A quarterly benefit publication by the DFA Employee Benefits Division for E D
Arkansas State and Public School Employees and Retirees
Vol. 5 Issue 1 1 st Quarter 2009
Over the Counter Drugs: The Toxicity of Acetamenophin
Virtually everyone has taken Tylenol® (or an issue of Time magazine included a warning from
acetaminophen) at one point or another, whether the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) about the
it was to relieve a headache or symptoms of a cold. risk of an overdose of acetaminophen causing liver
There are even cough and cold formulas for children. damage and even death.
Tylenol® has been around since 1959 and according According to the warning, more than 200 million
to www.Tylenol.com, it was that year that Tylenol® people take acetaminophen each year. About
was approved for sale without a prescription, thus 200 people a year also die from taking too much.
“changing the way people treat their aches, pains, Acetaminophen is available in 325-mg tablets and
and fever forever.” Tylenol®, however, is just one 500-mg tablets (which are most common). It is also
brand name for acetaminophen. With something found in many combination drugs for cough and
that has been around so long cold remedies and also in opioid medications for
and become a common severe pain.
household name, you
The maximum daily dose for adults is four (4)
typically don’t think of
grams. Two (2) 500mg tablets equals one (1) gram. A
few days of exceeding the maximum dose could lead
to liver damage. Alcohol consumption and smoking
active ingredient in
would further increase the risk.
Tylenol® and other
similar medicines, can The easiest way to inadvertently overdose is to
be highly toxic when combine various cough and cold medications with
not properly used. acetaminophen. This can result in liver toxicity, failure,
So toxic, that on and even lead to death.
December 20, 2006, See Toxicity, continued on page 6
Be Smart When Buying Prescriptions
Most of us are conscious shoppers when it comes
to buying things like a new car, clothes, and grocer-
ies. We want to make sure we are getting the best
quality at the lowest price available. Why not be just
as conscious when buying your prescription medica-
Americans spend over 100 billion dollars annually
on their prescription drugs. With drug costs on the
rise, why not consider taking generic medications?
Generic products typically are less expensive than
their brand name counterparts and are just as safe and
effective. Talk to your doctor to see if generic products
are right for you. Taking a generic medication instead
of a brand drug can help control healthcare costs,
which saves you and your health plan money.
We Are Here To Help You: EBD’s
Member Services Team Ingredients:
With over seventy-two (72) combined years 1 cup whole-wheat (whole-meal) flour
of member service/call center experience and 1 cup all-purpose (plain) flour
background in insurance, the member services 1 teaspoon baking powder
department of the Employee Benefits Division is 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
equipped to handle phone calls regarding member’s 1 tablespoon sugar
health plan benefits. Calls are received from both 2 cups buttermilk
active and retired state and school plan members 1 egg
on a variety of topics ranging from certificates of 4 egg whites
creditable coverage (COCC) to voluntary insurance
products. In addition to state and school plan Directions:
members, the member services department In a large mixing bowl, combine the flours,
also receives phone calls from health insurance baking powder, baking soda and sugar.
representatives at the agency and school district
level, providers, benefit coordinators, and the general In a medium bowl, whisk together the butter-
public. They are at your service Monday thru Friday, milk and whole egg. Add to the flour mixture
from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. , except on State holidays. and stir to mix evenly.
Every call received by member services is delivered
via a call center system that determines which In a large metal or glass bowl, using an electric
representative gets the next call. The system is similar mixture on high speed, beat the egg whites
to that of a standard call center. All calls are answered until stiff peaks form. Gently fold the egg
in the order they are received, so the caller who is whites into the flour mixture.
first in line will be connected to the first available
representative. We are committed to staying with Place a baking sheet in the oven and preheat
a system that allows members to speak with a live to 225 F.
person. EBD’s member services department receives
an average of 272 calls per day, with an average hold Preheat a waffle iron. Spray with cooking spray
time of 22 seconds during very busy periods. In 2008, if necessary. Spoon or ladle about 3/4 cup
the member services team received 63,285 calls. The of the batter into the waffle iron, depending
month of August is open enrollment for PSE members on the size of the iron. Spread slightly with a
with the highest daily call volume being 423 calls. spoon and cook according to the manufactur-
October is open enrollment for ASE members with the er’s instructions. Transfer the waffle to the bak-
highest call volume being 356 calls per day. ing sheet in the oven to keep warm. Repeat
See Member, continued on page 4 with the remaining batter to make 6 waffles.
