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4J Benefits and Wellness Newsletter – May 2014 – Issue 276

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4J BENEFITS AND WELLNESS NEWSLETTER
Prepared by Julie Wenzl • 541-790-7682 • May 29, 2014 • Issue Number 276

NOT COMING BACK IN THE FALL?

If you are a licensed employee hired for this school year only and your hire date was before November 1, 2013, your insurance benefits will run through August 31st. Benefits also run through August for employees planning to take an unpaid leave from 4J or who will not be returning next school year. This includes licensed employees who will retire September 1, 2014. The final 2013-14 paycheck will be July 31st. If you currently have a monthly insurance premium withheld from your paycheck, you should expect two premiums to be withheld from your end of July paycheck. This allows you to pay for your August benefits with pre-tax dollars.

If you are retiring at the end of this school year but prior to September 1, the double July deduction will not apply to you. Please refer to your copy of your Licensed Retirement Agreement, which has details about your retiree insurance elections and rates.

If you have any questions, please let me know. You can reach me by phone (541-790-7682) or e-mail (wenzl@4j.lane.edu).

2014-15 MEDICAL PLANS

For the October 1, 2014 – September 30, 2015 plan year, 4J employee and retirees will have 5 medical plans to choose from: OEBB Moda Health Plans C, D, E, F, and G. In addition to selecting a medical plan, members must opt for either the ODS Plus Network (which is the statewide network currently available in 4J), or the new Synergy Network. Members who enroll in the Synergy Network will be required to select a medical home and will have a more limited panel of providers from which to obtain in-network benefits. The trade-off for electing the more limited network is a lower monthly premium cost.

At this time, Moda Health is in negotiations with providers, so Synergy Network details are not yet known. Information on the Synergy Network providers should be available on the Moda website for OEBB members by July.

2014-15 DENTAL PLANS

4J employees will continue to have OEBB Moda Health Dental Plan 4 as a plan offering. For the first time, 4J employees will also have the option of enrolling in OEBB Willamette Dental Plan 8. Both dental plans include orthodontia.

There will be some minor plan design changes to OEBB Moda Dental Plan 4 – look for those in your open enrollment materials.

Members who elect Willamette Dental Plan 8 must receive care from a Willamette Dental Group dentist or specialist.   Detailed information about this option will be included in your open enrollment materials, but if you’d like to explore Willamette Dental benefits in advance, a great starting point is on their website: https://www.willamettedental.com/oebb.

2014-15 VISION PLAN

4J employees will continue to have OEBB Moda Health Vision Plan 3 as a plan offering. OEBB will not be making any changes to vision plan 3 for the upcoming plan year. Vision benefits run on a plan year basis (not every 12 months), benefit maximums include an exam and hardware, and the plan covers contacts or one pair of lenses every year. The plan covers one pair of frames per plan year for members under 17 years old. For members 17 and older, frames are covered every 2 plan years.

OEBB OPEN ENROLLMENT

The OEBB open enrollment period will begin August 15, 2014 and will remain open through September 15, 2014. You will receive updated and detailed information as soon as it is available – watch for updates in this newsletter, your e-mail inbox, and via US Mail over the summer. As always, OEBB will send information about plan designs and offerings, but rate information and other details specific to 4J employees will come from 4J.

If you are itching to get your hands on information now, the Moda website for OEBB members has some materials you may want to check out: https://www.modahealth.com/oebb/members/summaries2014.shtml

6 BODY ODDITIES EXPLAINED

Ever wonder why you get goose bumps, sneeze at the sun, experience an intense but temporary headache when you eat ice cream, or do other strange things? The experts from the School of Public Health at UC Berkeley offer these explanations.

Goose Bumps • The tiny muscles at the bottom of hair follicles contract in response to cold, fear or other emotions. In furry mammals, this causes hairs to “stand on end,” trapping a layer of air as insulation and making the animal appear larger to scare off predators. In humans, it is a “vestigial reflex” (it no longer serves a purpose) and instead just makes skin look temporarily rough and pimply.

Ice Cream Headaches • Very cold foods can overstimulate the nerves on the roof of the mouth. The sudden stabbing pain in your head, also known as “brain freeze,” is an example of referred pain. To avoid it, eat ice-cold foods slowly and try to keep them away from your palate. To counter it, press your tongue to your palate or drink something lukewarm.

Cracking Joints • The popping sound may come from the rapid release of gas bubbles that form in a joint when it is stretched. It can occur when you bend your neck or wrist, or twist your back, for instance. It is usually harmless, but if you’ve had an injury or if the cracking is accompanied by pain or swelling, see your doctor. It could be a sign of arthritis or other joint problems.

Sun Sneezes • The photic sneeze reflex, also called sun sneezing or the “ACHOO syndrome” (which stands for autosomal-dominant compelling helio-ophthalmic outburst), occurs in about one in four people when they are exposed to sudden bright light. It runs in families, and most people sneeze two or three times. Scientists blame it on a crossover of nerve signals—when bright light overstimulates the optic nerve in the eye, it “accidentally” also stimulates the nerve responsible for the sneeze reflex.

Eyelid Twitches • Involuntary twitching of the eyelid muscles may be caused by fatigue, stress, eye strain or possibly caffeine. It may occur on and off for several days. If the contractions are severe enough to close your eyelid completely, involve other muscles in the face, are accompanied by other eye symptoms or don’t stop after a week, see your doctor.

Yawns • No one knows for sure why people yawn. One theory is that yawning increases oxygen intake when needed, but studies have shown that people yawn, usually when they are tired or bored, even if they have high blood oxygen levels. It may be a protective reflex that helps maintain proper lung function. Yawning is also contagious: seeing someone yawn—or just hearing, reading about or even thinking about yawning—makes some people yawn. This may have served as a primitive form of social bonding, and still seems to synchronize sleep in groups of animals.

HEALTH RISK ASSESSMENT – DEADLINE REMINDER

If you complete your Health Risk Assessment by May 31, 2014, you will be automatically entered into OEBB’s drawing for one of 18 $500 Visa gift cards made available through Moda Health.

Also, if you are participating in the Healthy Futures program and want to receive the incentive of a $100 lower deductible for each person covered on your medical plan (up to $300 for a family of three or more) in the upcoming plan year that starts October 1, 2014, you must complete your Health Assessment by May 31st.

To complete your health assessment, go to http://www.modahealth.com/oebb and log in to your myModa account, or create a new account, if needed. To create an account you will need your Subscriber ID that is listed on your Moda Health medical card. Once you’re logged in, click on “Health Risk Assessment (HRA)” and then click the “Get Started” button.

If you signed up to Healthy Futures and are covering a spouse or domestic partner, he/she will also need to complete the HRA by May 31st to qualify for the lower deductible in the upcoming plan year. Your spouse/partner will need to create an individual myModa account. To create this account your spouse/partner will need to use your Subscriber ID that is listed on your Moda Health medical card.

For assistance, call Moda Health (weekdays 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.) at 866-923-0409 or OEBB (weekdays 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.) at 888-469-6322. If possible, please try and complete your assessment prior to 5:00 p.m. Friday the 30th, so staff will be available to help you, if needed.

 

 

The information in this newsletter has been summarized.  It is presented as information – not advice or counsel.  In all instances, the benefits, conditions, and limitations as outlined in the 4J Master Contracts prevail over this representation.  Please refer to your Benefits booklet or master contracts available at the District offices for additional information regarding your benefits plans.

 

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