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 Trust Matters - November 2012 

Stay healthy through the holidays!

Loss analysis finds trends in workplace accidents

ChallengeWave encourages healthy habits

Health care reform updates

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Stay healthy through the holidays!

Happy Holidays! As you prepare for the holiday season, here are some tips to keep your fitness goals on track:

  • Remember to be physically active to help control blood glucose levels and to lower stress levels, always plan time for at least a walk.
  • Don’t starve yourself before eating—you will likely eat more if you are super hungry.  Always eat your regularly scheduled meals.
  • Don’t skip breakfast; but do fill up with whole grain crackers, fruit, and raw vegetables if hunger pangs strike before the big feast, and drink plenty of water.
  • Get adequate amounts of sleep.
  • Be careful with alcohol. It packs calories and can destroy your resolve to resist food temptations.
  • Even if your host insists on you eating, remember that resisting is not rude.
  • Wait 10-15 minutes before eating seconds.
  • Savor your food.  Ask yourself if the food is really worth it.

Don’t forget about healthy alternatives to favorite holiday foods! Here’s a recipe for an equally delicious, healthier pumpkin pie that saves 151 calories and 12 grams of fat per slice:

THE BEST LIGHT PUMPKIN PIE

  • 1 cup ginger snaps
  • 16 oz. can pumpkin
  •  1/2 cup egg whites (about 4)
  •  1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice (cinnamon, ginger, cloves)
  • 12 oz. can evaporated skim milk

Preheat oven to 350. Grind the cookies in a food processor. Lightly spray a 9” glass pie pan with vegetable cooking spray. Pat the cookie crumbs into the pan evenly. Mix the rest of the ingredients in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Pour into the crust and bake until knife inserted in center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Allow to cool and slice in 8 wedges. Optional: serve each wedge with fat free whipped cream. Store any leftovers in the refrigerator.

Serves 9. Each slice: 165 calories, 1.5 g fat, .5 g saturated fat, 1.5 mg cholesterol, 170 mg sodium, 32 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 6 g protein. Diabetic exchange: 2 bread.

 

Loss analysis finds trends in workplace accidents

The League’s Field Services staff recently completed a detailed analysis to identify targets for loss reduction that will reduce accidents, injuries, property loss and liability claims using data from the past five years.  If Field Services is able to assist members that experience a high frequency and severity in claims, it will help mitigate loss exposures and add to the overall health and stability of the insurance trusts.  The analysis identified two key target areas to address.  First, during the last 5 years, approximately 45% of all workers’ compensation claims and 40% of the workers’ compensation incurred costs were attributed to employees who reported multiple injuries.  In addition, some members experience a high rate of injuries per employee. 

Field Services plans to address the findings in a number of ways, including the following:

  1. Loss Control will assist members identified in the analysis to develop programs that will reduce risk exposure.
  2. Preparing an individual analysis report for the 10 members who reported the highest percentage of claims and costs. The report will be presented to senior management and used to generate recommendations for reducing losses.
  3. The League’s online safety videos will be updated to include a more recent and greater selection of topics.
  4. Loss Control will continue to assist members with safety inspections to identify potential hazards. 
  5. Law enforcement activities represent a significant liability exposure and loss contributor.  Field Services is taking several steps to mitigate loss exposure in this area, including distribution of its “Slower is Faster” video, developing a committee of law enforcement professionals to address challenges, and implementing a law enforcement driver training course (scheduled for Spring or Summer 2013).

Addressing these significant exposures will help minimize losses and add to the overall strength of the pools.  Loss Control will continue to monitor claims activity so that we are able to assist members with the implementation of programs that will minimize accident, injury and liability exposures.  

 

ChallengeWave encourages healthy habits

Your Health Benefits Trust has partnered with The Institute for Emerging Issues to provide ChallengeWave, an innovative program to help employees start and continue good physical activity habits. Five of our member municipalities are participating in the pilot program -- Belmont, Kill Devil Hills, Nags Head, Roxboro and Southport began the challenge in October.

The goal is for employees in each municipality to compete with each other as well as the other municipalities to see who can cross the United States first. This is done by virtue of completing various physical activities that log miles. Activities are entered in the ChallengeWave website, so no special software is needed. ChallengeWave preforms the calculations after the physical activity is logged.  

The pilot program will run for six months. If you are interested in learning more about ChallengeWave, please call Dan at 919-300-6645 or email him at dan.wilson@challengewave.com.


Health care reform updates

Now that the election is over, it seems clear that we will begin to see movement at the state and national levels on a number of fronts relating to the implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

On the state level, Governor Perdue announced November 15 that North Carolina would establish a health care exchange in partnership with the federal government. The law requires exchanges to open January 1, 2014, with open enrollments to begin October 1, 2013. The states essentially have three options: administer their own exchange, opt out of administering an exchange or partner with the federal government as Governor Perdue has decided. This option provides flexibility to allow North Carolina to move toward self-administration of the exchange, if Governor-Elect McCrory and the legislature so choose.

We also expect that we will begin to see long-awaited guidance and regulations relating to the implementation of health care reform. While guidance will be particularly beneficial to employers, some are predicting an avalanche of information to come down the pike.  For example, final regulations on measuring hours worked to determine whether seasonal and temporary employees are full time and rules about the imposition of the $2,000 penalty for employers that don’t offer employees qualified health insurance are two examples of what is to be expected. In addition, there are still court decisions that could affect implementation. One suit is challenging whether the law can require religious organizations to include prescription contraceptives at no cost, and another is challenging the provision of premium subsidies for individuals that access insurance through a federally run exchange (the law currently reads that individuals earning under 400 percent of the federal poverty level are eligible for premium subsidies for coverage purchased through a state run exchange).

We will continue to watch these developments and keep you informed as they unfold.