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March 31, 2014

Value Your Health Week starts today: Smart health. Smart money. Smart you.

Value Your Health

Getting the right health care, paying the right price and managing your health care budget are important, but often overwhelming, tasks.

"It takes good health care consumer skills," says Eva Nodine, director of benefits in Human Resources. "Those skills often don't come naturally, but they're skills we can build."

Improving health care consumer skills is the goal of Value Your Health Week, a five-day event that begins today. "Taking a few important steps can make a big difference to both your wellness and your wallet," Nodine says.

The tagline for the week is "Smart health. Smart money. Smart you." According to Nodine, the foundations of good health care consumerism include:

* Preventive exams and screenings: Getting an annual physical exam and recommended preventive screenings can detect a health problem early while it's most easily treated. "Dealing with it now can spare you from undergoing more intense and stressful treatments later, and it's less expense by a long shot," Nodine says. Preventive exams and screenings are covered at no charge on all Purdue medical plans.

* Getting needed care and prescriptions: Wise health care consumers discuss care options with their health care providers and then follow the selected treatment and prescription plan. "Skipping needed treatment or prescriptions just to avoid spending money will likely cost you way more in the long run, and you're risking your health and your quality of life," Nodine says.

* Taking an active role in your health care: Nodine advises employees to learn all they can about their conditions and their treatment options. "Gather information from your primary care provider, your pharmacist, your health coach and other health care professionals," she says. "It's your body and it's your money, so get involved."

* Shopping for health care: High prices do not necessarily mean high quality when it comes to health care. Health care of equal quality is often available in the same town for a much more reasonable price. "We check prices on everything from TVs to computers to groceries before we buy," Nodine says. "We should do the same for health care, and Castlight Health gives us a great tool for doing this."

* Getting the most value from your Purdue benefits: Faculty and staff are encouraged to take time to understand what their benefits cover and how they work. "Benefits can be confusing and a challenge to manage," Nodine says. "The good news is that you have a lot of resources to help you."

Nodine cites the HR Service Center at 49-42222 and hr@purdue.edu as a valuable resource. She recommends that employees and spouses/same-sex domestic partners stop by the Value Your Health Information Fair being held noon-4 p.m. Tuesday and 8 a.m.-1 p.m. Wednesday. "Most of the companies that administer our benefits will be on hand to answer questions and provide tips for managing your health care dollars," she says.

Value Your Health Week events have been planned to help build skills in all of the areas Nodine outlines above. Employees may attend in paid status with their supervisor's approval. Spouses and same-sex domestic partners may also attend all events.

A drug take-back station will be open Tuesday and Wednesday throughout the Value Your Health Information Fair. For more information on the drug take-back station, a full schedule of events, and health care consumer information and tips, go to the Value Your Health website at www.purdue.edu/hr/value.