By Aimee Johnson, Account Executive
First, I have to admit that, yes, I have been watching Zac Efron’s new series on Netflix, “Down to Earth” and it has become a guilty pleasure! And no I am not of the generation that swooned over Zac and High School musical. I can honestly say I’ve never seen it.
One episode of “Down to Earth” explores the centenarians of Sardinia’s Blue Zone. Who doesn’t want the gift of longevity?! Needless to say I was hooked from the start.
Blue Zones describe the 5 places around the world where people consistently live over 100. From these zones, there are evidence based common denominators called the Power 9:
- Move naturally
- 80% Rule
- Plant slant.
- Wine @ 5
- Loved ones first.
- Right tribe.
By Tonya Mott, Vice President of Operations
I know you’re probably thinking it’s way too early to start thinking about booking campsites for the 2021 summer but I promise, you are wrong. Let this blog post be a warning that if you want to camp at the most beautiful campgrounds and get the prime spots you have to book at least 6 months in advance (some up to a year in advance).
Most of the places I mention in this article were booked in February 2020 for this summer.
Here’s how we spent the infamous summer of 2020.
Porcupine Campground – Hope, Alaska Click here for details and reservations
- The view of the inlet from our campsite – Hanging with Papa (campsite #12)
- Fishing – Showing these girls how to properly hold a fish
- Hiking trails – Before and after (That’s my nephew in the background, in his pack on the ground and passed out)
- Exploring unique little town of Hope – Menu at the Seaview Café & Bar
- You’re in the mountains and have beautiful views of valleys and glaciers
- Fishing – One spot has its own private lake access
- Hiking trails – My husband thought it would be a good idea to ride the wagon down the trail. That ended with him on the ground and a bent wheel.
- Exploring Valdez
Savage River Campground – Denali Park, Alaska Click here for details and reservations (this one was summer of 2019)
- The views of the mountains and the park
- Hiking trails – The river hike is beautiful and kid friendly. My sister almost lost her stroller (sans kid, thankfully) to the Savage River. Naughty buggy, was the name given to her stroller by the New Zealand tourist that was so graciously taking our family photo as it took off down the hill. My brother-in-law saved the day and caught it as it was about half way in the water.
- Denali Park and the visitor center. They had all kinds of kid’s activities. My niece, Olivia is officially a Junior Park Ranger.
2020 has been a strange year to say the least but I will say it has been one of the best summers for our family. We explored this great state of Alaska from the north, east, south, and west ends! We are looking forward to new adventures in 2021.
By Bailey Penrose, Employer Services Account Manager
I don’t know about you, but being encouraged to stay at home during these turbulent times has really upped my YouTube consumption. Quite possibly Google should start paying me a portion of ad-revenue based on the uptick. One thing I find myself binging are the videos released by museums, many of whom have adapted their content to online visitors. Museums have always held a fascination for me, and imagining exploring their many hallways while stuck at home engages my brain while helping me remember the world outside.
The British Museum’s channel is fantastic and they have recently been releasing a series of videos about ‘Objects of Crisis’, little snippets that introduce some pretty interesting artifacts. My favorite so far has been the ‘The Meroe Head of Augustus’ as A.) the guest speaker is Mary Beard (her books are wonderful, I recommend SPQR) and B.) the conversation around how we regard statues throughout time was engagingly thought provoking.
Whether you prefer to explore topics related to art, history, nature, or some combination of them all, why not give some of these museum channels a try?
By Ashley Snodgrass, Executive Account Manager
I’m the first to say I can be a little long winded. I’ve made many efforts over the last few years to try to be more succinct, but it is quite challenging. Because of this self-criticism, I am envious of others who are able to convey their message concisely. I’m reminded of an episode of The Office when one well-meaning accountant feels as if he wastes time by using too many words, so he tries to cut down on unnecessary words in a sentence, by saying things like, “Me think, why waste time say lot word, when few word do trick?” or “Many small time make big time”. This is not the linguistic brevity to which I aspire.
I recently read an article on emotional intelligence that highlighted this concept. The author of the article shares how Apple CEO Tim Cook’s took action on a complaint email in a way that was unique to top business leaders. An Apple user wrote to Tim Cook with some feedback, and Tim Cook forwarded the email to the top executive team, with the simple phrase, “Thoughts?”
This is the most direct way to illicit feedback from your team. Tim Cook could have added his opinions, berated the email-writer, or otherwise indicated his opinion on the complaint. Instead, by requesting the feedback from other executives, he is able to gather feedback without overcasting his bias. To me this email is a lesson, not only in emotional intelligence, but also in simplicity and confidence. There is no need for phrase inflation. There is only the need for concision.
I will end this with another brief mention of the scene from The Office. One character asks the accountant what he will be able to do with all his extra time. He says, “See world.” Me think good idea.
