Step Out: Walk to Stop Diabetes
Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield was proud to sponsor the American Diabetes Association’s Step Out: Walk to Stop Diabetes in Milwaukee on Saturday, October 18.A big thanks to everyone who braved the rain. The size of the crowd speaks volumes to your commitment to finding a cure for diabetes.  
According to the American Diabetes Association, nearly 26 million Americans are living with diabetes, including 582,000 in Wisconsin. Every 17 seconds someone is diagnosed with the disease.To learn more about diabetes and the American Diabetes Association’s work to educate, prevent and find a cure for diabetes, please visit www.diabetes.org.

Step Out: Walk to Stop Diabetes

Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield was proud to sponsor the American Diabetes Association’s Step Out: Walk to Stop Diabetes in Milwaukee on Saturday, October 18.

A big thanks to everyone who braved the rain. The size of the crowd speaks volumes to your commitment to finding a cure for diabetes.  

According to the American Diabetes Association, nearly 26 million Americans are living with diabetes, including 582,000 in Wisconsin. Every 17 seconds someone is diagnosed with the disease.

To learn more about diabetes and the American Diabetes Association’s work to educate, prevent and find a cure for diabetes, please visit www.diabetes.org.

Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Publishes Community Resource Guides:  Helpful Contact Lists Available for 10 Wisconsin CountiesTo help its members and strengthen local communities, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield has published Community Resource Guides for 10 of the 23 counties in which the company administers health benefits for the State of Wisconsin’s BadgerCare Plus program.  “These Community Resource Guides provide a list of resources individuals and families can use to get help with day-to-day issues such as food, shelter, clothing and utilities, as well as other social services,” said Larry Schreiber, president of Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Wisconsin. “We think having this kind of contact information organized all in one place may be useful to a wide variety of audiences — including churches, businesses and civic organizations – so we’re making all 10 guides available on our website.”Created by Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield’s Medicaid division, the Community Resource Guides are free and can be downloaded at www.anthem.com/wimedicaid.  The 10 Wisconsin counties for which guides are available are: Brown, Kenosha, Milwaukee, Outagamie, Ozaukee, Racine, Rock, Washington, Waukesha and Winnebago. Additional county resource guides will be available in the future.

Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Publishes Community Resource Guides:  Helpful Contact Lists Available for 10 Wisconsin Counties

To help its members and strengthen local communities, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield has published Community Resource Guides for 10 of the 23 counties in which the company administers health benefits for the State of Wisconsin’s BadgerCare Plus program. 

“These Community Resource Guides provide a list of resources individuals and families can use to get help with day-to-day issues such as food, shelter, clothing and utilities, as well as other social services,” said Larry Schreiber, president of Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Wisconsin. “We think having this kind of contact information organized all in one place may be useful to a wide variety of audiences — including churches, businesses and civic organizations – so we’re making all 10 guides available on our website.”

Created by Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield’s Medicaid division, the Community Resource Guides are free and can be downloaded at www.anthem.com/wimedicaid.  The 10 Wisconsin counties for which guides are available are: Brown, Kenosha, Milwaukee, Outagamie, Ozaukee, Racine, Rock, Washington, Waukesha and Winnebago. Additional county resource guides will be available in the future.

Time to Pick a Health Insurance Plan? Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Offers Tips for Open Enrollment Season

As open enrollment season begins for companies and Individuals, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield offers these tips to help consumers make an educated decision regarding the health plan they choose for 2015.

Do your research

  • Be a smart shopper. Picking a health insurance plan might be one of the biggest financial decisions consumers make each year, but most consumers typically spend far more time researching cars and major appliances.
  • Thoroughly review your enrollment materials even if you’re not changing health plans. These materials include health plan information, provider directories and enrollment instructions. Provider networks can change from year to year, and you and your family’s needs change over time, too.
  • Benefits can change year to year and it is important to be aware of how these changes may affect you.
  • Write down any questions you don’t understand. Your company’s benefits advisors or plan representatives will be able to address to help you choose the health plan option that best fits your needs.
  • Understand wellness programs. Your employer may offer incentives for programs like participating in biometric screenings or talking to a health coach. Knowing if your plan offers these programs can save you money.


