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4J Benefits and Wellness Newsletter – March 2014 – Issue 274

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Prepared by Julie Wenzl • 541-790-7682 • March 5, 2014 • Issue Number 274


On October 31, 2013, after our Flexible Spending Account plan year had already begun, the US Treasury Department modified its FSA “Use-it-or-Lose-it” provision to allow Employers to adopt the provision allowing for rollover of up to $500 of FSA funds for unreimbursed eligible health-related expenses.  At the February 14 meeting, the Joint Benefits Committee opted to allow 4J employees to take advantage of this rule change, effective immediately.

If you have an FSA set up for unreimbursed eligible health-related expenses for the October 1, 2013 – September 30, 2014, plan year, this rule change could impact you.  If you are finding your expenses lower than you anticipated, you do not need to scramble to spend funds by September 30 to avoid forfeiting your money.  Instead, you can roll over up to $500 into the next FSA plan year.

If you have not opted to participate in the FSA plan in the past for fear you might have to forfeit unused funds, you may want to take another look during the next FSA open enrollment period.  Detailed enrollment information for the upcoming plan year will be included in your summer benefits mailing from 4J.


Thanks very much to the 91 of you who opted to participate in the pilot employee wellness program:  What’s Your Number?  Employees from Twin Oaks Elementary, Monroe Middle, North Eugene High, and 4J Human Resources had the opportunity to participate in an early morning onsite fasting finger-stick cholesterol check, blood pressure check, and BMI calculation.   A final opportunity was held at the 4J Wellness Clinic, for employees who wanted to participate but who do not work (or were unable to participate) at one of the pilot locations.  Of the 91 participants, 88 opted to complete all three screenings!

This employee wellness pilot program was made possible by grant funding from the OEA Choice Trust Employee Wellness Grant Program, and was done in partnership with Cascade Health Solutions.  Moda Health generously jumped in to provide prizes for the individual screening drawings – 3 winners were selected from each site.  The Joint Benefits Committees appreciate the support of these entities!

Congratulations to Karen Hardin, Christina Hayner, Sue Kilber, Marta Lagumina, Kelly McGhehey, Mimi Nolledo, Kathy Owen, Mary Riggs, Denise Silfee, and Cydney Vandercar.  These individuals won the prize drawings at their worksites for participating in the cholesterol screening, blood pressure check, and/or BMI calculation.  The grand prize winner will be drawn from employees who participated in all three screenings, and will be announced soon.


The 4J Wellness Clinic will be closed the week of spring break, March 24 – 28, 2014.  Regular clinic hours, which will resume March 31, 2014, are Monday through Friday, from 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.  The clinic is closed for lunch from 1:00 – 2:00 p.m.  If you will need a prescription refilled over spring break, please plan ahead.

Remember that there is a $20 no-show fee for missed appointments at the Wellness Clinic.  If possible, please give the Clinic 24 hours notice when you need to cancel an appointment.  If your appointment is less than 24 hours away, please call and cancel anyway – this may allow the Clinic to schedule an appointment for another patient.  The Wellness Clinic has a voicemail system, so if you realize outside of regular hours that you must miss your appointment, you can call and leave a message – 541-686-1427.

The next drop-in cholesterol screening for the 2013-14 school year will occur Wednesday, April 2, 2014.  These quarterly drop-in cholesterol screenings at the 4J Wellness Clinic are done on a first come, first-served basis from 7:00 – 8:00 a.m. and are a fasting cholesterol finger stick, with the results available in about 5 minutes.  Fasting means nothing to eat or drink but plain water for at least 10 – 12 hours prior.

If you have questions about whether it is time to have your cholesterol screened, please consult your health care provider.


This is a reminder that the donation cycle for the Sick Leave Bank was recently changed from every two years to every four years.  If you save your donation receipts and have one from before the fall of 2013, it will have the old donation information on it.  If your most recent donation to the Sick Leave Bank was made in the spring of 2010 or before, you should plan to donate during the current open enrollment period to maintain or reactivate your Sick Leave Bank membership.

In order to donate, please print and complete a transmittal agreement and return it to EEA.  We cannot accept electronic donations – a paper copy is required.  You can find the transmittal agreement form on the EEA website or attached to the e-mail sent to your 4J account February 4, 2014.  You can find the EEA website here:  http://www.eugea.org/.  Once on the site click on the link for 4J Members.  The links for SLB forms and guidelines are in the table at the top of the 4J Members webpage.


If you are considering retirement sometime during or at the end of the school year, there are three simple steps you’ll need to take:  contact PERS to begin your Service Retirement process, contact me (Julie Wenzl) to learn about your 4J retirement benefits, and contact 4J Human Resources to give your official written notice of intent to retire and retirement date.

To get advice regarding your PERS retirement, you’ll need to work with your financial planner or directly with PERS.  4J does not give PERS advice.  The phone number for PERS is 888-320-7377 and the website is http://oregon.gov/PERS/.  You can find a great deal of information on the PERS website, and can download forms and sign up for education sessions as well.

Article 4.10 of our contract specifies that you must give the District at least 60 days written notice of your intention to retire:

The District will provide two supplemental retirement plans for eligible unit members.  A unit member hired and employed as a bargaining unit member prior to July 1, 1998 and continuously a bargaining unit member until the date of retirement from District employment, is eligible for Supplemental Retirement Plan A.  A bargaining unit member hired and employed on or after July 1, 1998, is eligible for Supplemental Retirement Plan B.  A unit member who elects supplemental retirement must provide the District with at least sixty (60) days advance notice of retirement.  Notice may be revoked or waived with District consent.

Article 4.10.1.b of our contract outlines an additional timeline requirement for Plan A retirees:

By April 1st, unit members must give the District Human Resource Department a written commitment which specifies a retirement date if they intend to retire during the period from April 1st through November 15th.  If unit members provide this commitment by April 1st, they shall be advanced two payments of the monthly supplemental retirement stipend in the first month following termination from the District.  If unit members do not provide this commitment by April 1st and retire during the period from April 1st through November 15th, the unit members shall not be paid the monthly supplemental retirement stipend or the District insurance contribution during the first two months following retirement. 

You are responsible for meeting all applicable deadlines, so please make sure you know which apply to you to avoid potential penalties.


A study out of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology reports that there is a low-tech method for assessing your aerobic fitness and estimating your “fitness age.”  Norwegian researchers evaluated more than 4,600 healthy Norwegians ages 20 to 90 to figure out how to estimate peak oxygen intake (VO2 max) without a treadmill test.  Five measurements, plugged into a simple formula, reliably predicted VO2 max, which has been shown to indicate a “fitness age.”  A 50-year-old with the peak oxygen uptake of a 70-year-old for example, would have a fitness age of 70.

To estimate your fitness age, you’ll need to determine your resting heart rate by taking your pulse after sitting quietly for 10 minutes.  Plug that number, your waist measurement, age, gender, and frequency and intensity of exercise into the online calculator at http://www.worldfitnesslevel.org.


FYI – You will become eligible for Medicare at age 65, regardless of whether you are receiving a Social Security benefit at the time.  You are entitled to Medicare the first day of the calendar month during which you turn 65.  If your birthday falls on the first day of the month, you are entitled to Medicare the first day of the prior month.

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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