Thursday, February 12, 2015

Time for Your Annual Exam

Why not start off the new year by scheduling your annual physical with your primary care physician. Each calendar year United Healthcare covers your preventive care visit free of charge, as long as you stay in-system and/or in-network.

Choose In-System and Save
Think carefully when choosing your healthcare providers and the facilities you visit. Your physician may be an in-system doc, but his new office on the South Shore is not! Another fact to keep in mind when choosing in-system providers: larger medical groups may have a mixed group of providers, some may be in-system, some not. Build your own network of in-system providers by searching the North Shore-LIJ In-System Provider Network at Savings begin with low copays, no deductibles and no coinsurance.

Your Wellness Visit
Now that you have chosen your primary care physician, your annual wellness visit is a terrific opportunity to share any noticeable health changes that may have occurred since your last visit: a change in your sleeping habits, unusually weight gain or loss, erratic highs and lows in your mood, can be just some of the symptoms you may ignore on a day-to-day basis. Develop a relationship with your primary care physician, their guidance in your preventive care routine is an important element of your quality of life.

What Occurs at Your Annual Physical
Besides your confidential conversation with your doctor, you can also expect the doctor, nurse, nurse practitioner, or physician assistant to check your:
  • Vital signs: blood pressure, heart rate, respiration rate, temperature
  • Heart and lungs
  • Head and neck: throat, tonsils, teeth and gums, ears, nose sinuses, eyes, lymph nodes thyroid, and carotid arteries
  • Abdominal: liver and bowel 
  • Neurological: nerves, muscles, general balance and strength
  • Dermatological: skin check for unusual moles or rashes
  • Extremities: physical and sensory changes in joints
  • Lifestyle
Depending on your physician's findings, as well as your stage in life, your doctor may prescribe a screening for further detection of a condition, or a medication to maintain a condition.

Wellness Pledge 
If you are participating in the Annual Wellness Pledge Program,  a visit to your primary care physician every year, is not only free of charge, it also credits you $260 in 2016 paycheck credits. Read more about the Wellness Pledge Program by searching this Blog.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Wellness Pledge Program - All Year Long

It's back! Well it never really left ...
The Annual Wellness Pledge Program, designed to heighten the level of awareness of your preventive care health routine, now enters its second year. The program offers eligible* employees the opportunity to act on four wellness pledges in 2015 in exchange for four paycheck credits in 2016. The pledges in 2015 are the same as in 2014 with one exception: the Wellness Video Pledge has been eliminated and will be replaced by a brand new pledge in March. More on the new pledge in just a few weeks.

Pledges Available for Action Now
As in 2014, you will once again have to complete an online Health Assessment (HA) on to collect any paycheck credits in 2016. Keep in mind that six months must pass before you are able to submit the HA. This passage of time between your HAs is put in place to accurately gauge your health routine and patterns.

Choose Three More
What better time than now to schedule your annual health appointments. Those appointments may, or may not, lead to additional screenings. Act on three of the below (+ the HA) before October 31 and you will receive the maximum amount of paycheck credits ($1,040) in 2016. If you complete one or two in November or December, those one or two credits will be delayed in 2016.

  1. Physician Wellness Pledge: Your annual physical
  2. Dental Exam Pledge: Exam and/or cleaning
  3. Vision Exam Pledge: Eye exam by a licensed provider
  4. Breast Cancer Screening Pledge: Mammogram
  5. Skin Cancer Screening Pledge: Full body skin check
  6. Colorectal Cancer Screening Pledge: Colonoscopy
  7. Cervical Cancer Screening Pledge: Pap Smear
  8. Health Assessment for a Covered Spouse Pledge: A covered spouse has the option to submit
  9. Financial Wellness Video Pledge: This pledge will be introduced in March
How'd We Do?
Not all the numbers are in yet, but here's some great stats on the pledges in 2014:
  • 15,403 completed the HA
  • 14,447 visited with their primary care physician in 2014
  • 11,922 had a dental exam
  • 9,406 completed a vision exam
  • 5,056 had a mammogram
  • 4,287 visited with a dermatologist
  • 1,921 opted to have a colonoscopy under the advice of their doctor
  • 8,433 visited with their OB/GYN and had a Pap test for cervical cancer
  • 2,115 had a covered spouse fill out the HA
  • 18, 851 viewed the Wellness Video
  • That's 91,841 preventive care actions in 2014 - Bravo!!!

*You are eligible to participate in this voluntary program if you enrolled in the 2015 benefit plans administered through North Shore-LIJ. Union nurses from Lenox Hill Hospital and MEETH also had the option to choose the North Shore-LIJ plans. To receive paycheck credits in 2016 you must also enroll in the benefit plans in 2016.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

W-2 Tax Statement Online January 20

If you are one of the many North Shore-LIJ employees that opted to go paperless this tax season, your W-2 Tax Statement will be available on Employee Self Service (ESS) January 20. If you did not opt to go paperless through the pop-up prompt on ESS over the past several weeks, your paper copy will be mailed by January 31, 2015.

Past W-2 Tax Statement on ESS
Beginning with 2013's W-2 Statement, ESS now has the capability to house more of your personal information. No more lost statements or searching the mail - a simple login will now give you the opportunity to view, print and save not just this years' W-2 Tax Statement, but last years' too.

Other important information can also be viewed on ESS, such as your pay statement, which details your deductions and available PTO. In addition view your W-4 tax and direct deposit information. For those employees who participate in the Wellness Pledge Program - your personalized Wellness Summary is another convenient feature on ESS.

