Personal Protective Equipment Can Now Be Purchased with an FSA

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) can now be purchased with your Navia FSA. The change is retroactive to January 1, 2020. The IRS announced that PPE expenses are now eligible under FSAs, HSAs, HRAs, and other plans that permit Section 213(d) expenses. PPE includes things like hand sanitizer and face masks. You can get reimbursed for claims of PPE purchases after January 1, 2020. You just need a receipt of purchase.

The Taxpayer Certainty and Disaster Tax Relief Act of 2020 also made it possible to elect an FSA at any time during the year. If you elected an FSA tomorrow you would have plenty of time to spend your FSA dollars and take advantage of these tax-free purchases of face masks and other PPEs, not to mention 32,000 other things (see full list of eligible items) you can spend your FSA on. Navia also has a great infographics for the top 50 ways to spend your FSA dollars.

Effective immediately, Navia will approve eligible PPE claims. Contingent upon action by SIGIS (the entity that manages eligibility for card purchases) to update and dispatch its eligibility lists to include PPE, the Navia Benefits Card will also allow PPE purchases at SIGIS/IIAS-compliant stores and online retailers.

Your Mental Health During These Trying Times

If you are suffering from stress, depression, anxiety, or other mental health emotions due to the pandemic, you are not alone. The United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reviewed mental health challenges associated with morbidity and mortality caused by the disease, and mitigation activities, including the impact of physical distancing. They found symptoms of anxiety disorder and depressive disorder increased considerably in the United States during April – June of 2020, compared with the same period in 2019.

Mental Health America (MHA) conducted a screening on over 1.5 million people from January to September 2020 and found that the number of people looking for help with anxiety and depression has skyrocketed. In September 2020, the rate of moderate to severe anxiety peaked, with over 8 in 10 people who took an anxiety screen scoring with moderate to severe symptoms.

Aggregate data* pulled from our telehealth provider, MDLive, month over month shows that 6 of the top 10 most frequent consultation diagnoses are related to behavioral health, with generalized anxiety disorder, adjustment disorder with mixed anxiety and depressed mood, and major depressive disorder, recurrent, moderate being the top 3 most frequent behavioral health diagnoses. Sixty-five percent of the virtual visits conducted between September 2020 and January 2021 were behavioral health related.

Your A&M System benefits package includes a variety of behavioral health resources to help you when you need them:

ComPsych GuidanceResources

ComPsych GuidanceResources offers in-person and telephonic counseling services, training, and resources to help employees deal with all kinds of stressful issues such as parenting, COVID-19, the death of a loved one, and conflicts at work.

To navigate to the stress-related resources, login into guidanceresources.com using your registered ID and select “Wellness” from the navigation menu. You can learn about resilience, depression, youth depression management, coping, and more. Currently, they have a mental health toolkit specifically for these topics. There is also a section on the website dedicated to COVID-19 resources. You can access GuidanceResources from your MyEvive account, if registered.

Contact ComPsych GuidanceResources with the information below:

Website: http://www.guidanceresources.com
WEBID: Contact your Human Resources Office for the WebID to register for the first time.
Phone Numbers:

  • Active Employees – 1-866-301-9623
  • Retirees – 1-833-306-0105
  • Qatar – 00800.100.071

2nd.MD

Available to employees, retirees and their enrolled dependents on the A&M Care, 65 Plus and J plans, 2nd.MD offers medical second opinions and consultations with specialists via video or phone conference at no cost to you. From the moment you reach out, 2nd.MD’s Care Team will be by your side to offer the support you need. A consultation with 2nd.MD, a medical second opinion service, might include discussion of your diagnosis, answering your questions, and connecting you with elite psychologists and psychiatrists who are leading experts in their fields. You have the option to schedule a face-to-face consultation via video or phone from the safety and privacy of your home.

Common behavioral health topics with 2nd.MD include:

• Emotional and mental support related to depression, anxiety, and stress
• Surgery canceled or postponed due to COVID-19 / Availability of alternative treatment options
• Concerned about the impact COVID-19 could have on your treatments and recovery
• Seeking information about existing conditions that could put your health at risk

Connect with the Care Team by calling: 1.866.841.2575. You can also go to 2nd.MD/tamus. 2nd.MD is available to covered employees and retirees in the A&M Care Plan, 65 Plus, and J plans.

