Making Informed Decisions

4 Ways to Protect Your Eyes from Wildfire Smoke

From our wellness partners at VSP Vision Care Inc.

With the onset of wildfire season, decreased air quality could leave your eyes feeling like allergy season is back. Symptoms affecting the eyes such as itching, red, burning and watery eyes can all be caused by smoky air conditions.

Limit your exposure to smoke and prevent eye irritation with the following tips:

  • Use lubricating eye drops or artificial tears to keep your eyes refreshed and help get rid of dust and particles that can irritate eyes.
  • Don’t rub your eyes. You might transfer dust and ash from your hands or face to your eyes and that could scratch or irritate them. It’s also helpful to wash your hands regularly. If you wear contacts, this is no time to skimp on your contact lens hygiene – it’s always important to wash and dry your hands before handling contact lenses so that the surface of your lenses stay free of eye irritants.
  • Keep windows and doors closed to keep the air indoors clean. Running your air conditioner may also help but be sure to keep the fresh air intake closed and the filter clean to prevent bringing in additional smoke. However, if it’s too warm to stay indoors with the windows and doors closed and you do not have air conditioning, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends seeking shelter elsewhere.
  • The CDC also recommends limiting indoor air pollution by refraining from using anything that burns, like fireplaces, gas stoves and candles. Vacuums can also stir up dust already present in your home. Air filters are also recommended for those with respiratory conditions.

If you believe you have an eye infection or injury, get medical attention as soon as possible.

With the swiftness of wildfires, things can often get left behind during an evacuation. If you find yourself in need of replacement eyewear or eye care due to a natural disaster, help is available. Visit vspglobal.com/disasteroutreach for more information.

Information received through VSP Vision Care channels is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice, medical recommendations, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your eye doctor, physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

Is COVID-19 Testing Covered for Business Health Trust Members?

Business Health Trust is proud to offer competitive insurance benefits to small and mid-sized businesses in Washington state. We partner with major carriers so that our members can provide competitive employee benefit programs that support healthy, productive employees.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic first hit, our medical partners at Premera Blue Cross and Kaiser Permanente have continued to adapt to take care of members’ needs and help keep the community safe.

In most situations, COVID-19 testing is covered for members enrolled in medical through Business Health Trust:

Kaiser Permanente: Testing and diagnosis at Kaiser Permanente are available at no cost to members. If you decide to get tested at an outside lab, you’ll need to pay for your test, but you can file a claim form for reimbursement. Please note that Kaiser Permanente will cover the cost of testing only if it was conducted by a licensed provider.

Read more about COVID-19 testing for Business Health Trust members enrolled in Kaiser Permanente.

Premera Blue Cross: Testing is covered when a doctor orders the test. The test is covered with no out-of-pocket cost with a doctor’s order. However, keep in mind that most plans don’t cover COVID-19 testing for:

  • Return to work or school
  • Caretaker work requirements
  • Contact tracing
  • Travel requirements
  • Community management
  • Government requested

Read more about COVID-19 testing for Business Health Trust members enrolled in Premera Blue Cross.

Ready for Back-to-Home-Schooling Season? Resources Abound in Our August ‘Healthy Living’ E-News

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to change our lives at home and at work — which for many are now at the same place — Business Health Trust also is adapting to better serve its members. More than your source for comprehensive employee benefits, Business Health Trust also is dedicated to helping employers across the state continue to thrive during and beyond the pandemic, offering resources in our monthly Healthy Living with Business Health Trust e‑newsletter.

Check out the August edition of Healthy Living for resources including our COVID-19 Supply Resources for Employers website and valuable tips from our wellness partners, including access to a parenting webinar series from Wellspring EAP and the 9 top-rated nutrition and diet apps from Kaiser Permanente.

Gloved hands in the shape of a heart with face masks.

Welcome Wellness Kit Now Available to New Business Health Trust Members

Enrolling in Business Health Trust already gives you access to comprehensive, affordable health insurance paired with cost savings and other benefits to help you attract talent and keep your employees healthy and productive. But with many small business currently struggling to find the safety supplies needed to reopen or stay open, Business Health Trust is expanding its offerings for new members.

As the economy in Washington state continues to open up, Business Health Trust is offering a Welcome Wellness Kit to new enrolling groups that includes:

  • 1 hand sanitizer station
  • 1 sanitizer dispenser
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Cloth and/or disposable masks

Current Business Health Trust groups that renew for 2021 also have access to a wellness kit with masks, sanitizer or other items.

