Staying Healthy

Use Your Dental Benefits for Good

Want to do something that’s good for your teeth and good for the environment? Go paperless!

In honor of Earth Day, we’re reminding you that going paperless is an easy way to help the environment and ultimately reduce waste. As a Delta Dental of Washington member, you can go paperless by using your free MySmile account to monitor your billing and dental benefits online without the hassle of snail mail.

Get started with MySmile today!

Going paperless isn’t the only benefit of using your MySmile account. Use MySmile to:

  • Find a dentist in your area
  • Get treatment estimates
  • Monitor your benefits
  • Review your treatment history

For oral health tips, visit Delta Dental of Washington’s oral health blog.

Start Cooking the Spring with Help From Our Healthy Living E-News

Check out the April edition of Healthy Living with Business Health Trust, which offers plenty of ideas to help you cook the spring!

The longer days of spring mean fresh, seasonal produce is right around the corner. Keep up-to-date on when your local farmers market is opening so you can plan your next picnic, which Healthy Living wants to help you freshen up with 6 superfoods to pack for a picnic as well as flavorful recipes from Tom Douglas Recipes that are also good for your teeth.

We also wanted to highlight a special offer to attend the upcoming Elevate NW Conference at a discounted price for members of Business Health Trust. This half-day conference and networking event is geared for small businesses and features a speaker you don’t want to miss – Brian Canlis!

Click the link for these tips and more, or subscribe today to have the next edition delivered straight to your inbox!

Kaiser Permanente is Top Performing Health Plan in Washington

2018 eValue8 survey results by the Washington Health Alliance found Kaiser Permanente’s HMO plan the top overall in Washington and top in four categories.

SEATTLE – Kaiser Permanente Washington’s care-and-coverage combined model earned top ranking in the nation for helping members manage acute conditions and helping members manage chronic conditions, according to the 2018 eValue8 survey results. Kaiser Permanente’s Washington state HMO plan was also rated No. 1 in the state for how well the health plan is meeting members’ needs, improving quality, and reducing the cost of care.

Kaiser Permanente underwrites the medical insurance available through the Business Health Trust’s Small-Group Community-Rated Program.

The just-released 2018 eValue8 survey results by the Washington Health Alliance found Kaiser Permanente’s HMO plan the top overall in Washington and top in four specific categories, among the six health plans included in the survey:

  • Members get and stay healthy
  • Members manage acute conditions
  • Members manage chronic conditions
  • Physician and hospital measurement, management, and payment

“At Kaiser Permanente, our dedicated staff consistently strive to provide the best, most effective, and most affordable care,” said Susan Mullaney, regional president of Kaiser Permanente Washington. “We’re proud that the 2018 eValue8 survey shows Kaiser Permanente Washington has the most effective programs in the nation among the 40 health plans surveyed, for members to control chronic and acute conditions.”

The unique care-and-coverage combined model means members have a single integrated network meeting their health care needs. Primary and specialty care, pharmacy, and labs are usually all under one roof to help make care more convenient. Care is driven by value and effectiveness, not fee-for-service, and research and continuous innovation mean patients get excellent care.

“Kaiser Permanente physicians focus solely on doing what’s best for patients’ health so they can get well and stay well,” said Steve Tarnoff, MD, president and CEO of Washington Permanente Medical Group. “This survey confirms that we are meeting the promise of providing excellent, effective care.”

Kaiser Permanente’s popular model is expanding quickly in Washington and the organization is adding four additional medical offices in 2020, in addition to a new facility recently opened in Gig Harbor.

About Kaiser Permanente

Kaiser Permanente, which includes Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Washington, is committed to helping shape the future of health care. We are recognized as one of America’s leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Founded in 1945, Kaiser Permanente has a mission to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve more than 12.2 million members in eight states and the District of Columbia. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal Permanente Medical Group physicians, specialists and team of caregivers. Our expert and caring medical teams are empowered and supported by industry-leading technology advances and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the-art care delivery and world-class chronic disease management. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education and the support of community health. For more information, go to: about.kp.org.

Get Spring Cleaning Tips and More in our Healthy Living E-News

If you’re ready to welcome spring with open arms, check out the March edition of Healthy Living with Business Health Trust!

Our wellness partners offer up plenty of seasonal tips, whether you’re interested in spring cleaning for a healthier home or cleaning your diet.

Sign up today to have our e-newsletter delivered monthly to your inbox!

Practicing Gratitude: Ways to Improve Positivity

How often do you feel thankful for the good things in your life? Studies suggest that making a habit of noticing what’s going well in your life could have health benefits.

Taking the time to feel gratitude may improve your emotional well-being by helping you cope with stress. Early research suggests that a daily practice of gratitude could affect the body, too. For example, one study found that gratitude was linked to fewer signs of heart disease.

The first step in any gratitude practice is to reflect on the good things that have happened in your life. These can be big or little things. It can be as simple as scoring a good parking space that day or enjoying a hot mug of coffee. Or, perhaps you feel grateful for a close friend’s compassionate support.

