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Flu scare seen as cause for spike in call volumes

Health insurers and other officials answering questions on flu threat

Over the weekend, the president reminded Americans to follow the same steps they would to prevent illness during the typical flu season – washing hands more frequently, staying home from school or the workplace if sick, and covering up when coughing.

But despite these tips from the White House and reiterated from other organizations, many individuals are placing an increased number of calls to their health insurance company.

One large Midwestern health insurer is reporting a spike in phone call volume from consumers with questions about the so-called Swine flu or H1N1 flu.

The chief medical officer of that health insurer said that misinformation is one cause for panic and that it is important for individuals to get the facts about the recent flu outbreak from reliable sources.

Fayetteville, Arkansas 5 News also offered tips for those without health insurance.

Because local emergency rooms have been inundated with people who fear they have the H1N1 flu – but in fact do not – the news source advises the uninsured to place a call before visiting a doctor and to ensure that symptoms match closely to those laid out by health officials.

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Posted: May 04, 2009

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