In 2016, AEP is offering the choice of three consumer-directed health plans (CDHPs) to pre-65 retirees and employees. In consumer-directed health plans, it is vital to understand how prescriptions are handled, and how health spending accounts can be used to help pay for your medical expenses.
WHAT ABOUT PRESCRIPTIONS?
Key feature of 2016 medical plans: understanding your prescription costs
It is important to take the time to review the medications you are currently taking and plan for the anticipated out-of-pocket cost in 2016.
Read here for a detailed cost explanation of how your pharmacy benefits will work and what will feel different to you.
Express Scripts (ESI) will continue to be the vendor for AEP’s prescription drug coverage in 2016. ESI is a large pharmacy benefit manager that negotiates costs for prescriptions with drug manufacturers. ESI also works closely with national chain pharmacies as well as individual pharmacies to make sure AEP members get a discount on prescription medications.
Knowing the costs of your prescriptions will be important to you under a CDHP because none of the new medical plans will provide for a flat-dollar co-pay for drugs.
Instead, you may be responsible for either the full discounted cost of the drug, a percentage of that cost, or no cost, depending on where you stand in terms of the plan’s annual deductible and/or out-of-pocket maximum. Current members may use the Price Your Medication tool provided by ESI’s website today. Current and prospective members should call ESI’s patient care advocates at 1-800-841-3045.
WHAT ABOUT HEALTH SPENDING ACCOUNTS?
Please contact HealthEquity, AEP’s vendor partner, if you have HSA questions:
Health spending accounts such as Health Reimbursement Accounts, Health Savings Accounts and Flexible Spending Accounts may be used to pay your medical expenses.
The Health Reimbursement Account (HRA) is set up and funded by AEP. Only AEP can fund this account, and it is only available for participants in the HRA Plan.
The Health Savings Account (HSA) is like a 401(k) retirement account, but it is for medical expenses. You can only have an HSA if you enroll in the HSA Plus or the HSA Basic plans next year.
The Flexible Spending Account (FSA) is funded by you through pre-tax payroll deductions. It is available to participants in all three plans but there are restrictions depending on the plan you choose.
WHERE CAN I LEARN MORE?
Learn more about health spending accounts in this FAQ:
We encourage you to visit the AEP HealthHUB (http://www.aephealthhub.com) for more detailed information on all of your medical plan options and tools available. The AEP HealthHUB is an external site with no password required so that spouses and pre-65 retirees can access; AEP Now access is not required for the site.
The quickest way to receive answers for any specific questions is to contact our subject area experts and vendor partners directly.
Anthem – Medical Plan questions: Phone: 1-877-585-9572; website: www.anthem.com.
Express Scripts – Prescription Drugs: Phone: 1-800-841-3045; website: www.express-scripts.com.
HealthEquity – HSA questions: Phone: 1-877-713-7712; website: www.healthequity.com.
|Former Kammer Plant employees (from left) Mark Huffman, Jim Smith and Bill Costello. Huffman is retired; Smith and Costello transferred to Mitchell Plant.|
(Story by Tom Holliday)
The recent retirement of 23 generating units at nine AEP power plants marked the end of an era for the company and for many of the men and women who spent their careers working at one or more of the “disposition” generating units.
Thanks to the efforts of the Generation leadership team working in close cooperation with AEP’s Human Resources professionals, the retirements translated into new opportunities for more than 260 power plant workers affected by the plant closings. Many employees expressed an interest learning the outcome of Generation’s efforts to assist those workers. Dan Lee, senior vice president – Fossil & Hydro Generation, recently shared the details during a Generation employee webcast.
The plant and unit closings were part of AEP’s overall plan for complying with the Mercury Air Toxics Standards for existing power plants, approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in December 2011. “We started working on plans to minimize the impact on our workers in early 2012,” said Lee. “As soon as we knew we would be retiring those units, we started trying to find ways to provide opportunities for our employees to find other positions either within Generation or other areas of the company.”
The goal of the Generation Disposition Staffing Program was to estimate the attrition that the plants remaining in service would experience over time, and identify the level of staffing that would be needed in 2015 when the retirements would occur.
