February is Heart Health Month

February is Heart Health Month

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, but there is a lot you can do to prevent it. Each February, the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute and The Heart Truth celebrate Heart Health Month to encourage healthy lifestyles and help combat heart disease.

The Heart Truth suggests taking these steps to adopt a healthy lifestyle:

  1. Get a daily dose of physical activity, such as a brisk, 30-minute walk
  2. Cook meals that are low in sodium and unhealthy fats
  3. Take your medications as prescribed and keep your medical appointments
  4. Sleep 7-8 hours at night
  5. Manage stress with meditation, yoga, a warm bath, other personal hobbies, or quiet time
  6. Try to reach or stay at a healthy weight by moving more and having snacks like fruits and veggies ready to have when hunger hits

Check out Your Wellness Program Offerings

COVID-19 has made going to the gym difficult, but it has challenged your Wellness Champions at your campus and agency to get creative with their wellness programs. You might be surprised to find several digital offerings available to you!

Click here to find out what your wellness champion or agency is doing.

 

BCBSTX Fitness Program Enrollment Fee Waived for February

If you are enrolled in the Well onTarget® fitness program, you now have access to BurnAlong. BurnAlong allows you full access to thousands of digital fitness videos and live classes – all at no extra cost. Digital classes available include cardio, bootcamp, barre, yoga and more. This gives Fitness Program members an additional option to stay active from the comfort and safety of their own homes. BurnAlong can be accessed through the Well OnTarget® Fitness Program portal. Members have BurnAlong access as long as their Well onTarget® Fitness Program membership is active. The benefit is available to all Fitness Program members regardless of the tier they join.

If you would like to enroll in the fitness program, log in to Blue Access for Members (BAM) at bcbstx.com and search for the Fitness Program under Quick Links. You will need to enter the code STARTINFEB during enrollment to join for free before February 28. If you have any questions or prefer to enroll over the phone, call 888-762-BLUE (2583) Monday through Friday, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., CT. Enrolling in the Fitness Program also earns you Blue Points!

Fitness Program Flyer

 

 

 

 

New BCBSTX Health and Wellness Partner Programs

Exciting news! As of September 1, 2020, several new health partner programs are in effect in collaboration with your Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas (BCBSTX) insurance plans. If you are enrolled in the A&M Care, 65 Plus, and J plans, you may be eligible to participate in Hinge Health, Omada, or Livongo.

Hinge Health

If you experience chronic back, hip, or knee pain, you might want to check out Hinge Health. This is a 12-week, coach-led digital musculoskeletal (MSK) program based on proven nonsurgical care guidelines. It is delivered remotely using mobile and wearable technology. Hinge Health is focused on 3 core pillars:

  • Exercise Therapy –Wearable sensors and tablet provided for real-time movements feedback.
  • Behavioral Health – Cognitive behavioral therapy and unlimited 1:1 coaching.
  • Education – Personalized and interactive education curriculum.

Participants go through a clinical screening to determine eligibility. You can submit the screening questionnaire at https://hingehealth.com/ 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!

Omada

Omada is a digital lifestyle change program to help reduce the risks of type 2 diabetes and heart disease, and hypertension. Omada brings together the individualized attention of professional health coaches with a researched curriculum and manageable but powerful goals.

  • It helps connects the dots between knowing how to get healthy and actually doing it.
  • You get the support and tools you need, including an interactive program, wireless scale, health coach, and more.

Participants go through an application process to determine eligibility. Both the program and shipping are free to you if you are accepted into the program, and enrolled in the above health plans. Visit https://omadahealth.com to take the one-minute risk screener. You are eligible to apply if the screener results indicate a risk – then you can complete the online application.

Livongo

Livongo is a program specifically for those diagnosed with Type I or Type II diabetes or hypertension. You will be contacted by Livongo if you are determined to be eligible for the program. You cannot apply to join the program without being contacted.
The Livongo diabetes program includes:

  • An advanced meter
  • Unlimited strips and lancets
  • 24/7 support from Livongo Expert Coaches

The Livongo hypertension program includes:

  • Free, connected blood pressure monitor
  • Better blood pressure management
  • Personalized support

New Plan Year – New Activities on Your Checklist!

When logging into MyEvive, you and your covered spouse may see up to 11 health and wellness activities on your MyEvive Personalized Checklist (PCL). These may include your annual wellness exam, nationally-recommended preventive screenings, registration in various benefit programs, self-paced wellness courses, and more. They are personalized based on general demographic information and recommendations from the United States Preventive Services Task Force. Some items show up for everyone by default because System Benefits Administration does not receive personal health data to know who may or may not be eligible to participate. You can choose any two activities to complete for the $30 wellness incentive credit for FY22. Credits are applied to the next plan year for tasks completed in the current plan year*.

New activities this plan year include flu shots, nutritional counseling, and preventive skin care exams.

Completing any two steps on your PCL will ensure that you have the lowest rate for your health insurance premium. Be sure to complete these activities by June 30, 2021, and allow some time for processing! Retirees and graduate student employees enrolled in the Graduate Plan already receive the lower premium and do not need to participate. The Blue Cross and Blue Shield-Well onTarget Health Assessment and your annual wellness exam will still count as the alternative to using the MyEvive portal.

*The checklists restarted September 1, 2020. Simply complete two tasks in FY21 for credit in FY22.