Understand and learn what basic health insurance terms mean

  • Confused by all of the insurance terminology? You’re not alone. A recent survey conducted by Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield found that 60 percent of consumers don’t know what a deductible is, and 85 percent don’t know the difference between copayment and coinsurance. Understanding some of these key terms means you’re better equipped to choose a health plan that meets your expectations and can budget for medical expenses. Some important terms to know:
  • Copayment - a fixed amount you pay whenever you use a particular type of health care service. For example, you might have a $35 copay to see a primary care doctor and a $20 copay to fill a prescription.
  • Coinsurance - Unlike the fixed cost of a copayment, with coinsurance you pay a percentage of the cost of a healthcare service and your insurer pays the rest. For example, if you have a 20 percent coinsurance for hospitalization, that means you pay 20 percent of the cost of hospitalization.
  • “Out of network” services – an out of network provider is one who has not contracted with your insurance company for reimbursement at a negotiated rate. Some health plans, like HMOs, do not reimburse out of network providers at all, which means that it would be your responsibility to pay the full amount charged by the doctor. Other health plans offer coverage of out of network providers but your patient responsibility would be higher than if you were to see an in-network provider.
  • Deductible – The amount you must pay out of pocket each year before health-related costs before your insurance policy begins to pay.
  • “Preventative” services – Under the Affordable Care Act, most health plans must cover a set of preventative services like shots or a set of screenings at no charge to you. See https://www.healthcare.gov/what-are-my-preventive-care-benefits/ for a list of preventative services.


Determine what’s best for you and/or your family

  • Don’t blindly reenroll for next year based on what coverage you had for this year. Family circumstances may be different. The covered benefits may have changed for some plans or your employer may be offering new options.
  • Some employers have a spousal surcharge. If your spouse has access to health insurance through his or her employer and they choose not to take it and go on your insurance instead, your employer may charge you extra. Having separate plans could save you money.
  • You may want to consider a Consumer-Driven Health Plan (CDHP) over traditional HMO and PPO options. CDHPs include Health Savings and Health Reimbursement accounts, which give more control on how you spend your health care dollars.
  • In a Health Maintenance Organization (HMO), each enrollee must select his or her own primary care physician (PCP), who will provide or coordinate their medical care. The PCP will maintain the member’s history and can help them see the right specialist when necessary. The member can see them for almost all of their general health care needs, and pay a predictable copay amount for most services.
  • With a Preferred Provider Organization (PPO), members do not have to meet referral requirements and can receive covered services from any health care professional, hospital or facility they chose. Most PPO-type plans use a two-tiered benefit design which allows members to use in-network professionals for a lower cost, and use out-of-network professionals and pay a greater portion of the cost of the care.  
  • Take into consideration other events that may occur in the next year—like having a child or if you will have to deal with a chronic condition like diabetes.


Verify that your physician and hospital are part of the network for the plan you are choosing

  • This is very important if your plan options are from a different health insurance company or if you switch to a different health plan offered by your employer.
  • Many physicians participate in multiple networks, so the odds are good, but to be sure look on a health plan’s Web site or in there provider directory.


Don’t miss the deadline!

  • It is important to pay attention to the deadline for submitting your open enrollment choices. If you don’t make your choices by the time the open enrollment period ends, you may miss out on the opportunity to secure health care benefits from your company.
  • Plus, if you wait until the last minute, you may not have time to do the research that will help you make the best decision for you and your family.

Tips for Picking a Health Insurance Plan

Holy Helpers! Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Survey Shows Consumers Expect Coordination When It Comes to Their Health Care

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Clinically integrated medical and vision record helping doctors improve health

Whether it’s keeping peace at home or in Gotham City, consumers know that tough jobs require solid partnerships. So, who takes the lead position as the “all-time best partners” for most Americans? According to a recent Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield survey,  Mom and Dad take the top spot; however, Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, as well as Batman™ and Robin rank pretty high too when Americans think of a dynamic duo.

