Benefits & Wellness
DID YOU KNOW? V O L U M E 5 , I S S U E 2 A P R I L - J U N E 2 0 1 1
Studies have found
Reach Your Peak Information
term memory and
attention. Foods Have you had your Health Screening for the Year 7 Reach Your Peak :3 Step Wellness
Program? Health Screenings will be available throughout the rest of the program year which
at the top of the
ends on October 31, 2011. You do not need to have more than one Health Screening unless
brain fuel list you had a risk factor and you need to determine if you had a 10% improvement or moved below
include high-fiber the Risk Factor guideline. You may also get a Health Screening in the Occupational Health Clinic
whole grains, dairy (385-5965) or the City Employee Medical Clinic (385-5841) by appointment only. The City
and fruits. Health Screening schedule for the remainder of the program year is listed on the Benefits and
Wellness section of Springsgov.com. You can check for an appointment by clicking here or
going to www.Springsgov.com>City Agencies>Human Resources>Benefits and Wellness and
clicking on the link to the 2011 Health Screening Schedule. Remember, you can skip the finger
stick station if you bring a faxed or original typed copy of your lab results that include glucose,
total cholesterol, HDL and LDL cholesterol and triglycerides and are not older than 6 months at
the time of your screening.
Once you’ve had your screening, be sure to log in to www.healthyroads.com and take the
ISSUE: Personal Health Assessment.
New Challenge for April:
Ameriben Info 2
The new Stress Busters Challenge will run from April 1-April 30. Log on to your Healthyroads
account, mouse over “My Programs,” and click on “Challenges” to get started. You will see the
2 new Challenge and you may enroll. How will the Challenge work? Practice one of the four
Warning Signs stress reducing activities: relaxation imagery, present moment awareness, body scan relaxation
or belly breathing, at least 5 times a week and you will earn 1 Health Improvement Program
2 credit in the Year 7 Reach Your Peak Program.
Need other ways to earn points besides the Challenges?
Did you know your Wellness Rep can ask a City Health Coach or Physical Therapist to
Profile EAP 3 come do a class for your department for one HIP credit?
You can also earn a credit if you have a Department Level Activity with a group of
Food Cravings 3
people (not necessarily all from your department). There are several groups that do “The
Benefits Biggest Loser,” approved walks, or other activities. All you have to do is have the activity
Change Forms 3 approved before you start. Need a form? (Click here.)
If you were in the middle of Fitness Tracking when the City changed wellness vendors, you
Diet Myths 4 can continue to track your progress on the Fitness Tracking form. (Click here.) When
completed, turn in the form to the Benefits and Wellness office and we will let you know
how to receive your HIP credit.
Remember, you can take four free Healthlink classes per year at Memorial and you can earn
up to 4 HIP credits for taking the activity classes.
Healthyroads has an Exercise Planner and you can earn a HIP credit for using that as well.
Is your department represented by a Wellness Rep? If not, you can earn a point for
volunteering and helping set up some departmental activities. If you are interested, contact
a UCCS City Health Coach at CItyHealthCoach@springsgov.com.
The UCCS Health Coaches can help you if you have some questions or personal health
needs that need to be addressed in a meeting. You can earn a HIP credit by meeting with a
UCCS City Health Coach.
Get started today and you will still have time to earn the taxable $300 reward for December.
VOLUME 5, ISSUE 2 PAGE 2
Letters from Ameriben Heart Attack Warning Signs
What do you do when you get a letter from A heart attack is a frightening event, and you
Ameriben? Don’t throw it away! Ameriben probably don’t want to think about it. But, if you
frequently sends letters to participants asking for learn the signs of a heart attack and what steps to
additional information. Claims cannot be paid until take, you can save a life.
