Adapted from an article in the MESSA DiscoverYou September/October 2020 newsletter

Getting your flu shot is always important, but it’s even more critical this year.

Health systems are bracing for a possible second wave of COVID-19 cases at the same time that cold and flu season usually heats up. That double whammy could overload local health facilities. By getting the flu shot, you can protect yourself, your loved ones and your local community.MESSA logo RGB Blue no tag R 2

MESSA makes it easy to get a flu shot. It’s a fully covered benefit for MESSA members and their covered dependents when you go to a payable provider. MESSA members have three provider options:

Your in-network health care provider
Visit and select “Find a Doctor” to be sure your provider is in-network.

Select retail pharmacies
Most Michigan pharmacies will give you a flu shot for free and bill MESSA. You shouldn’t have to pay the pharmacy up front for a flu vaccination. If a pharmacy asks you to pay up front, you should go to a different pharmacy or contact MESSA’s Member Service Center at 1-800-336-0013 so we can ensure you receive the immunization at no charge.

Vaccination rates plummet amid pandemic

Health news from MESSA

Michigan’s vaccination rates have plummeted during the pandemic, putting our kids at risk for other serious illnesses such as measles and whooping cough. In May, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services reported that child vaccinations were down 44.5 percent overall compared with the previous two years.

That is a significant drop that can have serious health consequences for kids, said Dr. Julia Spalding, MESSA’s medical director.

No one can deny that this is a tough time to be a parent. With COVID-19 cases rising across Michigan, the temptation to keep a healthy child far away from the doctor’s office is strong. However, keeping your child up to date on vaccinations is a crucial part of protecting their health that should not be ignored.

If you’ve been putting off a well-child visit, it’s time to get back on schedule. Being prepared for what to expect can help alleviate your concerns about taking them to the doctor. Here are some questions to ask your child’s doctor MESSA logo RGB Blue no tag R 2office before visiting:

  • Is my child up to date on their vaccinations?
  • Do you have designated hours for well-child visits to keep healthy kids separated from children who may be ill?
  • Are there separate entrances for healthy children and those who may be ill?
  • Do you offer remote check-in from my vehicle?
  • Do patients wait in the waiting room or in the parking lot?
  • Do you offer vehicle visits, where the provider meets the patient in the parking lot?
  • How often are the waiting rooms and patient rooms sanitized?

Adapted from an article in the MESSA DiscoverYou May/June 2020 newsletter

COVID-19 has disrupted the structure and routine of daily life, and it has taken a toll on MAP members and their families. While life as we knew it won’t return any time soon, there are ways to cope with this new way of life by focusing on overall wellness — both physical and mental.

MESSA Health Promotion Consultant Rhonda Jones is the driving force behind MESSA Wellness, a program that MESSA logo RGB Blue no tag R 2focuses on mindfulness, movement and nutrition to help members feel calmer, stronger and healthier overall. Jones is a registered nurse and certified health education specialist with a master’s degree in health behavior. She’s also a personal trainer and has extensive training in mindfulness practices.

Since the stay-home order has been in place, Jones has heard from MESSA members experiencing depression, anxiety and fear. Members are also reporting high levels of fatigue, low levels of motivation and a propensity to overeat.

“Anxiety and depression has probably been the No. 1 thing that people are reporting, which leads to the other things,” Jones said. And those feelings can lead to greater health issues, including weight gain, high blood pressure or diabetes.

Without being able to travel to member meetings to help start or revive a worksite wellness program, Jones decided to host weekly wellness sessions during May on Zoom. As part of MESSA’s Spring Self-Care Challenge, she brought together experts in mindfulness, movement and nutrition to help reduce members’ stress during this time of heightened anxiety. All of the sessions can be viewed on MESSA’s YouTube channel:

Excerpted from an article in the MESSA DiscoverYou May/June 2020

As a MESSA member, you have access to Express Scripts pharmacy for convenient home delivery of the medications you take regularly.

The benefits of using Express Scripts include home delivery of a three-month supply of your long-term medications, free standard shipping and 24/7 access to a pharmacist from the privacy of your home.MESSA logo RGB Blue no tag R 2


  1. Log in to your MyMESSA member account. Click the “Rx home delivery” link to register, transfer eligible prescriptions to home delivery and order refills.
  2. Contact your doctor. Call your doctor to obtain a new prescription for a 90-day supply of your long-term medications.
  3. Register adults covered by your plan. Dependents over 18 need to register with Express Scripts separately at, and they need to authorize you to view and order prescriptions for them, if desired.

Just like at a retail pharmacy, your standard copayments and deductibles apply. Please note that short-term medications such as antibiotics must be filled by a local retail pharmacy, and specialty medications must be filled through your local pharmacy or via AllianceRx Walgreens Prime, a specialty home-delivery pharmacy.

For questions specific to Express Scripts’ delivery service, call Express Scripts at 800.903.8346 (TTY: 800.876.1089).

MESSA DiscoverYou is a bi-monthly health and wellness newsletter available to MESSA members. For more information about MESSA health benefits and services, call 1-833-341-6276. Visit MESSA online at

Improve mental, physical health by getting enough rest

Excerpted from an article in the MESSA DiscoverYou March/April 2020 newsletter

Do you get at least seven hours of sleep each night? If not, you should plan to hit the sheets earlier tonight.

Overworked or overstressed adults often tend to treat sleep as a luxury rather than a necessity. However, getting enough sleep is as critical to your overall well-being as eating and breathing. Research shows that robbing yourself of sleep can impact your ability to store memories and concentrate, as well as regulate your mood and appetite. It can lead to weight gain and a weakened immune system.

The problem is that too many people don’t get as much sleep as they should. The National Sleep Foundation recommends adults get at least seven hours of sleep every night. However, more than one-third of adults report they usually get less than that, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Shorting yourself on sleep puts you at greater risk for developing chronic conditions, according to the CDC, including:MESSA logo RGB Blue no tag R 2

  • Cancer
  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Depression
  • Heart attack
  • Kidney disease
  • Stroke