Wellness is Power Henrico!

Welcome to the launch of POWER HENRICO! 

With this new wellness initiative, we challenge each and every employee to take charge of their own journey towards a healthy lifestyle.  Our employees are the County’s most valuable resource and we want to help you be well and healthy.

We understand that wellness looks different for every single person. That is why we are providing YOU the tools to build a strong foundation and resources to grow within your own journey. Through education, support and commitment, Henrico County wants to see you be the best version of yourself.

Power Henrico provides an abundance of resources at your fingertips to keep you engaged on your journey to a healthy lifestyle:

  • A concentrated calendar of events (with wellness programs, fitness classes, seminars) to get active and stay involved.
  • Walking Trails at EVERY County location, including an interactive map that describes the length and terrain of each trail so there is no excuse not to get up and move.
  • Success stories of fellow employees and how the services provided by the County have changed their lives for the better.
  • Galleries, articles and local resources to assist you on your journey and keep you engaged, supported and healthy, both in and outside of work.

And that is just the tip of the wellness iceberg!

Go out to power.henrico.us now and take a look at everything available to you as a Henrico County employee. Building a healthy lifestyle is not going out of style any time soon. Take an interest and take care of yourself now so that that you can power your future.

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Open Enrollment for 2019 Benefits

Now is the time to evaluate your health care needs and wellness goals…

Are you looking to lower your out of pocket costs by improving your health and wellness in 2019? Open Enrollment is the perfect time to take stock in your health, your plan enrollment and your wellness goals to ensure you have the right level of coverage and the right services for you and your family. Health care is not one size fits all and circumstances change, so you need to evaluate each plan and explore the possibilities to decide what is best for you and your family.

Open Enrollment will take place Saturday, October 6 through Friday, November 2, 2018. This is your chance to enroll or drop benefit coverage, change plans, or add/drop dependents. Changes made during Open Enrollment will be effective on January 1, 2019. Outside of Open Enrollment, changes can only be made if you have a qualifying event.

Come to an Open Enrollment wellness session (dates below) to get a look at all the wellness benefits the County has to offer. Also, you can view plan comparisons, rates, benefit details and enrollment instructions on the HR Employee Portal at the start of Open Enrollment, October 6th. Please come by and learn more about all options available to you and speak to some of our vendors at the in-person sessions.

  • October 12 & 31: Eastern Government Center (3820 Nine Mile Rd.) Multipurpose Room from 1:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
  • October 17 & 24: Henrico Training Center (7701 East Parham Rd.) from 1:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

What you need to know:

  1. ALL Anthem plan participants will receive new medical insurance cards for 2019 with new group numbers. Please make sure you use the new card for services starting January 1, 2019.
  2. No changes will be made to the Lumenos HSA plan. The rates have been the same since the plan was introduced in 2015! This may be a great option for you.
  3. Delta Dental will continue to offer the same plan options for 2019 with a slight change in rates.
  4. MetLife will continue to provide disability coverage with no changes to rates or benefits offered.
  5. Navia will also continue to provide Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs). This year there will be a $50.00 increase to the Health Care FSA limit. The new limit will be $2,650. The Dependent (Day) Care FSA limit will remain at $5,000.

What do you have to do as an employee?

  1. Re-enroll for Flexible Spending Accounts if you wish to participate in 2019.
    1. Note: This is a great pre-tax option so consider using this benefit.
  2. Look at your current plans and make sure they are right for you!
    1. Note: Health care, dental and short-term income protection enrollments will rollover for 2019, unless you change them during Open Enrollment.
  3. Check out Power Henrico for Open Enrollment events, benefits and other wellness information!

Now that you have the overview, plan to attend one of the scheduled Open Enrollment wellness sessions to learn more.

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October is Energy Month!

October marks the start of energy action month, a national effort to raise awareness of energy conservation and efficiency.  There are many ways to save energy at work and in your personal lives so that you’ll not only be conserving resources and improving the environment, you’ll also save money! 

The difference between conservation and efficiency is an important distinction to know.  Conservation refers to using less energy with the tools and technologies that you already have.  Examples of conservation include turning off the lights or setting back the temperature on your thermostat.  Efficiency means improving on your systems to perform the same function while using less energy.  Examples of efficiency include changing out light bulbs to more efficient LEDs or adding insulation to a building.  Conservation measures cost nothing—they are simple behavior changes.  Efficiency measures may come with a cost but in time you will see a return on investment with energy savings. 

Here are five simple conservation measures that you can practice at work or at home:

  1. Turn off the lights when not in use.  You’ve heard it 1000 times and it remains the easiest way to conserve energy! 
  2. Put your computer in sleep mode when not in use.  Despite their name, screen savers do not save energy. Sleep mode uses practically no energy and allows you to return to your work fairly quickly.  You could also turn your monitor(s) off when not in use if you prefer that to using sleep mode.
  3. Think before printing.  Do you really need to print that?  Printing uses energy and paper.  If you must print, use the shared office printer instead of individual desktop printers so only one piece of equipment has to be kept on. 
  4. Use your window blinds smartly.  To avoid heat gain in warm weather and make the most of passive heat in cold weather, lower blinds on hot days and raise them on cold days. Also, close them on cold nights before leaving the office or when you are at home.
  5. Unplug chargers and electronics when not in use.  Small amounts of electricity, called standby power or vampire power, are drawn by chargers, small appliances and electronics when plugged in.  Unplug or use a power strip that can be switched off when these items aren’t needed.