“During 2013 and 2014, we were able to post nearly 250 positions for future vacancies at the plants that would continue operating in 2015 and beyond,” said Leslie Rittenhouse, HR Generation & Energy Supply manager. As a result, 133 employees were identified for a future position, while they continued to work at their retiring unit.
That allowed the disposition units to maintain a measure of employment stability during the transition years. At the same time it would provide the employees who accepted new assignments with some assurance about their employment future once their current plant or unit was officially retired.
|Glen Lyn Plant employees posed for a group photo at an appreciation luncheon in May.|
For Brent Murray, plant system owner-principal, a move from Tanners Creek Plant to Rockport was a very positive experience. “Everyone has treated me like family and gone out of their way to make me feel at home,” he said. “I was really concerned and had several sleepless nights about starting over after 27 years at one location and how I would be accepted . Those fears were put to rest my very first day on the job.
“I am currently living here (near Rockport) during the week and going home on the weekends when I can because my youngest son is a senior in high school and is staying with my wife at our farm until he graduates,” Murray explained. “That has been the hardest part of my relocation because I miss them tremendously and have never been away for an extended period of time before. But I consider myself very fortunate that Rockport has given me an opportunity to finish my career with AEP. I count my blessings every day.”
Tim Hunt, now an FGD (Flue Gas Desulfurization) supervisor at Mountaineer, echoed Murray’s comment when talking about his move from the Kanawha River Plant. “My transition’s gone great. The people at Mountaineer have been great and I’ve not had any problems picking up my new work responsibilities,” he said. At Kanawha River, Hunt worked in operations and was used to working different shifts. In his new role, Hunt works the day shift Monday through Friday and says the change has been a good one.
“I’ll have 37 years of service with AEP in a while, and I was a little worried when they announced the staffing program because I wasn’t sure they’d want to go through so much trouble for someone in my situation,” Hunt explained. “I still want to work several more years and I’m tickled that I got an offer.” Hunt is enjoying the added benefit of a shorter work commute. His drive to Mountaineer is about 20 miles shorter than his drive to Kanawha River.
In addition to the employees who were placed through the formal staffing program, 135 affected employees transferred to other plants before the launch of the program, and to other business units within AEP. Employees from the retired units are now working not only in Generation, but in Distribution, Transmission, Human Resources, Generation Engineering Services and Cook Nuclear Plant.
Of the employees who received, or are scheduled to receive a severance package, more than 80 percent are retirement-eligible.
“No one wants to hear that their job is going away,” said Lee. “But I firmly believe the program went a long way to reduce the stress, anxiety and disruption that employees faced when they learned the units would have to be retired. In the final analysis, I think the program was a great success and helped us demonstrate how much we value and respect our employees.”
(Story by Zach Maiorana)
Since 1980, Mid-Ohio Foodbank’s Operation Feed campaign’s mission has been to provide food to central Ohio families in need.
When 1 in 6 Ohioans don’t know where their next meal is coming from, that mission is essential.
According to their website, last year the Foodbank distributed 54.6 million pounds of food to food pantries, soup kitchens and emergency shelters across 20 counties. Recipients of this contribution are able to use the donations to provide 130,066 meals every day to those who need them.
AEP’s contribution that year pulled together $168,673 to offer to Operation Feed. This year, the company pushed the bar even higher by raising $187,500. That’s 750,000 meals that the Foodbank is able to give because of AEP’s efforts.
AEP and the Foodbank have one major tie. Tom Kirkpatrick, vice president of Customer Services, Marketing and Distribution Services, also is a member of the Foodbank’s board of trustees.
On Sep. 9, Kirkpatrick, Business Process Analyst Beth Smail and Customer Design Supervisor Kristen Thompson presented the check to Joan Lloyd, director of Corporate Engagement for the Foodbank.
“AEP’s contribution helps us ensure that no one in our community faces hunger,” says Lloyd. “It helps our mission to see that folks in our community have access to fresh fruits, vegetables, dairy and other items that they otherwise might not be able to access.”