Notice of Plan Change to (per serving)
Serving size: 1 waffle
ARHealth Members Calories 208 Cholesterol 39 mg
The Board has approved increasing the coverage on Protein 11 g Sodium 281 mg
ambulance services from $1,000 to $2,000 per mem- Carbohydrate 37 g Fiber 3g
ber per plan year for Total fat 2g Potassium 274 mg
plan year 2009. If Saturated fat 1 g Calcium 124 mg
you had any ambu- Monounsaturated fat 1 g
lance claims in this plan year, your benefits coordina-
tor (Health Advantage or Novasys) will re-process the
claims as necessary. Recipe courtesy of mayoclinic.com
Employee Assistance Program Services Are Here To Help
M ost people think of employee benefits as
just health insurance, but as an active plan
member, you have an extremely valuable benefit
affected employees in groups, and also be available
for on the spot individual sessions. They will also
arrange for follow up services to be provided to all
available to you at no charge. It is the Employee members that want them.
Assistance Program or EAP. This program provides Resources are also available through their
each employee and their family with access to comprehensive website. With just a few clicks of the
numerous articles, podcasts, online seminars, and mouse, you can get hundreds of articles, web links,
other information at your fingertips. You also have worksheets, and an audio book dealing with the
the opportunity to speak to a counselor with a challenges of everyday life. This site is not just about
telephone or face-to-face session. grief, but other topics that can benefit you and your
family as you face your own individual struggles.
Legal, Financial, Caring for Older Adults, Parenting,
and many more topics are available 24 hours a day / 7
days a week at no charge. Information on this site is
also available in Spanish. Take the time to take care of
yourself and use the resources at your disposal.
Please visit the website at www.ARBenefits.org and
click the ARWellness Link. Use stareap as the User ID
EAP services are provided to you by LifeSynch. Their & Password to access the on-line resources or contact
counselors can work with you and help with a variety LifeSynch at 866-378-1645.
of topics that we all face. One of the most significant
is grief. Each of us will experience loss and grief at
some time in our life. Whether it is the expected Web Links
death of a grandparent, the sudden tragic death of a Below is a list of the various links
family member/friend/co-worker, or the devastation
referenced in the different stories in this
of a natural disaster, we will all be faced with getting
through one of life’s most difficult challenges. issue of the EBD Buzz!
Each of these losses can trigger feelings of shock,
numbness, sadness, anger, fatigue, relief or guilt. Our
bodies also experience the effects of loss and grief. www.LifeSynch.com
According to Dr. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, psychiatrist www.Tylenol.com
and author of the book, On Death and Dying, grief
happens in seven (7) stages: Shock, Denial, Anger,
Bargaining, Guilt, Depression, and Acceptance. They
also happen at different phases for different people.
We may experience some or all of the stages and may
go back and forth between each one. If we get stuck
in one of these stages, however, then the grieving
process is not complete. We may be unable to sleep,
have difficulty breathing, experience physical pain,
be restless, have changes in our appetite, lose interest
in activities, and become isolated from others. This is
where the LifeSynch counselors can help.
Additionally, LifeSynch offers Crisis Intervention
Services when a tragedy or loss affects an entire office
or group of people, whether it is an unexpected death
or a natural disaster. LifeSynch has specially trained
counselors that can come immediately to meet with
Change Is Good
We are pleased to announce a few changes to the requirements of the Mommy 2 B program which we hope
will make participating easier for you:
u Participants will no longer be required to call after each doctor appointment!
o A nurse will contact you periodically to see how you are doing
o You will be required to call 1-866-451-8194:
• If your doctor determines you are having any complications
• After delivery
u You are still required to send in your completed quizzes by your 8th month
o A second packet of information will be mailed as soon as we receive the quizzes.
We are still here if you need us. We love hearing from you and participating in this joyous experience! Please
call 1-866-451-8194 to speak with a nurse if you have any questions or would like to give an update.
Member continued...... continued from page 2
Our member services team is eager to take your The system conveniently tracks a member’s call
call and assist with your needs. Because we deal with history so the caller does not have to repeat all
a multitude of call types from various sources we ask details of an issue from a previous call. The member
for your patience should you encounter a wait before service representatives take great care to document
your call is answered. We’ll strive to give you the pertinent details of the phone conversation for
same attention and focus when we answer your call accurate recall later. The system also monitors and
as we gave the caller before you. records calls for quality and training purposes.
