3rd Quarter 2009 Benefits Corner

by Al Horan, CRA's Benefits Chairperson

During the course of the CRA's May 17-19 Annual Meeting in Las Vegas, Benefits presentations were made by Chevron, United Healthcare and me. Topics covered by the speakers were Benefits Administration, Wellness and other CRA Benefits issues.

Making key annual meeting presentations were, from left, Dr. David Weichers, national accounts medical director, United Healthcare (UHC); Claudia Polidori, Chevron manager, US Benefits; and Brynn Valinoti, UHC account executive for Chevron.

Chevron reported that the administrative services performed by their Outsource Provider Organizations for the Company's Benefits Plans have been good. Chevron is pleased with their performance and, from my perspective, I agree. They also reported that the Dependent Eligibility Verification is going extremely well. So far they have a 70 percent reply rate and the error percentage is about one percent. The response by you has been exceptional and the error percentage is quite low. Typically, the error rate is 3-7 percent. Just a reminder: ineligible dependents will be dropped by July 31.

Dr. David Weichers from United Healthcare talked about how wellness and longevity are linked. He said that while genetics is important, it only accounts for 20-30 percent of an individual's life expectancy. We physically peak between ages 20-30 and then steadily decline until age 70 when we plateau. Dr. Dave's five steps to a longer life are:

  1. Eat Less. Try to eliminate 100 calories per day and eat more fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
  2. Exercise. Do aerobics 3-5 times per week (burns fat); lift weights/do push-ups (builds muscle mass); do stretching (to maintain range of motion); and exercise your mind.
  3. Sleep. Recharges and repairs our bodies.
  4. Optimistic Attitude. Keep busy, seek out new goals and look for life's bright side. Try to reduce stress (consider exercise, meditation, etc.).
  5. Socialize. Don't become a hermit. Call or visit other people regularly.

Those five steps also can be beneficial in reducing Cardiac Disease and the risk of Cancer. The American Cancer Society advises that lifestyle changes can reduce cancer deaths by 50 percent. And a study of centenarians in Okinawa and Sardinia confirmed a healthy lifestyle is important to longevity.

For more information about the study, read "The Blue Zones" by Dan Buettner. Lastly, see your doctor at least annually and follow their advice. (While not covered by Dr. Dave, also important is accident prevention. For tips on accident prevention in the home, contact Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at 770-488-1506.)

My presentation provided an update on CRA's Dental Program, the status of our request for a Pension Supplementation increase and the quality of service provided by Chevron's outsource representatives. The Dental Program is in full effect and we continue to offer it to new dues-paying CRA members. (Note: we are discussing with Met-Life the possibility of reoffering it to new dues-paying CRA members.) The Association is continuing to discuss the need for a Pension Supplementation with the Company.

If you would like a copy of any the presentations mentioned in this article, please contact me via E-mail at awhoran@verizon.net or phone 972-964-1787.