Posts by Wellness Committee

Minimize your stress this holiday season!

December 1, 2015 • Written by

Minimize your stress this holiday season![1]

Preparing for the holidays comes with increased demands on our time and activity. Stress results when demands exceed our ability to cope. The holidays are events out of the ordinary that we often expect to be extraordinary. Finding the perfect gift, preparing the perfect meal or hosting a family gathering with no setbacks or conflicts may not be a realistic expectation, for yourself or for others. When expectations are too high, when they are not met or things happen that are out of our control, we can end up feeling disappointed or frustrated and stress is a likely result.

Everyone has a different way of coping with stress and some can make the situation better or worse. Here are some positive ways to cope with holiday stress:

  • Picture1Review your expectations for the holidays. Make sure your expectations are yours and not someone else’s and make sure that they are realistic. What you can do and want to do might be very different.
  • Make sure that you are expecting something over which you have some control. Make sure that you plan an event that you can make happen.
  • Let others know what you expect of them and don’t forget to ask for help if you need it.
  • Only take on what you can manage. Spending more than you can afford or inviting more people to an event than you can accommodate is likely to lead to stress and frustration.
  • Review or plan your coping strategies before a special event. Time out for physical or relaxation exercise, a walk or hobbies can be great coping mechanisms for stress and are good lifestyle practices in general.
  • Focus on what really matters. Think about what is more important to you – the perfect gift, a turkey cooked perfectly and on time or enjoying time with family and friends.

Your Employee and Family Assistance Plan (EFAP) through LifeWorks also has plenty of recourses to assist you with managing holiday stress. Visit the LifeWorks website to view some helpful articles.

Individual Health, Dental and Travel

Picture2Individual Health Dental Travel (HDT) Insurance plan assistance, offered through HUB International STRATA Benefits Consulting, is a service that aims to provide additional coverage for an Employee who is already covered, or provide coverage for a dependent who is not otherwise covered for benefits.

Individual insurance is all about you. The insurance carrier, plan level and options are all chosen based on your wants, needs, and budget. If you have pre-existing medical conditions, you can apply for plans that offer non-medical applications provided you apply within a certain timeframe of terminating your Group coverage.

This program is 100% voluntary for any Employee requiring additional coverage, leaving the Group Plan, or in need of coverage for a family member; simply contact HUB STRATA for your initial Needs Assessment.

Contact HUB STRATA at 1-866-787-2826 or at to discuss your post-group health, dental and travel needs.

Supporting Your Wellness

shutterstock_173113409The LifeWorks website contains useful tools and articles to help you and your family. You even have access to seminars at

If you’re a family caregiver, you may be struggling to balance the demands of your many roles. This month, LifeWorks will feature their resources on caring for older dependent loved ones. Check out these resources:

  • Podcast – Facing a Terminal Illness
  • New Seminar – The Sandwich Generation

[1] Cohen, Dr. K.R. 2014. “Psychology Works” Fact Sheet: Holiday Stress. Canadian Psychological Association.


Thinking about travelling this winter?

November 1, 2015 • Written by

Out-of-Country Emergency Travel Health Coverage

Eligible Red River College employees and their eligible dependents have 100% Emergency Travel Health Coverage for trips up to 90 days.

What is an out-of-country medical emergency?

The definition of an out-of-country medical emergency is “a sudden, unexpected injury or acute episode of disease”. You will not be covered if you are travelling against medical advice.

What to do during a medical emergency out-of-province/country?

When traveling abroad, it is important to carry your Great-West Life ID card. Your card includes the toll-free numbers required to obtain assistance during a medical emergency. In the event of an emergency call Global Medical Assistance (GMA) as soon as possible. The call can be made during or immediately following a medical situation, such as:

  • You are hospitalized or about to be hospitalized.Travel (2)
  • You need assistance in locating proper medical care.
  • Physician and/or Hospital requires insurance verification (confirmed through GMA directly).
  • You are involved in an accident requiring medical treatment.
  • You have a medical problem and require translation service.
  • Emergency evacuation is deemed medically necessary (arrangements will be made through GMA).
  • Any serious medical problem arises.