Additional personal protection equipment (PPE) and other safety resources also are available through Business Health Trust via its COVID-19 Supply Resources for Employers site.

With a core value to be a resource to employers, Business Health Trust continues to be focused on ways to help small businesses thrive in our changing economy.

If your business is located in King County, you also may be eligible for the Safe Start Supply Kits available through a partnership with King County and other regional chambers and business organizations. Read more about Business Health Trust’s role in their distribution in the article “Safe Start Kits From Business Health Trust are in the News.”

Safe Start Kits from Business Health Trust are in the News

As small businesses struggle to reopen amid a shortage of face masks, hand sanitizer and other personal protective equipment (PPE), Business Health Trust has proved itself a trusted source for employers by coordinating the distribution of Small Business Safe Start Kits throughout King County.

More than insurance, Business Health Trust has a core value to be a resource to employers, which has taken on a new meaning since the COVID-19 pandemic began impacting our small business community.

Business Health Trust has worked to keep members safe and healthy with frequent communications highlighting important updates, sourcing PPE from local vendors and much more, which you can read about in our article “What Does Your Health Insurance Do For You?

This month, Business Health Trust cast an even wider safety net by partnering with regional chambers, business organizations and King County to offer the Safe Start Kits, which continue to be available via shipping or contactless pickup through July 24.

If you are located in King County and in need of a Safe Start Kit – which includes cloth face masks, disposable face masks and hand sanitizer – you can place an order via the Business Health Trust site.

Read more about Business Health Trust and the Small Business Safe Start Kits in The Stranger and KOMO News, as well as the July edition of Healthy Living with Business Health Trust.

Man wearing mask trying on glasses.

Ask an Eye Doc: How Your Eye Exam May Look Different

From our wellness partners at VSP Vision Care Inc.

Business Health Trust partner VSP Vision Care Inc. is partnering with network eye doctors to help ensure a healthy return to routine eye care services. What are some of the changes you might see when you return to your eye doctor?

On this latest episode of Ask an Eye Doc, VSP network eye doctor Gabriela Olivares, OD, from Ft. Lauderdale, FL, shares a few common things VSP is seeing practices implement. “Many things are different,” she tells us, “but one thing does remain the same: your eye doctor’s commitment to your safety.”

How to Prepare for Your Eye Doctor Visit
  1. Don’t go if you’re feeling sick. If you wake up with a cough or a sore throat, it’s probably best to reschedule your appointment and call your primary physician. Your routine eye exam can wait. Don’t be surprised if someone takes your temperature upon arrival to ensure safety for everyone.
  2. Fill out forms in advance. If possible, fill out your intake forms online before your appointment. This will limit your face-to-face contact and your overall time within the office. Any additional information that’s requested by your doctor can also be done over the phone
  3. Follow social distancing guidelines. There may be new procedures in place to help with social distancing, from markers on the ground indicating where to stand, to a limited number of people allowed in certain areas. You will likely need to call from your car to check in. Every office is different, so be sure to check with your doctor’s office about their requirements.
  4. Go alone to your appointment. Most offices are only allowing the patient to enter the office, with the exception of those who require a caregiver or a guardian to attend the appointment with them. This limits the amount of people going in and out of the office, and helps maintain a more sterile, clean environment.
  5. Wear a mask to your appointment. Depending on your state, a mask may either be mandated or highly recommended when you are in public places. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention highly advises people to wear a mask covering their nose and their mouth in order to help stop the spread of COVID-19.
  6. Ask before trying on frames. Lastly, if you need glasses, your frame selection experience might be somewhat different than before. Frames that patients try on will be disinfected prior to returning them to the frame board so that you feel safe and comfortable. Be sure to ask office staff prior to trying on any frames. This will ensure that the eyewear remains sanitary. In addition, don’t be surprised if there is an acrylic barrier between you and your optician. This might allow you to try on your frames mask-free. Be mindful that procedures are modified as needed and each doctor’s office might have a slightly different approach to ensuring everyone’s health and safety.

To know exactly what to expect during your appointment, call your doctor’s office to find out how to best prepare for your visit. If you need to connect with a doctor but don’t have one, VSP can help!

