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December 4, 2014

Pitt Benefits

Additional Flu Shot Clinic Scheduled for December 9


If the thought of not being able to move off of the couch because of muscle aches, extreme fatigue, alternating chills and sweats, a sore throat, headache and persistent cough makes you sick just thinking about it, consider getting a flu shot! While outbreaks of the flu can begin as early as October, usually flu activity peaks between December and February.

An additional on-campus flu shot clinic has been scheduled at the William Pitt Union lower lounge on Tuesday, December 9, from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Flu shots are covered by the University’s medical plans for members at no out-of-pocket cost. Simply present your University ID, and your UPMC Health Plan membership card at the clinic to obtain your flu shot. You will need to complete a consent form at the time of service. Individuals who do not carry the University’s medical insurance also may obtain a flu shot at the on-campus clinic for a $25 charge.

Flu shots also are available at Falk Pharmacy Monday–Friday, from 8 a.m.- 5 p.m. Members also may obtain a flu shot at a participating provider at no out-of-pocket cost. If members obtain a flu shot from a clinic or pharmacy that does not participate with UPMC Health Plan, they will need to pay for the flu shot at the time of service and file a claim for reimbursement. Reimbursement forms can be obtained from the UPMC Health Plan website under “Commonly Used Forms.”

Last Opportunity to Submit Flexible Spending Account Claims

December 31 is the last day to file claims against your Fiscal Year 2014 flexible spending account (July 1, 2013–June 30, 2014). This deadline applies for health care, dependent care, parking, and mass transit accounts.

The claims must have been incurred between July 1, 2013, and June 30, 2014. The only exception to this involves health care-related claims that were incurred through September 15, 2014. The Benefits Department, in compliance with Internal Revenue Code, is not permitted to grant extensions for Plan Year 2014 expenses submitted after December 31, 2014. This provision has long been known as “Use it or lose it.”

You can view your claims history, submit claims online and obtain claim forms by accessing your MyFlex Advantage account online. Remember, you have single sign-on access through Follow these steps:

  • Select UPMC Health Plan from the Resources tab.
  • Select MyHealth.
  • Select Spending Accounts on the UPMC site.
  • Any questions regarding your healthcare flexible spending account(s) should be referred to UPMC Health Plan at 1-888-499-6885.

Important Information Regarding Your Flexible Spending Account

MyFlexAdvantage Flexible Spending Account (FSA) has changed its name to UPMC FlexAdvantage — and this change affects your FSA.

  • Starting January 1, your new FSA debit card will be a Visa card (the current debit card is a MasterCard). To ensure a smooth transition, you will not be able to use your current FSA debit card December 22 – December 31. During this 10-day period, you still can incur eligible expenses. However, you will need to submit paper claims for expenses during this period.
  • New FSA Visa debit cards will be mailed out mid to late December. You can start using the new debit card on January 1, 2015.
  • Upgrades to the UPMC FlexAdvantage member online portal will go live on January 1, 2015. UPMC is upgrading the site’s design  and functionality. It will be easier to navigate the site and track your expenses. You’ll also find easy-to-use instructional videos.
  • The improvement of the UPMC FlexAdvantage mobile app also is underway. This enhanced app makes it quick and easy to view balances and transactions, file claims, upload receipts, and track expenses.

Look for additional information regarding this transition in the coming weeks.

Winter Recess Coverage

During the winter recess, the Office of Human Resources, including the Benefits Department, will remain open with limited staffing and hours to assist you. Please contact us during the open hours if any issues arise that require immediate attention.

The recess schedule for UPMC Health Plan is listed below as well. You can expect that the other carriers will be closed on December 25 and January 1. Generally most will have limited hours or will be closed on December 24 and December 31 as well.

Symptoms of the Flu Versus Ebola

According to the CDC, the flu is a common contagious respiratory illness caused by flu viruses. Ebola is a rare and deadly disease caused by infection with an Ebola virus. The flu is spread by droplets produced when people with the flu sneeze, cough or talk, and sometimes, though not as often, by contact with a contaminated surface.

Ebola, on the other hand, is not spread through the air, water or food. Ebola can only be spread through direct contact with blood or bodily fluids from someone who has Ebola, or has died from it, or from objects such as needles that have been in contact with blood or bodily fluids from someone who is sick with Ebola. While anyone can get the flu, those most at risk for contracting Ebola are those who have traveled to a country with widespread transmission or exposure to those with Ebola, health care providers taking care of those with Ebola, and other individuals who have had direct contact with the blood or bodily fluids of a person sick with Ebola.

People with the flu can spread the virus before and during their illness, whereas people with the Ebola virus can’t spread the virus until symptoms appear. While some of the symptoms of the flu and Ebola may be similar, there are some distinct differences. Symptoms of the flu usually develop within a day or two of exposure and come on quickly and all at once. Ebola symptoms, conversely, develop 2- 21 days after exposure and progressively become more severe.

Symptoms of the flu

  • Fever or feeling feverish
  • Headache
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Fatigue
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose

Symptoms of Ebola

  • Fever
  • Severe headache
  • Muscle pain
  • Fatigue
  • Vomiting or diarrhea (develop after 3-6 days)
  • Weakness (can be severe)
  • Stomach pain
  • Unexplained bleeding or bruising


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