The Henrico County Energy Management program strives to reduce energy use and costs in County buildings and operations, and to foster a culture of sustainability and stewardship.  The Energy Fair is held twice a year to help County employees, residents and businesses learn about energy and sustainability products, services and resources available in the Richmond area. 

This year’s fall fair will be held at the Western Government Center on Friday October 19 from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.  The fair is free and open to the public.  Gifts and goodies will be available for all attendees while supplies last.  This year’s gift is a portable power bank—get there early to make sure you get one!  You can learn more at https://henrico.gov/calendar/fall-energy-fair/. If you have questions, please contact Carrie Webster by email at [email protected] or by phone (804)501-5763.

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Deferred Comp- Start Contributing Today!

One year can make a difference!

Waiting just one year to start saving and investing in deferred comp may cost you more than you realize. The sooner you start to save and invest, the sooner your money can start working for you. Having a VRS retirement benefit is an important step in the right direction, but that benefit on its own may not be enough for you to retire. So, get started contributing to deferred comp now!

Even investing a small amount now can really add up over time. What’s most important is to just get started. Then, if you increase your contribution on a regular basis, the impact to your paycheck will not seem too great. The bottom line, saving today will definitely help you down the road when you retire.

There are also tax benefits for participating in this 457-deferred compensation plan. You can contribute pre-tax money to decrease your overall tax burden now. Or, you also have the option of contributing to a post-tax ROTH account. Why is ROTH a great option? You will pay taxes based on your current tax rate now and, if your tax bracket is higher later in life, you avoid paying higher taxes when you withdraw funds in retirement!

It’s too late if you wait until you think you are ready to retire. Pick the age you want to stop working and meet with our 457-deferred compensation plan advisor to set your goals. Your journey to retirement savings needs to start today!

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Solving the Nutrition Puzzle

Most of us want to “eat right,” but knowing that AND sticking to it can be a challenge. Personal preference, cultural influences, time, budget and social environment all contribute to our food choices. In addition, the constant flow of changing nutrition information can also make it difficult to make those choices easier.

So, what should you eat?

Start by taking a closer look at your current dietary patterns and identify the chances for improvement. It’s not a single nutrient or food that might be keeping you from your weight loss goal. The combination of foods eaten on a regular basis may be hindering progress. Food journaling can be a useful tool because you can see patterns of behavior or attitudes about food that are barriers to change. An honest assessment of what and why you are making certain choices will allow you to begin making small changes towards a dietary pattern that supports your weight loss and health goals.

Deciding on a dietary pattern:

There are many good options out there for healthy eating patterns. When making the decision about what type of “diet” to choose, keep in mind your current lifestyle and what kind of changes are realistic for you. There are many factors to consider, family or social structure, time for meal planning, prep and cooking, past successes or failures and your specific weight loss goals.

Although everyone’s eating pattern will look different, there are a few basic rules to keep in mind. Research shows that a dietary pattern high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, unsaturated oils and fish while low in total meat, saturated fat, cholesterol, sugar-sweetened foods and drinks, sodium, and moderate in dairy products and alcohol is associated with more favorable outcomes related to body weight or the risk of obesity. Regardless of your pattern, your diet must include a reduction in energy intake (calories) in order to achieve any weight loss.

You may find it helpful to base your pattern on an already established one. Remember to modify based on your personal preferences AND what is realistic for you. Here are a few suggestions that are supported by research and may be effective for weight loss and weight maintenance:

Mediterranean Diet: easy to follow, safe, meets government guidelines and supports weight loss and heart health.

  • Emphasis on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, olive oil, fish and seafood, poultry, eggs.
  • Limits red meat, sugar and saturated fat.

DASH Diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension): benefits weight loss and heart health.

  • Emphasis on nutrients (potassium, calcium, protein and fiber) found in fresh produce, whole grains, lean protein and low-fat dairy foods.

MIND Diet: aims to prevent mental decline with brain healthy foods.

  • Emphasis on green leafy vegetables, nuts, berries, whole grains, beans, fish, poultry and olive oil.
  • Limits red meat, butter and margarine, cheese, sweets, fried and fast foods.

Volumetrics Diet: Based on the theory that your body likes a certain feel (volume) of food.

  • Emphasis on low-energy, highly dense foods. Encourages consumption of foods with a high-water content like soups, fruits, vegetables, non-fat dairy.
  • This diet is safe, easy to follow and no foods are off limits.

Committing to a new dietary pattern can be difficult and weight loss can be slow. There will be feelings of success combined with frustration along the way. To stay committed to your new lifestyle, maintain a sense of intention and focus, keep your thoughts positive, turn thoughts into actions, use your mistakes as learning opportunities, and make yourself a priority.

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