Over the years, the Foodbank’s purpose has become more refined, as they seek to offer more healthful food to those they help.
Fruits, vegetables, meat, dairy and bread are replacing processed goods, making healthier food choices available to food pantries’ inventories. In 2014, more than 24 million pounds of food was fresh produce.
“In our past year, we distributed 58 million pounds of food items to the communities in our footprint,” says Lloyd. “Nearly 50 percent of what we distribute is fresh, and that’s because more fresh food is available. Over 14 billion pounds of fresh food goes unharvested each year. We work to get that food to people who can’t get it elsewhere.”
AEP’s donation comes second among corporate sponsors, with only Nationwide providing a larger contribution.
“We’re proud of our partnership with the Mid-Ohio Foodbank,” says Smail, who helped present the check. “Through the support of AEP employees every year, we’ve been able to make a significant impact in our communities that need help.”
|AEP employees and pre-65 retirees can PLUG In to Choose at the AEP HealthHUB website.|
AEP employees and pre-65 retirees can now PLUG IN to Choose at AEP HealthHUB (http://www.aephealthhub.com) with a lineup of tools and resources to help you choose the best medical plan option for you this fall.
At AEP HealthHUB, you can find PLUG IN to Choose resources, including:
- Detailed looks at how each plan works at various coverage levels, in an easy-to-understand graphical format.
- ALEX, an interactive virtual benefits expert, available 24/7, who can help you choose your 2016 medical plan based on your family situation, anticipated health care needs, and other factors.
- Annual Enrollment Guides, available on AEP HealthHUB in mid-October.
Go to AEP HealthHUB to find these and other resources to help you get ready to enroll. Annual Enrollment is October 29 through November 19.
As part of communications resources to help pre-65 retirees understand changes in medical plan options for 2016, AEP and Anthem will be providing webinars (online presentations available to all pre-65 retirees with internet access). Please join us as we review:
- What’s changing for 2016;
- Tools to help you choose;
- Introduction to Anthem;
- Understanding your medical plan options;
- How to use your medical plan;
- HealthEquity: Administrator for Health Savings Account (HSA) and Flexible Spending Account (FSA); and
- Live Q&A with representatives from Anthem and AEP Benefits Design & Delivery.
Sign up for a free webinar today!
To register for one of these events, simply click on the link below for the webinar you would like to attend, and follow the registration instructions. Participation requires internet access. You will be in “listen only” mode and will be able to hear the audio through the speakers on your PC, laptop or mobile device. (NOTE: Access by mobile device requires Apple iOS devices including iPhone 5+ and iPad+/iPad Mini with iOS Version 7+, and Android phone and tablet devices with OS 4.2 or later.)
The event password for all webinars is the same: “Health”
Tuesday, September 29, 2015: 12:00 pm EST (11 am CST, 9 am PST)
Wednesday, October 7, 2015: 7:00 am EST (6 am CST, 4 am PST)
Thursday, October 15, 2015: 7:00 pm EST (6 pm CST, 4pm PST)
Wednesday, October 21, 2015: 10:00 am EST (9 am CST, 7 am PST)
Tuesday, October 27, 2015: 10:00 am EST (9 am CST, 7 am PST)
Thursday, October 29, 2015: 7:00 pm EST (6 pm CST, 4 pm PST)
Thursday, November 5, 2015: 8:00 am EST (7 am CST, 5 am PST)
Wednesday, November 11, 2015: 12:00 pm EST (11 am CST, 9 am PST)
Tuesday, November 17, 2015: 7:00 pm EST (6 pm CST, 4 pm PST)
Wednesday, November 18, 2015: 10:00 am EST (9 am CST, 7 am PST)
AEP River Operations
Albert Gray, 76, AEP River Operations – Cape Girardeau, died July 2.
Robert Tillis Jr., 65, River Transportation Division, died July 23.
AEP Service Corporation
George Burris Jr., 81, retired, AEP Headquarters, died July 17.
Charles Coakley, 74, retired, Central Operations Center, died August 15.
Daniel Cordle, 66, Central Operations Center, died July 15.
Robert Dillard, 71, retired, CSW Center, died July 28.