the information is received, but frequently employees Many people think a heart attack is sudden and
never respond to the letters. Here are some reasons intense, like a “movie” heart attack, where a person
Ameriben may pend a claim and send a letter asking clutches his or her chest and falls over. The truth is
for additional information: that many heart attacks start slowly as a mild pain or
Accident details - this has the potential of a discomfort. If you feel such a symptom, you may not
third party being involved. If you have been in an be sure what’s wrong. Your symptoms may even
accident, Ameriben needs additional details from come and go. Even those who have previously had a
you on the form they send out, or in a written heart attack may not recognize their symptoms
letter form that you send to them. because the next attack can have entirely different
Other coverage update - Ameriben needs to ones.
know if you have other coverage with another It is vital that everyone learn the warning signs of a
insurance company. That is why they need a heart attack which are:
coinsurance Coordination of Benefits (COB) form filled out Chest Discomfort. Most heart attacks involve
fees annually. If you don’t fill out the form every discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts for
year, Ameriben won’t pay your claims! more than a few minutes, or goes away and comes
Average Medicare Explanation of Benefits (EOB)/ back. The discomfort can feel like uncomfortable
Urgent Care primary carrier EOB - If Ameriben is your pressure, squeezing, fullness, or pain.
Costs: secondary insurance, they can’t pay the claim Discomfort in other areas of the upper
until they have a copy of the primary carrier’s body. This can include pain or discomfort in one
City pays: EOB because they have to coordinate benefits. or both arms, the back, neck, jaw, or stomach.
$118.25 So don’t throw those letters from Ameriben in the Shortness of breath. This often comes along
Employee pays: trash. Please open, read and respond to them so that with chest discomfort, but it can also occur before
$30 you can insure that your claims are paid in a timely any chest discomfort.
manner. Other symptoms. These may include breaking
Employees can Did you know you can get copies of COB forms, out in a cold sweat, nausea, or light-headedness.
save money for accident letters, claim forms and other information Remember, even if you’re not sure it’s a heart
both on line? All of these and more are available at: attack, you should still have it checked out. Fast
themselves and www.myameriben.com. action can save lives—maybe even your own.
the City From: www.nhlbi.nih.gov
Medical Plan by
using an Urgent
Keep Your Brain Sharp
instead of going Want to keep your brain sharp? Make friends. Does that sound strange? For years doctors have been
to the telling people to work mind puzzles to keep the brain sharp. Some recent studies have shown that being
Emergency social can work just as well at boosting your brain power. In fact, getting together with friends, family, or
Room. neighbors can improve memory and test scores.
People who are more social tend to have:
Stronger immune systems and few illnesses
Lower risk of heart disease
Lower blood pressure and cholesterol
Less alcohol and drug abuse
More optimism and less depression
Overall higher quality of life
Help your body and your mind by taking the time to get social. Set aside time each day to chat with those
you care about. Don’t be afraid to meet new people. Join a club, start a new hobby, or volunteer. You can
consider the friends you make a dose of good health.
VOLUME 5, ISSUE 2 PAGE 3
Profile EAP Cut the Cravings
Employees and their families may Food cravings can be a vulnerable dieter’s worst enemy.
experience personal difficulties that can Different from hunger in their specificity, cravings are a common
seriously affect their lives. If these but potentially risky phenomenon. Whether triggered by physical
difficulties go unresolved for a period needs like low blood sugar, emotions such as stress and anxiety,
of time, they are likely to impair a or sensory cues like the smell of a co-worker’s popcorn, food
person’s ability to cope as effectively at cravings are impossible to avoid completely.
home and on the job. Employees can seek help from EAP to help Serious food cravings have been linked to episodes of binge-
prevent small problems from getting out of hand and creating eating, which can lead to obesity and its associated health risks, as
greater problems. What goes on at home affects jobs and what well as eating disorders. And what happens when someone who
goes on at work affects families. All City of Colorado Springs is working hard to achieve fitness and nutrition goals gives in to
benefits eligible employees and their spouses and dependent the call of the drive-thru? Dietary slip-ups like this are
children are eligible for six free counseling sessions per person, discouraging and can derail even the most noble efforts to get
per problem, per year. healthy.
