group running marathon

On Thanksgiving morning Western Health Advantage members and their families will be joining WHA staff and employees as we make up a team participating in the largest Thanksgiving Day run in the country. This event typically has about 30,000 participants! Sponsored by WHA, all proceeds from the Western Health Advantage Run to Feed the Hungry benefit Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services.

The race/walk starts on J Street just west of the entrance to the Sacramento State campus and runs through the beautiful tree lined streets of East Sacramento. WHA proudly sponsors what has become a family tradition for thousands of area families and their out-of-town guests, as well as a favorite race among elite runners in California.

To find more event information, please visit www.runtofeedthehungry.com.

What: Western Health Advantage Run to Feed the Hungry

When: Thursday, November 23, 2017

Time: 8:15 a.m. – 10K Race; 9:00 a.m. – 5K Race and Walk

Where: California State University, Sacramento main entrance (6000 J Street)

Beneficiary: Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services
Much more than just food, Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services (SFBFS) offers 14 diverse services, all focusing on education and moving families to self-sufficiency and financial independence. This is made possible through the help of over 6,200 volunteers who contribute more than 65,000 hours every year. SFBFS is unique in that the organization is not based on a traditional food bank model. SFBFS directly serves families in our community and offers a hand up in the form of education, not a hand out, to each individual who seeks assistance. SFBFS is supported through private donors, some grants and special events such as Run to Feed the Hungry. SFBFS provides food, clothing, education and hope to 150,000 men, women and children each month thanks to your support.

healthy foods

Western Health Advantage has teamed up with the American Heart Association to help you find healthier options this holiday season. Here are some daily tips from AHA:

The American Heart Association has created the Healthy for Good™ movement to inspire you to create lasting change in your health and your life. Western Health Advantage is the local Healthy for Good sponsor and will be sharing more Healthy for Good information throughout the year.

Did you know that November is American Diabetes Month?  In the U.S., 86 million people have pre-diabetes, putting them at high risk for developing type 2 diabetes.

Western Health Advantage is passionate about helping members successfully manage their diabetes.  Before people are diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, they nearly always develop pre-diabetes, in which blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. Pre-diabetes should be taken seriously as it can begin causing damage to the body.

But it isn’t all bad news! The good news is you can take steps to prevent and manage diabetes. Here are four helpful steps to get you on the right track:

  1. Maintain a healthy weight. Your body mass index (BMI), a measure of body fat calculated using your height and weight, should be in the healthy range. Visit the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute to calculate your BMI.
  2. Eat wisely. Choose pastas, breads, cereals and crackers that show “whole” or “whole grain” as the first ingredient. Eat more fruit and vegetables, aiming to eat dark yellow and green veggies like broccoli, spinach and squash every day. Cut back on foods containing saturated fats like butter, whole milk, high-fat ice cream and cottage cheese. Visit MyFoodAdvisor for recipes and tips from the American Diabetes Association.
  3. Exercise regularly. Physical activity helps you lose weight and control your cholesterol and blood pressure. It also helps your body use insulin. Try to be physically active for 30 minutes a day, five days a week. If you haven’t been active in a while, start slowly with a gentle exercise like walking.
  4. Get support. Along with your family, the relationship you establish with your doctor is one of the most important resources to help you stay on track. You also have free access to WHA’s diabetes program provided through Optum®. Visit org/DM to learn more.

Have a minute?   Learn your risk for type 2 diabetes and take the Diabetes Risk Test now from the American Diabetes Association. Take it. Share it. Step Out.

For more information, please visit mywha.org/diabetes and learn about WHA’s Diabetes Disease Management Program.

Do you know about WHA’s diabetes incentive program for WHA members? WHA wants to reward you for being proactive with preventive care, such as for getting a yearly dilated retinal eye test. Visit mywha.org/DRE or call 888.563.2250 to learn more.

putting on skates
Western Health Advantage members can get $5 off of the $12 admission price to the Downtown Sacramento Ice Rink by showing their WHA membership card, thanks to WHA’s sponsorship of the venue.

The Downtown Sacramento Holiday Ice Rink is a treasured destination for outdoor skating and a launching pad for exploring ever-booming central Sacramento. The rink is situated in the heart of downtown, at the corner of 7th & K streets in St. Rose of Lima Park and at the doorstep of the new Golden 1 Center.

Dates: November 3, 2017 – January 15, 2018
Skate Admission: $12 (all day, skates included)
Children 6 and under: $6
Gloves & Socks: $4
Lockers: $2

Regular Hours
Monday-Thursday: 2-8 pm
Friday & Saturday: 10 am-10 pm
Sunday: 10 am-8 pm
Holidays: Hours vary

More Info
godowntownsac.com/icerink; (916) 442-5563; dsp@downtownsac.org


looking at computer

As of November 1, California residents who cannot get a health plan through their employer are able to shop and enroll in a number of health plans through Covered California, California’s health benefit exchange. Western Health Advantage plans for 2018 are among those available during Covered California’s open enrollment period. Whether you are currently uninsured or already enrolled in a Covered California plan, this open enrollment period is offered to all who are eligible for Covered California.