Gary Ellis, 62, Arena Building, died July 20.
Charles Hartzell, 79, retired, died June 23.
Appalachian Power Company
David Bogle, 58, Bluefield Service Center, died May 8.
Harry Buston III, 84, retired, Bluefield Service Center, died June 25.
John Duty, 82, retired, Abingdon Service Center, died April 3.
Russell Fields, 64, retired, Abingdon Service Center, died June 27.
Jerry Fleeman, 62, retired, Galax Service Center, died July 16.
Carl Gibbs, 90, retired, Sporn Plant, died August 12.
George Gill, 82, retired, Mountaineer Plant, died August 9.
Virginia Gillenwater, 98, retired, Marion Office, died July 3.
Clinton McDaniel, 89, retired, Lynchburg Service Center, died August 10.
James Mitchell, 73, retired, Bluefield Service Center, died July 9.
Dorcas Moncer, 94, retired, Huntington Office, died July 2.
Franklin Ryther, 86, retired, Sporn Plant, died August 23.
Thomas Sandidge, 96, retired, Lynchburg Service Center, died August 2.
Herschel Shank, 91, retired, Amos Plant, died July 9.
James Sigmon, 68, Pineville Service Center, died July 17.
Heber Stafford, 97, retired, Bluefield Service Center, died July 28.
Norwood Turner, 92, retired, Roanoke Main Office, died August 11.
Robert Weekley, 73, retired, Kammer Plant, died July 19.
Columbus Southern Power Company
George Austin, 66, retired, Athens Service Center, died July 31.
Betty Forney, 88, retired, 850 Tech Center, died July 4.
John Graves, 77, retired, 850 Tech Center, died June 20.
Charles Tolliver, 79, retired, 850 Tech Center, died July 23.
Charles West, 86, retired, 850 Tech Center, died July 17.
Indiana Michigan Power Company
Morris Cecil, 91, retired, Spy Run Service Center, died June 18.
Gary Dalton, 74, retired, Marion Service Center, died July 7.
Theodore Fones, 81, retired, Marion Service Center, died June 20.
Lewis Gould, 88, retired, One Summit Square, died July 13.
Donald Harmon, 81, retired, Tanners Creek Plant, died August 4.
Anthony Hodge, 46, One Summit Square, died June 13.
Richard Parker, 89, retired, Three Rivers Service Center, died July 22.
John Pawlisch, 91, retired, One Summit Square, died July 4.
Franklin Stevens Jr., 69, retired, One Summit Square, died July 15.
Dorothy Timmons, 94, retired, Hartford City Service Center, died June 17.
Marvin Wabeke, 93, retired, Three Rivers Service Center, died August 18.
Harold Wallace, 93, retired, Mishawaka Hydro, died June 22.
Kentucky Power Company
Bert Cole, 67, retired, Hazard Service Center, died June 26.
Burchel Riddle, 89, retired, Hazard Service Center, died July 22.
Ohio Power Company
Jeffrey Bock, 66, Wheeling Service Center, died July 25.
Charles Burton, 56, Gavin Plant, died August 24.
Joseph Carlisle, 78, retired, Lancaster Service Center, died July 19.
Ralph Clark, 86, retired, Central Ohio Coal Company, died July 6.
Bonnie Daniels, 90, retired, Canton Eastern Regional Office, died June 26.
Stanley Dorst, 75, retired, Lancaster Service Center, died August 16.
Frances Dunbar, 87, retired, Canton Eastern Regional Office, died August 17.
Roy Ferrell, 89, retired, Lancaster Office Building, died May 31.
Leland Frost, 76, retired, Wooster Service Center, died July 30.
Mary Griffith, 96, retired, Zanesville Office, died July 12.
Jack Hisey, 89, retired, Canton Eastern Regional Office, died July 23.
Richard Jeffers, 74, Steubenville Service Center, died August 5.
Helen Kirkbride, 93, retired, Canton Eastern Regional Office, died July 5.
Paul Meyer, 72, retired, Zanesville Station, died July 18.
William Nesbit, 86, retired, Canton Eastern Regional Office, died June 16.
