AlaskaCare Wellness News | December 2018

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December 2018 | #75

Anchorage Earthquake Resources

If you or someone you know is struggling to cope with the emotional impact of the earthquake, telephonic counseling is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, through Aetna Resources for Living Employee Assistance Program: (833) 327-AETNA (833) 327-2386). This is available to any community member who has been affected by the earthquake, regardless of whether they are a current Aetna customer.

For more information on what to do after an earthquake, please contact the American Red Cross of Alaska at (907) 230-4472 or visit

OptumRx Pharmacy Services
Effective January 1, 2019

Retail Prescriptions:

To locate OptumRx in-network retail pharmacies:

  1. Log into your OptumRx account to search for pharmacies in your area,
  2. Call the OptumRx customer service number listed on your ID card: (855) 409-6999, TTY 711.
  3. Show your member ID card to your local retail pharmacist to confirm they are in-network contracted with OptumRx prior to filling your prescription.

Mail Order Prescriptions:

To set up or manage home delivery, you have three options:

  1. Download the OptumRx app. You can get the app by searching for OptumRx in the Apple App Store or Google Play.
  2. Call the OptumRx customer service number listed on your member ID card to get information on benefits, assistance with setting up your online account, or other online tools: (855) 409-6999, TTY 711.
  3. Log into

If you choose to call, please have the following information ready:

  • You doctor's contact information.
  • The names and strength of your current medications.
  • Your payment information.

For help with Specialty Pharmacy Medications call BriovaRx at (855) 427-4682 or log on to

Prescription Prior Authorization. Let your doctor know that your pharmacy benefits have moved to OptumRx.

OptumRx offers multiple access options to address your need for timely and accurate prescription benefit information and delivery of medications. When you require real-time assistance, call OptumRx customer service at (855) 409-6999, TTY 711

Teladoc Services

 Doctor on Call

Teladoc, Inc. is a telehealth company that uses telephone and video conferencing technology to provide on-demand remote medical care via mobile devices, internet, video, and phone. Effective September 1, 2018, Teladoc telehealth services became part of the AlaskaCare Employee Health plan’s covered benefits. When you or your loved one is feeling under the weather, Teladoc is a 24/7/365 option to care for your non-emergent symptoms and may save you the cost of a trip to the doctor. Consider Teladoc.

To use your benefit, begin by registering your Teladoc account. There are three ways to do so:

  1. Online:
  2. Mobile App:
  3. Phone: (855) TELADOC (835-2362).

During registration, you’ll complete your medical history so when you need Teladoc®, it will be fast and easy.

SurgeryPlus Travel

Beginning August 1, 2018, AlaskaCare Employee Health plan members and their eligible dependents gained access to the SurgeryPlus Medical Travel Benefit, a network of premier quality medical providers across 40 states, and 350+ procedures. The new, enhanced concierge travel benefit is designed to save members time through the use of SurgeryPlus’ dedicated Care Advocate, who does everything from scheduling appointments to coordinating and booking travel. This service also saves members money—100% of coinsurance is waived for covered eligible procedures.

More information on SurgeryPlus:
If you or an eligible dependent needs non-emergent surgery, contact a SurgeryPlus Care Advocate (855) 715-1680 today.

Seasonal Affective Disorder

Sad Woman

On November 4, 2018, clocks were turned back one hour and daylight savings officially ended. What does that mean for people who live in Alaska? It means they are now likely to begin and end the workday in the dark, and that continuous lack of exposure to sunshine may interrupt sleep patterns and the ability to concentrate and focus. 

Most cases of seasonal affective disorder (SAD) begin during late fall or early winter and go away during the spring or summer. SAD is said to occur due to changes in the body’s internal clock and changes in brain and body’s chemicals. Feeling depressed on most days, feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness, reduced energy, concentration, and lack of interest in activities are the commonly noted symptoms. SAD can also be a sign of depression. Talk to your doctor. Treatment for SAD is available in the form of medications, light therapy, and psychotherapy. And don’t forget about self-care!

Here are some tips:

  • Keep your house well lit.
  • Sit closer to bright windows both at home and in office.
  • Take a walk outside each day.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Eat a well-balanced diet.
  • Stick to your treatment plan.
  • Practice relaxation techniques such as yoga, tai chi, and meditation.
  • Practice music or art therapy.
For more information on the causes, symptoms, and treatment of SAD, check out Mayo Clinic's resources.