Well onTarget Self-Management Programs

Well onTarget is a health and wellness resource provided by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas through your Blue Access for Members (BAM) account. It is available to covered employees and retirees in the A&M Care Plan, 65 Plus, and J plans. Log into BAM and click “Well onTarget” under the quick links to find self-instructed courses on a variety of wellness topics such as stress, nutrition, and improving your sleep. Work with a wellness coach, or earn Blue Points for completing healthy activities. Completing a self-management program may also count as credit towards your Two-Step Wellness Program checklist, if you are eligible for the program.

MDLive Virtual Visits

Virtual Visits is a feature provided by MDLive through your Blue Cross and Blue Shield (BCBS) medical plan. It is available to covered employees and retirees in the A&M Care Plan, 65 Plus, and J plans. Graduate student employees in the Grad plan may use this service for a $35 copay. You can schedule visits with doctors and therapists via telephone, online video or mobile app. This alternative to in-person appointments provides health care for simple, non-emergency medical and behavioral health conditions 24/7/365 for only a $10 copay.

MDLIVE’s board-certified psychiatrists can help with anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, trauma & PTSD, panic disorders, and more.

Download the MDLive app or go online to https://mdlive.com/bcbstx and activate your account. You just need your BCBSTX member ID card with you when you register.

*Aggregate data is personally de-identifiable data compiled into a data summary for the purposes of public reporting or statistical analysis, subject to HIPAA.
Source: https://www.mhanational.org/issues/state-mental-health-america 

Announcement of Baylor Scott & White Health and BCBS Health Plan Discounts in the Brazos Valley

The Texas A&M University System and Baylor Scott and White Health, together with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas (BCBSTX), announced a collaboration which provides discounts to the Brazos Valley. The purpose of the discount arrangement is to improve the Brazos Valley community’s access to health care.

As of February 15th, Texas A&M University System offers employees and retirees new, lower cost, copays and inpatient/outpatient services. Physicians and facilities contracted with Baylor Scott & White and located in the Brazos Valley feature a $15 copay for specialists and a 10% coinsurance for other costs such as hospitalization. Primary care physician copays remain the same.

You must be enrolled in a Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas health plan with the A&M System and use a Baylor Scott & White Health facility in the Brazos Valley to take advantage of these discounts. The discount is not available outside of the Brazos Valley. Individuals outside of the service area and those with established provider relationships outside of these facilities will continue to enjoy the same benefits they currently receive, and do not need to change their network plan to take advantage of these reductions.

Baylor Scott & White Health will be contacting their patients directly. Information regarding the discount will be available on the Health page on the A&M System Benefits Administration website, and in corresponding places on the plan rate sheets.

For any questions, employees and retirees are encouraged to speak with their provider, or reach out to our dedicated BCBSTX customer support team at 1-866-295-1212.

SEBAC Highlights

The System Employee Benefits Advisory Committee met for the second time during FY21 on February 9, 2021. The current state of the benefits plans was discussed. Below are some highlights from the meeting:

  • Medical plan enrollment increased slightly. There are currently 55,578 covered employees, retirees, and dependents enrolled in the A&M Care Plans compared to 54,293 in FY20.
  • As of December 2020, total paid claims for the health plan are slightly higher than at the same time during FY20 at $76.6M.
  • Dental PPO plan participation remains high with 44,001 covered employees, retirees, and dependents.
  • Over 8,500 employees and dependents completed their two-step wellness incentive program for FY21. The deadline to complete the program is June 30!
  • Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas reported that cancer continues to be the System’s highest diagnostic category followed by musculoskeletal and circulatory conditions, but that per member, per month costs for cancer and musculoskeletal were down this year. This could be attributed to avoidance of care due to the COVID-19 pandemic and will become clearer in the coming months.
  • Hypertension and diabetes remain the A&M System’s most prevalent chronic conditions. Livongo and Omada, services that target these chronic conditions, launched in September 2020.

The SEBAC election process will begin for the next two-year term in April.

Musculoskeletal Pain: Here’s What You Can Do About It!

According to Healthline, musculoskeletal pain refers to pain in the muscles, bones, ligaments, tendons, and nerves. You can feel this pain in just one area of the body, such as your back. You can also have it throughout your body if you have a widespread condition like fibromyalgia.

The causes of musculoskeletal pain vary from damage to muscle tissue, trauma, overuse, and prolonged immobilization. Yes, that is correct, using your muscles too much and too little can both cause musculoskeletal pain!

Symptoms of musculoskeletal pain include pain and body aches, fatigue, and even sleep disturbances.

If you are suffering from musculoskeletal pain, the A&M System has several programs available to you. To use these programs, you must be enrolled in an A&M System medical plan and be an employee, retiree, or dependent. These programs are currently not available to graduate student employees enrolled in the Grad plan.