Profile EAP is a group of well-trained professional counselors According to Science Daily, new research examining the
that utilize a short-term therapy approach designed to bring psychological aspect of food cravings suggests it may be possible
helpful results in a short period of time. The counselors can help to reduce the power of cravings through mental imagery.
employees outline what goals they have and what they believe Participants in one study reported a reduction in their craving for
needs to change. If the counselor determines that an issue will a certain food when instructed to envision something unrelated
require more in-depth counseling, then they can make an such as a rainbow or the scent of eucalyptus. Another study
appropriate referral. EAP services are strictly confidential and found similar successful results when participants experiencing a
free of charge. The use of EAP is not reported to anyone at the food craving watched a pattern of flickering black and white dots.
City. Giving in every once in a while is not a crime, nor will it undo all
Profile EAP is adept at helping with marital and family problems, the progress you’ve made toward your health goals; but if you
anxiety and depression, chemical dependency and co-dependency, find the craving is more about seeking comfort than satisfying
grief and loss, job stress and co-worker conflict, as well as other hunger, there are some things you can do to cope.
issues. They can also provide counseling and resources on WebMD offers these suggestions:
work-life issues such as childcare, elder care, and financial issues. 1. Brush your teeth and gargle with antiseptic mouthwash. This
Almost any personal or work-related problem is appropriate for will take care of the sense of taste that is a factor in the
seeking assistance through EAP. desire to eat.
Profile EAP is located away from the workplace at 961 E. 2. Distract yourself for a while and see if the craving diminishes.
Colorado Ave. in order to maintain privacy and create a Use the opportunity to get in some exercise. Take a walk
comfortable atmosphere to discuss difficult issues. Office around the office building if the craving strikes at work, or
appointments can be made Monday - Thursday from 7:30 a.m. to climb a few flights of stairs.
7:00 p.m. and Friday 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. by calling 719-634- 3. Choose a healthy substitute for the food you’re craving.
1825. Should a need arise for help in handling a crisis, a Baked potato chips might not hit the spot quite as well, but
counselor can be reached 24 hours a day at the same number. indulging in the healthier alternative can take the edge off the
Employees who feel like they need help should take advantage of craving.
this free service. Anyone who is unable to make an appointment, 4. Pay attention to what you’re craving. If you want salt, for
should call 24 hours in advance to cancel or reschedule. No example, it’s possible that your body needs it.
shows and late cancellations will count as one of the free 5. Drink lots of water. Hunger can actually be a signal that you
sessions. Patients should arrive 15 minutes in advance for the are thirsty.
first appointment so that paperwork can be filled out. From: Corporate Wellness Advisor
When to Fill Out a Benefits Change Form
Did you know that you can make changes to some of your Entering into or returning from FMLA or LWOP for
benefit elections during the year if you have a Qualified Family more than 30 days.
Status Change? The IRS allows mid-year changes for employees In order to make the change, a Benefits Change Form must
who have one of the following changes as long as the change reach the Benefits and Wellness Office within 30 days of the
being made is consistent with the event: event. Completed and signed forms can be faxed to 385-5160,
Marriage/Divorce emailed to CityBenefitsHelp@springsgov.com, or sent via
Birth/Adoption interoffice mail to MC620. If the form does not reach our office
Loss of other coverage within that timeframe, changes will not be allowed until Open
Death Enrollment and would be effective on January 1 of the following
Some changes in employment year.
VOLUME 5, ISSUE 2 PAGE 4
Diet Myths By David Zinczenko/Men’s Health
A well-balanced diet, combined with some smart choices, is all you need to lose pounds and keep most of our greatest health
worries at bay. But many food and nutrition “myths” persist, confusing our food choices and making weight-loss harder and eating
less enjoyable. So relax, and start enjoying food again. Here are some food fallacies you can forget for good:
Myth #1: Too much protein hurts your kidneys.
