Author Archives: Matthew Casey

Middlebury College to Receive 2021 Governor’s Excellence in Worksite Wellness Award

We are proud to announce that Middlebury College has been selected to receive the 2021 Governor’s Excellence in Worksite Wellness Silver award! This award recognizes Vermont workplaces that have made significant efforts towards improving employee wellness.

The college is proud of our continuing commitment to supporting and improving employee wellness in all areas. For more information on available resources, please visit http://www.middlebury.edu/well-being/ or view the resource guide at https://www.gmhec.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/Well-being-resource-guide-1.pdf

Important Flexible Spending Account Changes

The most recent COVID-19 Relief Bill passed in December 2020 has made it easier for you to use your health and dependent care Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA).  The Bill allowed some temporary changes to both the Health FSA and the Dependent Care FSA.  The changes are listed below and are temporary at this time.  Please review this information carefully.  Instructions are provided below if you would like to change your election or enroll in a flexible spending account.  No action is required to take advantage of the other plan changes.

PLANFSA FEATUREPREVIOUS RULENEW RULETIMELINEWHAT YOU NEED TO DO
Health & Dependent Care FSAUnrestricted  carryover of unused funds  (New)Currently there is a $550 limit maximum to carry over your health FSA.  The dependent care FSA does not allow any carry over currently.Under the new Bill you may carry over all unused funds in your 2020 health and/or dependent care FSA money to your 2021 FSA. As well you may carry over all unused from 2021 to 2022.This feature is currently only authorized for the 2020 plan year and the 2021 plan year.Nothing. Any unused funds you currently have in your 2020 FSA’s will be carried over to your 2021 FSA’s.  If you did not enroll in an FSA for 2021, one will be created for you to hold your rollover money.  One Caution – if you are enrolled in the Panther plan (High Deductible Health Plan -HDHP) you may only use the Health FSA rollover money to pay for dental or vision expenses.
Health & Dependent Care FSAElection changes without an IRS Change in Status Event (This was also offered in 2020)This was put into place in the spring of 2020 and is being carried over to 2021.  This allows you to start, stop or change your deferral deductions throughout the year without an IRS Change in Status Event.Same as the previous rule – this is being continued in 2021.This feature is currently only authorized for the 2021 plan year and will end on 12/31/2021.If you want to enroll in a health or dependent care FSA you may do so without an IRS Change in Status Event.  You may also change your deferral amounts at any time without an IRS Change in Status Event.                                                      How do I make the change?  You will need to email the Benefits Shared Services team (Benefits@gmhec.org)  to adjust your account.
Dependent Care FSAIncreased Eligibility Age                (New)The age for eligible dependents in a dependent care FSA is currently up to age 13.The age for dependent care reimbursement is up to age 14 for the 2020 year only.  This allows you to use your 2020 rollover for dependents age 13 in 2021.This feature is currently only authorized for the 2020 plan year.Nothing.  If you had a dependent care roll-over to 2021 and your child turned 13 in 2021 you can use those funds for dependent care expenses.

How to request to enroll, change or cancel your Health and Dependent Care FSA in 2021.

1. Send an email to Benefits@GMHEC.org  to request your change.

2. In your email you must include the following information.

  • Your Oracle ID number
  • Name
  • College
  • Which FSA you would like to enroll, cancel, or change; Health or Dependent Care
  • Type of Change (enroll, cancel or change)
  • The annual amount you would like to defer for the entire calendar year (remember there are annual limits, $5,000 for a Dependent Care FSA and $2,750 for a Health FSA)

3. Changes must be made the Friday before the next pay date to be effective in that pay period.

  • For new enrollees, eligible reimbursement requests dates will be as of the date the request was received by the  Benefits Shared Services Team

TIAA Financial Essentials Live Webinars

See the full details on this month’s webinars

Register at TIAA.org/webinars

Strategies for staying on track – No matter how much or how little money you can save for retirement, it’s important that you start now and stay invested for your future. You can learn how taking smart financial steps today, may help lead you to a solid financial future after you’ve stopped working. March 16 at 3 p.m. (ET)