Richard Shamblen, 77, retired, Canton Eastern Regional Office, died July 5.
Norman Silvus, 83, retired, Canton Eastern Regional Office, died August 11.
Billy Wise, 84, retired,Canton Eastern Regional Office, died August 16.
Public Service Company of Oklahoma
O. W. Forest, 82, retired, Tulsa General Office, died August 2.
Paul McKinney, 74, retired, Tulsa General Office, died August 29.
Claudia Story Jr., 80, retired, Tulsa General Office, died July 7.
Southwestern Electric Power Company
Louis Evans, 93, retired, Shreveport General Office, died July 19.
Buddy Hickerson, 87, retired, Shreveport General Office, died July 10.
John Hodges, 88, retired, Shreveport General Office, died August 7.
Susan McQueen, 72, retired, Shreveport General Office, died August 3.
Charles Moore, 90, retired, Shreveport General Office, died July 20.
Lionel Perret, 74, Louisiana Intrastate Gas, died August 26.
George Slaughter, 55, Dolet Hills Mine, died August 26.
David Webb, 75, Flint Creek Plant, died July 16.
Harvey Wight, 92, retired, Shreveport General Office, died July 27.
Horace Arkadie, 80, retired, Corpus Christi Office, died June 19.
Rubert Egg, 76, retired, Coleto Creek Power Station, died July 25.
Roberto Contreras, 82, retired, Corpus Christi Office, died June 25.
Palmer Cox Jr., 94, retired, Corpus Christi Office, died July 5.
R. G. Crice, 83, retired, Corpus Christi Office, died August 18.
Shirley Lester, 85, retired, Corpus Christi Office, died August 19.
Grace Rhodes, 84, retired, Corpus Christi Office, died July 30.
Ernest Seiffert, 86, retired, Corpus Christi Office, died August 6.
Amando Uresti, 92, retired, Corpus Christi Office, died June 28.
Betty Nix, 91, retired, Abilene General Office, died July 9.
Terry Barr, 825 Tech Center, retired August 1 after 35 years of service.
Timothy Byrne, Kenton Service Center, retired August 1 after 39 years of service.
Antonia Cardenas, Fostoria Service Center, retired August 1 after 39 years of service.
Charles Gaietto, Tiffin Service Center, retired August 1 after 38 years of service.
Robert George, Lancaster Service Building, retired August 15 after 25 years of service.
Stuart Hampton, Mound Street Service Center, retired August 1 after 35 years of service.
Gary McGhee, Energy Delivery Headquarters-Gahanna, retired August 22 after 31 years of service.
John Morris, Columbus Northeast Service Center, retired August 1 after 39 years of service.
William Mullen, Steubenville Service Center, retired August 1 after 30 years of service.
David Orwig, Grandview Service Center, retired August 1 after 42 years of service.
AEP River Operations
William Duffey, River Transportation Division, retired August 1 after 36 years of service.
Randall Wedge, River Transportation Division, retired August 1 after 38 years of service.
AEP Service Corporation
Karen Dyer, AEP Headquarters, retired August 22 after 17 years of service.
Linda Fuchs, AEP Headquarters, retired August 1 after 19 years of service.
Delia Graham, Shreveport General Office, retired August 1 after 34 years of service.
Gerald Lybarger, Renaissance Tower, retired August 25 after 34 years of service.
Cheo-Sen Tseng, AEP Headquarters, retired August 1 after 30 years of service.
Appalachian Power Company
Richard Barksdale, Lynchburg Service Center, retired August 28 after 35 years of service.
Leah Brock, Hurricane Call Center, retired August 1 after 25 years of service.
Nancye Cassell, Hurricane Call Center, retired August 1 after 11 years of service.
Stephen Coll, John W. Vaughan Center, retired August 5 after 31 years of service.
Bobby Collins, Logan Service Center, retired August 1 after 32 years of service.
Larry Jeffries, John W. Vaughan Center, retired August 1 after 35 years of service.
John Jenks Jr., Lebanon Service Center, retired August 1 after 28 years of service.
