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December 8, 2011

Pitt Benefits

Recess Schedule

During the winter break, certain Human Resources and Benefit issues still may need to be addressed.  While we will be closed on the scheduled holidays, we will be open to serve you during the “Winter Recess” days from Tuesday, December 27, through Friday, December 30. Listed below is the service schedule during the recess for Human Resources as well as Benefits and the insurance carriers.  Please feel free to contact us if any urgent issue arises during this time.


The Longest Yard Walking Campaign

Participants in the Longest Yard challenge have reached the goal line! Nearly 400 faculty and staff participated in the event, including 23 teams. Most of these participants crossed the goal line. More importantly, many got great exercise, enjoyed working out with friends and family, and in general found ways to incorporate exercise into their daily routine.

Working cooperatively with the Department of Athletics, participants were eligible to win T-shirts and tickets to home football games. The grand prizes were club level tickets at the recent home game against Syracuse.

Although the Longest Yard Challenge has ended, participants know the race never ends. Keeping up with an exercise routine and creating health lifestyle habits always is important. Based on the feedback from participants, a new and improved challenge will be forthcoming in 2012.

Weight Loss Campaign – 2012

Last year marked a change in the weight race challenge. Most participants joined a weight loss program, primarily Weight Watchers. With the success of this program, the University will conduct a promotional campaign to encourage interested members to join Weight Watchers for a 12-week campaign. Details will be forthcoming in early January. In the meantime, think about those New Year’s resolutions. Weight loss typically ranks high on the list. This program will provide a great way to start the New Year off on the right foot.

This year’s program will include greater flexibility for those who may want to attend Weight Watchers either on-campus or in their community. Remember, eligible spouses/domestics partners may join as well!

Shingles Vaccine OK at Age 50 and Up

UPMC Health Plan members who are 50 or older with a past history of chicken pox can now obtain the Zostavax shingles vaccine. The vaccine is considered preventative, therefore it is covered at 100%.

The Federal Drug Administration lowered the recommended age for the vaccination from age 60 to age 50. According to WebMD, the approval is based on a Merck clinical trial that showed the vaccine to be about 70% effective in preventing shingles in the younger age group.

The study also found that even when vaccinated 50-somethings did get shingles, they suffered far less pain and far shorter bouts of the painful, sometimes disabling disease.

“The likelihood of shingles increases with age. The availability of Zostavax to a younger age group provides an additional opportunity to prevent this often painful and debilitating disease,” Karen Midthun, MD, director of FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, said in a news release.

Shingles — known to doctors as herpes zoster — is caused by the same herpes virus that causes chicken pox: varicella zoster. But when chicken pox gets better, the virus doesn’t go away. It hides in nerve roots. When reactivated in later years, the virus erupts into extremely painful shingles-like lesions.

Zostavax is basically the same as the chicken pox vaccine, given at a far higher dose. Clinical trials show the vaccine to be both safe and effective.

Why get vaccinated at age 50? That’s when shingles risk shoots up. Before age 50, about two people in a thousand get shingles. After age 50, about six people in a thousand get shingles. A person’s lifetime risk of shingles is about 30%.

As always, consult with your health care provider.

Flexible Spending Accounts

This is the last opportunity to file claims against your 2011 benefit plan year account.  They include:

Dependent day care expenses incurred between July 1, 2010, and June 30, 2011.

Health care related expenses incurred between July 1, 2010, and September 15, 2011.

File your claims now to avoid the loss of any funds remaining in your account! The Benefits Department in accordance with the Internal Revenue Code will not grant extensions for any Plan Year 2011 health care and/or dependent care claims submitted after December 31, 2011.

You can view your claims history, submit claims online and obtain claim forms by accessing your MyFlex Advantage account online.

If you have any questions about MyFlex Advantage, contact UPMC Health Plan at 1-888-499-6885.

Click on chart to download full-size pdf.
Click on chart to download full-size pdf



UPMC Health Plan

1-888-499-6885  •


United Concordia

1-877-215-3616   •


Davis Vision

1-800-999-5431 •



1-800-682-9139    •


1-800-523-1188    •

Flexible Spending Accounts







Faculty Records


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