Human Resources

Health Care Tips

 

Use Preventive Care Services

Routine preventive care exams can prevent disease and detect disease early. Obtaining regular preventive care exams and screenings is key to achieving and maintaining good health. In accordance with preventive care guidelines established by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force and other health organizations, the following routine screenings and immunizations* are recommended for adults age 18 and older:
 
Blood pressure
Regular screening
Cervical cancer screening (Pap Smear)
Every 3 years for women beginning at age 21
Cholesterol (Lipid) test
Regular screening for men age 35 & older; women age 45 & older; or younger if increased risk of coronary heart disease
Colorectal screening
Routine screening beginning at age 50
Diabetes screening
Regular screening for asymptomatic adults with sustained blood pressure greater than 135/80
Gestational diabetes screening
Screening for asymptomatic pregnant women after 24 weeks of gestation
Hepatitis C Screening Screening for persons at high risk for infection
HIV Screening Screening for all pregnant women; adolescents and adults ages 15 to 65
Mammography
Screening for adult women of standard risk every one to two years beginning at age 40
Osteoporosis screening
Routine screening for women age 65 and older
Influenza vaccine
Annually
Zoster (shingles) vaccine
For those over age 60
 
*This is not a complete list. Additional information on recommended preventive health screenings and immunizations as well as other tips to help you and your family stay healthy can be found at www.healthfinder.gov.    Please talk with your doctor about the health screenings that are right for you, based on your age, gender, individual health risks, and your family history, and follow the advice of your doctor.

To illustrate the University’s commitment to promoting the prevention and early detection of disease and helping employees and their family members achieve and maintain a healthy lifestyle, the University’s health, dental, prescription drug and vision benefits plans include coverage for preventive care services.    The University’s health plans cover preventive health exams, screenings, immunizations, and women’s preventive health services, as defined by federal law, with no in-network cost sharing. The University’s prescription drug plan covers certain preventive prescription and over-the-counter medications, vaccines, and contraceptives with no cost sharing, subject to age and gender restrictions. Additional information on covered preventive health services can be found in the plan documents for our health, dental, prescription drug and vision plans.
 

Use In-Network Providers 

Make sure that your doctor, dentist, retail pharmacy, vision provider, or the medical facility you visit is an in-network provider. In-network providers have rate agreements with the insurance vendors for services rendered. If you use an in-network provider, our plans will pay a greater share of the total costs. If you use an out-of-network provider and you’re enrolled in a PPO plan or the POS plan or High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP), your health plan will pay a smaller share of the total costs, and you’ll be responsible for charges above the network rate agreements. If you use an out-of-network provider and you’re enrolled in the HMO/EPO plan, you’ll be responsible for the total charges unless it is a medical emergency and you’ve contacted UHC within 48 hours of receiving emergency care at an out-of-network hospital emergency room. If you use an out-of-network dental provider, the Advantica Dental Plan will pay a smaller share of the total costs, and you’ll be responsible for charges that exceed Advantica Dental’s fee schedule amounts. If you use an out-of-network vision provider, you will need to pay for the services/products in full and then file a claim with VSP for reimbursement up to certain amounts.
 
To locate in-network providers, do a provider search on the applicable insurance vendor website:
 

UnitedHealthcare
www.myuhc.com - select UnitedHealthcare Choice or UnitedHealthcare Choice Plus as plan

Advantica Dental                   
www.advanticabenefits.com – select Advantica Preferred Provider Network
 
Express Scripts  
www.express-scripts.com – select Locate a Pharmacy           
 
Vision Service Plan    

 
 
Use WUDirect© Providers

WUSTL health plan participants have priority access for initial appointments with Washington University’s network of over 1300 physicians. Seeing a WUDirect© physician will help lower your out-of-pocket costs through reduced co-pays and co-insurance. A listing of the WUDirect© physicians is available at https://wudirect.wustl.edu. To access this website, you will be required to enter the group number for your WUSTL health plan. The group number is listed on your health insurance ID card.
 

Urgent Care Centers vs. Hospital Emergency Rooms

You can save both time and money by visiting an urgent care center rather than going to a hospital emergency room for non-emergency medical conditions like the flu, sore throat, ear or sinus infections, minor cuts, sprains, strains, and minor broken bones. Hospital emergency rooms should be utilized only in cases of severe or life-threatening illnesses or injuries such as severe head injury, chest pain, major burns or broken bones, breathing difficulty, excessive bleeding or extreme pain that arises suddenly.  The medical staff at urgent care centers can treat injuries or illnesses that require immediate care but are not serious enough to be considered life-threatening. Visits to hospital emergency rooms for non-emergency situations can result in very lengthy waits for service and in greater out-of-pocket expense, compared to urgent care center visits. Under the HMO/EPO and POS plans, the co-pay for a visit to a participating urgent care center is just $35, compared to the $150 emergency room visit co-pay.   While the in-network co-insurance rate under the HDHP and PPO plans is the same for urgent care center and hospital emergency room visits (20% after the applicable plan deductible has been satisfied), the charge on which the co-insurance rate is based will be much lower at an urgent care center than a hospital emergency room.
 