Frank Simms, Roanoke Main Office, retired August 1 after 32 years of service.
Roger Smith, North Charleston Transmission Service Center, retired August 1 after 32 years of service.
Rick Streeter, John W. Vaughan Center, retired August 1 after 38 years of service.
Michael Young, North Charleston Service Center, retired August 1 after 36 years of service.
Aubrey Asbury Jr., Amos Plant, retired August 29 after 29 years of service.
Dwight Atkison, Cook Coal Terminal, retired August 4 after 39 years of service.
Brent Bean, Cook Nuclear Plant, retired August 4 after 28 years of service.
Stephen Cherba, Cook Nuclear Plant, retired August 8 after 30 years of service.
Benjamin Cronin, Rockport Plant, retired August 1 after 26 years of service.
Mark Davis, Muskingum River Plant, retired August 1 after 36 years of service.
David Denney, Conesville Plant, retired August 1 after 37 years of service.
Charles Denson, Cook Coal Terminal, retired August 17 after 39 years of service.
Robert Erit, Gavin Plant, retired August 1 after 22 years of service.
Paul Gleim, Rockport Plant, retired August 1 after 31 years of service.
Jimmie Goodnite II, Sporn Plant, retired August 1 after 34 years of service.
David Gray, Sporn Plant, retired August 1 after 37 years of service.
Ted Greene, Picway Plant, retired August 1 after 36 years of service.
Richard Haskins, Tulsa Power Station, retired August 1 after 36 years of service.
David Kesterson, Rockport Plant, retired August 13 after 37 years of service.
Michael Meadows, Sporn Plant, retired August 1 after 30 years of service.
Richard McComas Jr., Cook Nuclear Plant, retired August 1 after 15 years of service.
Robert Mullins Jr., Glen Lyn Plant, retired August 1 after 37 years of service.
Bruce Neal, Cook Nuclear Plant, retired August 1 after 14 years of service.
Bernard Nichols, Gavin, retired August 29 after 37 years of service.
Johnny Ohlinger, Waterford Plant, retired August 1 after 35 years of service.
Douglas Powell, Tanners Creek Plant, retired August 1 after 37 years of service.
Ivan Powell, Mountaineer Plant, retired August 1 after 35 years of service.
Michael Rash, Knox Lee Plant, retired August 1 after 37 years of service.
George Roland, Amos Plant, retired August 15 after 26 years of service.
Edward Rushbrook, Amos Plant, retired August 1 after 38 years of service.
Jerry Tucker, Amos Plant, retired August 1 after 43 years of service.
Robert Wagner, Rockport Plant, retired August 15 after 26 years of service.
Larry Woods, Cook Nuclear Plant, retired August 1 after 16 years of service.
Connie Zerkle, Mountaineer Plant, retired August 1 after 26 years of service.
Indiana Michigan Power
Scott Brown, Muncie Service Center, retired August 1 after 37 years of service.
Thomas Gibson, Muncie Service Center, retired August 3 after 38 years of service.
Linda Szymkowiak, South Bend Service Center, retired August 1 after 25 years of service.
Kentucky Power Company
Daniel Huffman, Pikeville Service Center, retired August 1 after 39 years of service.
Steven Brewer, Robert E. Matthews Service Center, retired August 1 after 39 years of service.
Fred Manning, Robert E. Matthews Service Center, retired August 1 after 25 years of service.
Public Service Company of Oklahoma
Richard Brewster, Northeastern Station 3&4, retired August 29 after 36 years of service.
Sheryl Hanson, Tulsa General Office, retired August 27 after 18 years of service.
Jason Harrison, Mid Metro Service Center, retired August 1 after 31 years of service.
Linda Taylor, Tulsa General Office, retired August 1 after 15 years of service.
Southwestern Electric Power Company
David Evans, Longview Service Center, retired August 1 after 33 years of service.
Dennis Hitt, Shreveport Operations, retired August 1 after 39 years of service.
Timothy Scales, Shreveport General Office, retired August 1 after 23 years of service.
David Cardona, Pearsall Service Center, retired August 1 after 38 years of service.
