Health Minds Healthy College

Healthy Minds Healthy College

Health Coverage

Stay Healthy This Holiday Season!

December 22, 2014

Reduce Your Stress This Holiday Season[1]

The holiday season often brings an unusual amount of demands – parties, shopping, baking, entertaining – which can contribute to a high stress level.

Try following some of these tips to help minimize the stress that accompanies the holidays.

  1. Be Realistic: The holidays don’t have to be perfect. Traditions often change or grow, so choose a few to hold on to and be open to creating new ones.
  2. Remember, it’s the thought that counts: Decide how much money you can afford to spend before you go gift and food shopping. Don’t try to buy happiness, try these alternatives:
    • Donate to a charity on behalf of someone
    • Give a homemade gift
    • Start a family gift exchange, instead of buying gifts for every family member
  3. Learn to say no: Friends and colleagues will understand if you can’t participate in every project or activity. Saying yes when you should say no can leave you feeling overwhelmed.June 2 - Mental Workout 3
  4. Take short relaxation breaks: Make time for yourself. Spending just 15 minutes alone, without any distractions, may refresh you enough to handle everything you need to. Some activities that may help you reduce stress are:
    • Taking a walk at night and stargazing
    • Getting a massage
    • Reading a book
  5. Spend time outdoors[2]: Sunlight stimulates the production of feel-good serotonin. Spend time outdoors or near a window on sunny days.
  6. Go tech-free: Continuous cell phone buzzes and e-mail alerts keep you in a perpetual fight-or-flight mode due to adrenaline. This can be exhausting and can also contribute to mounting stress levels. Enjoy spending time with your family and friends without the worry.

Tips for Healthy Holiday Eating[3]

  1. Be realistic: Don’t try to lose pounds during the holidays, instead try to maintain your current weight.
  2. Plan time for exercise: A moderate and daily increase in exercise can help to prevent weight gain and relieve holiday stress.Feb - healthy heart 3
  3. Don’t skip meals: Before leaving for a party, eat a light snack and you will be less tempted to over-indulge.
  4. Survey the food: Choose your favorite foods and skip others, including vegetables and fruits to keep your plate balanced.
  5. Be careful with beverages: Alcohol can lessen inhibitions and induce overeating.
  6. Eat until you are satisfied, not stuffed: If you overeat at one meal go light on the next. It takes 500 calories per day above your normal/maintenance consumption to gain one pound. It is impossible to gain weight from just one piece of pie.
  7. Bring your own healthy dish to a holiday gathering.
  8. Practice Healthy Holiday Cooking:
    • Gravy – Refrigerate the gravy and skim the hardened fat off to save 56grams of fat per cup!
    • Turkey – Enjoy roasted turkey breast without the skin and save 11 grams of saturated fat per 3 oz serving.
    • Desserts – Make a crustless pie, or substitute two egg whites for one whole egg in baked recipes.

Flex Re-enrolment Reminder!

The benefits that you selected during the recent flex plan re-enrolment will be effective January 1, 2015.

Are you planning a trip this winter?

You have access to Individual Health Dental Travel Insurance plan assistance through STRATA Select.Oct -Question

  • Annual Multi-Trip plans
  • Top-Up plans for existing coverage
  • Single Trip plans for a quick getaway
  • Specialty Products for Baggage Loss, Trip Cancellation

Log on to your STRATA Select website for more information.

Login: rrc              Password: voluntary


[1] 25 Ways to Fight Holiday Stress. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen. Health Magazine.,,20306655,00.html. 2014.

[2] Stress, depression and the holidays: Tips for coping. Mayo Clinic Staff. Mayo Clinic. October 3, 2014.

[3] Tips for Healthy Holiday Eating. Greta Macaire, R.D. Sutter Health CPMC. 2014.


Are You Prepared for Winter?

November 20, 2014

Winter Tire Financing Program:[1]

Winter roads can be slippery, even if you are driving safely. MPI offers a low-interest financing program to help you put winter tires on your vehicle.

The Winter Tire Program provides financing to eligible Manitobans at a low interest rate for up to $2,000 per vehicle. The financing can be used for the purchase of qualifying winter tires and associated costs from participating retailers.

Eligibility Requirements for the Winter Tire Program:

  • You must be an individual (not corporate) Manitoba Public Insurance customer
  • You must purchase qualifying winter tires for a passenger vehicle or light truck (gross vehicle weight 4,541 kg) registered in your name
  • You must have no financing restrictions or outstanding arrears on your Manitoba Public Insurance account

MPI_snowflakeTo check your eligibility, use the Manitoba Public Insurance eligibility confirmation tool.