Be prepared to give the name of the person covered, the group and contract number and a description of the problem.

For more information or to print your ID card, log in to the Great-West Life Member Portal with your Great-West Life user name and password.

Global Medical Assistance (GMA)

The Global Medical Assistance program through Great-West Life provides medical assistance through a worldwide communications network which operates 24 hours a day. The network locates medical services and obtains Great-West Life’s approval of covered services, when required as a result of a medical emergency. Coverage for travel within Canada is limited to emergencies arising more than 500 kilometers from home. You must be covered by the government health plan in your home province to be eligible. For a list of covered services, see your benefits booklet.

Supporting Your Wellness

shutterstock_173113409The LifeWorks website contains useful tools and articles to build resilience and develop relationships by volunteering and committing to your community. You even have access to seminars at

Check out these resources:

  • Podcast – Giving Back
  • Seminar – Happiness: Learning from Positive Psychology

Remember your EFAP User ID and Password:

User ID: rrcefap                                Password: efap

Voluntary Benefits & Preferred Vision Services

October 23, 2015 • Written by

STRATA Select Voluntary Benefits

Through the Voluntary STRATA Select Program, you are eligible for discounts on a variety of products and services such as:

  • Hotel BookingsFamily 2
  • Home & Auto Insurance
  • Home Telephone
  • Home Security Systems
  • Hospital Cash
  • Individual Health, Dental and Travel
  • Long Distance Savings
  • MyCare (Medical Access Plan)
  • Personal Safety Monitoring Devices
  • Pet Health Insurance
  • Travel Discounts
  • Vehicle Rental Discounts (National / Enterprise)

Log on to your STRATA Select website for more information.

Login: rrc              Password: voluntary

Preferred Vision Services (PVS)

Preferred Vision Services is a service provided by Great-West Life. PVS entitles you to a discount on a wide selection of quality eyewear and lens extras including scratch guarding and tints when purchased from a PVS network provider.glasses

You can also obtain a discount on laser eye surgery and even hearing aids!

You can use this discount as often as you like for yourself and for your dependents.

Refer to your group benefits booklet for more information. You can also contact the PVS Information Hotline at 1-800-668-6444 or visit the PVS Web site at for information about PVS locations and the program.

Supporting Your Wellnessshutterstock_173113409

Are you missing out on the resources and support your Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP) has to offer? RRC’s EFAP through LifeWorks is a resource to help you stay healthy, reduce stress, and be happier at work and at home.

Remember your EFAP User ID and Password:

User ID: rrcefap                                Password: efap

LifeWorks is available any time, 24 hours a day, seven days a week by phone, online and by mobile application.

Your EFAP provides:

  • Toll-free access to qualified, professional consultants for confidential, expert help with work, life and everything in between;
  • Telephonic, face-to-face or video counseling live via webcam with Master’s level counselors across Canada;
  • Customized research to assist you in addressing your particular issues;
  • Information about resources and support agencies located in your community; and,
  • Access to hundreds of educational materials including articles, booklets, audio recordings/CDs, toolkits and assessments, and more.

Cell Phone (2)NEW! Try the LifeWorks mobile app available for iPhone, Android and BlackBerry devices. This FREE app provides the convenience of EFAP access via your smart phone!

NEW! Now you can chat confidentially online with a qualified LifeWorks consultant. You can even access counseling services through the chat feature. You can launch a chat session on the LifeWorks website. A personal account is required to access the chat feature as well as self assessment tools and action plans. Visit and click ‘REGISTER’ at the top right of your screen to register for a personal account. Personal account information and usage is confidential.

ORIENTATION WEBINARS! To provide you with more information on services available, LifeWorks provides 24/7 access to a pre-recorded program orientation webinars, and conducts scheduled live program orientation webinars throughout the year.

To view the pre-recorded program orientation webinar click here.