While most people don’t think of their doctors scaling tall buildings – or fussing over their kids’ curfew – they do expect them to work as partners. In fact, according to the recent Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield survey, most consumers (76 percent) believe that doctors are collaborating about their care; in addition, 40 percent of consumers also support the idea of more coordination as a way to make their life easier. After all, who has time to remember all of the details in their medical history – vaccinations, medications, diagnoses – and all the rest?

Forty-one percent of consumers said they had trouble remembering important medical history details – and about one-quarter (27 percent) find it challenging to update various doctors on the details of their care.

However, while most Americans are optimistic about the collaborative efforts of their doctors, the truth is, collaboration is not the norm. According to a recently published report by The Joint Commission, communication problems were the most common root causes of unanticipated deaths or serious physical or psychological injuries to patients in 2010.

Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield is taking steps to solve this challenge by providing clinically integrated vision and primary care (medical) benefits, which gives doctors the ability to securely access claims data so they can learn more about their patients’ overall health.

Other health plans allow access to claims data from their portals; however, the Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield tool provides a summarized and organized analysis of information that can be viewed and saved to the member’s medical record in the provider’s office.  

“Many people don’t realize it, but an eye exam can reveal important clues about serious chronic conditions like high blood pressure, hypertension or diabetes – conditions that are best managed for a patient when detected early,” said Larry Schreiber, president of Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Wisconsin. “We’re the first insurer to use claims data to connect the two, to tell the full story of a patient’s health so that the vision and primary care doctor are on the same page and can identify serious health conditions before they become worse. Our clinical coordination program is the closest thing to having all network doctors in the same room providing care simultaneously.”

Additional survey results show that almost three-quarters of Americans (74 percent) think that increased collaboration among their doctors would foster better treatment, while 73 percent of Americans believe increased collaboration among doctors would provide a more comprehensive understanding of their health, and 73 percent of Americans believe increased collaboration would lead to more accurate diagnoses.   

“We fully understand the value and importance of integration and making it easy for providers to collaborate with each other. As a result, our clinical coordination program provides all of our network providers with access to relevant, HIPAA-compliant patient health information so they can provide the best care to our members,” said Schreiber. “The collaboration that takes place through our program benefits members, providers and employers because it can help improve health outcomes, lower total health care costs and make it possible to provide our customers with more holistic care.”

More information about Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield’s Vision benefits can be found at www.specialtybenefits.info/wi.

This report presents the findings of a telephone survey conducted among 1,014 adults, 509 men and 505 women 18 years of age and older, living in the continental United States.  Interviewing for this ORC International CARAVAN® Survey was completed on June 5-8, 2014. 614 interviews were from the landline sample and 400 interviews from the cell phone sample.  

The margin of error for the total sample is ±3.0 percent at the 95% confidence level.  This means that if we were to replicate the study, we would expect to get the same results within 3.0 percentage points 95 times out of 100.

Batman is a registered trademark of DC Comics.

* Source: The Joint Commission (2014). Sentinel Event Data Root Causes by Event Type 2004 –2013.

The #HealthyDad Roundtable featuring Anthem’s Dr. Michael Jaeger

YouTube summary:

What’s more real than real dads talking about real life, family, and the benefits of being a #HealthyDad?

Hosted by Charlie Capen, author, actor, and publisher of the popular entertainment site How to be a Dad, this conversation includes Dr. Michael Jaeger, Managing Medical Director for Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Wisconsin; Carter Gaddis, the publisher of DadScribe, Dads 4 Change, and contributor to the Today Show’s parenting website; Kevin McKeever, publisher of Always Home and Uncool, and champion of the Cure JM Foundation; and Whit Honea, author of The Parents’ Phrase Book and all-around good guy.

