Respiratory Virus Guidance from Employee Health

Respiratory viruses, including the viruses responsible for influenza and COVID-19, cause millions of illnesses in the United States every year. While there are many types of viral respiratory illnesses, there are steps you can take to help protect yourself and others from increased risk and associated health complications.

Did you know that the CDC has recently updated its guidelines on respiratory illnesses? (While Henrico County does not currently have any required protocol, we recommend that employees follow the directions provided by medical professionals, their primary care physician, and the CDC.) A notable change is that you are now advised to stay home and isolate yourself from others until you are fever-free (without the use of fever-reducing medications) for at least 24 hours and your symptoms have improved. After this time, you may return to work but should continue to take standard precautions such as social distancing, frequent hand washing and wearing a mask if applicable for the next five days.

In all cases, preventing the spread of respiratory illnesses can be key. Core prevention strategies include proper hand hygiene, physical distancing, staying up to date on immunizations, prompt treatment, wearing a mask and staying home to prevent the spread.

It is important to stay informed and follow the recommended precautions to protect yourself and others. If you have any specific questions or need more information, feel free to call Employee Health Services at 804-501-1600.

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Your Health on Your Terms

What can you do with Anthem’s Sydney App?

Find A Doctor and Check Your Costs

Search for doctors, dentists, hospitals, labs, and other health professionals in your plan. You can search by name, location, and type of care. You can even filter by gender or languages spoken, and then check costs before you go to find what’s best for you.

View Your Claims

Check medical and vision claims with one click. That means you can spend more time focused on your health and less on managing your healthcare benefits.

See All Your Health Coverage Benefits

The Sydney app shows you essential information at a glance. Whether that’s an overview of your plan, health reminders, or suggestions for wellness programs. You also can find your deductible, copay, and share of costs.

View And Use Your Anthem Digital ID Card

You’ll always have your most current Anthem ID card handy. And you can use it just like a paper one when you visit the doctor or dentist, pay for care, and more.

Use The Chat to Find Answers to Your Questions

Just type your questions in the app and receive the answers you’re looking for. Plus, Anthem’s Sydney app can suggest resources to help you understand your benefits, improve your health, and save money.

Use Anthem’s Sydney App to Help Manage Your Health

With Anthem’s Sydney app, you can take better care of yourself with features that focus on your wellness.

Stay Connected to Healthy Living

Anthem’s Sydney app makes it easier to put your wellness first. Sync your devices to your fitness tracker, monitor your nutrition, and set custom reminders to help you reach your goals.

Download Anthem’s Sydney Health App Today!

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The 50-30-20 Budget Rule Explained

We all know the feeling of our spending getting out of control. We often don’t realize how much we are spending on the “little things” like ride-sharing, our daily lunch at the deli around the corner, or all those subscriptions to streaming services we pay every month.

While the big things like rent or mortgage, car payments, and groceries often have the biggest impact on our spending, creating a comprehensive budget is one of the most important things you can do to manage your finances responsibly. However, there are many different approaches to budgeting and many different kinds of budgets.

So how do you choose the right budgeting approach for you and your family? One type of budget you might want to consider is what’s called the “50-30-20 budget.” It’s a percentage-based budgeting approach that is designed to make it easy for you to allocate certain percentages of your income to “buckets.” This can help you gain more control over your spending and, hopefully, achieve your financial goals.

3 main expense categories

With the 50-30-20 budget, you assign all of your household income to one of three main categories of expenses:

  1. Needs — The 50-30-20 approach dictates that you devote 50% of your income to this category. Needs are things like housing, utilities, food, clothing, insurance, and transportation.
  2. Wants —You’ll devote 30% of your income to this category. Wants are things like entertainment, eating out, vacations, recreation and hobbies, and non-essential items such as big-screen TVs, audio systems, and boats and motorcycles.
  3. Savings —You’ll devote the remaining 20% of your income to savings. This includes savings to meet both short- and long-term goals. It may also include debt repayment (other than a home mortgage, which should be considered housing and included in the needs category).

