Issue #7

March 2013
AlaskaCare Employee News from the Alaska Division of Retirement and Benefits

In this issue

Diabetes Alert Day is March 26!

March Health Hero

Changes to Preventive Care Coverage

Wellness Challenge

EAP Services

Healthy Recipe

Quick Links

AlaskaCare Wellness

Contact our Wellness Team

Are you an AlaskaCare Employee Health Plan Member?

State Employee Fitness Discounts

Diabetes Alert Day is March 26!

Are you or someone you love at risk of developing diabetes? Diabetes is the fourth most common chronic condition among AlaskaCare Employee Health Plan members. Undiagnosed or untreated diabetes can lead to serious health problems.

Help raise awareness of this serious condition by participating in the American Diabetes Association Alert Day® on Tuesday, March 26.

Take the time to learn more and identify risk factors using the tools developed by the National Diabetes Education Program (NDEP):


Diabetes Education Services

Anchorage [PDF]







If you have diabetes or are at risk of developing diabetes, resources are available. The HealthSmart Disease Management program can help you and your eligible dependents manage chronic conditions, including diabetes. Health coaches and nurses work with you to develop individualized plans to support lifestyle changes. To learn more contact Debra Carroll, RN at (907) 297-7356 or find information about the Disease Management program online.


March Health Hero: Raquel Ibias

Raquel Ibias

When I was 14 years old, I found out I had type 1 diabetes. At the time, education about diabetes was limited. We were still learning about better types of insulin as well as the long-term effects of not regulating blood sugar levels. At that age, as with many other teenagers, long-term consequences weren’t on my radar. My lack of knowledge led to a seemingly innocent candy bar or a pizza with friends. Testing my blood sugar was inconvenient but was also the one way I could have become aware of my blood sugar levels. What I didn’t know wouldn’t hurt me, right?  At the time, the worst side-effect was I was tired. Not fully understanding the long-term effects of these decisions and living with consistently high blood sugar levels, a person can get used to being “tired.”

After several years, the long-term effects started to impact me. I began to lose the feeling in my feet and endured numerous eye surgeries to maintain my sight. Because they were dealt with early enough, my life felt fairly unaltered. Two years ago, that all changed. I went in for some much needed but often avoided blood work. Shortly after, I received a call that would change not only my life, but my family’s as well. The doctor told me I was in kidney failure as a direct result of the lack of management of my diabetes. My options were dialysis, kidney transplant, or if I did nothing, death within about a year. Unlike many people in my situation, I have several siblings, all of whom share my blood type and were willing to donate. This meant that, as a family, we had options for transplant. One of my sisters turned out to be the best match. I don’t have the words for the feelings and emotions that came with accepting that gift. Going through this process has changed my outlook on everyone and everything I experience.

Read more…

Complete a Health Hero nomination form to recognize someone in your office.


Changes to Preventive Care Coverage

On Friday, February 22, payment rates for certain preventive care services [PDF] were amended. If AlaskaCare Employee Health Plan members use in-network providers, these preventive care services will be paid at 100% of the provider’s rate and will not be subject to co-payment or deductible.

Preventive care services provided by an out-of-network provider are subject to payment under plan provisions governing non-preventive care services.


Wellness Challenge: Get Your Plate in Shape

Choose My Plate

March is National Nutrition Month, and the HealthSmart Wellness Team challenges you to get your plate in shape! Following the recommendations of USDA’s MyPlate can not only reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes, but can also improve outcomes for people managing diabetes.

MyPlate recommends the following tips for making healthier food choices:

  • Focus on fruit
  • Vary your veggies
  • Make half your plate fruits and vegetables
  • Make at least half your grains whole
  • Go lean and vary your protein choices

To participate, simply print the challenge log [PDF]. At the end of the month send the complete form to Mike DiFilippo, the Wellness Coordinator for HealthSmart.

Upcoming Wellness Trainings

  • Webinar: Diabetes: Lowering Your Risk Today
    March 5, at 12 p.m. or March 7 at 1 p.m. More details

EAP Services: Diabetes Impacts Your Emotions

Comforting a friend

Diabetes and depression can go hand in hand. When both conditions happen at the same time, each becomes harder to control. Loss of energy and changes in eating among depressed individuals can affect good diabetes self–care.

If you are diabetic and think you may be suffering from depression, see your health care professional for a thorough evaluation and contact your Employee Assistance Plan (EAP). Use your EAP resources to learn to manage depression. Treatment is effective and counselors are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to provide confidential assistance at no cost to you. Call (800) 478-2812 or use the self-help tools and other resources online.

Other resources include your EAP Monthly Health Focus materials, many of which are archived online. The Health Focus for March, Healthy Habits: Jumpstart your Health, is available online now.


Healthy Recipe: Vegetable Quiche Cups To-Go

For additional healthy recipe ideas and inspiration, visit the HealthSmart Wellness Portal.



  • 1 - 10 oz. package frozen, chopped spinach
  • 3/4 cup liquid egg substitute
  • 3/4 cup shredded reduced-fat cheese
  • 1/4 cup diced green bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup diced onion
  • 3 drops hot pepper sauce (optional)

To Prepare:

  1. Microwave the spinach for 2 1/2 minutes on high. Drain the excess liquid.
  2. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with foil baking cups. Spray the cups with cooking spray.
  3. Combine the egg substitute, cheese, peppers, onions, and spinach in a bowl. Mix well. Divide evenly among the muffin cups. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

This recipe makes 6 servings, 2 quiche cups equal one serving.

Source: Alaska Regional Hospital

Estimated Nutritional Information Per Serving:

  • 73.6 Calories
  • 23 Calories from Fat
  • 2.5g Fat
  • 1g Saturated Fat
  • 3.7mg Cholesterol
  • 191.9mg Sodium
  • 3.5g Carbohydrate
  • 1.6g Dietary Fiber
  • 1.1g Sugars
  • 9.7g Protein
AlaskaCare Wellness  •
Phone: (907) 465-4460  •  Fax: (907) 465-3086  •  TDD: (907) 465-2805
This electronic newsletter and services described within applies only to State of Alaska AlaskaCare Employee Health Plan members and their dependents.