Retiring in the new normal – We all know how important it is to save for retirement. This presentation brings many of the risks to light so you have a better understanding of what you may be facing and what you can do about it, especially in this new environment. Namely, shifting your strategy from just growing your money to protecting what you’ve saved as it grows. And for those still working, we’ll talk about protecting your income in retirement, by creating a guaranteed income stream to help cover essential expenses and next steps you  can take to help protect your retirement future. March 17 at 3 p.m. (ET)

Understanding Medicare– Paying for healthcare in retirement is a critical part of financial planning, and it is important to understand how Medicare operates and what choices you have. This webinar will help you understand some aspects of Medicare, including eligibility and what plans are available to you. We hope that you will join us for this educational event. March 18 at 12 p.m. (ET)

Home buying 101: A financial primer for first-time home buyers – Buying your first home is a big deal and comes with lots of new experiences—and expenses—along the way. Get expert insights on the key steps and considerations for your home buying journey, including the three phases: preparing to search, finding your home and getting to closing. March 18 at 3 p.m. (ET)

The SECURE Act – The SECURE Act (Setting Every Community up for Retirement Enhancement Act), passed on December 20, 2019, made sweeping changes to the retirement plan landscape. Learn about the changes and how they impact your retirement planning considerations. March 16 at 12 p.m. (ET)

Social Security basics -Social Security will likely play a significant role in building your retirement income. Learn the basics about Social Security including eligibility, how to apply, how your benefit is calculated and strategies for claiming benefits. March 17 at 12 p.m. (ET)

Estate planning basics – Ensuring that our assets will pass to loved ones, and causes that are near and dear is important to most of us. Discover the components of a basic estate plan and strategies to ensure that your wishes are met. March 24 at 12 p.m. (ET)

My Secure Advantage March Webinars

MSA Live! | Getting & Keeping Good Credit

March 9, 2021 | 9:00 AM (PT) & 12:00 PM (PT) | Register here

Credit scores influence personal finances in more ways than most people realize. Whether it’s your auto insurance premium or the interest rate on your mortgage, you want your credit score to be deemed “excellent”. We’ll discuss the criteria that determines a credit score, as well as how to establish new credit, how to recover from credit challenges, and best practices for maintaining an excellent credit score.

MSA Live! | Dreaming of Retirement

March 25, 2021 | 9:00 AM (PT) & 12:00 PM (PT) | Register here

Many people can’t wait for retirement, yet they haven’t considered how they will sustain their ideal retirement lifestyle. To be confident in the amount of retirement income that you need, you should first estimate the difference in cost between your current lifestyle and the retirement lifestyle you dream about. In this class we provide tools to help you estimate that difference. We’ll also offer a wide range of considerations to help you formalize a realistic retirement plan to help make your retirement dream a reality.

Register even if you cannot attend. A recording of the webinar will automatically be sent within 24 hours.

Want to learn more about this topic? Connect with MSA at middlebury.mysecureadvantage.com or call 888-724-2326.

MSA Money Coaching – Just a Call Away

Middlebury College has partnered with My Secure Advantage (MSA) to provide a complete financial wellness benefit to you! When it comes to money, searching for answers can feel overwhelming. By connecting with a personal Money Coach, you can build a stronger and more secure future no matter where you are in your financial journey.

Questions?  Learn more about MSA here. Connect with MSA at middlebury.mysecureadvantage.com or call 888-724-2326.

MSA Money Coaching – Just a Call Away

Middlebury College has partnered with My Secure Advantage (MSA) to provide a complete financial wellness benefit to you! When it comes to money, searching for answers can feel overwhelming. By connecting with a personal Money Coach, you can build a stronger and more secure future no matter where you are in your financial journey.