Next, allow yourself a moment to enjoy that you had a positive experience, no matter what negatives may exist in your life. Let positive feelings of gratitude bubble up.

“We encourage people to try practicing gratitude daily,” advises Dr. Judith T. Moskowitz, a psychologist at Northwestern University. “You can try first thing in the morning or right before you fall asleep, whatever is best for you.”

Moskowitz has been studying the impact of keeping a daily gratitude journal on stress relief and health. Practicing gratitude is part of a set of skills that her research team encourages people to practice. These skills have been shown to help some people increase their positive emotions.

Her team is trying to understand better how a daily boost in positive emotions can help people cope with stress and improve their mental and physical health.

“By practicing these skills, it will help you cope better with whatever you have to cope with,” Moskowitz explains. “You don’t have to be experiencing major life stress. It also works with the daily stress that we all deal with. Ultimately, it can help you be not just happier but also healthier.”

While practicing gratitude seems to work for some people, it doesn’t for everyone. That’s why Moskowitz’s research team teaches other skills, too. These include meditating and doing small acts of kindness.

Her team has been developing and testing these skills with people who have illnesses like advanced cancer, diabetes, HIV infection, and depression. She’s also worked with people who care for others with serious illness.

When you make gratitude a regular habit, it can help you learn to recognize good things in your life despite the bad things that might be happening. Moskowitz says that when you’re under stress, you might not notice all the moments of positive emotion that you experience. With her research program, she’s trying to help people become more aware of those moments of positive feelings.

“Put some effort into experiencing gratitude on a daily basis and see how it goes,” Moskowitz advises. “It might just surprise you that—despite how bad things are—there are things you feel grateful for alongside it.” And feeling grateful may help improve both your mind and your body.

Gratitude Tips

Create positive emotions by being thankful every day:

  • Take a moment. Think about the positive things that happened during the day.
  • Journal. Make a habit of writing down things you’re grateful for. Try listing several things.
  • Savor your experiences. Try to notice positive moments as they are happening.
  • Relive the good times. Relive positive moments later by thinking about them or sharing them with others.
  • Write to someone. Write a letter to someone you feel thankful toward. You don’t have to send it.
  • Make a visit. Tell someone you’re grateful for them in person.

Source: National Institutes of Health, News In Health, Practicing Gratitude, Ways to Improve Positivity; retrieved March 5, 2019 from https://newsinhealth.nih.gov/2019/03/practicing-gratitude

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.

Preventive Care Pays Off

For Business Health Trust partner Delta Dental of Washington, preventive care means having a healthy smile that doesn’t break the bank.

But research by the American Dental Association shows the majority of patients don’t see the dentist due to finances. This is a problem because ignoring mouth and tooth pain can lead to something much more painful (and expensive) over time.

Fortunately, getting proper oral care doesn’t have to break your personal budget. Use these tips to get help make preventive care a regular and affordable part of your oral care routine.

Step 1 – Activate Your free MySmile account. All you need is your Delta Dental ID number.

Step 2 – Learn about your dental plan and get familiar with how it works.

Step 3Find a dentist If you don’t have one already.

Step 4 – Get your teeth cleaned every year. Your insurance covers it!

Step 5 – Use our cost estimator tool to avoid surprises, just in case you do need dental treatment.

For more tips like this, visit Delta Dental of Washington’s oral health blog.

Ready for Spring? Boost Your Immune System Now to Start the Season Strong!

Did you see the February edition of “Healthy Living with Business Health Trust“?

Our monthly newsletter offers small employers in Washington the information and tools they need to design and manage a competitive employee benefits program, help their employees make good use of medical and wellness benefits, and keep up-to-date on policy issues that affect small businesses in the state.

Subscribe today to stay up-to-date with Business Health Trust!

 

Kaiser Permanente Weather Alert

Stay updated on facility closures and care options

When winter weather brings snow and ice, Business Health Trust partner Kaiser Permanente wants you to stay safe and be able to get the care you need. While Kaiser Permanente is working hard to keep care locations open, some facilities may need to close for the safety of members and staff.

If you plan to visit a medical facility or urgent care center, please check the Weather Updates page before you travel, or call ahead. If you have a scheduled appointment and you don’t feel safe to travel, please call your doctor’s office to reschedule.

Get quick care without leaving home

If conditions make it difficult for you to travel to a medical facility, you have other options.

  • Consulting Nurse Service. A nurse listens to your concerns and gives you care advice or directs you to the best ways to get care. Call (206) 630-2244 or 1-800-297-6877, 24 hours a day.
  • Care Chat. Real-time online medical care from a Kaiser Permanente care provider is available 7 days a week, 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sign in to kp.org/wa to get started.

In-person care

If you would like to be seen in person by a Kaiser Permanente provider, CareClinic by Kaiser Permanente at Bartell Drugs may be easier to get to than a medical facility or doctor’s office. These walk-in clinics offer care for minor medical issues for everyone ages 2 and up. Find an open CareClinic location near you.

