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ension & Benefits News

November 2008

Volume 1, Issue 11

Pension & Benefits wants you to experience a stressfree Christmas. Check out page 3 for some tips.

2009 Spending Accounts Allocation Forms
(Except Faculty)
We are happy to announce that on November 27, 2008, a link will be provided for you to allocate your 2009 Spending Account. NEW THIS will need to complete your 2009 Spending Account Allocation through The Bridge. Instructions on how to complete your allocation will be included in the email scheduled to be sent on November 27th. The deadline for completion and submission to Pension & Benefits will be December 12, 2008. If you plan on being away during that time period, please contact one of the Pension & Benefits team. You may want to start thinking about how you wish to allocate your Spending Account for 2009. Once submitted, ALL allocations for the HSA 2009 year are irrevocable, Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) ruling. If you need any assistance to ensure you are utilizing the plan to your best advantage, please contact one of the Pension & Benefits team to set up a time to discuss this with you.

Blue Cross Information Sessions
(Except Faculty)
Special points of interest:
2009 S/A Allocation Forms Blue Cross Information Sessions AB Blue Cross Spending Accounts Your Questions Answered Alberta Health and Wellness Premiums Having a little fun… Tips for a StressFree Christmas

Pension and Benefits has arranged for Blue Cross to hold information sessions to explain the Plan and Spending Accounts. With the 2009 Allocation forms coming soon, attending one of these sessions could help you make your choice. The dates are as follows:
Mon., Nov. 17, 2008 Tues., Nov. 18, 2008 Mon., Nov. 24, 2008 Tues., Nov. 25, 2008 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. 1:00 p.m.-3:00 p.m. 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. 1:00 p.m.-3:00 p.m. L1170A (Library) W646 Boardroom TH277 (Turcotte Hall) W646 Boardroom

Alberta Blue Cross Spending Accounts Important Reminder
(Except Faculty)
Please remember that all Spending Accounts expenditures for 2008 must be dated no later than December 31, 2008, and must be received by Blue Cross in Edmonton for processing no later than February 28, 2009. After this date any monies remaining in your accounts will be forfeited. For those who have Coordination of Benefits with their spouse, please remember to allow yourself adequate time to send any claims through both plans so they may come back through your HSA (if applicable) before the February 28, 2009 deadline. Forms are available on our website is located at


Your Questions Answered
Marie Yolland 329-2479 Barb Thomsen 329-2379 Joyce Eves 329-2480 Susan Roth 382-7187

Q. I required transportation to the hospital by ambulance and have received a bill from the City. Am I
covered under Blue Cross for this expense? What should I do with this bill?

A. If you and your dependents are enrolled under a University’s Extended Health Plan, then you are
covered for ambulance services—where a Participant requires and is provided with transportation to a hospital, due to the event of illness or injury. Response fees are not a benefit (i.e. medical emergency in which paramedics responded but did not transport Participant to hospital). If you receive a invoice from the City of Lethbridge, please phone the City (403-320-4234), give them your Alberta Blue Cross Group Number, Division number and Blue Cross ID number (all found on your Blue Cross card). The City will redirect the bill to Alberta Blue Cross for payment.

Alberta Health and Wellness
Health Care Premiums Eliminated January 1, 2009
As previously announced, the Alberta government will end Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan (AHCIP) premiums effective January 1, 2009. Effective January 2009, the University will only deduct premiums that are still owed to December 31, 2008 (i.e. arrears). The University of Lethbridge, Pension and Benefits department, will still need to notify Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan of employee commencements/terminations/changes and register new Albertans. All employees will still need to be added to the University of Lethbridge Alberta Health Care group number. More information regarding Alberta Health and Wellness premiums is available on their website at

Having a little fun...
Sudoku Puzzle: Fill the grid with numbers 1 to 9 so that every row, every column and every 3x3 box contains the digits 1-9, without repeating any numbers.

       7  6         

      6       8     

  5     8     9     2    

7     1          5      6 

3  6               8   7 

8     5         4     2 

  7       3    5      4    

     3     4     7      

       9  7   1       

 5  2  

Tips for a Stress-Free Christmas
Christmas can be stressful for many of us. Christmas is all about family. If you start by acknowledging what is important about this holiday to you, you can easily eliminate the activities that can make the Christmas Holiday season stressful. Here are ten top tips to get you through the festive season. 1. Write up your Christmas cards on December 1st. Write up a Christmas card list and keep it in a safe place so that you can refer to it (and add or delete names) year after year. 2. Don’t Overspend. Spending money you don’t have is a sure-fire way to make Christmas and most of the next year stressful. Presents work on the ‘80/20 Rule’ - The kids will spend 80% of their time playing with 20% of their presents, so a lot of extra money spent doesn’t go a long way. 3. Make a Christmas shopping list, it will help you to stay more focused once you get to the stores to shop. Write down the names of each person you are planning on buying or making a Christmas present for along with ideas of what you want to buy for them. 4. Get organized and plan your days. This is easier said than done, but making a list of jobs that need to be done can help you take one thing on at a time. Recognize when something is done or finished and feel good about it. Don’t set yourself unrealistic targets and deadlines. This will only make you feel irritable and adds to the pressure tenfold. 5. Prepare foods/do baking ahead of time. Many dishes and baking goods can be prepared and frozen ahead of time. Just pull out of freezer and thaw in time for the functions. 6. Plays and Concerts. Make sure that at least one parent shows up to each nativity play, carol singing or Christmas concert. If need be, rope in grand parents, aunties, etc. to provide a friendly face. Because if no-one shows up for a child’s big moment, it really hurts. 7. Assign projects or chores to the family. You do not have to do everything yourself at Christmas. A good leader knows how to delegate responsibility in a timely manner, so do it. Children usually have some time off from school, so put them to good use. They can pick up another chore or two to help you out. 8. Take a break—even if it is only for ten minutes. Just close your eyes and listen to some relaxing music. It is important to take time to re-charge your energy levels. 9. Stock up on batteries. Or make sure you charge up plenty of rechargeable ones. Otherwise there may be disappointed faces and some missed photo opportunities for some Christmas memories. 10. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Life isn’t perfect. Is the rest of the year perfect? No, so the world will not stop turning if something goes wrong on Christmas day. There will be plenty more Christmases and they turn up quicker each year.