By Alesha Combs, Account Manager
I began working from home in March of 2020. One of the first things I noticed during this transition was the shift from popping into a colleague’s office, or by their desk, to say good morning or ask a question, but instead increasing my utilization of emails, texts, phone calls, Slack messages, and video conferencing in order to communicate with my team. This shift made me increasingly aware of what most of us already cognitively know, which is that communication is primarily a function of tone of voice and body language, not our actual word choices. My new primary methods of communication, didn’t afford insight into the key ways that we communicate with one another, but made me rely fully on my words…and maybe some memes or an emoji here and there.
According to Psychology Professor Albert Mehrabian’s “7%-38%-55% Rule”, verbal content only accounts for about 7% of our actual communication. The rest of our communication is 38% tone and 55% body language. This means that when we email, text, or direct message someone we are losing 93% of our communication tools! There is some debate on how accurate this rule is, specifically relating to what topic is being discussed/communicated, but regardless it is globally agreed upon that a speaker’s word choice provides the least amount of insight and context to the listener.
I noticed that if I went a couple of weeks without seeing a colleague, I might receive a message from them and find myself questioning the tone of the message. I was left to rely fully on their vocabulary choices, and without the context of their other methods of communication. Luckily, video conferencing helped give a refresher to each individual’s style and tone, and served as a reminder for their overall communication style. This served as a reminder to me of where I may be leaving a void in the written communications I send to others.
For the past 4 years, most of my work communications have been relayed via email, so this shift to relying on virtual methods of communication was not entirely foreign, however I did find it noteworthy. I became increasingly aware of my own communication style, my word choices, how I construct my sentences and paragraphs to give meaning, and really giving thought to what tone the person reading my email would give my words.
Many of us have made the transition over the past few months, from working in an office setting to working from home, so it’s a good time to be mindful of our new communication platforms and opportunities to use them well. While I don’t have a golden rule for how to communicate 100% accurately when relying fully on words, my colleague recently shared this article, which gives actionable insight on how we can use our words to communicate with emotional intelligence. The article is called People Who Give Advice Like This Have Very Low Emotional Intelligence. It’s worth us all taking a moment to be reminded of the power of our words, and the room for error when we are left to rely on them fully.
Timely ADA Issues for Employers
October 15, 2020 | 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM AKDT
The ADA continues to evolve as one of the more complicated components of Human Resources made even more difficult for employers as a result of the pandemic. This webinar will analyze some of the difficult traditional areas of the ADA to administer, as well as some novel issues that only exist as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Click Here to Register or to Learn More- https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/166869989824057100?source=RISQ+Consulting
2020 ACA Reporting: Preparations for ALEs and Sponsors of Self-Insured Coverage
November 19, 2020 | 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM AKDT
As employers begin preparing for another year of ACA reporting under Internal Revenue Code Sections 6055 and 6056, we will provide an overview of the reporting requirements, detail the mechanics of the reporting process, cover state-specific reporting requirements, and discuss IRS actions related to these obligations. This webinar is suitable for both experienced employers and employers new to the reporting process.
Click Here to Register or to Learn More- https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/883685600435891982?source=RISQ+Consulting
HR Considerations for 2021
December 17, 2020 | 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM AKDT
2020 was a rollercoaster for employers and Human Resources departments as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Heading into 2021 there are many issues both immediate and well into the future that will be impacted by the pandemic. However, traditional Human Resources initiatives and strategies are still just as important as they have ever been. This webinar will address both pandemic-related concerns heading into the New Year as well as more traditional initiatives that HR departments should be considering moving forward.
Click Here to Register or to Learn More- https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/9188614683889187084?source=RISQ+Consulting
By Diana Stewart, Executive Account Manager
Surprise billing happens when a patient with health insurance is treated at an out-of-network hospital or when an out-of-network doctor assists with the procedure at an in-network hospital. Bills for such services can range from hundreds to tens of thousands of dollars.
“Surprise” out-of-network bills have come under close scrutiny, mostly focused on Emergency Room instances where a participant my seek services at an in-network hospital, but the attending physician could be out-of-network. Ambulance transportation is known to be a large component of the problem as well, although its impact is poorly understood.
For members of large national insurance plans, from 2013–17, 71% of all ambulance rides involved surprise bills. For both ground and air ambulances, out-of-network charges were substantially greater than in-network prices, resulting in an average potential surprise bill of $450 for ground transportation and $21,698 for air transportation. Though out-of-network air ambulance bills were larger, out-of-network ground ambulance bills were more common, with an aggregate impact of $129 million per year. Out-of-network air ambulance bills had an aggregate impact of $41 million in 2013 increasing to $143 million in 2017.
As the Federal Government seeks to implement legislation limiting surprise billings for emergency services at in-network levels, federal proposals to limit surprise out-of-network billing should incorporate protections for patients undergoing ground or air ambulance transportation as well as hospital services.
Eliminating surprise billing would save people with employer-provided health insurance as much as $40 billion annually. However, surprise billing lets hospitals extract more money from patients and demand higher payments from insurers.