AlaskaCare Wellness News | August 2018

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August 2018 | #71



Vitamin D

Vitamin D is important for strong bones and may contribute to overall good health. Alaskans should select foods that are high in vitamin D, such as Alaska salmon, and should talk with their health care provider about vitamin D and the risks and benefits of supplementation. 


August is National Immunization Awareness Month!

 Little Girl Getting A Shot 

One of the most important things a parent can do to protect their child’s health is getting their child vaccinated. Whether you are sending your baby to daycare, or your child back to school or college, you should check their vaccination records.

Child care facilities and schools are prone to disease outbreaks. Children in these settings frequently spread illnesses to one another due to poor hand washing, not covering their coughs and sneezes, along with other factors related to interacting in crowded environments. Serious health consequences can arise if children are not vaccinated. Additionally, states may require children who are entering a child care program or school to be vaccinated against certain diseases. Colleges and universities may have their own requirements as well, especially for students living in residence halls. Make sure your Back-To-School checklist includes a review of your child’s immunization records with your doctor. 

To learn more about which immunizations are 100% covered as part of your AlaskaCare Employee Preventive Care and Screening Services benefits, contact the Aetna Concierge at (855) 784-8646 prior to receiving services. 

Enhanced Travel Benefits with SurgeryPlus—Now Available!
Surgical Doctors

The State of Alaska has partnered with SurgeryPlus to provide a supplemental surgical travel benefit for AlaskaCare Employees and their eligible dependents.

With SurgeryPlus, AlaskaCare members with non-emergency surgical needs now have access to a network of 100% Board Certified Surgeons in many major metropolitan areas across the United States. When you need to travel for a medical procedure, a dedicated Care Advocate will assist you with everything from evaluating and choosing a surgeon, scheduling appointments, coordinating travel, transferring medical records, and reviewing benefits. The SurgeryPlus enhanced travel benefit can be utilized for hundreds of non-emergency surgeries. There is no fee for using the benefit and your AlaskaCare Health Plan will waive 100% of your coinsurance when you utilize the SurgeryPlus Provider Network and Travel Concierge Service for surgical services. However, services are still subject to your normal annual plan deductible, and coordination of benefits does not apply. 
To learn more, call a Care Advocate at (855) 715-1680.

Reducing the Risk of Opioid Misuse, Abuse and Dependence
Men And Women In Pills

The Alaska Opioid Policy Task Force, after substantial expert and public input, endorses a public health approach to the prevention and reduction of opioid misuse and abuse in our state.

The AOPTF believe that implementing comprehensive prevention strategies will mitigate the harm that heroin and opioids are causing Alaskans. Opioid use disorders, like other substance use disorders, are a disease that responds to treatment. Supporting Alaskans in recovery from opioid use disorders reduces the risk of relapse. Primary prevention policies designed to improve the overall health and wellness of individuals can help reduce the risk of opioid use, misuse, and abuse. Look for programs that support and promote whole-person health to help strengthen protective factors against opioid and other substance abuse. Your AlaskaCare Health Plan Administrator has adopted Aetna’s recommended safety measures regarding Opioids. If you or someone close to you require assistance or information on the use of opioid prescriptions, we encourage you to contact the Aetna Concierge at (855) 784-8646 with any questions and to get support from In-Touch Care Program or EAP. Always discuss new prescriptions with your medical provider before leaving their office.  

Important Points that impact AlaskaCare Members:

The AlaskaCare health plans adopted new safety guidelines regarding opioids on January 1, 2018. The changes are based on recommendations from the Alaska Opioid Policy Task Force (AOPTF), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) action plan on opioid medications.

Members coming home from a surgery may also be affected if they need more than a seven-day supply of pain medication.

Members taking medication on the safety list may need their provider to submit a pre-authorization request and prescriptions will be subject to day supply and quantity limits. 

  • The plan will allow up to a seven-day supply of opioids. Members wishing to obtain more than a seven-day supply should ask their doctor to submit a pre-authorization in advance whenever possible. If necessary, members may request that a seven-day supply of opioids be dispensed while they await approval of a pre-authorization request by their doctor. A pre-authorization is needed to obtain more than a seven-day supply of opioids during any ninety-day period. 
  • New quantity limits of 120 doses per 30 days’ supply will apply. 
  • These safety changes began applying to all members and all plans on January 1, 2018.
  • Members currently taking a drug that has been added to the safety edit list will not be grandfathered in.
  • The new quantity limits will have a 180-day look-back period.  

Click here for Alaska Opioid Policy Task Force information intended to help combat the opioid epidemic in the United States. 

2018 Health Fairs—Coming Soon!
Space is LIMITED at each health fair location, you MUST pre-register online to attend any of the following fairs. Pre-registration closes the Sunday before each fair weekend.

Mat-Su Valley: 
September 22nd

8 a.m. - 12p.m.
Mat-Su Regional Medical Center-Palmer

September 22nd & 23rd

8 a.m. - 12 p.m.
Carlson Center

October 6th & 7th
8 a.m. - 12 p.m.
Ted Stevens Int'l Airport-North Terminal 
Free parking with validation

October 28th
8 - 11 a.m.
Centennial Hall

Pre-registration will close early if a date reaches maximum capacity. Please arrive 15 minutes before your appointment. No Walk-Ins, please. 

Vision Service Provider (VSP) Exclusive Member Extras with TruHearing!

Like vision loss, hearing loss can have a significant impact on your quality of life. 

VSP in partnership with TruHearing is now offering VSP member's a discount of up to 60% on a pair of brand-name hearing aids and more. To find out more about TruHearing discounted hardware and other service offerings, call TruHearing at (877) 396-7194 or click here to visit their website. 

You must mention that you are a VSP member to guarantee the appropriate discount is applied. For information on your AlaskaCare Health Plan hearing benefit contact the Aetna Concierge at (855) 784-8646.

August is Preventive Health Month

It's time to take charge of your health! Schedule an appointment with your health care provider to discuss what screenings and exams you need and when to get them. Remember, if you are seeking medical diagnosis and treatment, and arrive with symptoms, it is not considered a routine annual preventative screening. To learn more about which preventative benefits are covered at 100%, contact the Aetna Concierge at (855) 784-8646

Barley Risotto With Asparagus

Recipe of the Month
Barley Risotto with Asparagus


Isometric Shrug

Exercise of the Month
The Isometric Shrug

This exercise works the biceps and pectoral muscles. 


Health Fact of the Month
Sleeping Kitten

Sleep is the way your body refuels. Getting a good eight hours of sleep every night should be a goal year-round.

Alaska Tobacco Quit Line Offers Tobacco Cessation Programs
Thinking about quitting? To locate resources in your community, contact the Alaska Tobacco Quit Line. It's free to Alaskans and offers access to free telephone, web and text-based support to help you quit tobacco.
Call today 1-800-QUIT-NOW.


Not sure if that cold is worth the trip? 
Call the Aetna Nurse line, 24 hours, 7 days a week.

Call (800) 556-1555