Visit us on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/healthydads) to share your #HealthyDad video and you could win a $100 Amazon gift card (5 winners) just in time for the holidays!

Flu & You: Four Things to Know About This Year’s Flu Season

It’s just around the corner—and while precise timing, severity and length of this year’s flu season are unknown, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides some recommendations of what to know this time around. Here are four key takeaways.

When will flu season peak?
Although the timing of the flu is unpredictable, it tends to peak in January or February, while seasonal flu activity can start as early as October and last through May.

Are there new recommendations for this season?
New recommendations for this season include the use of the nasal spray vaccine (LAIV) for healthy children ages 2 through 8, when available. While both the flu shot and the vaccine protect against the flu, research shows the nasal spray may work better for younger children.

What can be done to protect loved ones?
Getting vaccinated protects against a number of flu strains and is the best step in prevention. Children between 6 months and 8 years old may need two doses of the vaccine to be fully protected, however children younger than 6 months should not be vaccinated.

Even daily tasks can help prevent the flu, like washing hands and staying home from work when sick.

Individuals and their dependents are reminded that when experiencing flu-like symptoms, they can access LiveHealth Online 24 hours a day for an affordable, safe and convenient alternative to non-emergency medical attention. With immediate access to a doctor, people with the flu have earlier access to effective flu treatments like Tamiflu, which must be taken within 48 hours of symptoms.

LiveHealth Online is a benefit in many Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield health insurance plans and can be accessed by anyone regardless of their insurance status for $49 per visit.

Where are flu vaccines available?
Flu vaccines are also available at many doctor’s offices, clinics and pharmacies. Check out the HealthMap Vaccine Finder to find flu vaccine locations near you.

One Survey That’s Not Too Close to Call: Americans Want to Safeguard Their Family’s Financial Wellbeing

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MILWAUKEE – September 22, 2014 – With the political season upon us and many polls too close to call, a new Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield survey finds one clear area of consensus.

Overwhelmingly, Americans say they are willing to make sacrifices both large and small for their loved ones.

From handing over the last piece of dessert (88 percent) to skipping a favorite TV show so their loved ones can enjoy their favorite program (90 percent) to caring for them in illness (96 percent) – Americans are a committed bunch when it comes to family.  

As a result, the majority of Americans view investing in a retirement plan (68 percent), creating a living will (64 percent), and selecting a life insurance plan (57 percent) as very important components in safeguarding their family’s future wellbeing.

Furthermore, the majority of Americans (83 percent) believe their family’s financial wellbeing is just as important as their emotional wellbeing. The survey found financial concerns (39 percent) — more than physical (36 percent) and mental (21 percent) concerns — cause Americans to worry most when they think about the future security of their family.  

“Alleviating the stress associated with financial worries is what our Life insurance products are designed to do,” said Larry Schreiber, president of Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Wisconsin. “Our products and services help families that are dealing with the loss of a loved one by providing resources that address both their financial and emotional wellbeing.”

Research shows that spending money on others, rather than ourselves, boosts happiness and wellbeing – even if the amounts we spend are relatively small*.  One way people can increase their family’s level of happiness and their sense of wellbeing is to make sure they are protected financially and emotionally if and when unexpected events happen. This can be achieved by making sure they have the appropriate Life and Disability coverage.

“For consumers who are motivated to protect the future wellbeing of their loved ones, we offer top-tier designed plans at competitive prices with plenty of flexibility,” said Schreiber. “For example, our Resource Advisor member assistance program, which is included with Life and Disability plans, offers counseling, legal and financial consultations, and beneficiary companion services to help family members close accounts and finalize their loved one’s estate.”

The Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield survey also illustrates the importance that consumers place on Life insurance, with two-thirds (67 percent) of survey respondents indicating they have Life insurance. Of this group, more than half (54 percent) indicated they fully pay for it. Yet, approximately one-third (33 percent) reported not having any Life insurance at all.

