While we are awaiting an announcement from the IRS, the cap put on allowable employee contributions to Flexible Spending Accounts is expected to increase by $50. The cap index, which is based on the medical component of the consumer price index, did not increase last year. Inflation has been high enough to support an increase from the current level of $2,550 to $2,600 for 2017, however employers do not have to increase the limit. Some employers are increasing the limit prior to open enrollment, while others will likely hold off and make the adjustment for their 2018 plan year.
As Florida Gulf Coast University prepares to celebrate 20 years since it opened its doors, Self Insured Plans is celebrating 20 years of serving the Naples business community. In honor of these two auspicious anniversaries, the business has made a $20,000 pledge to FGCU for its Master of Physician Assistant Studies program.
The program, which is now accepting applicants and will launch in the fall, will help fill the need for these in-demand health professionals. The gift from Self Insured Plans will ensure that students with the desire to pursue this career will have the means to do so.
Self Insured Plans is an independent third party administrator specializing in employee benefits administration. It is a family owned business led by Steve Rasnick, its president and founder, and his son, Brian, who serves as executive vice president.
The family has taken an active interest in FGCU, with Brian Rasnick serving as a member of the FGCU Foundation Board and as chairman of the Eagles Club Advisory Board. It is a rare basketball game at which you won’t see the whole family energetically rooting for the Eagles.
“All of us at Self Insured Plans are very proud to celebrate this milestone,” says Steve Rasnick. “We have much to be thankful for and enjoy being involved in and supporting the community we serve. This gift to FGCU is one way to demonstrate our appreciation and our support for the important role the university serves in training the skilled professionals our workforce needs.”
“We are also pleased to be celebrating our 20th anniversary at the same time as this great university to which we have become so attached.”
The Self Insured Restricted Scholarship will award $5,000 for each of the next four years to an FGCU student enrolled in the Master of Physician Assistant Studies Program.
“This program, operated in our College of Health Professions and Social Work, is extremely important, providing a pathway to a career in which demand is growing exponentially,” says Chris Simoneau, vice president for University Advancement. “Partnering with a well-respected company such as Self Insured Plans, which understands the dynamics of health care, is ideal. It’s especially meaningful as both the university and the company celebrate two decades in Southwest Florida.”
Demand for physician assistants is expected to grow by 30 percent from 2014 to 2024, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
For details, contact Chris Simoneau at (239) 590-1067. To learn more about Self Insured Plans, visit selfinsuredplans.com today.
Often, the simplest foods are the best for your health – think fruits and veggies. This reins true with nuts as well. Among nuts, Mother Nature crafted a near perfect package of protein, healthy fat, fiber, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals when creating the walnut. Adding just one ounce (approximately 7 walnuts) to your diet may be all it takes to reap these benefits and more.
Walnuts may help reduce not only the risk of prostate cancer, but breast cancer as well. In one study, mice that ate whole walnuts for 18 weeks had significantly smaller and slower-growing prostate tumors compared to those that consumed the same amount of fat from other sources. In another study, the human equivalent of just two handfuls of walnuts a day cut breast cancer risk and slowed tumor growth in mice by 50%.
Adding a healthful amount of walnuts to your diet can help to maintain your ideal weight over time. In one review of 31 trials, individuals who substituted walnuts for other foods lost about 1.4 extra pounds and half an inch from their waist. Eating walnuts is also associated with increased satiety after just three days.
Research shows walnut consumption may support brain health, due to the number of neuroprotective compounds, including vitamin E, melatonin, omega-3 fats, and antioxidants they contain. One study also found that consuming high-antioxidant foods, like walnuts, can enhance cognitive and motor function in aging adults.
Most of us are well aware that smoking causes lung cancer, second hand smoke can have negative health consequences, and that nicotine is highly addictive. If these age-old “smoking will kill you” messages haven’t helped you kick the habit – maybe these lesser known facts will!
