Is Your Mouth Ready for the Most Romantic Day of the Year?

When was the last time you showed your teeth some love? If it’s been a while, chances are that you may not be ready for Valentine’s Day, which is almost here! That means right now is the perfect time to focus on making sure your mouth (and your breath) are in tiptop shape and ready for anything the month of romance may bring.

To help you get a head start on Valentine’s Day, here are some of the best tips we’ve put together to ensure you have the cleanest kisser for the month of February.

Sign up for MySmile Today info box.

Tip #1 – Get Your Teeth Deep Cleaned

If you haven’t done so, the beginning of the year is a good time to get your yearly teeth cleaning done. A deep clean will help give your mouth the jump start it needs to keep your breath fresh for Valentine’s Day and beyond. Before you make an appointment, make sure to activate your MySmile account so you can get familiar with your dental plan benefits and options available to you.

Tip #2 – Clean Your Tongue Regularly

It’s not romantic, but the truth is that our mouth and tongue are inundated with bacteria. One of the best (and most forgotten) ways to combat bacteria in your mouth is to brush your tongue regularly with a tongue scraper. You’ll know your tongue is squeaky clean because it will be a fleshy pink color.

Tip #3 – Get Rid of Bad Breath

Bad breath is not only the ultimate mood killer, but it can also cause major health problems down the line if left untreated. An easy first step you can take to get rid of bad breath is to start flossing every day and night. Because flossing keeps bacteria from building up in the small nooks and corners of your teeth, you’ll have much fresher breath that you and your valentine can enjoy.

* Delta Dental of Washington, 2019

Photo of Seattle skyline and connecting interstates.

Event: Executive Speaker Series: The Future of Transportation

Hear from a panel of local experts about what the future of transportation in our region could look like at the next Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce Executive Speaker Series. Panelists will discuss the possibilities and opportunities, as well as the challenges ahead, around the topics of high speed rail, autonomous and electric vehicles, and mass transit.

  • Event: The Future of Transportation
  • Date: Thursday, February 14, 2019
  • Time: Noon to 1:30 p.m.
  • Location: Microsoft Events Center at the Seattle Metro Chamber
  • Address: 1301 5th Ave, Ste 1500, Seattle, WA, 98101 (Get Directions)
  • Members: $45 pre-paid ($55 as of 2/7)
  • Non-Members: $70 pre-paid ($110 as of 2/7)

Questions? Contact Betsy Paige at 206.389.7345.

Speakers:
Rob Gannon
General Manager
King County Metro

Loreana Marciante
Low Carbon Mobility, Strategy Manager
Vulcan, Inc.

Caleb Weaver
Public Affairs
Uber

More panelists to be announced!

Moderator:
Rachel Smith
Chief of Staff
King County Executive Dow Constantine

For more information, visit the website of the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, the sponsoring association of Business Health Trust.

Keeping Up with Washington’s Paid Family and Medical Leave

Source: Archbright

Beginning January 1, 2020, family and medical leave will be available through a state-administered plan to all employees employed by an employer in Washington state. Funded by premiums paid by both employers and employees, family and medical leave insurance benefits will be payable by the Employment Security Department to employees during a period in which they are unable to perform their regular or customary work because of the need for family and medical leave.

Washington Paid Family and Medical Leave (WPFML) is funded by premiums paid by both employers and employees. Premium assessment began on January 1, 2019. The law sets the initial premium rate at 0.4 percent of wages. Medical leave benefits equal 2/3 of the premium rate and family leave benefits equal the remaining 1/3.

  • Employers are responsible for 55 percent of the medical leave premium.
  • Employees are responsible for 45 percent of the medical leave premium and up to 100 percent of the premiums due for the family leave.

Employers may elect to pay all of the premiums or deduct the employee portion of the assessment from employee’s paychecks. The amount of wages subject to a premium assessment is capped at the maximum wages subject to social security tax.

Employers with less than 50 employees working in Washington state are exempt from paying the employer portion of the premium; however, their employees must still pay the employee share.