“It’s clear that Americans value Life insurance, which is good news,” said Schreiber. “September is Life Insurance Awareness Month, a perfect time for Americans to take the next step in safeguarding their loved one’s financial wellbeing by enrolling in Life insurance.”   

More information about Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield’s Life insurance benefits can be found at http://specialtybenefits.info/wi.   

This report presents the findings of a telephone survey conducted among 1,005 adults 502 men and 503 women 18 years of age and older, living in the continental United States.  Interviewing for this ORC International CARAVAN® Survey was completed on April 3-6, 2014.  605 interviews were from the landline sample and 400 interviews from the cell phone sample.  

The margin of error for the total sample is ±3.0 percent at the 95% confidence level.  This means that if we were to replicate the study, we would expect to get the same results within 3.0 percentage points 95 times out of 100.

Click here to download/view high resolution version of infographic

* Source: Dunn, E.W,. Aknin, L.B., & Norton, M.I. (2008) Spending money on others promotes happiness. Science, 319 (5870), 1678-1688


About Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Wisconsin
Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield is the trade name of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Wisconsin (BCBSWi), which underwrites or administers the PPO and indemnity policies; Compcare Health Services Insurance Corporation (Compcare), which underwrites or administers the HMO policies; and Compcare and BCBSWi collectively, which underwrite or administer the POS policies. Independent licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. ANTHEM is a registered trademark of Anthem Insurance Companies, Inc. The Blue Cross and Blue Shield names and symbols are registered marks of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Additional information about Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Wisconsin is available at www.anthem.com. Also, follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/healthjoinin, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/HealthJoinIn, or visit our YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/healthjoinin.


An educational column about Enterovirus D68 by Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield’s managing medical director, Dr. Michael Jaeger, now appears on a couple of Wisconsin news sites. Click the links below to read the column on each site:
BizTimes Milwaukee - Milwaukee Biz Blog
The Navigator Online

An educational column about Enterovirus D68 by Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield’s managing medical director, Dr. Michael Jaeger, now appears on a couple of Wisconsin news sites. Click the links below to read the column on each site:

By Dr. Michael JaegerYou’ve likely seen news reports about a virus that is sending children to the hospital with severe respiratory illness, and worried about what you can do to protect your family. Here’s what you need to know.The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recently identified the likely cause of these illnesses as the rarely reported Enterorvirus D68 (EV-D68). An outbreak of respiratory illness believed to be caused by EV-D68 is sending hundreds of children to the hospital and impacting children in a number of states including: Colorado, Georgia, Kansas, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Ohio and Wisconsin.  Unusual cases of severe respiratory illness were first reported to the CDC last month. There is no specific treatment for Enterovirus D68, so it’s important to be aware of its symptoms and make sure that you and your family practice good hygiene to avoid getting the virus.EV-D68 belongs to a very common family of viruses – enteroviruses – of which there are more than 100 different types.  Every year, enteroviruses cause an estimated 10 to 15 million infections in the United States.  Enteroviruses usually cause mild respiratory illness, fever, rash, and in severe cases, swelling of the brain and spinal cord.  EV-D68 appears to primarily cause respiratory illness, although its full symptoms are still unclear. In a report of severe cases published by the CDC, children with the virus ranged from 6 weeks of age to 16 years-old.  All children had difficulty breathing, and many had a history of previous wheezing or asthma while very few had a fever.  EV-D68 can be found in respiratory secretions, and the virus is likely spread from person to person when someone who is infected coughs, sneezes, or touches surfaces.  For this reason, you can best protect yourself and your family by taking the following precautions:
wash hands frequently and thoroughly;
avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands;
avoid kissing, hugging or sharing eating utensils or cups with people who are sick; and
disinfect surfaces that are touched often, such as doorknobs.
There is no specific treatment for EV-D68 infection, and there is no vaccine to prevent illness.  It is possible for anyone to become infected with EV-D68, however, many infections are likely mild and require only treatment of symptoms. Infants, children, and teenagers are more likely to develop serious illness because they do not yet have immunity from previous exposures to the virus.  This is likely also true for people with weakened immune systems.  As with most viruses, prevention and awareness are key to keeping them at bay. While enterovirus infections historically hit their peak in September, it’s not clear whether EV-D68 infection will follow a similar pattern. There is no need to panic about this virus, but there is reason to be cautious. The best thing do is to keep an eye on your family, and to make sure that if your child is not feeling well they get their symptoms checked by a professional.A family doctor by training, Dr. Michael Jaeger is the managing medical director for Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Wisconsin.
Editors & reporters: A plain-text version of this column, as well as a photo of Dr. Jaeger are available upon request. Please contact scott.larrivee@anthem.com or 262-523-4746.