The next live program orientation webinar will be held on Wednesday, November 25, 2015 at 1pm EST, to register click here.

Check out these recommended LifeWorks resources:

  • Podcast – Quick Stress Reducers
  • NEW full-length audio recording/CD – Brief Exercises to Help Reduce Stress
  • Seminar – Relax the Body, Calm the Mind


Flu shot: Myths BUSTED

October 23, 2015 • Written by

Truth MythIt is influenza season again. We want to protect our friends, family, colleagues, and any with whom we interact who could become seriously ill. See  below for different myths that are “busted” .

MYTH: The flu shot gives you the flu.

FACT: The flu shot cannot cause the flu. It’s normal to feel tired, feverish, and achy for a couple of days after the flu shot. The real flu lasts 1-2 weeks.

MYTH: I never get sick, so I don’t need a flu shot.

FACT: You can give other people the flu even if you don’t have symptoms yourself.

Kids, elderly persons, and people who have chronic illnesses (e.g. diabetes, cancer, people who are on special medications) can get extremely sick from the flu.

MYTH: The flu shot will protect me from the stomach flu.

FACT: The flu affects your lungs, not your stomach. The flu shot is for a type of infection that affects your lungs only. The stomach flu is different and caused by different germs.

MYTH: You only need to get the flu shot once.

FACT: The flu shot only protects you for about 6 months. You need it once a year.

MYTH: Getting the flu shot is the only thing I need to do to not get sick.

FACT: You still need to wash your hands and cover your mouth when coughing and sneezing to prevent the spread of germs

Developed by Health Services 4th year Student Nurses who are here on practicum from Univeristy of Manitoba.

Dental Coverage

September 21, 2015 • Written by

As part of Red River College’s group benefits, Employees in Flex Options 1, 2, 4 or 5 may have coverage for a variety of dental benefits. Your coverage is based on your Flex Option choice.

Preventive and Basic Services RRC Blog Post Dental 2

  • Recall exams, twice per calendar year* (only once where a complete oral exam is also provided within the same year)
  • Bitewing x-rays, twice per calendar year*
  • Complete series of x-rays, one per 24 months
  • Panoramic x-rays, one per 36 months
  • Complete oral examinations, one per calendar year (initial examination with a new dentist)
  • Polishing, scaling and fluoride, twice per calendar year*
  • Minor restorative services (fillings, posts, prefabricated crowns for primary teeth)
  • Periodontal and Endodontic services
  • Oral surgery

*must be separated by an interval of at least 5 months

Major Services

  • Crowns, Onlays, Inlays and Veneer Restorations
  • Dentures, maintenance and repairs
  • Bridgework


  • Coverage for dependent children under the age of 19 (treatment must start before the child’s 18th birthday)
  • Diagnostic services and treatments

For detailed dental coverage information refer to your benefits booklet.

The above is a summary of the provisions of the group plan. In the event of a discrepancy between this benefit and the master contract, the terms of the group contract will apply.

Pre-Determination of Dentalcare Benefits

Dentist ChairBefore incurring any large dental expenses ($500 or more), or beginning any orthodontic treatment, ask your dental service provider to complete a treatment plan and submit it to Great-West Life. The benefits payable for the proposed treatment will be calculated, so you know if the expenses are eligible and the approximate portion of the cost you will have to pay.


Supporting Your Wellnessshutterstock_173113409

The LifeWorks website contains useful tools and articles to help you and your family. You even have access to seminars at

It’s that busy time of year again, LifeWorks can support you with practical tips to tackle your individual, family and work to-do lists. Check out these resources:

  • Podcast – Tackling Your ‘To-do’ List
  • New Seminar – Stop Putting it Off: Strategies for Overcoming Procrastination

Thanks from your rrrr…

September 18, 2015 • Written by
Photo of 2015 Riders: Mike Poitras, Guy Dugas, Wayne Ferguson, Tyler Steiner, Deron Warkentin, Michael Whalen, Dayna Graham

Mike Poitras, Guy Dugas, Wayne Ferguson, Tyler Steiner, Deron Warkentin, Michael Whalen, Dayna Graham

We did it! Your team cycled 140 km to the MS Riding Mountain Challenge finish line because you encouraged us to keep going, and you helped make sure Canadians with MS receive as much support as possible. We couldn’t have done this without our supporters at RRC, and we can’t thank you enough.

