AlaskaCare Employee News | October 2020

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October 2020 | #96

COVID-19 Resources

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.

Mask-Up, Lather-Up, and Sleeve-Up

This fall and winter, the flu and COVID-19 both may spread. Wearing a mask, washing hands often, and getting a flu vaccine are three simple actions that everyone, especially people at higher risk of developing serious flu complications, should take to help reduce the spread of flu. This saves medical resources needed to care for people with COVID-19 and keeps yourself and the people around you healthy!

You Can Take Action to Protect Against the Flu
Getting a flu vaccine this fall can reduce your risk of getting flu and help reduce the risk of you spreading flu to your friends, family, or coworkers. It’s important for everyone to do their part to stay healthy this flu season. Prevent the spread of flu and other respiratory illnesses:

  • Mask Up: Cover your nose and mouth with a mask when out in public.
  • Lather Up: Wash your hands frequently with soap and water.
  • Sleeve Up: Roll up your sleeve to get a flu shot.

When Should I Get a Flu Shot?
October is a good time to get your flu shot. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that you get a flu shot in early fall—before flu viruses begin spreading in your community—so that your body has time to develop antibodies and provide protection against the flu. However, as long as flu viruses are circulating, you should consider getting a flu shot.

Where Can I Get my Flu Shot and How is it Covered?
You can get a flu shot at many different places, including your local pharmacy, primary care provider, or at other special events. Flu shots received from a network pharmacist or provider are covered 100% by the health plan, making this a no brainer for your health and your wallet!

Can I Have the Flu and COVID-19 at the Same Time?
Yes. It is possible have flu (or other respiratory illnesses) and COVID-19 at the same time. Health experts are still studying how common this can be. Some of the symptoms of flu and COVID-19 are similar, making it hard to tell the difference between them based on symptoms alone. Diagnostic testing can help determine if you are sick with flu or COVID-19. If you are experiencing symptoms and believe you may be sick, please call your healthcare provider for medical advice.

The CDC's comprehensive website with information on influenza transmission, symptoms, prevention, treatment and more can be found here.

Voluntary Supplemental Benefits (VSB) Open Enrollment

Open Enrollment is coming in November—now’s the time to learn more about your employee benefits! Help protect the things you value most, take the time to understand your options ahead of this year’s open enrollment!

Take the time to understand your options and learn about the MetLife benefits available to State of Alaska employees by visiting

New, lower prices on some products for 2021!

MetLife Benefits available to State of Alaska Employees:
Critical Illness Insurance: Helps keep your finances on track when a covered illness happens, so you can focus on your recovery. If a serious illness happens to you or a loved one, this coverage provides you with a lump-sum payment that can be used however you want, including to pay for everyday living expenses and out of pocket medical costs, like copays and deductibles.

Life Insurance and AD&D: Helps protect your income and cover essential living expenses in the event you cannot work due to an illness or injury. Having Life and Accidental Death & Dismemberment (AD&D) Insurance from MetLife is a great way to ensure that your loved ones will have financial security even if something happens to you.

Short- and Long-Term Disability: Provide protection for those who depend on you with quality life insurance at competitive group rates. You can take steps now to help ensure that you can pay the bills in the event that you are unable to work.

More information can be found on our website.

Keep an “Eye” on Your Vision

It is especially challenging right now to look ahead and plan for the future—but one thing you can do in the meantime is take good care of your vision! As we all adjust to spending more time on screens, from virtual meetings and events, to new set-ups for working and learning at home, it is more important than ever that we keep our eyes healthy.

Tips for day-to-day vision care:

  • Take breaks: Build in short, frequent wellness breaks during your workday. Not only is it healthy and refreshing to take a brief walk or stretch, but it also gives your eyes a rest from screen glare.

  • Screen placement matters: OSHA recommends that computer monitors be positioned at least 20 inches from your typical sitting or standing position, with the top of the screen at or below eye level.

  • Lighting matters: if possible, use softer or indirect natural light in your workspace. Position your workstation perpendicular to a window, to avoid glare on your screen or in your line of sight while working. If you work in bright sunlight, wear sunglasses or a hat with a brim.

  • Reduce exposure to blue light at night: During evening and nighttime hours, exposure to “blue light” through computer, television, and phones can increase eye strain, inhibit the brain’s ability to wind down at the end of the day, and impact sleep quality. Smartphones have built-in settings or easily available apps that reduce exposure to blue light and dim your screen.

It is also important have an annual vision exam and ensure your prescription is up to date if you use corrective lenses. Routine eye exams can help you see better and detect symptoms of serious conditions such as glaucoma, cataracts, and diabetes. Eye Exams for children spot problems that can hinder learning and development.

The AlaskaCare Employee Health Plan vision benefit covers one vision exam per calendar year, with a $10 co-pay if completed by an in-network provider. Visit the VSP webpage for more information on the latest eyewear and discounts on featured frame brands. Consult the Employee Health Plan Booklet for details about vision coverage.

Well-Child Checkups

It is important for your child to see a health care provider when he or she is sick, but it is just as important for them to go when they are feeling fine. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) strongly supports continued access to health care for children and adolescents during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, whether it be in person or via telehealth.

The Benefits of Well-Child Visits:

  • Prevention. Your child receives scheduled immunizations to prevent illness. Ask your pediatrician about nutrition and safety in the home and at school as well.

  • Tracking growth and development. See how much your child has grown in the time since your last visit and talk with your doctor about your child's development. You can discuss your child's milestones, social behaviors, and learning.

  • Raising concerns. Make a list of topics you want to talk about with your child's pediatrician such as development, behavior, sleep, eating, or getting along with other family members. Bring your top three to five questions or concerns with you to talk with your pediatrician at the start of the visit.

  • Team approach. Regular visits create strong, trustworthy relationships among pediatrician, parent, and child. This team approach helps develop optimal physical, mental, and social health of a child.

The AlaskaCare Employee plan provides coverage for preventive care services. There is no copayment or deductible, and services will be paid at 100% when you see an in-network provider. Preventive care services provided by an out-of-network provider are subject to payment under medical plan provisions governing non-preventive care services. If you need assistance locating an in-network provider, call the Aetna Concierge at (855) 784-8646 or search online using the Aetna DocFind tool.

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

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