Convenience Care Clinics

These clinics, often located in malls or retail drug stores, are staffed with nurse practitioners and physician assistants who can diagnose and provide immediate limited treatment for minor illnesses such as colds, seasonal allergies, bronchitis, ear or sinus infections, minor cuts and skin rashes. No appointments are necessary at these convenient walk-in clinics, which are frequently open 7 days a week, including evenings and weekends. Under the HMO/EPO and POS plans, the co-pay for a visit to a participating walk-in health care clinic is $25. Under the HDHP and PPO plans, such visits are subject to the applicable plan deductible and co-insurance rates (20% in-network/40% out-of-network).     
 

Establish a relationship with a Primary Care Physician

Although Washington University’s health plans do not require you to designate a primary care physician or obtain a referral from a primary care physician to see a specialist, establishing a relationship with a primary care physician is an important step in promoting good health. Your primary care physician can provide both a first contact for you with an undiagnosed health concern as well as continuing care for varied medical conditions, not limited by cause, organ system, or diagnosis. Your primary care physician can educate and advise you on health-related conditions, healthy behaviors, self-care skills and treatment options, as well as provide health screenings and immunizations.
                         

Resources/Tools You Can Use:

WUSTL's Wellness Connection is an initiative of the Office of Human Resources to promote evidence-based, data-driven wellness programs for faculty, staff, postdoctoral appointees and clinical fellows.  Our goal is to design and deliver wellness initiatives that meet you where you are, while fostering holistic growth: physically, emotionally, financially, socially and spiritually.  We aim to provide ample opportunities for you to set high standards for personal health decision-making, to promote consistent community support, and to advocate for public health policies that will be a positive example for our students and our community.  Learn more  
 
The Washington University WebMD Portal is the online hub for you to learn about personal health risks, take steps to make healthy changes and get support from a personal health coach.  Click here for more information and to register. 
  • Schedule a free and confidential biometric screening and learn the status of your cholesterol levels, blood pressure, glucose, BMI and other biometrics to help you set a baseline for tracking health improvements.
  • Complete the mobile-friendly health assessment and get a personalized report on your current health standing, including areas such as diet, exercise, stress, and sleep.  Use this information to set goals for next steps.
  • Use My Health Assistant to set small goals toward eating better, exercising more, managing stress, or losing weight and monitor your success along the way.
  • Consult with a WebMD Health Coach during one-on-one phone calls to get the support you need to achieve your personal goals.  Each coach is a trained professional with a health-related degree, and specialties including weight management, exercise, nutrition, tobacco cessation, and stress management.
  • Record your daily milestones on-the-go with Daily Victory and Weigh Today and participate in wellness challenges.
My Health Folders provides a convenient, confidential way to organize, store and retrieve your family's personal health information electronically. Through this free tool, you can maintain a secure on-line record of important health information such as medical history, physician contacts, emergency contacts, test results, and prescription and non-prescription medications for you and your family members, which you can access 24 hours a day world-wide via the Internet in the event of a medical emergency. Log on to https://myHealthfolders.com (passcode: W29658).
 

Resources Available Through Your Health Plan and Prescription Drug Plan Carriers:

Washington University in St. Louis Health Plan Participants (claims administered by UHC)
Register on www.myuhc.com to find in-network providers, to view your benefits and claims, and to:
  • Set up and manage a personal health record for you and your family members.
  • View a list of discounts on health-related products and services available to UHC participants
  • Enroll in the Healthy Pregnancy Program for access to nurses and educational resources 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
  • Use the treatment cost estimator to obtain an estimate of the costs of various procedures in your area
You can find preventive care guidelines specific to your age and gender by visiting www.uhcpreventivecare.com.
 
Express Scripts Prescription Drug Plan Participants
If you are enrolled in any of our health plans, you are automatically covered under the Express Scripts Prescription Drug Plan. Register on www.express-scripts.com to locate a participating retail pharmacy, to view your benefits and claims, and to:
  • Price a medication for determining your co-pays or co-insurance for retail and mail-order supplies
  • Access My Rx Choices to review potential lower-cost alternatives to your medications. 
  • Find information on a variety of diseases and conditions through the Health Resource Center
  • View detailed drug information
  • Use the resources and tools in the “For Your Doctor Visit” section to gather information to assist your doctor in choosing the medications that are right for you

 

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