You helped us raise $6,392 for MS!

We were the #2 team in Manitoba (the #1 team, Mosaic, had 23 riders and raised $18,380). Why not join us in 2016 and help the team hit #1 next year?

Thank you RRC!

Do You Have Dependent Children?

August 31, 2015 • Written by

GraduationDependent Children Eligibility

If you have unmarried, natural, adopted or step children, under the age of 22 and not working more than 30 hours a week, unless they are full-time students, they are eligible for coverage through your group benefits plan with Great-West Life. If your child is age 22 or over, they must be a full-time student to maintain coverage until age 25.

A child is considered a full-time student if they have registered in an educational institution for 15 hours a week or more; sometime in the last 6 months. If your child is being paid to attend an educational institution, they are no longer deemed a dependent.

Dependent Children, age 22 to 25 – Don’t forget to reconfirm Student Status

It is important for employees with dependent children over the age of 22 to remember to update their student status with Great-West Life to ensure their dependents continue to receive uninterrupted Health and Dental coverage for the duration of their formal education, or until age 25.

Watch for the student re-certification from Great-West Life each year!

Is your child covered while away at school?Study Abroad

The Out-Of-Country Emergency Care (OOC) provided through your Great-West Life plan only covers emergency medical situations while outside of Canada. An emergency is described as a sudden, unexpected injury or an acute episode of disease. Dependents attending school out-of-country will remain on your Health and Dental plan for the duration of their education, or until they reach age 25.

There are no pre-existing conditions on the OOC coverage; however, if the insured individual does have a medical issue, the condition must be stable and controlled for 3 months prior to their departure from Canada. If you are unsure, you should check with your doctor and Great-West Life.

So what does this mean for your child going out-of-country for school?

If your child is considered an eligible dependent, they will be covered for unexpected emergency medical while out-of-country. For a dependent who is not a student, no benefits will be paid for expenses incurred more than 90 days after the date of departure from Canada in the event of a medical emergency.

For a dependent who is attending school out-of-country, benefits will be extended if approval is given by the student’s provincial health plan. For more information on your provincial health plan, visit

Be aware that any routine or non-emergency services or expenses such as chiropractic care or prescription drugs incurred out-of-country will be reimbursed at the reasonable and customary amount charged in your home province of residence.

If you review your dependent’s coverage needs and require purchasing individual coverage, plans purchased in Canada for students abroad can be significantly less expensive compared to plans available through the school. Red River College employees have access to HUB International STRATA Benefits Consulting Individual Health Dental and Travel service which provides information and assistance in obtaining individual coverage. Contact HUB STRATA at 1-866-787-2826 for more information.

Supporting Your Wellnessshutterstock_173113409

The LifeWorks website contains useful tools and articles to help you and your family. You even have access to seminars at

Positive, meaningful ties with friends, children, partners, spouses and work colleagues enrich our lives in many important ways. We have advice on giving it your best with others. Check out these recommended resources on giving it your best with others:

  • Podcast – Going the Extra Mile
  • New Seminar – Building Trust at Work and in Your Personal Life

STRATA Select Car/Truck Rental

Oct -QuestionThrough our affiliation with HUB International STRATA Benefits Consulting, we are able to offer our employees products and services at discounted or preferred rates through the Voluntary STRATA Select Program.

You may be eligible for a preferred discount for your car and rental needs in Canada, the USA, as well as overseas through Enterprise Rent-A-Car and National Car and Truck Rental (subject to availability).   For more information on these discounts or the Voluntary STRATA Select Program, please visit your STRATA Select website.