No two stories are alike and your financial strategies shouldn’t be either

With MSA, you have access to a dedicated Money Coach for 90 days each year to talk about any financial topic. It could be about creating a budget, increasing your credit score, paying down debt or all three! Maybe you’ve got questions about planning for retirement, buying a home, or creating an investment plan. You get the idea. Whatever your financial focus or challenge, MSA has credentialed, skilled Coaches who can help.

Confidentiality and a real person to guide and support your goals

Think of your Coach as a personal financial guide, accountability partner, and chief motivator. Together you’ll create a plan that embodies your values, priorities, and goals – one that reflects and works with your life. MSA encourages your spouse/partner to join in the conversations too. All sessions are confidential, over the phone and a half hour long.

No out-of-pocket cost, hidden fees or charges

Middlebury College has paid for this benefit, full stop. MSA’s coaches don’t work on commission or sell any products. When you talk with a Money Coach, you can be sure that you’re getting unbiased, judgment-free guidance.

So what are you waiting for? Get started today! 

Protecting Your Health Care Information with Cigna Two-Factor Authentication

Like many health care, financial services, and tech companies, we are taking an additional step in helping to protect our customers’ personal information. Starting March 17, 2021, we will require the use of two-step authentication for myCigna online account access.

Two-step authentication, also called multi-factor authentication (MFA), adds an extra layer of protection to our customers’ myCigna accounts by requiring their password plus a unique code in order to log in. We have offered the option of using two-step authentication since 2018 and more than 3.5 million customers have added it since then.

What to expect:

  • Starting February 22, 2021, we will send email notifications to all customers who have not turned on two-step authentication and notify them it will now be required, instead of optional.
  • Customers will be directed to the myCigna log in screen, where they can start the process.
  • To use two-step authentication, customers must use a valid mobile phone number or valid email address.
  • On March 17, customers who have not yet added two-step authentication will not be able to access their online account until they complete the two-step authentication setup process.

How you can help:

  • Encourage your employees to add two-step authentication to their myCigna account.
  • Recommend the use of strong passwords and unique credentials when managing online accounts.

We care deeply about protecting our customers’ confidential information and we appreciate your support as we roll out this additional security precaution.

If you have questions, please contact your Cigna Representative.

Getting a COVID-19 Vaccine in Vermont

The Vermont Department of Health (VDH) is actively vaccinating Vermonters against COVID-19, with a phased approach intended to save lives.  A VDH vaccine website notes that:

  • Even if your age group is not yet eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine, you can still get a step ahead by creating your account in our system. That way, when your age group is up, you’ll be ready to sign up for your first dose.
  • If you already have an account because you were tested for COVID-19 through a Health Department site, you need to use the same account information to schedule an appointment to get a vaccine.

The website has specific instructions and a video on registering and making an appointment for the vaccine, as well as a telephone resource.

The main Vermont COVID-19 vaccine website has a lot of useful information, including links to CDC resources on the COVID-19 vaccines, safety, and more.  Individuals are encouraged to consult with their healthcare provider regarding any personal concerns about receiving the vaccine.

What’s On Tap for Well-Being? Weeks of 2/15 and 2/22

Once in a while you need to take a break and visit yourself.

― Audrey Giorgi

This Valentine’s Day, whether you have a special someone to celebrate with or not, I hope you remember to show yourself some love, some kindness and some gratitude for all that you are and all that you do. 

We’ve got a great line up of events coming at you again this month so mark your calendars.   Please visit the calendar for additional details about the events listed below as well as plenty of other events that are not featured here.  The calendar password is GMHECWell-Being.

Let’s get cooking:  Join the chef dietitians from Whole Health Nutrition as we prepare of delicious meal of Protein Packed Lentil Soup on Thursday, February 18th and Weekday Beef Stew on Thursday, February 25th.  Both sessions will be offered from 5:30-7:00 pm EST.  Grab the recipes on the GMHEC Well-being calendar and cook along with us. 