Coverage that you sign up for can become effective as of January 1, 2018. For coverage to be effective then, enrollment must be completed by December 15, 2017.

Open enrollment closes on Jan. 31, 2018. The open enrollment period will likely be the only time during the year you will be able to purchase or change plans, barring a major life change, such as the loss of a job or the birth of a child.

Covered California offers credits and subsidies to ensure coverage is affordable. Families and individuals who fall within certain income levels are eligible for premium tax credits used to lower the monthly payment of their health plan premiums. Some may even be eligible for assistance with out-of-pocket costs as well.

Health Plan Considerations

After November 1, you can make changes to your health plan. If you have new medical needs, additional family members, and other considerations, it is time to for a tune up.

You may even need to make a complete change. Not all health plans are created equal. What worked for you in the past might no longer suit the needs of you and/or your family.

Here are some considerations when choosing a health plan:

  • What core benefits are most important to you? Will the health plan help you reach your health goals?
  • How much is the premium? If it’s low, is there a high deductible?
  • What additional costs should you take into account? Weigh factors like premiums and out-of-pocket expenses. Coverage for your family may be especially important.
  • Is there a high-quality hospital nearby? What network of doctors and hospitals will you have access to? Do they coordinate care between locations?
  • Is the health plan easy to use and is their customer service great? You want a health plan that’s easy to work with, professional, courteous, and able to answer all your questions.
  • Are your prescription drugs covered and how are they covered?

Use a health insurance agent to advise you if this decision has the potential to keep you up at night. Ask him or her to match your needs, rather than tell you what you need. A creditable agent should also know the reputation of the health plans in your area and the quality of their customer service.

More Info

For those enrolled through Covered California, visit CoveredCA.com/Renew to update your information. The premium assistance you may be eligible for in 2018 will vary based on changes in your household size, income, and the health insurance rates in your area. If you need help, go to CoverCA.com/enrollment-assistance.

If you are enrolled through Covered California or in an Individual Advantage plan direct with WHA, your WHA renewal notice is on its way – it also can be found at mywha.org. Learn about your coverage options online by logging into your MyWHA account to compare plans. If you don’t have a MyWHA account, sign up for one at mywhaorg/signup.

Middle aged couple walking stroke prevention

Whether you’re in the middle of a church service or are about to finally reach the front of the line at the DMV, the second you notice a stroke sign in yourself or someone else, it’s time to act. Stroke won’t wait and neither should you. Stroke is largely treatable but even a small delay can mean the difference between recovery and disability, life and death. Every second counts during a stroke.


Each year the American Stroke Association joins organizations and individuals across the globe for World Stroke Day to spread the word that stroke is largely treatable.


Worldwide, stroke is the No. 2 killer. In the U.S., someone has a stroke every 40 seconds and someone dies from one every 4 minutes.


Today, stroke is more treatable than ever. If you spot even one sign of stroke, call 9-1-1 immediately and say, “I think this is a stroke.” Once stroke symptoms begin, the patient has a very narrow window of time to receive treatment that may make the different between recovery and disability, life and death.


Together to End Stroke, an American Stroke Association initiative, educates the public about common stroke warning signs and what to do in a stroke emergency using the acronym F.A.S.T.:

  • Face Drooping – Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile. Is the person’s smile uneven?


  • Arm Weakness – Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?


  • Speech Difficulty – Is speech slurred? Is the person unable to speak or hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence, like “The sky is blue.”


  • Time to call 9-1-1 – If someone shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 9-1-1 and get to a hospital immediately. Check the time so you’ll know when the first symptoms appeared.


Learn about more stroke warning signs and how to support World Stroke Day at StrokeAssociation.org. Learn more about heart health on MyWHA.



This October Western Health Advantage is proud to participate in National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Breast cancer is the second most common kind of cancer in women. About 1 in 8 women born today in the United States will get breast cancer at some point.

The good news is that many women can survive breast cancer if it’s found and treated early. A screening mammogram is an X-ray of the breast used to detect breast changes in women who have no signs or symptoms of breast cancer. Screening mammograms are covered for women over age 40 under most health plans.

  • If you are a woman under age 40 who is at higher-than-average risk of breast cancer – for example, if a close family member of yours had breast or ovarian cancer – ask your doctor how often a mammogram is recommended.
  •  If you are a woman age 40 to 49, talk with your doctor about when to start getting mammograms and how often to get them
  •  If are a woman age 50 to 74, be sure to get a mammogram every two years. You may also choose to get them more often.

Join WHA at Making Strides of Sacramento

WHA supports efforts to prevent and treat breast cancer in part by being a Silver Sponsor of the American Cancer Society’s “Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Sacramento” 5K walk on Sunday, October 22, 2017. The non-competitive walk starts at 8:00 a.m. at the west steps of the State Capitol. Join us for this celebration of survivorship! You can sign up here.

Attention WHA members:

To show our appreciation for completing your mammogram, your name can be entered for a drawing to win a $100 gift card when proof of your exam is verified.

For more information about breast cancer and the drawing, visit MyWHA.

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