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Classified Benefits & Wellness Newsletter June 2016/17 Issue #8

OEBB Mandatory Open Enrollment Fall 2017

OEBB will end all current medical, vision, and dental plans effective September 30, 2016.  Therefore, members who wish to have medical, vision, and dental coverage for the October 1, 2017 – September 30, 2018, plan year will be required to log into the MyOEBB system during open enrollment in order to register for that coverage.  The mandatory OEBB open enrollment period will begin August 15, 2017, and will remain open through September 15, 2017.

You will receive updated and detailed information as it is available – watch for updates in this newsletter, on the 4J website, in 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.

2017-18 Medical Plans

New this year:  Bariatric surgery benefit will expand to all covered adults, age 18 and older.  (Currently, this is a subscriber only benefit.)

During this fall’s open enrollment window, 4J employees and retirees will continue to have 3 Moda medical plans to choose from:  the Birch plan ($800 deductible), the Cedar plan ($1,200 deductible), and the Dogwood plan ($1,600 deductible).

Members must still opt for either the OEBB Moda Connexus PPO Network or the Synergy CCM Network.  The Synergy Network plans operate under a coordinated care model (CCM) and the Connexus Network plans are preferred provider organization (PPO).

Members who enroll in a Synergy CCM Network plan agree to participate in a system of care where you choose one primary care physician (PCP) or medical home and work with a closed network of professionals that coordinate all your care.  These systems of care have been shown to provide better health outcomes at lower costs.

Members who enroll in a Connexus PPO Network plan have a broader range of providers, may see any in-network provider at any time, and typically pay more.

Please watch for additional plan details and differences, which will be included in the information coming from OEBB prior to open enrollment.  A wealth of information is also available on the OEBB website, which will be updated on an as-needed basis:  OEBBinfo.com

2017-18 Vision Plan

Benefits eligible employees will have a new vision plan provider effective October 1, 2017.  All 4J employees who opt for medical coverage will now enroll in the
OEBB VSP Choice Plus vision plan featuring vision exams, frames, and lenses available every 12 months.

Don’t need prescription glasses?  The VSP plan offers the Suncare benefit.  With a $20.00 copay, members can receive a $300 allowance for ready-made non-prescription sunglasses instead of prescription glasses or contacts.  The Suncare benefit is available every 12 months.  OEBB will no longer apply the 12-month waiting period restrictions for members who waived vision coverage at initial eligibility.  Members enrolling in vision benefits during the upcoming open enrollment will have full benefits, regardless of prior vision enrollment or eligibility.

2017-18 Dental Plans

OEBB opted to consolidate the Delta Dental plans (formerly ODS) for the upcoming plan year and the current ODS Dental Plan 4 will no longer be available.  4J employees will have 3 dental plans to choose from for the plan year that begins October 1, 2017:  Delta Dental Premier Plan 5, Delta Dental Premier Plan 6, and the Willamette Dental Plan.

Delta Dental Premier Plan 5 has an annual maximum of $1700; an incentive plan design (70% – 100%) for preventive, basic restorative, and periodontal services; and includes orthodontia.  Delta Dental Premier Plan 6 has an annual maximum of $1200, does not have an incentive plan design, and does not include orthodontia.  Both Delta Dental plans use the Delta Dental Premier network of providers.  The Willamette Dental Plan, which is currently available in 4J, has removed the $52 buy-up charge for large, enamel colored fillings on back teeth.  This change will allow members and the dentist to choose the filling material that is best suited for their needs.

All three dental plans will have coverage for athletic mouth guards.  At Willamette Dental, athletic mouth guards will be covered with a $100 copay, plus the office visit copay of $20 per visit.  This benefit will be available to Willamette Dental enrolled members every 12 months.  On the Delta Dental plans, athletic mouth guards will be covered at 50%, after the $50 deductible.  Additional details about all of the dental plans will be included in your open enrollment materials.

Remember, OEBB rules require a 12-month waiting period for late enrollments to a dental plan.  If you didn’t enroll yourself or a dependent in dental coverage when initially eligible, then choose to enroll during an open enrollment period, whoever is being added to coverage will only be eligible for diagnostic and preventive services for the first full 12 months of coverage – no restorative services or orthodontia.