Login: rrc              Password: voluntary

Prescription Drugs

July 27, 2015 • Written by

Exception Drug Status/MB Pharmacare[1]

The group benefits plan provides coverage for Drugs that require a prescription and are eligible under the provincial formulary. The Manitoba Formulary renews and updates eligible Drugs on a regular basis. You are encouraged to discuss with your doctor and/or pharmacist to determine whether your medication is considered formulary or non-formulary and to make sure it is the right choice for you.

The Manitoba Drug Formulary covers three classifications of medications:Roll of money and pills

  • Part 1 – regardless of the need, the prescription is covered.
  • Part 2 – the prescription is covered only when prescribed for a specific condition which must be noted on the prescription; if the condition is not specified or not eligible, the medication will not be eligible.
  • Part 3 – Exception Drug Status (EDS) medications – the requesting Doctor must submit a request to Manitoba Health on the patient’s behalf to have the medication covered. If approved, the patient receives notification from Manitoba Health.

In addition, if you have high drug costs Pharmacare may pay your prescription drug costs once you have reached your annual deductible. Pharmacare coverage is based on both your total family income, and the amount you pay for eligible prescription drugs.

Our plan requires generic substitution, which means that the drug prescribed by the doctor will be automatically exchanged with the lowest priced generic equivalent. The only exception to this is if your doctor has indicated on the prescription that there is no substitution allowed. Please note, a generic equivalent must have the same therapeutic benefit as the associated brand name medication.

For more information or to check if your drug is eligible under the Manitoba Formulary click here.

Dispensing Fee Reminder

The price of every drug prescription is made up of two parts (a) the cost of the ingredients to make the drug, and (b) the cost of the pharmacist’s services and advice called the dispensing fee. Dispensing fees can differ from pharmacy to pharmacy, and from drug to drug.

Extended Health Care Options 4 and 5 both have a drug deductible. Option 5 has a $4 deductible per prescription whereas Option 4 has a dispensing fee deductible; this means that your deductible will be equal to the dispensing fee.

You can, of course, go to any pharmacy you choose. When considering your out-of-pocket costs, you should also take into consideration the familiarity that the Pharmacist has of your state of health and how comfortable you are with the individual. Having said that, you have every right to ask the pharmacy the amount of the dispensing fee they charge.

Supporting Your Wellness

shutterstock_173113409The LifeWorks website contains useful tools and articles to help you and your family. You even have access to seminars at

From being over-scheduled to feeling overloaded, LifeWorks resources can help you handle your work-life challenges. Check out these recommended resources:

  • Podcast – Mindfulness at Work
  • New Seminar – Navigating Work and Life

[1] Manitoba Pharmacare Program. Manitoba.

Canadian Blood Services-Donations needed

June 18, 2015 • Written by


Consider donating blood over the summer and in the next month. Canadian Blood Services (CBS), located at 777 William, needs more donors.

If there is a group of 2-8 donors interested (either students and/or employees), a Life Bus shuttle can be booked. The Life Bus will take you from RRC to the CBS building and back to RRC.

The donation process, including transportation, takes about an hour and a half of your time. Below are some available dates and the contact number. Consider donating – it can save  a life.

— From Health Services (Please do not call Health Services to book appointments)

The Life Bus shuttle can be booked by calling  Debbie at 204-789-1045

Life Bus pickups are available on

Monday, June 29th– 11am, 12pm, 1pm

Tuesday, June 30th– 1pm

Thursday, July 2nd– 10am, 11am, 12pm

Friday, July 3rd– 9am, 12pm, 1pm

Appointments still available:

Monday, June 29th– 86 open appointments

Tuesday, June 30th– 60 open appointments

Wednesday, July 1st– CANADA DAY- 49 open appointments

Thursday, July 2nd– 65 open appointments

Friday, July 3rd– 81 open appointments

Saturday, July 4th– 95 open appointments

Life Events & Coordination of Benefits

May 26, 2015 • Written by

Have you experienced a Life Event?