Call Tracking Call Forwarding
The call management portion of EBD’s “ARBenefits“ Another important feature of the call tracking
eligibility system was implemented on March 18, system allows the member services representative
2004 to enable the member service department to to forward information regarding a call to the
track all calls. Although the system was developed appropriate department within EBD should the issue
by an outside vendor, EBD was able to provide input require further research. The response time will
in the development process. The system allows the be extended depending on the extent of research
department to track issues on a broad spectrum, to required, but every effort is made to resolve issues as
educate staff, plan members, benefit coordinators, quickly as possible.
and insurance representatives and to communicate
any changes. This system has put more information
at member service’s fingertips. They are able to solve TOP 5 REASONS MEMBERS CALL EBD
problems more quickly. Calls are currently logged 1. For an understanding of retiree health plan changes.
into the call tracking system to be available for recall
2. To request insurance cards.
when needed. Wrong number calls are also logged
into the call tracking system. 3. To request plan documents.
4. To request rate information.
Verification 5. To notify of address changes.
Before any issue regarding a member can be
discussed, five (5) pieces of information must be
verified by the caller. This is to comply with federal
HIPAA privacy laws. If the caller’s identity cannot be
verified, the caller is informed that the issue cannot
be discussed. All calls regarding a particular plan
member are linked by the member’s id number.
Prescription Drug Benefit Changes for April 1, 2009
Drug Name Type of Drug Type of Change
All branded cyclobenzaprine Muscle Relaxant Excluded from coverage.
products (Includes: Amrix, Fexmid, & Generics will continue to be covered.
All branded doxycycline products Antibiotic Excluded from coverage.
(Includes: Oracea, Doryx and Generics will continue to be covered.
Zegerid capsules Treats heartburn, GERD, stomach The plan will pay $0.90 per capsule;
ulcers the member will be responsible for the
remainder of the cost. Zegerid powder
will continue to be covered under the
tier 3 co-payment.
Azithromycin Antibiotic The quantity limit of 6 tablets per
month will be removed. The plan will
now allow 15 tablets per 31 day period.
Generic Fexofenadine Antihistamine Covered under tier 1 with a prior
DesOwen Kit (Cream or Ointment) Topical Steroid Excluded from coverage.
Liquadd Solution Treats Attention Deficit & Excluded from coverage.
Keppra XR Anti-epileptic drug Move to tier 2 copay.
Selfemra Anti-depressant Excluded from coverage.
Sancuso Prevents nausea and vomiting Add quantity limit of 5 patches per 31
day period. Copay will remain on tier 3.
Durezol Emulsion Steroid medication for the eye Excluded from coverage.
Veripred 20 Steroid medication Excluded from coverage.
Prescription Drug Benefit Changes for July 1, 2009
Cardiovascular Tier 1 Tier 2 Tier 3
Antihyperlipidemic-HMG (Statins) Iovastatin, pravastatin, Lipitor 80mg* (PA), Altoprev *(RP), Crestor 5mg
simvastatin Crestor 20mg & 40mg & 10mg *(RP), Lescol *(RP),
*(PA) Lescol XL *(RP), Lipitor 10mg,
20mg, & 40mg *(RP), Mevacor
*(RP), Pravachol *(RP),
Pravigard, Vytorin, Zocor *(RP)
Items indicated as *(RP) require special reference pricing and do not apply to the copay column (tier 3) in
which they are listed. The plan will pay $0.30 per tablet on the above medications listed with *(RP) next to it.
Reference pricing (RP) is a term applied to a process where drugs that are deemed therapeutically equiva-
lent are grouped together, and then the cost of the lowest-priced product in the group is used as the reim-
bursement level for all drugs in the group. Patients choosing to take the more expensive alternatives are
required to pay the difference between the reference price (paid by the Plan) and the price of the alternative
drug (paid by the member).
Toxicity continued..... continued from page 1
Some pain medications that include acetaminophen simultaneously using different products containing
are: acetaminophen. It is important that you read all
· Hydrocodone with Acetaminophen drug labels before taking multiple medications.
(Lortab®, Vicodin®) Remember, you should not take more than one
· Tramadol with Acetaminophen (Ultracet®) (1) gram or 1,000 mg of acetaminophen at once
· Propoxyphene (Darvocet®) and do not exceed four (4) grams in 24 hours. If
· Oxycodone (Percocet®, Tylox®) you are unsure about medications containing
· Pamabrom acetaminophen, you should consult your physician
· Pyrilamine (Midol®, Pamprin®) or local pharmacist.