An eligible employer with an approved “voluntary plan” may “opt out” of the state program provided the employer’s plan allows the employee the same or more generous benefits. Voluntary plans are paid family and medical leave benefits offered by employers directly to their employees, outside of the state plan. Voluntary plan applications must be submitted through the state’s online portal and approved by the state. If approved, voluntary plans can only take effect at the start of a calendar quarter and must stay in effect for one year.

The state is in the rulemaking process of this law, which means it is still developing the scope and content of the rules for the Paid Family and Medical insurance program. Archbright will continue to monitor the rules and update members as information is available.

As an online member of Archbright through Business Health Trust, you have 24/7 access to the HR Toolkit, a collection of hundreds of documents including policies, forms, templates, letters and guidance. This library also includes our comprehensive WPFML KeyNote and FAQ resource to help members like you navigate this complex new law.

You are also invited to attend our upcoming Virtual CoffeeTalk where Erin Jacobson, Staff Counsel, and Joy Sturgis, HR Advisor, will explore WPFML. Join us at this free event as our experts review the legislation and the scope and content of the rules that the State is scheduled to roll out.

When: March 18 | 9 – 10:30 a.m.
Where: Virtual CoffeeTalk – WebEx
Cost: Free

Visit Archbright.com to register today!

Starting The Year Out With Positivity

One of the most powerful influences on your attitude and personality is what you say to yourself. It is not what happens to you but how you respond internally to what happens to you that determines your thoughts, feelings and your actions. By controlling your inner dialogue (what you say to yourself), or your “self-talk,” you can begin to gain control over every part of your life.

Below are some examples of how we undermine our own success, followed by a more positive way to handle each scenario.

  • Expecting the worst: “What if I don’t make a good impression?” Expecting the worst does not encourage you to behave as though you can succeed. Expecting the worst only promotes stress.
    Instead: Ask questions that presuppose positive outcomes: “How can I make a favorable impression?”
  • Focusing only on problems: This also is known as complaining. We dwell on problems, instead of solutions. ​
    Instead: Assume most problems have solutions and ask: “How do I want this situation to be different? What can I do to improve the situation?”
  • Thinking in absolutes: We exaggerate reality with words like “always,” “never” and “everyone,” as in, “I always eat too much — I will never lose weight.”​
    Instead: Replace exaggeration with words that more accurately reflect reality. Example: “I often eat more than I need, but I can change that.”
  • All-or-nothing thinking: We distort reality by thinking only in extremes. Our efforts become total failures or complete successes — with nothing in between. Example: “Either I go to the gym 5 days a week, or I’m going to quit going.”​
    Instead: Give yourself options or choices whenever possible. Example: “I want to go to the gym several times a week. Even once a week is an improvement. I will keep trying harder instead of giving up when things aren’t perfect.”
  • Negative labels: Negative labels are the tools we use to lower self-esteem in ourselves and others. Example: “I’m not disciplined enough.”  When we say phrases like these often, they become a part of our identity and we can begin to dislike who we are.
    Instead: Change your negative “I am” statement into a statement about behaviors. Example: “I make unhealthy choices when it comes to food.” It’s easier to change a behavior than to change your identity.

Negative self-talk perpetuates negative emotions, such as pessimism, guilt, fear and anxiety. When you catch yourself negative self-talking, take a deep breath, relax or get up and stretch, take a walk, get a drink of water. Do something to interrupt your train of thought and get out of the negative rut.

If you have difficulty changing your negative self-talk, speaking to a counselor may be helpful.

Business Health Trust (BHT) members enrolled in medical through Premera Blue Cross have access to up to three in-person visits with a counselor through Wellspring EAP. For more information on the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) through BHT, view the plan summary.

If you would like to access your Wellspring EAP benefits, go to WellspringEAP.org; or to purchase Wellspring EAP services, connect with us at BusinessHealthTrust.com/contact-us.