Tips For A Healthy Heart

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. It is also a major cause of disability. There are many things that can raise your risk of heart disease. They are called risk factors. Some of them you cannot control, but there are many that you can control. Learning about them can lower your risk of heart disease.

What are the heart disease risk factors that I cannot change?

  • Age. Your risk of heart disease increases as you get older. Men age 45 and older and women age 55 and older have a greater risk.
  • Gender. Some risk factors may affect heart disease risk differently in women than in men. For example, estrogen provides women with some protection against heart disease, but diabetes raises the risk of heart disease more in women than in men.
  • Race or ethnicity. Certain groups have higher risks than others. African Americans are more likely than whites to have heart disease, while Hispanic Americans are less likely to have it. Some Asian groups, such as East Asians, have lower rates, but South Asians have higher rates.
  • Family history. You have a greater risk if you have a close family member who had heart disease at an early age.

What can I do to lower my risk of heart disease?

Fortunately, there are many things you can do to reduce your chances of getting heart disease:

  • Control your blood pressure. High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease. It is important to get your blood pressure checked regularly – at least once a year for most adults, and more often if you have high blood pressure. Take steps, including lifestyle changes, to prevent or control high blood pressure.
  • Keep your cholesterol and triglyceride levels under control. High levels of cholesterol can clog your arteries and raise your risk of coronary artery disease and heart attack. Lifestyle changes and medicines (if needed) can lower your cholesterol. Triglycerides are another type of fat in the blood. High levels of triglycerides may also raise the risk of coronary artery disease, especially in women.
  • Stay at a healthy weight. Being overweight or having obesity can increase your risk of heart disease. This is mostly because they are linked to other heart disease risk factors, including high blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels, high blood pressure, and diabetes. Controlling your weight can lower these risks.
  • Eat a healthy diet. Try to limit saturated fats, foods high in sodium, and added sugars. Eat plenty of fresh fruit, vegetables, and whole grains. The DASH diet is an example of an eating plan that can help you to lower your blood pressure and cholesterol, two things that can lower your risk of heart disease. Try these Heart-Healthy recipes.
  • Get regular exercise. Exercise has many benefits, including strengthening your heart and improving your circulation. It can also help you maintain a healthy weight and lower cholesterol and blood pressure. All of these can lower your risk of heart disease.
  • Limit alcohol. Drinking too much alcohol can raise your blood pressure. It also adds extra calories, which may cause weight gain. Both of those raise your risk of heart disease. Men should have no more than two alcoholic drinks per day, and women should not have more than one.
  • Don’t smoke. Cigarette smoking raises your blood pressure and puts you at higher risk for heart attack and stroke. If you do not smoke, do not start. If you do smoke, quitting will lower your risk for heart disease. You can talk to your health care provider for help in finding the best way for you to quit.
  • Manage stress. Stress is linked to heart disease in many ways. It can raise your blood pressure. Extreme stress can be a “trigger” for a heart attack. Also, some common ways of coping with stress, such as overeating, heavy drinking, and smoking, are bad for your heart. Some ways to help manage your stress include exercise, listening to music, focusing on something calm or peaceful, and meditating.
  • Manage diabetes. Having diabetes doubles your risk of diabetic heart disease. That is because, over time, high blood sugar from diabetes can damage your blood vessels and the nerves that control your heart and blood vessels. So, it is important to get tested for diabetes, and if you have it, to keep it under control.
  • Make sure that you get enough sleep. If you don’t get enough sleep, you raise your risk of high blood pressure, obesity, and diabetes. Those three things can raise your risk for heart disease. Most adults need 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night. Make sure that you have good sleep habits. If you have frequent sleep problems, contact your health care provider. One problem, sleep apnea, causes people to briefly stop breathing many times during sleep. This interferes with your ability to get a good rest and can raise your risk of heart disease. If you think you might have it, ask your doctor about having a sleep study. And if you do have sleep apnea, make sure that you get treatment for it.

Source: Medline Plus, How to Prevent Heart Disease, Retrieved from https://medlineplus.gov/howtopreventheartdisease.html, on 2/8/2019

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.

Heart-Healthy Recipes

Winter weather keeping you indoors? Enjoy cooking some heart-healthy comfort food to keep your hands busy and your belly full!

The National Institutes of Health, Heart, Lung and Blood Institute has a library of recipes featuring all kinds of meals.

Search the full library, or check out some of the featured Soups and Stews below!

  • Minestrone Soup
    A cholesterol-free version of this classic Italian vegetable soup—brimming with fiber-rich beans, peas, and carrots.
  • Corn Chowder
    Using low-fat milk instead of cream lowers the saturated fat content in this hearty dish.
  • Beef and Bean Chili
    Chili can be an easy and healthy option—this hearty recipe has just the right balance of flavors!
  • Bean and Macaroni Soup
    Beans and veggies make this soup hearty and healthy!
  • Chicken Stew
    Save leftovers for lunch the next day!

For more information on cardiovascular healthy, check out these Tips for a Healthy Heart.

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.