This article was reviewed by Gabriela Olivares, OD.  

Information received through VSP Vision Care channels is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice, medical recommendations, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your eye doctor, physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. 

BHT News June

June E-News: A Safe Return to the Workplace and the Great Outdoors

With much of Washington state and the rest of the nation moving toward reopening, Business Health Trust wants to make sure you have the resources you need to safely head back to the workplace.

Our June Healthy Living with Business Health Trust e-news offers resources to help you get stocked up with our new health and safety supplies website, and keep you informed with our updated COVID-19 Resources for Employers site. We’ll also help you head outdoors with 10 breathtaking Washington hiking trails, just be sure to follow safe social distancing practices.

Click here to see the June edition.

Click here to see past editions or to subscribe to Healthy Living.

Screenshot of BHT PPE Site

COVID-19 Health and Safety Supplies Now Available Via New Business Health Trust Site

In its ongoing efforts to help small businesses obtain resources while the state struggles with the impacts of COVID-19, Business Health Trust has partnered with PrintNW to help the public purchase personal protective equipment (PPE) and other COVID-19 health and safety supplies.

The new website BusinessHealthTrust.GearNW.com features PPE including face masks, gloves and safety glasses, along with signage that can help companies encourage social distancing and other safety practices.

“We are dedicated to providing resources to companies across Washington,” said Sarai Childs, executive director of Business Health Trust. “In this time, we know that businesses are looking for supplies and signage to help support re-opening, which is why we are excited that PrintNW has put together an easy site for businesses to access these items.”

Business Health Trust offers health insurance and other employee benefits, and is also a source to help small business navigate the complex world of health insurance and employee benefits.

To read more about how Business Health Trust has been reaching out to members throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, please see the article, “What Does Your Health Insurance Do for You?

To learn more or get a quote, contact info@businesshealthtrust.com or 425.201.1972.

Fraud keyboard illustration

How to Report Unemployment Fraud

The Washington State Employment Security Department (ESD) announced on May 14, 2020, that unemployment fraud is on the rise, and Business Health Trust wants to make sure you have the proper resources if you become a victim.

If you have reason to believe someone has applied for unemployment benefits using your information or used a scam to obtain your private information, the ESD urges you to make a report at esd.wa.gov/unemployment/unemployment-benefits-fraud.

Please be aware that you will need the following information:

  1. Your full name
  2. Last 4 numbers of your Social Security number (never put your full SSN in an email)
  3. Your address
  4. Your date of birth
  5. Brief description of how you found out an imposter-fraud claim was filed using your information
  6. Please let us know: If an imposter-fraud claim was filed using your information, do you give us permission to deny and cancel it?

Additional steps you can take if you believe you are a victim of fraud:

To combat the increase in imposter fraud, ESD has hired more fraud investigators and will be focused on validating this week’s claims, leading to a potential hold on payments for an additional 1-2 days this week.

“We apologize for the hardship this may cause for valid claimants,” said ESD Commissioner Suzi LeVine in the news release.

Also on May 14, the ESD announced that state unemployment during the week of May 3-9 totaled 1.3 million, an increase of over 215,000 from the previous week.

Business Health Trust Offers Flexible Timelines for Your Employee Benefits Renewal

Business Health Trust is your source for employee benefits, offering a diverse selection of health insurance plans combined with other resources and discounts to create an incomparable benefit program for small businesses in Washington state.

Whether you have two employees or more than 100, we can help you create a benefits program that attracts talent and keeps your employees healthy and productive — at a budget you can afford.

With Business Health Trust, you also have the flexibility to choose a program timeline that best suits your business needs. For many companies, open enrollment falls in November, while many of your employees are busy with the holidays and closing down the fiscal year.

Looking for a better time of year to plan your employee benefits program? How about now?

Business Health Trust offers three distinct timelines that aim to better accommodate your distinct business:

  • July 1 Anniversary Dates through 11 Industry Health Trusts
    For up to 200 employees
  • Rolling Renewal through the Small-Group Community-Rated Product
    For groups with 1-50 employees
  • January 1 Anniversary Dates through 13 Industry Health Trusts
    For up to 200 employees

This unique solution is key to our mission is to help Washington’s business community thrive by providing the high-quality, affordable employee benefits growing companies need to be competitive.

To learn more, please fill out the Request a Quote form or email info@businesshealthtrust.com.