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The school year just ended, but we all know it won't be long before we're shopping back to school sales in anticipation of the start of the new year. You probably don't need to worry about those purchases just yet, but this is a good time to plan ahead for your child's back to school check-up and, if necessary, his or her vaccinations.

If you are a Liberty HealthShare member, there are a few things you should keep in mind as you prepare for these visits:

  1. Many parents schedule an annual physical for their child when it's time to go back to school. Just remember that this visit will be categorized by Liberty HealthShare as a wellness visit. For school-aged children, charges for one wellness exam or physical per member, per membership year - including the physician's fee and any minor testing that accompanies it - are eligible for sharing after the first 60 days of membership, up to a maximum of $400 of the fair and reasonable charges (as determined by LHS) and not subject to the Annual Unshared Amount (AUA). If this check-up entails charges that total more than $400, the excess amount will not be shareable nor will it be applied to the AUA (see Section IV. C. 21. of our Sharing Guidelines).
  2. If your child is due for vaccinations or booster shots, those will be shared in, subject to the AUA first and then shared at 100%. The influenza vaccine is not subject to the AUA (see Section IV. A. 11. of our Sharing Guidelines). TIP: If your child is only in need of vaccinations, check with your county's board of health offices to find out if their prices are more reasonable than at your doctor's office. You may find they also discount for self-pay patients, which is how Liberty HealthShare members are classified.
  3. When submitting to Liberty the costs for your child's check-up and/or vaccines, make sure you obtain and include a bill or invoice showing the codes or written descriptions of the services rendered to avoid processing delays or confusion.

As you think ahead concerning your child's health at school, it's also worthwhile to plan now for any ongoing medical needs he or she has. This list is not comprehensive, but as you juggle vacation and travel plans, sports registrations, and any number of other commitments, these reminders could be helpful:

  1. If your child has any known medical conditions, make sure his or her school has a medical file, including any instructions that are needed in case of an incident.
  2. If your child has allergies that may require the use of injectable epinephrine (brand name: Epi-Pen), make sure it is not expired.
  3. If your child takes medication that must be administered during the school day:
    1. Make sure it is in the correct bottle and labeled correctly. School nurses will not administer medications that are not properly packaged and labeled.
    2. You will likely need to obtain a letter from your child's physician stating that he or she needs to take the medication while at school.
  4. If your child requires a special diet, inform his or her school ahead of time so they can accommodate these needs. Keep in mind that you may need a doctor's letter stating that they require a special diet, so be sure to request that well in advance.

Happily, the start of the new school year is still a ways off, but as we all know, time flies when you're having fun. A little bit of forethought now concerning your child's health at school should save you bigger headaches in the weeks and months ahead.