By Dr. Michael Jaeger

You’ve likely seen news reports about a virus that is sending children to the hospital with severe respiratory illness, and worried about what you can do to protect your family. Here’s what you need to know.

The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recently identified the likely cause of these illnesses as the rarely reported Enterorvirus D68 (EV-D68). An outbreak of respiratory illness believed to be caused by EV-D68 is sending hundreds of children to the hospital and impacting children in a number of states including: Colorado, Georgia, Kansas, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Ohio and Wisconsin.  Unusual cases of severe respiratory illness were first reported to the CDC last month.

There is no specific treatment for Enterovirus D68, so it’s important to be aware of its symptoms and make sure that you and your family practice good hygiene to avoid getting the virus.

EV-D68 belongs to a very common family of viruses – enteroviruses – of which there are more than 100 different types.  Every year, enteroviruses cause an estimated 10 to 15 million infections in the United States.  Enteroviruses usually cause mild respiratory illness, fever, rash, and in severe cases, swelling of the brain and spinal cord.  EV-D68 appears to primarily cause respiratory illness, although its full symptoms are still unclear.

 In a report of severe cases published by the CDC, children with the virus ranged from 6 weeks of age to 16 years-old.  All children had difficulty breathing, and many had a history of previous wheezing or asthma while very few had a fever. 

EV-D68 can be found in respiratory secretions, and the virus is likely spread from person to person when someone who is infected coughs, sneezes, or touches surfaces.  For this reason, you can best protect yourself and your family by taking the following precautions:

  • wash hands frequently and thoroughly;
  • avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands;
  • avoid kissing, hugging or sharing eating utensils or cups with people who are sick; and
  • disinfect surfaces that are touched often, such as doorknobs.

There is no specific treatment for EV-D68 infection, and there is no vaccine to prevent illness.  It is possible for anyone to become infected with EV-D68, however, many infections are likely mild and require only treatment of symptoms. Infants, children, and teenagers are more likely to develop serious illness because they do not yet have immunity from previous exposures to the virus.  This is likely also true for people with weakened immune systems. 

As with most viruses, prevention and awareness are key to keeping them at bay. While enterovirus infections historically hit their peak in September, it’s not clear whether EV-D68 infection will follow a similar pattern.

There is no need to panic about this virus, but there is reason to be cautious. The best thing do is to keep an eye on your family, and to make sure that if your child is not feeling well they get their symptoms checked by a professional.

A family doctor by training, Dr. Michael Jaeger is the managing medical director for Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Wisconsin.

Editors & reporters: A plain-text version of this column, as well as a photo of Dr. Jaeger are available upon request. Please contact scott.larrivee@anthem.com or 262-523-4746.

Step Out: Walk to Stop Diabetes — October 18, 2014 — Milwaukee

Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield is proud to be a sponsor of the American Diabetes Association’s Step Out: Walk to Stop Diabetes taking place in Milwaukee on October 18, 2014.

Click here to learn more and join/form a team. Sign up is free and a great way to take a step toward defeating diabetes.

Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield is proud to be the presenting sponsor of Junior Power Pack, the official kids club of the Green Bay Packers. Learn more and sign your kids up here.

Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield is proud to be the presenting sponsor of Junior Power Pack, the official kids club of the Green Bay Packers. Learn more and sign your kids up here.