Update Your personal Information
The beginning of a new year is a good time as any to be sure your personal information in ESS is correct. While checking your address, email, and phone number, why not take a look at your emergency contacts. You may want to confirm those phone numbers for your contacts are still correct.

Organize and simplify, You are off to a great start!

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy and Healthy 2015!

Yes, the 2015 Pledge Program will officially close December 31, 2014 at midnight, but the Pledge to Be Well continues in the new year. Next year's Wellness Pledge Program - in exchange for paycheck credits in 2016 - will be very similar to the one that you just completed. Once again, you will be asked to complete the online Health Assessment, and complete 3 additional healthy actions in 2015 to maximize your savings at $1,040 in 2016. The big difference is that you will have much more time to complete these actions: January 1, 2014 through December 31, 2014! An important note to keep in mind remains in 2015: if you complete your pledges in November/December your 2016 paycheck credits will be delayed 6-8 weeks in 2016. This process is unavoidable at this point in time, but the team continues to review it.

Survey for Feedback
We want to hear what you think, so please take a minute or two to fill out this brief survey. All who do will be entered into a raffle to win a special fitness-related gift from the Wellness Team and the Department of Total Rewards.

Have a happy, healthy and prosperous 2015!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Carrying Over Your 2014 Flexible Spending Accounts

Are you considering how much pre-tax money you should be setting aside in your 2015 Healthcare and Dependent Care Flexible Spending Accounts? Have a conversation with your covered dependents to accurately designate the correct amount of money you plan to use in 2015. Who needs a new pair of glasses? Think about how much your child's braces will cost. Consider summer camp expenses and daycare. Need help? The WageWorks® website is a great resource, packed with tools that will make your decision-making educated and easy.

Still Have Money Left Over from 2014?
The health system has extended the use of your 2014 Dependent Care and Healthcare FSA money through March 15. Services or products need to be utilized by March 15 and claims need to be filed by March 31, or you will lose it.

In comparison, the U.S Treasury announced the Use It or Lose It ruling last year, allowing participants to carry $500 of unused Healthcare FSA money only. The health system's generous three month grace period allows you to spend whatever amount you have leftover, and does not just limit you to $500, or to just Healthcare spendings, it also includes your Dependent Care spendings.

File Claims for 2014 through March 31, 2015
If you have money left in a 2014 Healthcare or Dependent Care FSA and plan to use it between January 1 and March 15, 2015 - don't try using that 2014 Debit Card - it will be declined. And don't use your new Debit Card, because it will then be depleting your 2015 account.

Any Healthcare of Dependent Care FSA money left from 2014 should be filed through a claim only - not a WageWorks Debit Card - by March 31. Read more about how to file a claim for a Healthcare FSA or Dependent Care FSA.

Each year you participate in an FSA, WageWorks will email you your annual savings statement at the end of the year. Very cool!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Understand Your Benefits

As Open Enrollment enters its second week, the Benefits Team continues to bring you information - just simplified. Keeping you informed about your benefits - in the most efficient way possible is important to us, and that is why we have provided you with the resources you need to fully understand and successfully enroll in your 2015 Benefits.

Questions About Your Benefits?
Refer to the employee intranet HealthPort-Human Resources-Benefits (this link will only work from an "In-Network" computer) for all the information you need. Open up the Benefit Guides folder and you will find information for all North Shore-LIJ administered plans. Open up the 2015 Open Enrollment Kit and find multiple one page documents on the most frequently researched topics, such as: the difference between the two medical plans, the two dental plans, what's in-system versus in-network. We hope these simplified explanation of your benefits will help you to appreciate and utilize them in 2015.

Questions About How to Enroll?
View this 6 minute video, which reviews everything you need to know to successfully enroll you and your dependents in the 2015 benefits.

Topics of Interest
Go ahead and post your comments if you have a suggestion for a conversation. We love feedback!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Wellness Pledge Program: Final Deadline Approaches

If you have not completed any of the Wellness Pledges in exchange for your 2015 paycheck credits - you still have time. The final deadline for the 2015 Pledge Program is December 31, 2014. Although it may be too late to schedule and complete a clinical appointment but you can still submit the most important pledge of all - your online Health Assessment (HA).
Note: This program is for employees who enrolled in the 2014 Value or Buy-Up medical plan.

Health Assessment is 100% Confidential
The online assessment is administered by United Healthcare and 100% confidential. Your proof of compliance is the date you completed and submitted the health assessment through The HA takes about 15 minutes to complete, and can be completed from any computer, at any time. If you do not have your biometric numbers handy, such as your cholesterol or body mass index, you can always give your doctor a call and use the numbers from your last visit.

Here's What You Do
  • Visit
  • Login with your username and password (or register and create an account)
  • Hit the blue button on the far right side "Health Assessment"
  • Complete the security questions
  • Complete your HA to best of your ability
  • Hit submit
Paycheck Credits
Your Health Assessment is the gateway to all your other wellness pledges. By completing your HA before December 31, 2014 you will be eligible to collect partial 2015 paycheck credits of $10 per bi-weekly paycheck and  $10.83 for semi-monthly. Because you missed the first two deadline dates of September 30 and October 31, your credits will be delayed by 4-8 weeks. This credit will not be retroactive. 

Next Year's Pledge Program
We hope this newly designed program helped to give you a reality check on your preventive care routine this year. Moving into 2015 the health system will continue to offer financial incentives in exchange for your healthy actions. There will be very little change to the program in 2015. Let's review:
  • The Wellness Video Pledge will no longer be offered in 2015
  • A new pledge (currently in design) will the added to replace the Video
  • The Pledge Program will be referred to as the Annual Pledge Program to encourage your preventive care routine - all year long!