December is National Impaired Driving
Prevention Month 
Drunk Driving

Impaired driving due to drinking and drug use is a deadly epidemic, yet it continues across the United States. In addition to the human toll, drunk and drugged driving takes a toll on our country. The financial impact is devastating—based on 2010 numbers, the most recent year for which CDC cost data is available, automobile crashes caused by impaired driving cost the United States $44 billion annually. During this holiday season, as well as year-round, it is important that you, and everyone you celebrate with, never drive under the influence. Decide Before You Drive!

Check your AlaskaCare Employee Health plan for alcohol and/or drug counseling services or substance screening benefits and contact the Aetna Concierge at (855) 784-8646 prior to receiving services. 

Managing Holiday Stress
Holiday Stress
Although we may take holiday stress for granted, it can leave us feeling impatient, cranky, and in some cases, depressed. Don’t let the holidays become something you dread.

Here are some tips to help fight holiday stress:

  • Think positive and forget perfection.
  • Plan ahead and don’t over-schedule.
  • Put yourself first—get 8 hours of sleep and fit exercise into your schedule.
  • Keep your finances in check.
  • Honor the loved ones you have lost.

Need assistance locating available resources and finding out which types of services are covered as part of your AlaskaCare Employee Health plan? Check out your Aetna Employee Assistance Program Benefits (EAP) at

Help Alaskan Children Walk and Bike Safely!

The Alaska Section of Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion and Anchorage Health and Human Services are working together to promote safe walking and biking habits among Alaska’s children. The two departments created back-to-school messages for public buses, public television, and radio, as well as social media. The messages are simple and direct: Alaskan children are walking and biking to and from school or bus stops. Look for them. Stop for them. Help them arrive safely.

In an ongoing effort to improve safety, parents are encouraged to review the following fall and winter safety tips with their children.

Be seen

  • Wear bright-colored clothes and reflective gear or carry a flashlight.
  • Bicyclists who ride in the dark are required by law to have their bikes equipped with a white headlight and a red rear reflector or taillight.
  • Walk or bike on the appropriate side of the road. If there is no sidewalk, be sure to walk on the side of the road facing traffic. Bicyclists should ride on the right side of the road, with the flow of traffic.
  • Stop, look, and listen. When crossing the street, use an approved crosswalk.

Make sure bicycles are in working order

  • Before riding a bike, check to see that the tires are inflated properly, the drive-train is clean and lubricated, and the brakes work.
  • Keep both hands ready to brake. Allow extra distance for stopping in the rain and snow.
  • Obey traffic signs, signals, and school crossing guards.
  • Wear a properly-fitted bicycle helmet, 75% of bicyclist deaths are caused by head injuries.

Dress appropriately

  • Layering = warmth. Wear many layers of loose clothing, as this ensures there are pockets of air between layers that insulate the body from the cold.
  • Close “gaps” where heat can escape. Neck and wrist openings are potential sites for heat loss. Wearing a scarf and long gloves or mittens can help retain heat.
  • Ice and snow can make it difficult to walk, so a good pair of boots or other shoes with traction is essential.
To learn more visit Bike-n-Walk Safely & Alaska U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Weight Watchers Workplace Kick-Off in December!

You still have time to sign up for the Juneau Alaska Weight Watchers Kick-Off scheduled for Thursday, December 6, 2018, from 12-12:45 p.m. at the DOA State Office Building.

Have questions or want to RSVP for the Kick-Off? Contact the WW@ Workplace coach,

Smoking Cessation

Find out everything you need to know to help you quit smoking with Alaska’s Tobacco Quit Line. Check out your AlaskaCare Employee Health Plan for tobacco cessation benefits. Get started today!

Alaska's Tobacco Quit Line | 1-800-QUIT-NOW 

Broccoli Salad

Recipe of the Month
Healthy Fall Broccoli Salad


Dolphin Pose

Exercise of the Month
Dolphin Pose


Health Fact of the Month
Eye Strain
To prevent potential headaches and eyestrain, make sure the distance between your computer screen and your eyes is about an arm’s length away. You should also be able to comfortably read what’s on your screen within this distance, without having to squint. If you cannot, simply increase the font size on your computer.


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

                           Call (800) 556-1555