Eligible tires will display this symbol, and must appear on the list of eligible tires.

Financing can be applied to the purchase of eligible winter tires, and may also be applied to associated costs including:

  • rimsshutterstock_43229098
  • Tire Pressure Monitoring System
  • addition of studs to tires (some limitations apply)
  • mounting and balancing storage costs (if paid during initial purchase)
  • switchover costs (if paid during initial purchase)
  • wheel alignment
  • nitrogen fill
  • valve stems
  • shop supplies
  • applicable taxes and fees

How do I start the process? Read More →

The Flu Season and Fall Super Foods

October 16, 2014

Ways to combat the impending flu season: [1]

With the temperatures fluctuating, and more time spent indoors, the flu season inevitably sneaks in and strikes those vulnerable. Flu viruses are constantly changing, it is recommended that the flu vaccine be administered each year. October or November is the recommended best time to get vaccinated, but you can get vaccinated before or after these peak months.

Here are some other tips to help prevent colds and flu:

  • Eat and Sleep – Along with exercise, eating right and getting plenty of rest keeps your immune system healthy and better able to withstand infection. Eat plenty of vegetables and fruits that offer antioxidants, and try to get seven or eight hours of sleep each night.Oct - cold
  • Exercise – Moderate exercise for 45 minutes a day, five days a week, can reduce the risk of a cold by a third.
  • Wash your hands often – Use warm water and a good helping of soap. Don’t forget to clean under the nails, and between fingers.
  • Watch your fingers – By rubbing your eyes, covering your mouth, or rubbing your nose with your hands, you can infect yourself with cold virus particles.
  • Clean for Virus Protection – Use disinfectant, especially in the bathroom and kitchen, when you clean at home. Try to avoid using sponges and rags, as they can be an additional source of germs.

Fall super foods: Read More →

Do You Have Dependent Children?

August 14, 2014

Dependent Children Eligibilityshutterstock_174870512

If you have children who are unmarried, natural, adopted or a step child who is under the age of 22 and not working more than 30 hours a week unless a full-time student, 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 overage dependent children (over age 22) to remember to update their student status to ensure over-age student 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!

shutterstock_68492704Is your child covered while away at school?

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.

Did you know?RRC Dec Blog 1

Ceridian Lifeworks has on-line resources that can help you and your child with their transition into post secondary education including articles:

  • “Campus Safety”
  • “Dealing with Persistent Worry”

For more information or to access these and more on-line resources visit

LifeWorks Employee & Family Assistance Program

June 27, 2014

It can be difficult to balance the demands of work with those of your personal life. LifeWorks offers resources and professional services to assist you in living a more balanced life, and achieving your goals.

LifeWorks is a full-service Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP) available 24 hours a day, seven days a week! [1]

Full-service, meaning not only will you have the opportunity to seek counseling, but you will also have access to a variety of resources, such as [2]:work-life-balance

  • 24/7 telephone access to bilingual consultation with experts on child care, parenting, education, elder care, nutrition and wellness;
  • Initial in-person consultation for legal issues;
  • Referrals to helpful community resources;
  • Extensive library of educational materials including articles, booklets, kits and audio recordings;
  • Online interactive tools, information and resources

Whether you’re struggling to find a doctor who is accepting new patients in your area, or looking for ways to improve your health and wellness, LifeWorks has a variety of useful tools and resources that can help you make those first steps toward your goals.

LifeWorks can help you with your concerns relating to [1]:

LIFE: Stress/Overload, Anxiety, Depression, Grief/Loss, Community Resources
FAMILY: Parenting, Separation/Divorce, Blended Families, Caring for Older Adults, Education
Saving/Investing, Debt Management, Estate Planning/Wills, Home Buying/Renting
Work Relationships, Job Stress/Burnout, Managing People
HEALTH: Fitness/Nutrition, Sleep, Addiction/Recovery, Smoking Cessation

Counseling services can be personalized to suit whatever method you are comfortable with, both telephonic and in-person [1].

LifeWorks is confidential. Neither your employer nor anyone else will know that you used LifeWorks without your consent, except when governed by law[1].

