WPS Benefit News

May 2022

In This Issue:

  • Meet Hootie: Your New Employee Benefits Mascot
  • Wellness Credits Postcards: Special Delivery
  • Let's Talk About Your Emergency Fund: Planning for Unexpected Expenses
  • COVID Vaccine Can Impact Timing of Mammogram
  • Improving Resilience Through Your Relationships
  • Employee Benefits Contacts: Who We Are & How We Can Help
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Meet Hootie: Your New Employee Benefits Mascot

Employee Benefits uses a benefits broker to help maximize services from our different benefit carriers. Our new broker IMA helped us realize our vision of a fun and recognizable mascot for Employee Benefits. Meet Hootie, a wise owl who is here to help you make the most of your benefits as an employee of Wichita Public Schools. Hootie cares about your benefits but also understands we are here to educate kids and wears a graduation cap to show support.

You will begin to see Hootie on different printed materials and e-mails coming from Employee Benefits. This will be a marker to let you know that important information about your benefits is included.

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Wellness Credits Postcards: Special Delivery

Many of you have voiced in the last year the need for reminders outside of e-mail. You spoke, and we listened. We developed a postcard with wellness reminders, something you can hang on your fridge as a handy reminder of where you are on accumulating your wellness points. This will not take the place of documentation but is meant to help serve as a reminder for you in a printed form. Employee Benefits team members partnered up in April and hand-delivered these to each site within the district to ensure one of these was able to get into the hands of each employee. Even if you are not on the health plan now or not benefitted now, you may be later so we wanted to get the idea of wellness credits planted.

We really enjoyed getting out and visiting buildings and seeing the people our work impacts. It was great to see you!

If you would like to check your wellness points online, go to www.usd259.bswift.com. Your username is your five-digit employee ID. If you have forgotten your password, you can click on the "Forgot Password" link to reset using your security questions already provided. Ideally, wellness points should be entered monthly by bswift based on reports received from different carriers; however, ultimately it is your responsibility to upload documentation if items are not posted at the time of annual open enrollment.

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Let's Talk About Your Emergency Fund: Planning for Unexpected Expenses

Have you ever had one of those months? The water heater stops heating, the dishwasher stops washing, and your family ends up on a first-name basis with the nurse at urgent care. Then, as you're driving to work, you see smoke coming from under your hood.

Bad things happen to the best of us, and sometimes it seems like they come in waves. That's when an emergency fund can come in handy.

One survey found that nearly 25% of Americans have no emergency savings. Another survey found that 40% of Americans said they wouldn't be able to comfortably handle an unexpected $1000 expense.

How much money? How large should an emergency fund be? There is no "one-size-fits-all" answer. The ideal amount may depend on your financial situation and lifestyle. For example, if you own a home or have dependents, you may be more likely to face financial emergencies. A job loss for a spouse could affect income, and you may need emergency funds for months.

If saving several months of income seems unreasonable, you can always start with a more modest goal, such as saving $1000 and then working up from there. Consider setting up automatic monthly transfers into the fund if you can handle it.

Expect the unexpected: The only thing you can know about unexpected expenses is that they're coming. Having an emergency fund may alleviate the stress and worry that can come with them. If you lack emergency savings now, consider taking steps to create a cushion for the future.

Source: RPA (Retirement Plan Advisors)

Deb Anton is a financial advisor with RPA and handles the 457 (b) Deferred Compensation Plan through the district. She works alongside payroll for those interested in additional savings outside of their KPERS. She can be reached at (316)210-5049 or danton@retirementplanadvisors.com.

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COVID Vaccine Can impact Timing of Mammogram

Employee Benefits encourages you to have your annual preventative mammogram, an important tool that can be proactive in detecting disease and lead to better outcomes. Remember that males can also have mammograms, an important study to consider especially for males with a history of breast cancer in the family.

Getting a COVID vaccine, including booster doses, can cause temporary lymph node enlargement or inflammation. This can cause your mammogram to appear abnormal even when you are okay and there is no indication of cancer.

Most mammogram facilities have now built in reminders about this as you set up appointments and receive reminder calls. The general recommendation is to wait 30 days after a COVID vaccine before seeking a mammogram to avoid unsettling results and undue anxiety.

If you still plan on pursuing a mammogram as part of your wellness points, you have through August 2022 to complete. Consider scheduling now before you seek a second booster or ensuring you check with your mammogram facility on timing if scheduling after a vaccine or booster.

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Improving Resilience Through Your Relationships

Our EAP (Employee Assistance Program) with ComPsych offers helpful resources in all areas of your life. You can access all of these services by creating an account at www.guidanceresources.com. Use the code USD259 when prompted.

Relationships are an important part of our lives, and connecting with other is one of the most effective ways to reduce stress.

Once logged in to your account, you can use the following link:


Content on the following can be found:

  • Seek Support: Don't wait until you are at a breaking point to seek guidance. Listen to your body's physical signs of stress
  • Nurture Relationships that Matter: The greatest happiness can be found by spending time with people you genuinely like and spending less time in negative or stress-inducing relationships.
  • Find a Work Friend: One of the biggest predictors of work satisfaction is finding a connection in the workplace. Work to build connections with teammates by finding a common thread.
  • Connect With Your Partner: Strengthen your relationship by turning to each other first during times of stress to build trust.
  • Maintain Intimacy: In a romantic relationship, intimacy can also mean being open about feelings and working together as a team to tackle problems.

Source: www.guidanceresources.com

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Employee Benefits: Who We Are & How We Can Help

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Danielle Dettmer

Manager of Employee Benefits

HR/Employee Benefits & Insurance Management

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