What is the Virtual Reality for Healthy Seniors program?
It’s a program (a one-time test pilot program) offered by Blue Cross. This no-cost, eight-week program gives you a virtual reality headset and access to virtual social support groups. The program is designed to benefit you and your health by offering new tools for managing pain and new ways to connect with people, even as we’re socially isolated from one another.
I’m not sure I understand what virtual reality is.
If you’re unfamiliar with the term, virtual reality, or VR, is the name for computer technology that makes you feel like you’re somewhere else. It includes images, sounds and sensations that make you feel like you’re really part of this other place. This technology requires special equipment, which we provide to you for no-cost.
Benefits of the program:
- A no-cost exclusive new program to our members to improve your health and more effectively manage pain
- Participation won’t affect your rates in any way
- No-cost VR device for you to use for the duration of the program
- No-cost use of AppliedVR’s pain management applications, which have been rigorously tested and have shown positive outcomes for people suffering with pain
- An opportunity to help others. We’ll request feedback along the way to help make improvements to the technology and help us determine whether this benefit could assist other members.
Why is Blue Cross doing this?
Blue Cross is always looking for innovative ways to help improve members’ health and well-being, and to provide better service to our members.
Are there any downsides of participating in the program?
No. The Virtual Reality for Healthy Seniors program has no penalties, no fees and no effect on your rates or future claims. The program is completely optional. You may stop participating at any time.
How long does the program last?
The program will last eight weeks. You’ll be provided with prepaid packaging to return the headset at the end of the program, and you’ll have an opportunity to share your thoughts through surveys.
Will my information be kept private?
Yes, all information is stored in a highly secure manner. The security of your information is of utmost importance to Blue Cross.
Who will see my information?
Blue Cross will see your information from AppliedVR, our virtual reality therapeutics provider partner; however, you can rest assured that we won’t share that information with anyone. Other participants in the program will only see a username that you create. Users won’t have access to your personal information, such as your full name, mailing address, email address or phone number.
Will my information be shared?
You can trust that Blue Cross and AppliedVR will protect the privacy of your personal information. Program information from all participants may be used for overall measurement and statistical purposes. However, this information won’t be linked to any personal information that can identify you. Blue Cross will use the aggregate results of this program to evaluate its effectiveness. Your individual results from this trial won’t be used in any way that impacts your insurance benefits or coverage.
How was I selected?
You’ve been randomly chosen to potentially participate, along with other Blue Cross members who could potentially benefit from our Virtual Reality for Healthy Seniors program.
How do I enroll in the program?
Unfortunately due to high demand, this program's enrollment is full. At Blue Cross, we're always looking for ways to help you better your health. While this program is full, there may be other opportunities in the future.
You can stay in touch with us through our website or by calling the number on the back of your Blue Cross member ID card.
I have a friend who might benefit from this program. Can I forward this invitation to him or her?
Unfortunately, because space for the program is very limited, we ask that you not forward this invitation to others. The good news is this program is the first step toward potentially offering virtual reality to many more Blue Cross members.
When and how do I get the virtual reality headset?
If you’re approved as a program participant, we’ll send you a headset and schedule you for a walk-through to help you set up the device. Your walk-through appointment will take place with a specialist from Blue Cross’ virtual reality partner, AppliedVR.
How do I set up the device?
We’ll mail detailed instructions on how to set up the device. Representatives with AppliedVR, Blue Cross’s virtual reality partner, will also schedule a walk-through to ensure you’re comfortable using the device.
Whom can I contact for help with setting up the device?
I don’t have a smartphone. Do I need any of my own equipment?
The virtual reality headset is a self-contained device, and you don’t need to provide anything for it. However, you’ll need wireless internet access at home to join the social support groups through the VR headsets. And you’ll need access to a smartphone and a computer with internet to complete the web-based surveys.
How will the virtual social support groups work?
The social support groups will take place once a week over the duration of the eight-week program. They’ll be facilitated by a moderator, and each group is limited to a maximum of 10 people. As we’ve all been more isolated due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the groups are a way to connect with others from the safety of your home, while in an environment that’s more immersive and dynamic than a phone or video.
Will people in my group know who I am?
No. You’ll use a username of your choosing and will select an avatar, or a virtual character, that others will see instead of you or your likeness.
Whom do I contact if I need help?
Please visit VRforHealthySeniors.zendesk.com* to view frequently asked questions on using the device. Or feel free to reach out via email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or call toll-free at 1-833-940-2680.
*Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan doesn’t own or control this website.