You won’t have to wait long for service as more than 80 per cent of calls are answered within 20 seconds! Or, you can access LifeWorks on their website or on their mobile app. [1]

Benefits of using your Employee Assistance Program with LifeWorks [2]:

  • June 2 - Mental Workout 3Increase productivity
  • Reduce physical and mental health concerns
  • Manage personal and professional challenges
  • Make healthier lifestyle choices
  • Maintain Wellness; and
  • Achieve work-life balance


To contact LifeWorks: 1.877.207.8833
Français : 1 877 307-1080     TTY: 1.877.371.9978

User ID: rrcefap             Password: efap



[1] Ceridian LifeWorks. Frequently Asked Questions: Your EFAP & Work-Life/Wellness Resource.

[2] Ceridian Canada Ltd. Employee Assistance Program (EAP)


Cancer Awareness & Screening

April 24, 2014

2 in 5 Canadians will develop cancer in their lifetime and about 1 in 4 Canadians will die of cancer.[1]

Apr - daffodilIn 2013, it is estimated that 187,600 Canadians will develop cancer and 75,500 will die of cancer. [2] April is Daffodil Month. The daffodil is considered a symbol of strength and courage by the Canadian Cancer Society. Funds raised during Daffodil Month are used to lend a helping hand for families and those receiving treatment for cancer, fund lifesaving clinical trials, advocate for cancer patients and provide access to services in your community.

For more information on Daffodil Month, check this information from the Canadian Cancer Society.


There are a number of factors that contribute to whether you are susceptible to cancer. You can help minimize your risk by[3]:

  1. Quitting smoking and limiting your exposure to second hand smoke.Apr - runner
  2. Eating a healthy diet with lots of vegetables, fruit and fibre with little fat and sugar.
  3. Maintaining a healthy body weight.
  4. Keeping physical activity as an important part of your day with at least 30 minutes of moderate activity a day.
  5. Reducing your alcohol intake.
  6. Being safe in the sun by covering up, wearing sunglasses, using sunscreen and staying hydrated.
  7. Getting the right amount of Vitamin D.
  8. Monitoring environmental factors such as what household cleaners are being used and what residues are left behind especially if you have young infants and toddlers who spend an ample amount of time on the floor.


You know your body better than any one else as you will know what is normal for you. When cancer is found early, it is often easier to treat. Having regular checkups with your doctor will help reduce the risk of a health problem being ignored.  Screening tests help find some types of cancer before you have any symptoms. Talk to your doctor to learn more about your risk of cancer and what screening tests you should have. Be sure to mention any family history of cancer.

Benefits and risks of screening[4]:


  • Better survival rates
  • Better quality of life


  • False positive results
  • False negative results
  • Over-diagnosis
  • Increased exposure to harmful procedures

Upcoming Events

There are a number of events throughout the year all over Manitoba in support of the Canadian Cancer Society and the fight against cancer.

  • Relay for Life – numerous dates based on location from May to July across the province.
  • River City Dragon Boat Festival – June 6th and 7th at the Lake Shirley Water Ski Park

If you enjoy the intrinsic benefits of being a volunteer, consider supporting the Canadian Cancer Society and volunteering your time and skills to a wonderful cause. There are a variety of volunteer opportunities available.

For more information about fundraising events and to access the volunteer application form, please visit



[1] Canadian Cancer Statistics 2013. 2013.

[2] Canadian Cancer Statistics 2013. 2013.

[3] Canadian Cancer Society. Prevention & Screening. 2014

[4] Canadian Cancer Society. Prevention & Screening. 2014

Nutrition Month & World Water Day

March 24, 2014

63% of Canadians struggle with making healthier food choices in the grocery store at least half the time they shop; more than one third struggle at least 75% of the time according to an Ipsos Reid poll conducted for Dietitians of Canada in the Spring of 2012. [1]

Mar - 1National Nutrition Month is brought to you by the Dietitians of Canada every March. National Nutrition Month 2014 is designed to inspire Canadians to get back to cooking basics and to involve children and youth in food preparation. The campaign is ‘Simply Cook and Enjoy’ as there are concerns about the lack of home cooking and loss of cooking skills.


