Staying Healthy

Posts

Woman standing on the beach.

4 Tips to Protect Your Skin

The sun can damage unprotected skin in as little as 15 minutes. Follow these 4 tips from Premera Blue Cross to protect your skin:

  1. Make sure you’re covered. Wear clothing and a wide-brimmed hat to protect as much skin as possible. Protect your eyes with sunglasses that block UV light.
  2. Wear sunscreen. Apply a broad spectrum (UVA and UVB) sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30 every 2 hours and after you swim or sweat.
  3. Seek shade. Limit your sun exposure between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. when the sun’s rays are strongest.
  4. Avoid tanning beds and sunlamps. Their UV rays can be stronger than those from the sun.

Online resources

For Business Health Trust members enrolled in medical benefits through Premera Blue Cross, sign in at premera.com for additional health information, support and educational resources.

Tip: Call Premera’s free 24-Hour NurseLine to find out how to perform a monthly skin cancer self-exam. The phone number is on your Premera ID card.

Safeguard Your Smile

When it comes to keeping your smile healthy, your dental benefits are like a personal safety net for your mouth.

But unless you are taking advantage of things like preventive care cleanings, you might be putting your smile at risk.

The good news? For Business Health Trust members enrolled in dental coverage, everything you need to start using your dental benefits can be found online in your MySmile account. With your MySmile account, you’ll also be able to:

  • Monitor your benefits
  • Find a dentist near you
  • Get treatment estimates
  • Review your treatment history

For more tips like this, visit the oral health blog from Delta Dental of Washington.

Family playing soccer in park.

Tips to Embrace a Healthier Lifestyle

May is peak time to embrace a healthier lifestyle, and this month’s edition of Healthy Living with Business Health Trust aims to help you do just, with tips on making fitness fun, traveling safely, unexpected foods that can help boost your mood, and much more!

If you’re not already receiving our monthly e-newsletter, you can subscribe as well as see past issues by clicking here.

Five Action Steps for Helping Someone in Emotional Pain

Each year millions of Americans face the reality of living with a mental illness. During Mental Health Awareness Month in May, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and other organizations and individuals across the U.S. focus on raising awareness of mental health. Each year they help fight stigma, provide support, educate the public and advocate for policies that support people with mental illness and their families. Learn more about the resources and information available to help promote Mental Health Awareness by clicking here

In 2017, suicide claimed the lives of more than 47,000 people in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Suicide affects people of all ages, genders, races, and ethnicities.

Suicide is complicated and tragic, but it can be preventable. Knowing the warning signs for suicide and how to get help can help save lives.

5 steps you can take to #BeThe1To help someone in emotional pain

ASK: “Are you thinking about killing yourself?” It’s not an easy question but studies show that asking at-risk individuals if they are suicidal does not increase suicides or suicidal thoughts.

KEEP THEM SAFE: Reducing a suicidal person’s access to highly lethal items or places is an important part of suicide prevention. While this is not always easy, asking if the at-risk person has a plan and removing or disabling the lethal means can make a difference.

BE THERE: Listen carefully and learn what the individual is thinking and feeling. Research suggests acknowledging and talking about suicide may in fact reduce rather than increase suicidal thoughts.

HELP THEM CONNECT: Save the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline’s number in your phone so it’s there when you need it: 1-800-273-TALK (8255). You can also help make a connection with a trusted individual like a family member, friend, spiritual advisor, or mental health professional.

STAY CONNECTED: Staying in touch after a crisis or after being discharged from care can make a difference. Studies have shown the number of suicide deaths goes down when someone follows up with the at-risk person.

For more information on suicide prevention: www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/suicide-prevention.

Source: www.bethe1to.com

US Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Mental Health, NIH Publication No. OM 18-4315, Revised 2019

Business Health Trust 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 Business Health Trust, 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.

Considering Cutting Down On Drinking?

The first step, of course, is to decide whether cutting down or quitting is best for you. See these considerations and discuss different options with a doctor, a friend, or someone else you trust.

Thinking about cutting back? Here are some tips to try, small changes that can make a big difference. Choose two or three to try in the next week or two. It may help to have reminders to reinforce your decision to make a change, such as automated smartphone alerts that you send yourself.

Thinking about quitting? One size doesn’t fit all, and it’s important to find options that appeal to you. Start by visiting the choose your approach page. Here you’ll find links to self-help strategies, a helpful publication about treatment options, and information about professional help and social support.

Changing habits such as smoking, overeating, or drinking too much can take a lot of effort, and you may not succeed with the first try. Setbacks are common, but you learn more each time. Each try brings you closer to your goal. Whatever course you choose, give it a fair trial.

Source: Rethinking Drinking, Alcohol & Your Health, Questions and Answers. Retrieved on April 17, 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.

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.