AlaskaCare Employee News | July 2020

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AlaskaCare Employee News


July 2020 | #93

COVID-19 Information and Resources for AlaskaCare Members

In response to the COVID-19 national public health emergency declared on January 31, 2020 and the State of Alaska public health disaster emergency declared on March 11, 2020 by Governor Mike Dunleavy, the Division of Retirement and Benefits has implemented temporary plan changes and suspensions in the AlaskaCare health plans.

Learn how your health plan is supporting you.

Getting to Know Your Benefits
Employee Assistance Program

For AlaskaCare eligible employees, the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) offers a confidential counseling service, free of charge to you and your dependents, administered by Aetna.

This service provides assessment, treatment and referral services, and covers up to eight counseling sessions per problem per benefit year. The program is geared to provide assistance with difficulties that you may encounter at work, emotional problems, stress, family or relationship problems, and drug and alcohol abuse. Some of the areas the EAP can help with include personal balance, emotional wellness, communication skills, stress management, and grief issues. Your call or visit to the EAP counselor is completely confidential. Unless you choose to tell others, no one needs to know about your EAP counseling sessions. EAP counseling offices are located away from your work site. Discussions with an EAP counselor will not be revealed to anyone without your written permission unless required by law.

EAP staff is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. 


Self-Care During Tough Times

Protecting the health of you and your loved ones has been an important concern for all of us the last few months during the COVID-19 pandemic. Preventing the spread of this disease through hand-washing and good hygiene, physical distancing, covering your face in public places, and avoiding crowded spaces helps us all do our part to protect everyone’s health. But have you also made time to focus on your well-being and practice self-care?

Self-care describes intentional practices to maintain your physical, mental, and emotional health with positive coping strategies to deal with stress. Self-care is always important, but even more so in this stressful and uncertain time, when many of our routines, social interactions and other parts of everyday life have been disrupted. It is normal for all of us—adults, children, and babies—to feel increased stress and anxiety right now. Recognizing this in ourselves and our loved ones is important and giving ourselves the time (and permission) for self-care helps everyone stay healthy and resilient.

So, what does self-care mean? How do I start? Self-care simply means taking time for activities that help you feel good, reduce stress, and keep you healthy. Some ways to care for yourself:

  • Sleep: Get a good night’s sleep, take a nap, or short rest when you are feeling tired.
  • Eat healthy: Cook a nutritious meal, treat yourself to healthy take-out, or enjoy a snack of fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Stay active: Indoors or outdoors, find a physical activity you like and work it into your daily or weekly routine. Exercise and other activities that raise your heart rate, use your muscles, and get you moving are not only good for your body, but your mental health and stress level as well.
  • Spend time in nature: Exposure to natural settings, from wilderness to city parks to your own backyard, has been shown to have a significant positive impact on mental health. Even having access to a window with an outdoor view, or displaying images of natural landscapes in your home, can boost your mood.
  • Relax: More than ever, finding time to do the things we enjoy is important. Make time for your favorite hobby, reading a new book (or returning to an old favorite), or enjoy a movie or TV show you have been meaning to watch.
  • Communicate: Whether you keep a journal, have a close confidant, share with your partners, or participate in a support group, putting how you feel into words can be therapeutic. Other ways to process our emotions include visual arts, music, dance and movement, creating and inventing.

Self-care does not have to mean alone time. Connect with friends, family, and other people you care about, even if it is virtually or long-distance. Take a walk with a neighbor, cook a meal with your kids or grand kids, play a board game or watch a movie as a family. Whatever makes you happy and helps you deal with the stress—make time for self-care!

Contact the AlaskaCare Employee Assistance Program at (855) 417-2493 or visit for more information.

Getting to Know Your Benefits: 
Telemedicine for Behavioral Health

Telemedicine for behavioral health is a benefit available for AlaskaCare Employee Health Plan Members and it allows patients and providers to connect via video or phone when they are unable to be in the same place at the same time.

Telemedicine behavioral health visits help meet patients’ needs for convenient, affordable and readily accessible behavioral health services.

Telemedicine can benefit patients in a number of ways, such as:

  • Improving access to care that might not otherwise be available (e.g., in rural areas).
  • Continuing care with an existing provider when you travel or are away from home.
  • Reducing the need for trips to the emergency room and delays in care.
  • Improving continuity of care and follow-up.
  • Reducing the need to take time off work, setting up childcare services, and more, in order to access appointments far away.
  • Reducing potential transportation barriers, such as lack of transportation or the need for long drives. 
  • Your AlaskaCare plan includes coverage of behavioral health services provided via telemedicine. If your provider is unsure which telehealth services are eligible for coverage, please ask them to contact the Aetna Provider Services line at (888) 632-3862 for details.