Distinguishing between wants and needs

While these expense categories may seem cut-and-dried, there are some expenses that can bleed over from one category to another. Take clothing, for example.

Obviously, we all need clothes. But there’s clearly a big difference between buying basic clothes and frequently purchasing designer clothing at a high-end boutique. The former would be considered a need while the latter would be considered a want.

Cars are another example. Unless you live in a big city where you can reasonably get around via public transportation, you probably need some kind of vehicle. A basic, dependable car like a Honda or Toyota could be considered a need, while a luxury car like a Mercedes-Benz or Jaguar could be considered a want.

Don’t get too hung up on these kinds of distinctions, though. Decide which category each of your household expenses fits in best and go with that. You can always make adjustments to your budgeting categories later.

The savings buckets

One of the biggest advantages of using a percentage-based budget like the 50-30-20 budget is that it forces you to devote a fixed percentage of your income to savings. Other budgeting systems can tend to just make “savings” whatever is left over after you’ve met all of your needs and wants.

With the 50-30-20 method, your savings should be further divided into two distinct buckets: short-term savings and long-term savings.

Short-term savings

Short-term savings may include an emergency fund, a planned surgery or medical procedure, or saving for a down payment on a car that you’re looking to buy in the near-term. For your emergency fund, it is generally recommended to have between three to six months’ worth of expenses set aside.

Emergency funds are there for you to tap to pay for large expenses like a major car or home repair, or to carry you over during an unexpected time of unemployment. Building an emergency savings account is a short-term savings goal that we recommend everyone set for themselves.

Long-term savings

Conversely, saving for retirement or your children’s college education is usually considered a long-term savings and investing goal. You might use tax-advantaged accounts such as a Roth IRA, 401(k), or 529 plan to help you meet these objectives. The amount you allocate to long-term saving and investing like this is going to be highly personal and depend on your specific goals.

If you can’t devote 20% of your household income to savings right away, don’t let that stop you from adopting a percentage-based budget like the 50-30-20 budget.

Start off with a savings percentage that’s realistic for you and adjust the formula accordingly. For example, a 60-30-10 budget might work better for you now, with the goal of gradually building your savings up to 20% over time.

How Empower can help

Empower provides free online tools that can help you implement a 50-30-20 budget. Empower’s financial tools offer a holistic view of your overall household finances in one central location; this is the first step to creating any kind of budget.

You can link your investment, retirement, bank, and credit card accounts to the dashboard in order to see all of your expenses and total monthly income to get a quick snapshot of your monthly cash flow. Based on this, you can start allocating income to the three expense categories dictated by the 50-30-20 budget system and make adjustments in order to get the percentages right.

In addition, you can create sub-categories beneath the main categories of needs, wants, and savings to help you track cash flow and categorize expenses more closely.

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Empower Your Financial Goals

Great news! Financial planning from Empower is available NOW!

Take the next step toward financial independence!

We’re excited to announce that comprehensive financial planning is now available as part of your employee benefits below the industry average cost1 through your plan provider, Empower. Everyone’s financial situation and goals are different, but no matter where you’re at an Empower financial planning professional can meet with you to work toward the financial future you want.

The process starts with a no-obligation initial consultation where they get to know your unique situation and goals. If you enroll in the service, your Empower financial planner will look at the topics most important to you with your full financial picture in mind, and then develop a straightforward plan with clear next steps.

Empower financial planning professionals can help with topics including:

  • Identifying and prioritizing your financial goals.
  • Retirement savings and income recommendations.
  • Organizing your finances.
  • Insurance and estate planning.
  • Saving for education.
  • Debt management.

Schedule your no-obligation initial consultation now.

Learn more about everything financial planning can do for you.

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Introducing the EHPAP!