Reality: Protein helps burn fat, build muscle, and won’t harm your kidneys. Way back in 1983, researchers discovered that eating
more protein increases the amount of blood your kidneys filter per minute. Many scientists immediately made the leap that a high-
protein diet places your kidneys under greater stress. They were proven wrong. Over the past two decades, several studies have
found that while protein-rich meals do increase blood flow to the kidneys, this doesn't have an adverse effect on overall kidney
Put the truth to work for you: Eat your target body weight in grams of protein daily. For example, if you are a chubby 180
pound woman and want to be a lean 160, have 160 grams of protein a day. If you are a 160 pound guy hoping to pack on 20
pounds of muscle, aim for 180 grams of protein each day.
Myth #2: Sweet potatoes are healthier than white potatoes.
Reality: They are both healthy! Sweet potatoes have more fiber and vitamin A, but white potatoes are higher in essential
minerals such as iron, magnesium, and potassium. As for the glycemic index, sweet potatoes are lower on the scale, but baked
white potatoes typically aren’t eaten without cheese, sour cream, or butter—all toppings that contain fat, which lowers the
glycemic index of a meal.
Put the truth to work for you: The form in which you consume a potato—for instance, a whole baked potato versus a
processed potato that’s used to make chips—is more important than the type of spud.
Myth #3: High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is more fattening than regular sugar.
Reality: They are equally fattening so beware! Recent research has shown that fructose may cause an increase in weight by
interfering with leptin, the hormone that tells us when we’re full. But both HFCS and sucrose—better known as table sugar—
contain similar amounts of fructose. There’s no evidence to show any differences in these two types of sugar. Both will cause
weight gain when consumed in excess. The only particular evil regarding HFCS is that it’s cheaper, and commonly shows up
everywhere from bread to ketchup to soda.
Put the truth to work for you: HFCS and regular sugar are empty-calorie carbohydrates that should be consumed in limited
amounts. How? By keeping soft drinks, sweetened fruit juices, and prepackaged desserts to a minimum.
Myth #4: Chocolate bars are empty calories.
Reality: Dark chocolate is a health food. Cocoa is rich in flavonoids—the same heart-healthy compounds found in red wine and
green tea. Its most potent form is dark chocolate. In a recent study, Greek researchers found that consuming dark chocolate
containing 100 milligrams (mg) of flavonoids relaxes your blood vessels, improving blood flow to your heart.
Put the truth to work for you: Milk chocolate isn’t as rich in flavonoids as dark, so develop a taste for the dark.
Myth #5: Saturated fat will clog your heart.
Reality: Fat has gotten a bum rap. Most people consider turkey, chicken, and fish healthy, yet think they should avoid red meat—
or only choose very lean cuts—since they’ve always been told that it’s high in saturated fat. A closer look at beef reveals the truth.
Almost half of its fat is a monounsaturated fat called oleic acid—the same heart-healthy fat that’s found in olive oil. Second, most
of the saturated fat in beef actually decreases your heart-disease risk—either by lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol, or by reducing
your ratio of total cholesterol to HDL (good) cholesterol.
Put the truth to work for you: We’re not giving you permission to gorge on butter, bacon, and cheese. No, the point is this:
Don’t freak out about saturated fat. There’s no scientific reason that natural foods containing saturated fat can’t, or shouldn’t, be
part of a healthy diet.
Myth #6: Diet soda is better for you.
Reality: It may lead to even greater weight gain. Just because diet soda is low in calories doesn’t mean it can’t lead to weight gain.
It may have only 5 or fewer calories per serving, but emerging research suggests that consuming sugary-tasting beverages-even if
they’re artificially sweetened—may lead to a high preference for sweetness overall. That means sweeter cereal, bread, and
dessert. In fact, new research found that people who drink diet soda on a daily basis have an increase risk of developing type 2
diabetes and metabolic syndrome.
Put the truth to work for you: Knowledge is power, so drink more water!