Kiss Your Youthful Looks Goodbye
Smoking destroys key elements that help you maintain a youthful appearance such as collagen, elastin and tissue. Not only does smoking cause wrinkles and yellowing teeth, it also damages the DNA in hair follicles causing smokers to have thinner hair that tends to go gray sooner. What’s more, men who smoke are about twice as likely to lose their hair as nonsmokers.
Smoking makes your body more resistant to insulin, raising your body’s blood sugar levels. Uncontrolled blood sugar can lead to diabetes and serious complications including heart disease, kidney disease, and poor blood flow in the legs and feet that may result in infections, ulcers and possible amputation.
Decreased Life Expectancy
Did you know that each cigarette you smoke reduces your life span by 11 minutes? If you smoke a pack of cigarettes a day for a year, you reduce your life expectancy by a total of 55 days!
More Deadly than Car Crashes or HIV
One in five deaths in the United States is attributed to tobacco – that’s more than car accidents, HIV deaths and homicides combined!
If you have attempted to quit smoking in the past but have been unsuccessful, don’t beat yourself up. Quitting smoking isn’t an easy task. In fact, research suggests it takes an average of 6 to 9 attempts to finally quit for good.
If you haven’t interacted with a doctor by smart phone, email or webcam recently, you’ll be interested to know that the American Telemedicine Association reports that more than 15 million Americans received some kind of medical care remotely last year.
For those employed by a large company or living in a major metro area, it is common to view telemedicine as a virtual doctor visit or a substitute for an in-person office visit. The fact is that electronic communications are impacting the delivery of healthcare in many ways.
- Some doctors are consulting with one another to make critical decisions on heart attack and stroke victims
- Patients are using smart phones to relay blood pressure, heart rate and other vital signs to their doctors in order to better manage chronic conditions
- Virtual Care Centers are providing remote support to ICUs and ERs in small, rural hospitals where a physician may not be on site 24/7
Many question whether the quality of care is keeping pace with the rapid expansion of telemedicine, and state rules governing telemedicine are constantly evolving. At the same time, health plans and a growing number of members view the services as a convenient way to get medical care without leaving home or work.
The AMA recently approved new ethical guidelines for telemedicine, calling for participating doctors to recognize its limitations and ensure that sufficient information is available before making a clinical recommendation. With existing telemedicine providers expanding and major teaching institutions gearing up, there appears to be no slowdown in sight.
When it comes to improving the health and well-being of your employees, it’s easy to get caught up in trying to be super creative or search for that magic bullet that automatically boosts engagement and changes behavior. If only it were that easy!
Like any other important business initiative, work-site wellness and health management must begin with a plan, a budget and a strategy. Your plan needs to be based on realistic goals and objectives and executed strategically over the long-term. Most importantly, your plan must be designed to benefit everyone and taken to heart at every level of the organization, top to bottom. If health management is not lived by leadership, others will never take it seriously.
Numbers Seldom Lie
Recent surveys by Towers Watson and the National Business Group on Health show that fewer than 1 in 5 companies have defined a health strategy for their organizations. Surveys also show that in 2014, companies “working” their plan reported per employee healthcare expenses nearly $2,000 lower than companies doing little in the area of health management.
Perhaps the most meaningful numbers in your plan are those that rise to the surface through biometric screenings. Identifying each individual’s health risks is the ingredient that truly can change behavior, help fight chronic disease and improve quality of life. Relevant, personalized health data can make the difference between talk and action, and ultimately, between estrangement and engagement.
Never Stop Communicating
Virtually every employer group will consist of those who are already actively engaged in their health, a similar number with little or no interest and the majority who may not be actively engaged but can be influenced over time. The key to a successful health strategy is consistent, honest communication – telling employees what your program includes, why the program is being made available, how they can benefit and when they need to get involved. Communication is critical for those who come on board, especially when incentives are included. Keeping things simple and fun will always generate better results and help keep the focus on people’s well-being rather than the company’s bottom line.