care Within 2 weeks PCP Nonurgent complaint, such as back pain, missed menstrual period or cold that has lasted for more than a week Within 2 weeks PCP Referral to another physician for a nonurgent condition Within 2 weeks Specialist Urgent complaints such as acute muscle pain, unusual bleeding and acute infections Within 24 hours PCP If you must cancel an appointment, be sure to notify your doctor’s office at least 24 hours in advance. Otherwise your physician may charge you a fee for the missed appointment. This fee would not be covered under your benefits plan. a l l e r g y s y m p t o m s Getting relief from allergies does not have to mean choosing either sneezing or snoozing. Your doctor can work with you to find a medication that can help you say goodbye to allergy symptoms without falling asleep. chemical called histamine. Histamine makes your eyes itch, airways swell and nose run. Choose Medications Carefully Know the Triggers Seasonal allergy symptoms occur when your immune system attacks the pollen or mold spores you inhale. People are typically allergic to pollen from trees, grass and ragweed. Mold lives in soil as well as on compost and damp plants. Inside, mold is often in damp places, bathrooms, fabrics, carpets, books and wallpaper. When your immune system attacks allergens in your body, it releases a 6 If you suffer from seasonal allergy Antihistamines block the action of histamine. Side effects may include drowsiness, dry mouth and confusion. Ask your doctor about medicines without these side effects. Decongestants shrink blood vessels, which lessens nasal congestion. Side effects can include a rise in blood pressure or nervousness. symptoms, See Your Doctor talk with Describe all your symptoms to your doctor. If medically necessary, he or she may refer you to an allergist. your doctor.