Event: Horizons Economic Forecast 2019

Join the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber for this breakfast event where the 2019 annual forecast of the area’s economic well-being, the Pierce County Economic Index (PCEI) report, is presented. These insights on the local, regional and national aspects of the economy make this an invaluable event for local businesses who want assistance in determining their business outlook.

Tom Layson, Host & Producer of KBTC’s Northwest Now will discuss the future economic landscape of Pierce County with economist and researcher Dr. Neal Johnson of Sound Resource Economics.

  • Event: Horizons Economic Forecast 2019
  • Date: January 23, 2019
  • Time: 7-9 a.m.
  • Location: Greater Tacoma Convention Center
  • Address: 1500 Broadway, Tacoma, WA 98402
  • Cost: $100 for chamber members in advance ($110 at the door); $120 non-chamber member in advance ($140 at the door)

The Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber is an association partner of the Business Health Trust.

Find a Fit Future with the Business Health Trust

The Active&Fit Direct™ program makes it easy to hit the gym.

Exercise boosts your strength and overall health. As a Premera Blue Cross member enrolled in Business Health Trust, getting exercise is easier — and more affordable — than ever. What’s not to like?

With the program you get:

  • Access: Choose from over 9,000 fitness centers across the country
  • Flexibility: Change fitness centers to find your best fit
  • Low cost: Pay just $25 a month (plus a $25 enrollment fee and applicable taxes)

You also get:

  • Guest pass: Try out a fitness center for free before you enroll
  • Fitness tracking: Track your progress online from wearable fitness devices, apps, and equipment
  • Maps: Get to the gym quicker with an online fitness center locator and directory maps

Register today! To learn more, sign in to your online account on premera.com and visit the Member Discounts page.

On behalf of Premera Blue Cross, American Specialty Health is an independent company providing wellness discount programs. The Active&Fit Direct program is offered through American Specialty Health Fitness, Inc., one of the nation’s leading fitness networks serving millions of members.

Ready, Set, Goals: Three Simple Steps to Better Oral Health in 2019

This is where your oral health routine comes in!

It’s easy to forget how connected our oral health is to our bodies, but don’t be fooled. Poor oral habits can lead to diseases like endocarditis and cardiovascular disease. If you’re pregnant, it’s even more important to keep up with your dental care as conditions like periodontitis has been linked to unwanted birth defects like premature birth and low birth weight.

So, what is the easiest way to avoid these dental-induced health dilemmas? Set healthy oral health goals for 2019, and commit to sticking with them.

Sign up for MySmile Today info box.

Goal #1 – Commit To Going To The Dentist

Many people, even those with dental coverage, do not take advantage of this benefit. Think about going to the dentist the same way you would your yearly flu shot vaccine. Preventative care can only help if you decide to use it, so do your best to take advantage. Want to be reminded when it’s time for your yearly cleanings? Make sure to register your free MySmile account and we’ll handle the rest.

Goal #2 – Kick a Bad Habit

In general, habits require about 30 days of practice before they become second nature to you. In the spirit of breaking bad habits, the start of a new year is the perfect time to put a sunset date on that smoking habit that may be yellowing your teeth, or practice relaxation techniques to prevent you from grinding your teeth at night or when stressed.

Goal #3 – Challenge Yourself To Floss Daily

Add regular flossing to your hygiene routine and you can have a tremendous and positive impact on your oral health. Because our teeth develop with five unique surfaces, brushing alone isn’t enough to remove bacteria and plaque buildup. Even with an electric toothbrush, nothing is quite as effective as taking the time to floss. If you find that you’re having trouble keeping yourself accountable, try to make flossing fun by challenging a friend or a partner to a flossing challenge for 2019.

Do you have health goals for the new year?

Join the conversation and share them with us on Twitter!

* Delta Dental of Washington, 2018

 

 

 

Toast of Seattle 1.25.19

Event: Toast of Seattle at Residence Inn Seattle Downtown

Welcome the new year by making new connections at the first Toast of Seattle of 2019, hosted by the Residence Inn Seattle Downtown! Located in the heart of downtown, the Residence Inn is a great place to start your morning while enjoying breakfast and networking with other local business professionals.