Virtual HealthyCARE 90 Day Program: A comprehensive wellness program designed to enrich your life and health. Guided by a Nationally Certified Health Coach, over the course of 13 weeks, you will learn the fundamental aspects of fitness, nutrition, stress management, and behavior modification.  Wednesdays, February 24th through May 19th.  Noon-1:00 pm EST.  Offered via zoom.  Cost: $113 with BCBSVT plan/$117 with Cigna plan (originally $499).  Contact us if you have another insurance provider to verify your benefits in advance.  Click here to learn more.  To register, contact genavix@edgevt.com

Nutrition, Movement & Mindfulness to Improve Heart Health:  February is Heart Health Month so join the folks from the EDGE Preventative Care team for this webinar and learn how to support your heart health through nutrition, exercise, and mindfulness.  Thursday, February 25th from noon-1:00 pm EST.  Click here to register. 

Intro to Yoga Series: This class is for you if you are looking to give yoga a try or are coming back after an absence.  Wednesdays, February 17th through March 10th.  4:30-5:30 pm EST.  There is a fee for this program.  Find our more and register here

Cultivating Resilience to Avoid Burnout: Burnout is an epidemic in our culture. Defined as an occupational phenomenon resulting from chronic workplace stress, burnout is a serious health issue that can have dire consequences on our short- and long-term health and well-being. Join Rebecca Schubert, GMHEC Employee Well-being Program Coordinator for an in-depth discussion of the stages of burnout, signs of burnout and actions we can take to avoid burning out. Come away with a plan of action to support your resilience and help you to stay well.  Thursday, February 18th.  9:00-10:00 am EST.  Zoom meeting password 135790.

Managing Energy for Full Engagement: Peak performance in work and in life depends on personal energy. We so often hear about the importance of time management, but time is finite. It is the one thing we can never make more of. Energy, on the other hand, is a renewable resource and managing our energy is the key to health, happiness and peak performance. Join Rebecca Schubert, GMHEC Employee Well-being Program Coordinator, for an interactive discussion on managing your personal energy. Come away with practical strategies you can implement to help you avoid an energy crisis and which will enable you to thrive in work and in life.  Prior to the session, please take five minutes to complete the energy profile found here and have your results handy for the session as we will be referring to it.  You will not be expected to share your personal results.   Thursday, February 25th.  9:00-10:00 am EST.  Zoom meeting password 135790.

Leader’s Guide to Enhancing Team Resilience: Leaders play a critical role in the resilience of their teams and resilient teams are what will enable our faculty, staff and students to thrive. By proactively helping your team build resilience, leaders will benefit from more engaged and productive employees and better short- and long-term outcomes. Join Rebecca Schubert, GMHEC Employee Well-being Program Coordinator for this engaging presentation where you will learn about the five ways leaders can support and enhance employee well-being.  Come away with practical strategies you can implement to ensure that your employees and teams are able to persevere in the face of challenge.  Tuesday, February 23rd.  9:00-10:00 am EST.  Zoom meeting password 135790.

Stress Management for Managers:  Managers are constantly being pulled in different directions and have high accountability for how a team functions. This can lead to cumulative stress.  Learn more about the stress cycle, how to recognize its impact on health, and strategies to lower stress that can be applied in daily life.  Brought to you by New Directions Behavioral Health.  Wednesday, February 24th.  Noon-1:00 pm EST or 3:00-4:00 pm EST.  Preregistration required.  Click here to register.  

Ayurveda 101 and the Circadian Rhythms: Find out what all the hoopla is about Ayurveda and its relationship with the circadian rhythms. Discover your Dosha and begin to understand your unique constitution and how living in greater balance with the cycles and rhythms of theday and seasons will improve your sleep, weight optimization, digestion, attention focus, and a stronger immune system.  Presented by Nancy Wind, Health/Lifestyle Coach, founder of PeaksandPoses Trail Yoga and Outdoor Adventure.  Sunday, February 14th 10:00-11:00 am.  There is no cost for this event.  Register here.  Follow the instructions to “Pay by Check” and email Nancy at peaksandposes@gmail.com to let her know you are part of GMHEC.