Airrosti – Now with Virtual Offerings!

Airrosti provides diagnosis and treatment for most common musculoskeletal and joint conditions, including pain in the neck, back, shoulders, hips, elbows, knees, and feet. Their published outcome data shows their treatment to be effective at helping resolve everything from headaches to plantar fasciitis. Their data also indicates that they are just as effective at solving chronic back pain as they are at resolving acute sports/athletic injuries like pulls and strains, as well as repetitive stress/wear and tear injuries like tendonitis, frozen shoulder, and carpal tunnel syndrome.

Check out Airrosti Remote Recovery for their digital solution at https://www.airrosti.com/remoterecovery/ or visit an Airrosti clinic in your area and present your BCBSTX insurance card. Employees and dependents enrolled in the A&M Care, 65 plus, and J plans are eligible to participate in Airrosti for a specialist copay. Retirees enrolled in a Medicare-primary plan can use the service for 20 percent coinsurance. Graduate student employees enrolled in the Grad plans may participate for a $35.00 copay.

2nd.MD – A Medical Second Opinion

Available to employees, retirees and their enrolled dependents on the A&M Care, 65 Plus and J plans, 2nd.MD offers medical second opinions and consultations with specialists via video or phone conference at no cost to you. If you are suffering from musculoskeletal pain and facing a possible surgery, or just have questions about chronic pain, 2nd.MD can help. You will get peace of mind and confidence in your treatment decisions when you speak directly with an expert in your specific diagnosis. A 2nd.MD doctor will take the time to evaluate your medical records, tests, and imaging to inform you of your treatment options. They can even connect you with a local doctor to start or continue your care.

Contact 2nd.MD by calling 1.866.841.2575​ or visit 2nd.md/tamus.

Hinge Health

If you experience chronic back, knee, hip, neck, or shoulder pain you might want to check out Hinge Health. This is a new, 12-week, coach-led digital musculoskeletal (MSK) program based on proven nonsurgical care guidelines. It is delivered remotely using mobile and wearable technology.

You will go through a clinical screening to determine eligibility. You can submit the screening questionnaire at https://hingehealth.com/tamus if you are interested in the program. Your eligible Blue Cross and Blue Shield insurance plan will cover the program cost if you are accepted!

Hinge Health is only available to A&M System employees, retirees, and their spouses enrolled in the A&M Care, 65 Plus, and J plans.

Wellness Webinars: Partner Programs

Learn more about the digital programs available to your through your health insurance plan!

Livongo – Battling Diabetes and Hypertension

*Eligibility: Must be diagnosed with diabetes or hypertension, have received communications from Livongo, and be an employee, retiree, or dependent enrolled in the A&M Care, 65 Plus, or J plans to participate in the program.

When: February 18th, 2021 at 10:00 am
Register: https://tamus.webex.com/tamus/onstage/g.php?MTID=ecf4b40286890d61e41a864325feae37c

 

Well onTarget ®Health Management with your BCBS Health Plan

*Eligibility: Must be an employee or dependent enrolled in the A&M Care, 65 Plus, or J plans to access Well onTarget ®.

Webinar Overview:

A comprehensive worksite wellness initiative should include innovative programs and activities to support and engage your employees throughout their well-being journey. Well onTarget ® offers a complete suite of integrated services designed to enhance member engagement, impact health care costs, improve health outcomes and meet the wellness needs of all members – no matter where they are on the health continuum.

What to expect: Join the Employee Webinar to learn more about Well onTarget ® and the robust wellness suite of services to take your wellness journey to the next level. Topics will cover:

  • Expanded digital self-management programs
  • New Personal wellness challenges
  • New health education offerings
  • Coaching

Speaker:

Laurie Weatherby, M.S., CWPC, CPT, Wellness Specialist, has been in the health and wellness industry for over 14 years and with Blue Cross and Blue Shield for three years. Her experience includes health education, health fitness specialist, certified personal trainer and wellness program manager, working with organizations to help them implement and promote wellness programs for their employees. She currently leads educational presentations on a variety of health-related topics, including overviews of the wellness platform, Well onTarget®.

When: February 24th 2021 at 11:00 AM
Register: https://tamus.webex.com/tamus/onstage/g.php?MTID=e72532430ec2046b2b0174436092da623

 

Hinge Health – At Home Therapy for Neck, Hip, Joint, Back, and Shoulder Pain

When: March 3, 2021 at  2:00 PM
Register: https://tamus.webex.com/tamus/onstage/g.php?MTID=e9c9258fc7ad4661a15f2884c41f5d9e6