  • Date: Friday, January 25, 2019
  • Time: 7:30 – 9:30 a.m.
  • Location: Residence Inn Seattle Downtown
  • Address: 1815 Terry Ave, Seattle, WA , 98101 (Get Directions)
  • Members: $20 pre-paid ($30 as of 1/18)
  • Non-Members: $30 pre-paid ($60 as of 1/18)
  • Questions: Contact Betsy Paige at 206-389-7345

About Toast of Seattle 
The Toast of Seattle is one of the Seattle Chamber’s most successful networking programs. We take the stress out of networking with three structured rounds – in the style of speed dating! Each person at a table has two minutes to introduce themselves and speak about their business. At the end of each round, everyone changes tables and starts again. You’re guaranteed to meet over 20 people in 2 hours, and will, without a doubt, have a great time!

About our host
Experience Seattle’s unique, creative energy at the brand new Residence Inn Seattle Downtown. Built from the ground up and designed with style, comfort and added amenities, this hotel merges functionality with an urban lifestyle. The hotel is only a few blocks from Pike Place Market, the Space Needle, Safeco Field and cruise terminals. Plus, you’ll discover why Seattle is the cultural and business center of the Pacific Northwest, just being a few steps to the Capitol Hill residential district, Amazon Campus, Boeing and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. Click here for more information.

The Toast of Seattle is sponsored by Advanced Professionals Insurance & Benefit Solutions, the managing general agent of Business Health Trust.

Get Help for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a condition that some people develop after experiencing a shocking, scary, or dangerous event. Nearly everyone will experience a range of reactions after trauma, yet most people will recover from those symptoms naturally.

People who develop PTSD may feel stressed or frightened even when they are no longer in danger. The symptoms usually begin within 3 months (even later) of the traumatic incident and last more than a month. They can be severe enough to interfere with functioning in relationships or work, and may include:

  • Flashbacks — reliving the trauma
  • Bad dreams and frightening thoughts
  • Avoiding places, events, or objects that are reminders of the experience
  • Avoiding thoughts or feelings related to the traumatic event
  • Being easily startled, feeling tense, or ‘on edge’
  • Having difficulty sleeping, and/or having angry outbursts
  • Trouble remembering the key features of the traumatic event
  • Negative thoughts about oneself or the world
  • Distorted feelings like guilt or blame
  • Loss of interest in enjoyable activities

Not everyone with PTSD has been through a dangerous event. Some experiences, like the sudden or unexpected death of a loved one, can also cause PTSD. If you think you or someone you know might be experiencing PTSD, talk to a qualified mental health professional.

Adapted from: National Institutes of Health, retrieved from https://bit.ly/2yorwzT on 6/6/18

If you would like to access your Wellspring EAP benefits, go to WellspringEAP.org; or to purchase Wellspring EAP services, connect with us at BusinessHealthTrust.com/contact-us.

Health and Wellness Support Beyond Medical Coverage

In this season of thanks and giving, the Business Health Trust (BHT) wants to remind you that we care about your health, nutrition, and fitness. That’s why Premera Blue Cross, the medical carrier for the BHT’s Industry Health Trusts, offers special perks through its Member Discounts Program.

The program is separate from your medical benefits plan. These member discounts are just another way Premera supports the health of you and your family beyond providing medical coverage.

Popular discount categories include:

  • Diet, nutrition, and supplements
  • Eye care services and hardware
  • Fitness clubs and gyms
  • Health products and devices
  • Hearing aids and screenings
  • Newborn services and products

You and your covered dependents can take advantage of discounts that stretch your dollar and meet a variety of health needs—vitamins and supplements, electric toothbrushes, products to baby proof your home, weight loss programs, and more.

Go to premera.com/discounts for more details. Offers might not be available in all locations. Please check with the company offering the discount before making your purchase.