10 Steps to a Healthier You[2]

  1. Variety adds enjoyment – eat the foods you enjoy balanced with healthy choices and size-wise portions
  2. Fibre is filling – fuel up with high-fibre foods for your meals and snacks
  3. Surround yourself with healthy snacks – bring healthy “to-go” snacks for smart snacking wherever you are
  4. Add a dash of creativity – try a new recipe or experiment with spicesMar - 2
  5. One small step at a time – make one small change to eating habits this week
  6. Feed the need – if you feel your stomach grumbling, reach for a healthy snack
  7. Listen to your body cues – you may need other nourishment such as sleep, fresh air, cool water or change of pace
  8. The 20-minute message – it takes 20 minutes for your brain to register that your stomach is full
  9. Health is a life-long experience – focus on long-term health, not a quick fix
  10. Fast food doesn’t have to be “fat” food – look for healthy alternatives

For additional details on Nutrition Month including eating tips and recipes, visit the ‘Simply Cook and Enjoy’ website at

Did you know that in Manitoba, we have a ‘Dial-a-Dietitian’ service?

If you are looking for free nutrition information for anyone, you can call to speak to a Registered Dietitian and get answers about food and nutrition.


Mar - 3

World Water Day

Worldwide, 13 billion people cannot access electricity, 768 million people lack access to improved water sources and 2.5 billion people have no improved sanitation. Water and energy have crucial impacts on poverty alleviation.[3]

World Water Day on March 22, 2014 is to bring awareness to the inter-linkages between water and energy and promote sustainable practices. Key Messages[4] include:

  1. Water requires energy and energy requires water.
  2. Supplies are limited and demand is increasing.
  3. Saving energy is saving water. Saving water is saving energy.
  4. The ‘bottom billion’ urgently needs access to both water and sanitation services, and electricity.
  5. Improving water and energy efficiency is imperative as are coordinated, coherent and concerted policies.

For more information on World Water Day, visit


[1] 2013 Nutrition Month Campaign Summary, Dietitians of Canada. 2013.

[2] Nutrition Resource Centre, OPHA. 2003.

[3] UN Water.

[4] UN Water.

Heart Health

February 26, 2014

February is Heart Month!

Heart disease and stroke are two of the top three leading causes of death. Did you know?Feb - healthy heart 2

  • Every seven minutes in Canada, someone dies from heart disease or stroke.[1]
  • Heart disease and stroke costs the Canadian economy more than $20.9 billion every year in physician services, hospital costs, lost wages and decreased productivity.[2]
  • 9.7% of Canadians are in ideal cardiovascular health, 53.8% are in intermediate health, and 36.5% are in poor health. [3]

Even though these are some scary statistics, there are some risk factors that you cannot control such as age, gender, family history or ethnicity. However, there are a number of risk factors that you can do something about:

  • Feb - healthy heart 1High blood pressure
  • High blood cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Being overweight
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Physical activity
  • Smoking
  • Stress


What can you do to control your risk to heart disease and stroke?

There are 8 steps to prevent heart disease according to the Mayo Clinic by using a heart-healthy diet.[4]

  1. Control your portion sizeFeb - healthy heart 3
  2. Eat more vegetables and fruits
  3. Select whole grains
  4. Limit unhealthy fats and cholesterol
  5. Choose low-fat protein sources
  6. Reduce the sodium in your food
  7. Plan ahead: create daily meals
  8. Allow yourself an occasional treat

How do you know if you are currently at risk?

The Heart & Stroke Foundation has created a Risk Assessment that you can complete online. The Risk Assessment helps you find out what is putting you at risk for heart disease and stroke. You can create an account or complete the assessment anonymously. The questions regarding your health and lifestyle are simple and take less than 10 minutes to complete.

To complete the assessment, visit: Heart & Stroke Risk Assessment

Did You Know?

RRC Dec Blog 1You may have a soft spot in your heart for a family pet. Through STRATA Select, you are eligible for discounts on Pet Health Insurance through Petplan Pet Insurance®? You have a choice of annual coverage limits and may be eligible for a discount on monthly premiums. Check it out!

[1] Statistics Canada. (2011c, October). Mortality, summary list of causes 2008.

[2] Conference Board of Canada. (2010, February). The Canadian Heart Health Strategy: Risk Factors and Future Cost Implications Report.

[3] Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS). CANHEART Adult Health Index.

[4] Mayo Clinic. Heart Healthy Diet. (

Health Care Spending Account & Claims Submission Requirements

February 4, 2014

Upcoming Submission Deadline!

Jan - calendarWe would like to take this opportunity to remind you to submit your 2013 claims to your Health Care Spending Account (HCSA) by March 31, 2014.

2013 claims must be received by Great-West Life prior to March 31st, 2014 to be claimed against your 2013 HCSA dollars. Any unused 2013 benefit dollars remaining after this period will be forfeited.

The HCSA can be used to cover a range of benefits not normally covered under other types of group benefits plans or by provincial medical plans.