Johnny Martinez, Harlingen Service Center, retired August 1 after 30 years of service.
Oscar Martinez, Carrizo Springs Area Office, retired August 1 after 34 years of service.
Betsy Austin, Abilene General Office, retired August 1 after 35 years of service.
AEP cares about the safety, health and well-being of its employees and retirees. All employees and retirees are invited to share their stories about the changes they are making to live healthier lives. This “Wellness Journey” is from Helen Marshall, regulatory consultant senior at AEP Headquarters in Columbus. If you have a story that you would like to share, please email Dave Waitkus at email@example.com.
Where I was and how I got there:
I have struggled with my weight my entire life — I went on my first diet when I was 12. I have lost weight many times, but like so many others, I’d eventually put that weight plus more back on. However, I was lucky in that no matter what my weight, I didn’t have any associated health issues such as high blood pressure or cholesterol, and despite my weight, I exercised almost daily. I had some slight knee pain but doctors attributed it to osteoarthritis.
|Helen Marshall is shown with her husband, Ken, in August 2014.|
Shortly before meeting my husband in 2008, I lost 85 pounds and was in very good shape. But as often happens in a new relationship, the weight started to creep back on as we dined out and I missed workouts. I managed to stay at a reasonable weight for about two years. Once the weight started to come back on after that time, I’d make half-hearted attempts and lose 20 pounds or so, but would gain it back.
My turning point:
After starting at AEP in November 2013, I commuted weekly from Cincinnati for about two months, and not having my home gym and eating out put me at my highest all-time weight in January 2014. I signed up for office-sponsored weight challenges. I lost 22 pounds, but lost my motivation and gained back 9 pounds by year’s end.
At that point I was having more knee pain, and I scheduled an appointment at a local medical facility. While on their website, I noticed they had a weight management program. I have always done well with organized weight loss programs, and so I attended an informational meeting. I liked that the focus was not solely weight loss, but total well-being, including exercise, nutrition and behavior modification.
After being evaluated by the physicians at the program, I started on January 20. The program has several options, but I chose to start with the very low calorie diet (VLCD) plan, which uses high protein, low carb meal replacements. I’m an emotional eater, and I felt giving myself a break from food would help me learn to deal with my emotions in better ways. I used the meal replacements for 12 weeks before starting to integrate food back into my plan. I lost 48 pounds during that time.
The program requires weekly attendance at classes taught by nutritionists, psychologists and exercise physiologists. For the first month I had to see the physician every week and have blood draws to make sure my body was handling the high protein diet; after the first month I had monthly appointments and lab work.
My original goal was to lose 70 pounds. While that would not put me at the lowest weight I’d been previously, it was one I felt was maintainable. I reached my goal at the end of June. Because my husband and I had a two-week European river cruise scheduled for the end of July and I wanted to enjoy my vacation without stressing about gaining weight, I decided to lose a few more pounds.
|Helen now lives a healthier lifestyle that has helped her not only lose weight, but to maintain a healthy weight and fitness level.|
By the time we left on vacation, I had lost 77 pounds since starting the program in January, and 90 pounds from my highest weight in January 2014.
While I indulged on vacation, all the walking and working out I did paid off — I came home 3 pounds lighter! Since returning from vacation, the scale has dropped a bit more, and I’m currently down a total of 98 pounds. I didn’t plan on losing those last few pounds, but I’m glad to have them gone as I work to fine-tune my maintenance diet.
Staying on track:
Every dieter knows it’s not losing weight that’s hard, it’s keeping it off! I have been focused since Day 1 of my current journey on what I need to do to be successful this time, since I haven’t been in the past. It requires much more vigilance than I was prepared to put forth previously. I know that I’m going to have to follow a 90/10 plan when it comes to eating — 90% good, healthy food and 10% splurges. On vacation I had dessert at lunch and dinner, but generally ate only half. I’ve learned the value of protein in my diet — it keeps me full much longer! I always carry a protein bar now.
My relationship with food has improved significantly. I’ve realized generally when I want to overeat, it’s because I’m tired or stressed, not hungry. I’m still not perfect, of course, but I’m much more aware of my moods, and can usually avoid mindless eating.