Stem Cell Therapy: Get the Facts

What Is It?
Stem cell therapy is an exciting, emerging field in medicine, with many possibilities. As noted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, stem cell therapies may offer the potential to treat diseases or conditions for which few treatments exist. Stem cells, sometimes called the body’s “master cells,” are the cells that develop into blood, brain, bones, and all of the body’s organs. They have the potential to repair, restore, replace, and regenerate cells, and could possibly be used to treat many medical conditions and diseases.

Because this is a new treatment, however, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is concerned that some patients seeking a cure are vulnerable to risky, untested stem cell treatments that are illegal and potentially harmful. The FDA is increasing its oversight and enforcement to protect people from dishonest and unscrupulous stem cell clinics, while continuing to encourage innovation so the medical industry can properly evaluate and harness the potential of stem cell products.

To do your part to stay safe, make sure that any stem cell treatment you are considering is either FDA-approved, or being studied under an Investigational New Drug Application (IND), which is a clinical investigation plan submitted and allowed to proceed by the FDA.

FDA Regulation
The FDA has the authority to regulate stem cell products in the United States. Today, doctors routinely use stem cells that come from bone marrow or blood in transplant procedures to treat patients with cancer and disorders of the blood and immune system.

With limited exceptions, investigational products must also go through a thorough FDA review process as investigators prepare to determine the safety and effectiveness of products in well-controlled human studies, called clinical trials. The FDA has reviewed many stem cell products for use in these studies.

The AlaskaCare Health Plan follows FDA guidelines and covers FDA approved services. For information about your benefits, contact the Aetna Concierge at (855) 718-1768. For more information about stem cell therapy, visit the FDA's website.

We Value Your Feedback!

As an employee of the State of Alaska, your input is valued and important. Below, please see a list of ways to contact us with your feedback. Also, a full list of AlaskaCare health plan and partner contact information can be found on our website.

AlaskaCare – Plan Administrator

  • Toll Free: (800) 821-2251
  • In Juneau: (907) 465-4460
  • TDD: (907) 465-2805
  • Fax: (907) 465-3086
  • Email:
Come visit us:
State Office Building
6th Floor
333 Willoughby Avenue
Juneau, AK 99801 
Send us a letter:
State of Alaska
Division of Retirement and Benefits
P.O. Box 110203
Juneau, AK 99811-0203

Please Welcome the Following Providers
to the Aetna Network!

Front Door


  • Anchorage Dermatology and Cosmetics, LLC
  • Integrated Wellness and Recovery
  • Turnagain Functional Therapy
  • Rennard Eyecare, LLC
  • Luminous Manual Therapy
  • Glacier Bay Medical & Diabetes Care Center


  • Fairbanks Therapeutic Massage


  • Peninsula Nutrition
  • Kenai Anesthesia Associates


  • Bering See Vision


  • Desert Springs Behavioral Health


  • River Health and Wellness, LLC


  • Maple Springs of Wasilla
  • Wu Wellness

Using network providers can provide substantial benefits to members through the elimination of what is known as balance billing. The AlaskaCare plans limit payment of covered services to the recognized charge for the service provided. An out-of-network provider may bill you for the difference, or the balance, between the recognized charge and the actual charge. This is often referred to as balance billing and solely the member’s responsibility to pay. Network providers have agreed to accept, as payment in full, the negotiated charge. Therefore, you are not subject to balance billing when you use a network provider. Using network providers can also generate substantial savings to members by limiting charges to negotiated provider discounts. For assistance finding an in-network provider call the Aetna Concierge at (855) 784-8646 or search on-line using the Aetna DocFind tool.

For more information about the benefits of network usage, please visit our website.

Health Benefit Contact Information

Division of Retirement and Benefits
Member Services: (907) 465-4460 | Toll-Free: (800) 821-2251

Medical Benefits: Aetna
Member Services: (855) 784-8646

Dental Benefits: Moda/Delta Dental
Member Services: (855) 718-1768

Pharmacy Benefits: OptumRx
Member Services: (855) 409-6999

Specialty Pharmacy: BriovaRx
Enrollment Services: (855) 427-4682

Health Flexible Spending Accounts (HFSA): PayFlex
Member Services: (800) 416-7053

Surgery Plus
Member Care Advocate: (855) 715-1680

Vision & Audio Benefits: Aetna VSP
Member Services: (855) 784-8646

Member Services: (855) 835-2362