What are covered expenses?

You are covered for 100% of eligible expenses that you incur while you and your dependents are covered, up to the total amount of dollars in your HCSA.Jan - money

The Income Tax Act governs the types of expenses that can be reimbursed under the HCSA. This includes medical or dental services provided by a:

  • Licensed medical practitioner;
  • Dentist; or
  • Public or licensed private hospital.

Please visit and search on medical expenses for a complete list.

On January 1st, 2014, your HCSA refreshed based on the Flex Option you have chosen and part-time/full-time status where applicable. Please visit to review your claims history and obtain your HCSA statement including balance.

Under the HCSA, you can carry forward claims up to 12 months from the date of service. This means if you had more 2013 expenses than you had 2013 HCSA dollars, you can carry forward those claims for reimbursement against your 2014 HCSA balance.

For example, under Flex Option 5:

Jan - hcsa table


Updated Claim Submission Requirements

Great-West Life has updated their claims submission requirements for compression hose and orthopedic shoes. There has been no change to the coverage provided under the Red River College plan. The change in requirements is common among insurance carriers to ensure coverage is provided for valid expenses.

What are the claim requirements for compression hose?

Benefits will be adjudicated according to the compression factor of the hose. When submitting a claim, you are required to provide the following information:Jan - comp hose

  •  Medical Diagnosis – a prescription from your doctor that includes the specific medical diagnosis. A description of symptoms is not sufficient documentation.
  • Make/Model of Hose – ensure there is a make and model number of  the compression hose you have been supplied with on your receipt

 Please refer to your Benefits Booklet to determine your eligibility and benefit limits.

What are the claim requirements for orthopedic shoes?

When submitting a claim, you are required to provide the following information:

  • Prescription Requirement – the prescription must set out the medical diagnosis necessitating the orthopedic shoes. Prescriptions outlining symptoms rather than a medical diagnosis will not be sufficient.
  • Casting Technique – details of technique utilized, description of the process and the materials used to fabricate the shoes when claim is for custom-made orthopedic shoes.
  • Brand/Model – details of brand name, model of shoes, description of each modifcation made to shoes (if applicable) and a breakdown of the costs of the shoes and each modification when the claim is for custom-fitted or pre-fabricated (off-the-shelf) orthopedic shoes.

Please refer to your Benefits Booklet to determine your eligibility and benefit limits.

Did You Know?

RRC Dec Blog 1

Through STRATA Select, you are eligible for discounts on new security systems or monitoring of existing systems through ProTELEC Alarms? ProTELEC has three incentives depending on customer needs. Check it out!


Thinking about travelling this winter?

December 23, 2013

Out-of-Country Emergency Travel Health Coverage

RRC Dec Blog 2Red River College employees and their eligible dependents have 100% Emergency Travel Health coverage.

What is an out-of- country medical emergency?

The definition of an out-of-country medical emergency is “an unforeseen injury or illness that begins while the insured person is traveling outside his or her home province”.  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.RRC Dec Blog 3
  • 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.

Great-West Life Online Services

Access to the online site for your group Health and Dental benefits information has never been easier with Great‐West Life’s GroupNet™ for Plan Members.

Available 24/7, this user friendly site provides the following:

  • Online claim submission
  • Sign up for direct deposit claim payments
  • View and print your claim status and Explanation of Benefits (EOB) for the past 24 months. The EOB can be used to coordinate benefits with other insurance carriers.
  • Create and print a summary of your claim history by patient and/or benefit.
  • Complete and print personalized claim forms.
  • Access to Great-West Life’s Health & Wellness Site

Sign up now at

GroupNet™ Mobile

Information when you’re on the go from your Benefits Solutions People. Great-West Life’s GroupNet Mobile app lets you take GroupNet™ for Plan Members with you. You can download GroupNet Mobile to Android, BlackBerry®, and iPhone.

Great-West’s GroupNet Mobile lets you:

  • Submit claims online through Member eClaims
  • Access personalized coverage information about benefits, claims and more – quickly and easily, any time
  • View card information including: member ID, Drug and Global Medical Assistance
  • Locate the nearest approved provider who has access to Provider eClaims, through a built-in GPS mapping tool

Did You Know?


RRC Dec Blog 1Through STRATA Select, you could purchase individual insurance? Depending on your needs – whether you are looking for coverage for your parents or additional Travel Health for your next hot vacation – individual insurance is available. Check it out!