· Tylenol with Codeine
Some cough and cold products that contain
acetaminophen as well are:
· Pseudoephedrine/Phenylephrine (Sinus Pain
· Diphenhydramine (night Time Cold, Flu,
With acetaminophen being so commonly used,
you can see how easy it is to unintentionally
overdose. It is easy to do so when you are
With the Spring and Summer fast approaching If you and/or your spouse are currently enrolled in
some of our members may be looking forward to Medicare Part A only and are considering retirement
retirement. We just wanted to offer a few helpful please note that if you decide not to enroll in
tips for our members that are age 65 and older, Medicare Part B, that our plan will only reimburse
which makes them Medicare entitled, along with our 20% of our plans allowed amount for medical
members that may be Medicare entitled due to a services that you might receive, leaving you subject
disability that will help you transition your insurance to the 80% co-insurance.
from an active employee to a retiree. To enroll in Medicare Part B please contact the
Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213 for
information on their special enrollment period or
you may visit the local Social Security office in your
area. If you have been actively employed and are
applying for Medicare Part B for the first time, it will
be helpful if you obtain a letter from your employer
indicating when health coverage for you and/or your
spouse began through our plan, along with your
As always we would like to assure you that we’re
here to assist you with any question or concerns that
you might have to help you through this process.
For additional information, contact EBD’s
ARHealth Medicare Coordinator at 1-877- 815-1017.
Pregnant? Need Help?
Here at EBD we are thinking about you! EBD has
a health enhancement program specializing in
pregnancy. Please contact us at 1-866-457-8194
if you are an ARHealth member who will be
having a baby. We can direct you to free
resources to help promote overall health
throughout your pregnancy.
We also encourage you to call for your free
Happy Birthday Baby Book loaded with coupons
and valuable information compliments of the
Arkansas Department of Health and Arkansas
Creditable Coverage Disclosure Notice
Remember: Keep this notice. If you enroll in one of the new plans approved by Medicare
which offer prescription drug coverage after May 15, 2006, you may need to give a copy of
this notice when you join to show that you are not required to pay a higher premium amount.
Date: Plan Year 2009
Name of Entity/Sender: Arkansas State and Public School Life
and Health Insurance Board
Contact-Office: State of Arkansas, Department of
Finance and Administration,
Employee Benefits Division
Address: Post Office Box 15610
Little Rock, AR 72231-5610
Phone Number: (501) 682-9656
The EBD Buzz PRESORTED
Employee Benefits Division U.S. POSTAGE
Department of Finance
and Administration ARKANSAS
P.O. Box 15610
Little Rock, Arkansas 72231
We welcome your benefit questions & comments:
Call the Employee Benefits Division (EBD) during business hours at 501-682-9656 or toll free at
1-877-815-1017. You may also visit our website at www.ARBenefits.org or send an e-mail to AskEBD@dfa.state.ar.us
EBD Receives Innovation Award More Rx Changes: Vaccinations
March 5, 2009 - EBD, in association with Informed Rx, In addition to the changes listed on page 5 that will
was awarded the 2009 Rx Benefits Innovation Award be effective April 1, 2009, the following change was
by the Pharmacy Benefit Management Institute made. Effective March 1, 2009, the vaccinations
(PBMI). Zostavax® and Gardasil® are now covered with
The award was issued based on the commitment $0.00 copay to the member when received
to teamwork, dedication and plan administration at a pharmacy. A pharmacy may still
practices of EBD, Informed Rx (the ARHealth charge a fee for actually administering
Plan Pharmacy Benefit Manager), the DUEC Sub- the vaccine; however,
Committee, the UAMS College of Pharmacy, and you may file a paper
The Board. claim (Direct Member
informed Rx has empowered EBD with a custom Reimbursement—DMR)
integrated data repository, risk prediciton scoring, with informedRx (formally
and claims integration so that better decisions can NMHC) for reimbursement.
be made regarding the prescription drug coverage For instructions on
policies of the Plan. This level of connectivity has how to complete this
provided the Plan and the members with a pharmacy process, please contact informedRx by calling
claims trend much lower than the national average. 1-800-777-0074.
The EBD Buzz - An official publication by the Department of Finance & Administration – Employee Benefits Division
for the members of ARHealth & ARWellness and shall stand as a Summary of Material Modification (SMM) to the
Summary Plan Description (SPD) governing the Arkansas State and Public School Health Plan (ARHealth)