I used to ignore the scale when I knew I’d gained weight, but the weight management program requires me to continue to attend maintenance weigh-ins and classes twice a month — they are vested in helping participants keep off the weight. I have all the resources of the program available to me should I need them.
Pay it forward:
My husband never said anything to me as I gained weight, but I always felt bad that because I was thin when we met, he didn’t realize how much effort it required for me to maintain my weight. He always supported my weight loss efforts and never chided me when I didn’t stick with it. This time around, he fixed many of his own meals while I was on the program. He lets me pick when and where we dine out, and he never questions the time I spend exercising. But then, I never question the time he spends playing golf, so that’s a fair trade for him!
I have received a lot of support at AEP as well. My manager runs every day at lunch and encourages us to take a break, so since starting here I’ve used the 1RP gym every day. The positive comments and “thumbs up” from my department co-workers and the gym regulars have been great. I appreciate that gym members leave “my” elliptical and treadmill open, knowing I’m usually there at the same time every day. Three months ago I started running, and a few weeks ago one of the regulars asked me about my progress and said, “I’m proud of you.” That meant a lot to me. I’m now running up to five miles, which is something I never thought I’d do — especially in my 50s!
I realize I took what some people would consider an extreme step to lose weight — every person needs to find what works for them. Starting small works! Cut back on dining out, swap a meal or snack with one that has fewer calories, or add a short walk to your daily routine. Before our vacation I bought a Fitbit so that I could keep track of my activity, and that’s a great motivator.
Look around you for support if you need it — your friends and family, co-workers, an organized program or an online community are all there for you. No one can make the decision to change for you, but once you’ve made it, you’ll be surprised at how much better you feel!
|Seniors from various counties in the Kentucky Power service area participate in the 2015 annual Senior Day Games. Photo by Allison Barker.|
(Story by Allison Barker)
HAZARD, Ky. – The Southeastern Association of Area Agencies on Aging has chosen Kentucky Power to receive the 2015 Corporate Partnership Award.
The organization represents senior citizen groups in eight southern states, including Kentucky. Kentucky Power was selected for its work with the Kentucky River Area Development District (KRADD) and its annual Senior Day Games. Kentucky Power has served as the primary corporate sponsor of the event since it began in 2002. Over the years, Kentucky Power and its employees have not only donated money to the event, but also countless volunteer hours.
The annual event attracts about 350 participants every year. KRADD, an economic and community development organization, organizes the event to highlight the vitality, athleticism, talents and mental acuity of area athletes aged 50 and above. This is done through a variety of athletic events and contests, including card games and basketball free throws to track events.
“Senior Day is great opportunity for us to support the community and the growing senior population we serve,” said Greg Pauley, Kentucky Power president and chief operating officer. “It is inspiring to see these athletes — some of whom are well into their 80s — come out and compete. Some of our employees tell us that they look forward to participating in this event every year. We are humbled by this award and appreciate the recognition.”
KRADD supports many aging programs in Breathitt, Knott, Lee, Leslie, Letcher, Owsley, Perry, and Wolfe counties, many of which overlap with Kentucky Power’s service territory.
Stacie Noble with KRADD said, “We couldn’t do Senior Day without Kentucky Power’s support. We appreciate all they do.”
The partnership award will be presented Oct. 12 during the Southeastern Association of Area Agencies on Aging’s annual conference in Savannah, Ga.
This week, AEP retirees who are age 65 and under can expect to receive information through the mail about 2016 medical benefits, including details of the 2016 Medical Plans. The home mailing will also contain monthly premiums for pre-65 retirees.
Retirees can also obtain information about medical plan changes at AEP HealthHUB.com. Note that the premiums contained in the AEP HealthHUB website are for active employees. (Pre-65 retiree premiums will not posted online.)
Pre-65 retirees also have the opportunity at the website to register for upcoming in-person meetings and webinars (starting Sept. 28) at sites across the AEP service territory. The meetings will address changes in the 2016 medical plans.
Annual enrollment will take place October 29 through November 19.