Healthy Futures Continues/Improves

No More spouse/partner requirement:  The Healthy Futures program will continue for members who wish to participate.  Part of the requirement for completion is the Health Risk Assessment, which must be completed between August 15, 2017 and October 15, 2017.  If you cover a spouse or domestic partner on your 4J insurance, he/she will no longer be required to complete a Health Assessment in order to fulfill the Healthy Futures requirement.  The Health Assessment is only required of the OEBB enrolled member.  However, your spouse/partner is always welcome to complete a Health Assessment.  To review the details of the Healthy Futures program requirements, please visit: OEBBincentive.com.

You can access the Health Assessment by logging into your myModa account:  https://www.modahealth.com/oebb/members/.

Feeling Stressed Out?  Relief is Just a Breath Away

Relax and take a deep breath.  It’s a common recommendation from physicians and friends who seek to help you reach a state of calm when you’re feeling frazzled.  Breathing is an essential and automatic function.  But with a deliberate focus on breathing, it’s a proven tool for healing and wellbeing.  Mere minutes of conscious breathing can help you feel better and think more clearly.

Conscious breathing can change your physiological state.  When we feel stress, our heart rate may increase, our breathing may get shallow, blood pressure can rise, and we might go into fight, flight or freeze mode.  We can actively shift that response by using slow deep breaths and activating the parasympathetic nervous system.

Sometimes referred to as the “rest and digest” system, the parasympathetic nervous system slows heart rate, is active during digestion, and helps bring equilibrium to the body.  Deep breathing helps you calm down.  That’s why it’s an integral part of many yoga, tai chi and meditation classes.  To gain the benefits of focused breathing, however, you don’t need a formal or lengthy practice. Here are a few simple strategies as ways to incorporate the calm of deep breathing into daily life:

Coherent Breathing: When you inhale, heart rate increases slightly; when you exhale, it decreases.  This difference in heart rhythm is called “heart rate variability” and it is beneficial to the heart and body.  Coherent breathing creates a relaxed yet alert state by focusing on the in-and out-breaths.  How it’s done:  Sit comfortably upright, supporting your back if desired.  Take a few deep breaths, allowing the belly to balloon outwards.  Relax the mind as much as possible.  Once you feel a bit more relaxed, begin the practice as follows:

1. Exhale to a count of six.
2.  Allow several normal breath cycles to complete, and      then again focus on exhaling to a count of six.
3.  Let the breaths be smooth, and feel the body relaxing.
4.  Switch your focus by inhaling to a six-count.
5.  Again, allow your body to breathe in and out naturally several times.  Focus on the next six-count inhalation every few breaths.
6.  Combine these by inhaling for six and exhaling for six.  There’s no need for every breath in and out to be a six-count.  But eventually, the idea is to piece together this rhythm without force.  Allow your body to ease into it.

The STOP Practice:  This technique is an efficient and effective mindfulness method to create a pause or shift in the middle of the day.  Do the STOP practice for about one minute after a stressful event, or before talking to someone under pressure.  The acronym guides the practice:

Stop or slow what you are doing.
Take a few deep, slow breaths.
Observe how you are feeling in your body as you are      taking slower breaths.  Notice the thoughts and emotions.  Invite calm.
Proceed with what you were doing.

Try visualizing the breath as nourishing.  This can help create a more peaceful physical and mental state.  As you inhale, imagine giving yourself something positive – think of calm and ease.  When you exhale, think of releasing or letting go of stress.

Practice Not Perfection:  Perfection isn’t the goal of any of these practices.  People who have anxiety may try too hard to “do it right.”  It’s not about doing it right or trying to overly control it.  The practices are meant to be gentle and unforced.  Through time, this kind of attention can help decrease blood pressure as well as reduce other ill effects of stress, including headaches, digestive issues, and depression.

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This newsletter is reviewed and edited each month by the District 4J and OSEA representatives of the Classified Joint Benefits Committee (JBC).The information in this newsletter is summarized, and is not intended as advice or counsel.

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