We are excited to announce the launch of the Henrico County Employee Home Purchase Assistance Program (EHPAP), effective December 4, 2023.  This program, available to full-time permanent employees of Henrico County General Government, Henrico County Public Schools, and County constitutional officers (e.g., Circuit Court Clerk, Commonwealth’s Attorney and Sheriff), provides up to $25,000 in down payment and closing cost assistance for the purchase of a home located within Henrico County.

For additional information about EHPAP, please visit https://employees.henrico.gov/info/ehpap/ or email [email protected].

 

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Retirement Roundup Series

Attend an online seminar for your County of Henrico 457 Retirement Plan

The more you know about your financial picture and your County of Henrico Plan, the more you can get out of it. To provide you with some important tools to help you make informed decisions, your Retirement Plan Advisor, Chip Richardson, is hosting a series of 30-minute online seminars.

Please reach out to Chip for questions regarding your Henrico County 457 retirement plan.

Investing in your 457 Retirement Plan

How Much May I Contribute to My County of Henrico 457 Plan?

Learn how much you can save and what amount makes the most sense for you.

  • See the maximum IRS contribution limits.
  • Find out how to increase your savings automatically.

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Retirement Roundup Series

Attend an online seminar for your County of Henrico 457 Retirement Plan

The more you know about your financial picture and your County of Henrico Plan, the more you can get out of it. To provide you with some important tools to help you make informed decisions, your Retirement Plan Advisor, Chip Richardson, is hosting a series of 30-minute online seminars.

Please reach out to Chip for questions regarding your Henrico County 457 retirement plan.

Investing in your 457 Retirement Plan

How Much May I Contribute to My County of Henrico 457 Plan?

Learn how much you can save and what amount makes the most sense for you.

  • See the maximum IRS contribution limits.
  • Find out how to increase your savings automatically.

Read More

Retirement Roundup Series

Attend an online seminar for your County of Henrico 457 Retirement Plan

The more you know about your financial picture and your County of Henrico Plan, the more you can get out of it. To provide you with some important tools to help you make informed decisions, your Retirement Plan Advisor, Chip Richardson, is hosting a series of 30-minute online seminars.

Please reach out to Chip for questions regarding your Henrico County 457 retirement plan.

Investing in your 457 Retirement Plan

How Much May I Contribute to My County of Henrico 457 Plan?

Learn how much you can save and what amount makes the most sense for you.

  • See the maximum IRS contribution limits.
  • Find out how to increase your savings automatically.

Read More

Retirement Roundup Series

Attend an online seminar for your County of Henrico 457 Retirement Plan

The more you know about your financial picture and your County of Henrico Plan, the more you can get out of it. To provide you with some important tools to help you make informed decisions, your Retirement Plan Advisor, Chip Richardson, is hosting a series of 30-minute online seminars.

Please reach out to Chip for questions regarding your Henrico County 457 retirement plan.

Investing in your 457 Retirement Plan

How Much May I Contribute to My County of Henrico 457 Plan?

Learn how much you can save and what amount makes the most sense for you.

  • See the maximum IRS contribution limits.
  • Find out how to increase your savings automatically.

Read More

Apply Now for Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF)

Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) is a federal program that forgives student loan debt for borrowers who work for a government organization or a non-profit employer such as teachers, firefighters, nurses, members of the military, and other public service workers. The PSLF program forgives the remaining balance on your Direct Loans, after you have made the equivalent of 120 qualifying monthly payments or while working full-time for an eligible employer. Whether or not you have made 120 payments, you should still complete the PSLF form annually to obtain credit. As a Henrico County employee, it may include you!

To apply and be considered for PSLF, you only need to submit a PSLF form. The easiest way to do this is by using the PSLF Help tool at https://studentaid.gov/pslf/. Follow the link and log in if you already have an account or create a new account. Prepare and sign your PSLF form digitally by following all the steps, and with the last step, request certification and electronic signature from your employer by entering the Human Resources General Government contact email address [email protected].

If you have any questions or need any additional help, please get in touch with Patricia Witmer, HR Business Supervisor, at 804-501-5078 or [email protected].

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