Cincinnati-based Kroger, with 14 locations in the Triangle, confirmed to the ABC11 I-Team that its pharmacies will not provide shots for the flu, pneumonia or shingles, to those patients with policies from Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina.
Instead, the customers can still get those immunizations, but they would be required to pay in full (a flu shot costs $40).
No #flushot for you - @ABC11_WTVD confirming @kroger abruptly ends medical contract with @BCBSNC, state’s largest insurer & only @HealthCareGov insurer. The reason why may surprise you... pic.twitter.com/WLOWgixcF3— Jonah Kaplan (@KaplanABC11) December 29, 2017
"Kroger is diligently working to resolve this concern," Allison McGee, a Kroger spokeswoman, told ABC11. "We are hopeful that BCBS NC will work with us on an expedient resolution."
According to @kroger, @BCBSNC hasn’t paid its bills, so the 14 Kroger pharmacies (all in Triangle) stopped accepting the carrier earlier this month. Without insurance, #flushot costs $40. @ABC11_WTVD @ABC11ITeam pic.twitter.com/nuaCLBOOt7— Jonah Kaplan (@KaplanABC11) December 29, 2017
McGee first blamed the gap in coverage on a "paperwork technicality," but later explained that Kroger said it believes Blue Cross-Blue Shield has not paid up on claims submitted by the pharmacies. The issue was first discovered within the last 30 days.
While @BCBSNC tells @ABC11_WTVD @kroger is back “in network” on January 1st, Kroger says it’s not aware of agreement. @KrogerNews: “We are hopeful that BCBS NC will work with us on an expedient resolution.” #flushot pic.twitter.com/8aEjXoHd6H— Jonah Kaplan (@KaplanABC11) December 29, 2017
Blue Cross Blue Shield is North Carolina's largest provider of health insurance, issuing at least 3.89 million policies.
It's also the only insurer in the state that provides policies through HealthCare.gov, the exchange created by the Affordable Care Act.
Company representatives told ABC11 the issue only affects the immunizations, and customers should not be concerned about their prescriptions.
An important note to @BCBSNC subscribers - @kroger issues apply to IMMUNIZATIONS ONLY. Customers can and will still get their prescription drugs covered while the rest is being sorted out. @ABC11_WTVD pic.twitter.com/S3BrVeMnk6— Jonah Kaplan (@KaplanABC11) December 29, 2017
Customers can use the BCBSNC app to look up a location or call the company to find out where their flu shot is covered. More on flu shots here on the insurer's Blog