We love our cars. Even so, we worry about how much we spend on them - our gas, our repairs, keeping them looking clean and shiny… We know if we do a good job in maintaining our car, it will be less likely to break down and hit us in the wallet with a costly repair. It’s the old “pay me now or pay me later” idea. We get regular oil changes, check-ups at regular mileage intervals, even an annual inspection required by the state of Virginia.
Without you, the driver, the car isn’t going anywhere no matter how well you maintain it. The basic idea behind preventive maintenance for a car and preventive health care for its driver is similar – both the car and the driver need attention to keep running. And the driver of that car, you, is so much more important than any car will ever be and deserves the very best preventive care.
With the start of the fall term weeks away, the hustle,excitement, and accompanying stress of the arrival of thousands of students back to campus, have you taken the time to insure your body is ready? We have an easy way for you to find out,which will likely take you much less time than you invest in your car maintenance.
Our preventive health care plan is available to the approximately 7,000 Virginia Tech employees with health care benefits. Unlike taking personal time for an oil change, you are provided with sick leave for medical appointments. And unlike the cost of your oil change, the cost of most of your preventive care is already paid for – including the cost of your co-pay.
The trend in the United States is that average Americans have a little more mileage on them and may be more likely to have a tire around their middle. The average age for state of Virginia employees on the state health plan is 48.2. We’re getting a little older and a little heavier. By the way, no reason to worry about that tire – do something about it! We offer special pricing for Weight Watchers. Later this year, we will announce a campus weight and physical activity challenge.
For those of us with higher mileage, our doctor may recommend different tests than our lower mileage colleagues. Mammograms, gynecological exams, prostate exams, and colonoscopies are all covered by our health plan. Regardless of your mileage, the single most important step you can take is to get an annual check-up.
Your health plan covers that check-up, plus the immunizations, labs, and x-rays which may be recommended by your physician. Two dental preventive and diagnostic visits are fully covered each year. Up to four visits a year for our Employee Assistance Program (EAP) are covered for free each year. Some of us don’t like the tests our doctors order for us, but the immunizations, tests, and health screenings can help us prevent our bodies from becoming a wreck later on.
Cancer treatment is listed as the number two claims expense for the state health care plan, with breast cancer, lung cancer, skin cancer, and oral cancer all on the top ten list of chronic conditions. Diabetes, hypertension, and coronary heart disease all make the list, so knowing our numbers for sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol are all critically important to a long and healthy life. Though serious, the conditions on this list are treatable. And we know that detecting health issues early through routine preventive doctor visits will help us get healthy now, so we can enjoy life on down the road.
That car you own is the key to you getting to work each day. However, there is so much more to you than what you do at work. Though you will likely have several cars in your lifetime, you just have that one you! Drive to your doctor for an annual physical. Walk to a building near you for a free flu shot this fall to put the brakes on getting sick during flu season. Participate in campus wellness programs. Take full advantage of your health care benefit through all the services which are already paid for by you and the state of Virginia. You’re in the driver’s seat – take the wheel of your health care.
Note: Special thanks to two Virginia Tech Human Resources employees, Insurance Coordinator Becky Lilly and Director of Wellness Cynthia Rutherford, for their content suggestions for this blog.