Two-Step Wellness Program Reminder

Two-Step Wellness Program Reminder

When logging into MyEvive, employees and covered spouses may see up to 7 health and wellness activities on their MyEvive Personalized Checklists (PCL). These may include your annual wellness exam, nationally-recommended preventive screenings, registration in various benefit programs, self-paced wellness courses, and more. They are personalized based on general demographic information and recommendations from the United States Preventive Services Task Force. Some items, like Naturally Slim, show up for everyone by default because System Benefits Administration does not receive personal health data to know who may or may not be eligible to participate. You can choose any two activities to complete for the incentive credit for FY21. Credits are applied to the next plan year for tasks completed in the current plan year*.

Completing any two steps on your PCL will ensure that you have the lowest rate for your health insurance premiums. Be sure to complete these activities by August 31, the extended deadline, and allow some time for processing! Retirees and graduate student employees enrolled in the Graduate Plan already receive the lower premium and do not need to participate. The Blue Cross and Blue Shield-Well onTarget Health Assessment and your annual wellness exam will still count as the alternative to using the MyEvive portal.

*Those who had not yet completed the HA and Wellness Exam to receive credit for FY20 can still complete these two tasks to receive their credit for the remainder of this fiscal year. If one of those checklist items was completed in FY19, you must then complete one more task to equal two tasks in the current plan year to receive the credit for FY21. The checklists will restart in FY21, with no partial completion accepted; simply complete two tasks in FY21 for credit in FY22.

Some new wellness tasks will be replacing some existing ones at the start of the new plan year so be looking for those!

Two-Step Wellness Program Reminder

Two-Step Wellness Program Reminder and Update

When logging into MyEvive, employees and covered spouses in the A&M Care Plans will see a variety health and wellness activities on their MyEvive Personalized Checklists (PCL). These may include your annual wellness exam, nationally-recommended preventive screenings, registration in various benefit programs, self-paced wellness courses, and more. Items on your checklist are programmatically displayed based on age/gender, United States Preventive Task Force Guidelines on preventive screenings, and then educational wellness activities. Some items, like Naturally Slim, show up for everyone by default because System Benefits Administration does not receive personal health data to single out those services. You can choose any two activities to complete for the incentive credit for FY21. Credits are applied to the next plan year for tasks completed in the current plan year*.

As we face the COVID-19 national emergency together, the safety and well-being of our employees, their families, and their communities is our top priority. That’s why we encourage you to delay any non-essential care you may have coming up, like biometric screenings and annual wellness exams. It can help lower the risk of spreading COVID-19 to others, and ensure that healthcare resources are there for the patients who need them the most. Accordingly, we extended the wellness incentive program completion date to August 31st, 2020. Please also note there are several checklist activities that can be completed virtually and we encourage you to participate in those programs to promote your health and wellbeing during this stressful time.

Completing any two steps on your PCL will ensure that you have the lowest rate for your health insurance premiums. Retirees and graduate student employees enrolled in the Graduate Plan already receive the lower premium and do not need to participate. The Blue Cross and Blue Shield-Well onTarget Health Assessment (BCBS HA) and your annual wellness exam will still count as the alternative to using the MyEvive portal. The BCBS HA may not be paired with an activity other than the wellness exam for credit.

*Those who had not yet completed the HA and Wellness Exam to receive credit for FY20 can still complete these two tasks to receive their credit this fiscal year. You will then complete one more task to equal two tasks in the current plan year to continue receiving the credit in FY21.

SEBAC Highlights

The System Employee Benefits Advisory Committee met for the second time during FY20 on February 22, 2020. The current state of the benefit plans was discussed. Below are some highlights from the meeting:

 

  • Health plan enrollment increased slightly as the number of employees and retirees overall has increased since last year. There are currently 30,738 covered employees and retirees, and 25,819 covered dependents. Total paid claims for the health plan are slightly higher than at the same time during FY19 and total $105.7M as of the end of December.
  • System Benefits Administration is required to bid the health plan every 6 years. Requests for Proposals were submitted for two carriers, and Blue Cross and Blue Shield will remain the health insurance plan provider for FY21-FY27. Their bid offered significant savings in provider discounts over the next closest bidder.
  • The Life Insurance and Accidental Death and Dismemberment Request for Proposals are currently under review by the A&M System. The finalist will be announced on April 22.
  • MDLIVE, the virtual visit service that allows covered plan participants to talk to a doctor via video and phone, has been active for 18 months. We are performing better than book of business for utilization comparable to other higher education entities.
  • 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. Breast cancer is our highest-cost cancer and most prevalent with 7/1000 claimants per year. Cervical/colorectal cancer costs remain below benchmark, which is attributed to early detection from the preventive screenings. System Benefits Administration continues to use this data to strategically assess the employee wellness program and participation in preventive screenings.
  • A&M System participants are above the BCBSTX benchmark on all preventive screenings (Colon, breast, wellness, well-baby, well-child, etc).
    A&M System Benchmark
    Cholesterol 58.5% 37%
    Annual Wellness Exam 69% 39.6%
    Mammmograms 62.7% 45.6%
  • Health plans are evolving towards a wellbeing management structure, which involves increasing targeted communications to raise awareness and boost utilization of existing programs.
  • The biggest cost driver in student plans for last year across the country, as well as in our plan, was prescription drugs.