When you elect a Health and Dental option, you are locked in at that level until the next re-enrolment period, which is every 2 years. However, if you experience a Life Event during a plan year that affects your coverage needs, you may make changes to your benefit options without waiting until the next re-enrolment period.

Any of the following is considered a Life Event:shutterstock_82783864

  • Acquiring a spouse
  • Acquiring a child (birth, adoption or step-child)
  • Gain or involuntary loss of similar coverage through your spouse’s group benefit program (for example, because of a change in your spouse’s employment status)
  • Death of your spouse or child
  • Your spouse or child ceasing to qualify for coverage (for example, through divorce or your child’s attainment of a limiting age)

For more information see your benefits booklet.

What do you do if you experience a Life Event?

If you experience a Life Event, contact Human Resource Services with your details no later than 60 days after the Life Event occurs. If you are electing to change your Flex Option and it is not reported within 60 days of the Life Event, the change will not take effect until the next re-enrolment date.

Additionally, any time you experience a Life Event resulting in a change to your family status, you should review your beneficiary designation.

For more information on your Flex Options, refer to your benefits booklet.

Coordination of Benefitsshutterstock_179752937

Coordination of Benefits, or COB, is a benefit claim procedure developed by the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association for individuals covered under two or more Health and/or Dental policies.

Applying this procedure ensures that you and your dependents receive the maximum eligible benefits available from all policies under which you are covered. It also outlines the method used for determining where to submit your claims first.

An EOB (also called a payment summary) is a letter from the insurance company which is sent to you with the claim reimbursement. It outlines the amount of the expense and how much of it was reimbursed. For drug claims paid via your drug card, your pharmacy receipt is considered your EOB.

Here is how COB works:

Your Own Expenses

  1. Submit your claim to your Great-West Life plan.
  2. If a portion of your claim is not covered by the Great-West Life plan (such as a deductible, coinsurance or an amount over a maximum), submit the EOB form from Great-West Life to your spouse’s plan (if you have family coverage) for reimbursement of the remaining portion.
  3. If a portion of the claim is still not reimbursed, you may submit the EOB form from your spouse’s insurer to your Health Care Spending Account.
  4. If your spouse has a Health Care Spending Account, this plan would be the last payor.

Your Spouse’s Expenses

  1. Your spouse will first submit their own claim to their own insurer.
  2. If a portion of their claim is not payable under their own plan, the EOB can be submitted to your Great-West Life plan, if you have family coverage.
  3. If a portion of their claim is still not payable, the remaining portion can be submitted to your spouse’s Health Care Spending Account, if applicable.
  4. The last payor for your spouse’s expenses is your Health Care Spending Account.

Your Dependent Child’s Expenses

  1. If both your Great-West Life plan and your spouse’s plan include coverage for dependent children, the claims should first be submitted to the plan of the parent whose birth date is earlier in the calendar year. For example, if your birth date is February and your spouse’s birth date is August, the claim should first be submitted to your Great-West Life plan. (In situations where you and your spouse have the same birth date, the claim should be submitted to the plan of the parent whose first name begins with the earlier letter in the alphabet.)
  2. If the first payor doesn’t cover the full expense, the EOB can be forwarded to the other parent’s plan. Regardless of the above rules, if the parents are separated or divorced, the first payor is the insurer of the parent with custody of the child, then the plan of the spouse of that parent, then the plan of the parent not having custody of the child and finally the plan of the spouse of that parent.
  3. Health Care Spending Accounts are the final payors. To determine which Health Care Spending Account the remaining portion of the expense should be submitted to first, apply the birth date rule as described in step 1.

Supporting Your Wellnessshutterstock_173113409

The LifeWorks website contains useful tools and articles to help you and your family. You even have access to seminars at

Explore strategies to help you preserve your emotional well-being by checking out these recommended resources:

  • Podcast – Making Positive Choices
  • New Seminar – A New Attitude: The Truth About Mental Illness
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