World Menopause Day, held each year on October 18, helps raise awareness about menopause, its symptoms and the support options available for improving health and wellbeing. Below is an excerpt from the EAP Article, “Preparing for Menopause: A Woman’s Midlife Change” that provides useful information about what to expect during menopause.
During midlife, a woman’s menstrual cycle grows further and further apart. At some point, they stop completely, and she can no longer get pregnant. This is because the ovaries aren’t releasing eggs and making hormones like estrogen anymore. After 12 months without a period, a woman can say she’s gone through menopause.
In the years before menopause, women may experience skipped and unpredictable menstrual cycles. This phase is called the midlife transition, perimenopause, or the change of life. Some women go through the transition faster than others. It lasts between 1 and 10 years.
Typically, menopause occurs between ages 45 and 55. This means women can expect less frequent menstrual cycles and other symptoms at some point during their 40s. But it’s different for every woman. There’s no lab test to predict when in life it will start or how easy it will be.
Along with unpredictable cycles, a woman may have other symptoms—both physical and emotional. Hot flashes, poor sleep, and mood changes are common. Some women have vaginal dryness, weight gain, and thinning hair. Bone density may also start to decrease.
“Most people don’t have severe symptoms. Most people have mild or less frequent symptoms,” says Dr. Hadine Joffe, a menopause researcher and psychiatrist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital who is supported by the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH).
Waves of Heat
Hot flashes are a common symptom during the midlife transition. Many women have these for several years after menopause. Some experience hot flashes for 10 or more years. A mild hot flash feels like being embarrassed, Joffe says. “There’s a wave of heat sensation that rises to your head and chest, and sometimes you look red, feel hot, and then it’s gone.” A not-so-mild hot flash can make your skin appear very red. Your head, neck, and chest may become hot and sweaty.
“It’s particularly disruptive at night,” Joffe says. “People are waking up, feeling very hot and sweaty, and they have weird, disrupted sleep.” The most effective treatment approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is low-dose hormone therapy. Some women are given estrogen or estrogen with another hormone, progestin. Women take hormone therapy for the shortest time that they need it.
Below are some other ways to outsmart hot flashes.
How to Live with Hot Flashes
- Wear light clothing.
- Keep your room cool.
- Use a fan.
- Drink cold water.
- Avoid smoking, caffeine, spicy foods, and alcohol.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Take several slow and deep breaths when you feel a hot flash coming on.
- Ask your doctor about medicines that can help.
During midlife, women may start having trouble sleeping because of changes in hormone levels. Hot flashes and night sweats can also cause women to wake up. For women who have a hard time falling asleep, relaxation breathing can help. Slowly breathe in through your nose. With a hand below your ribs, feel your stomach push your hand out. Slowly exhale through your mouth. You can do this for several minutes to relax.
During perimenopause, many women become irritable or feel moody. Some may feel sad and anxious and unable to enjoy things as much as they used to.
If a woman has these symptoms day after day for at least two weeks, she may be dealing with a clinical depression. “There is a two- to three-fold risk of depression during perimenopause,” says NIH psychiatrist and researcher, Dr. Peter J. Schmidt.
“If you think you’re at a higher risk of depression, you should proactively touch base with your doctor”, says Schmidt. “Talk about what kind of symptoms you should be looking for and be concerned about as you age.” He advises that you set up a plan for how to look for symptoms of depression. That way, you can enter midlife prepared to act. Schmidt encourages anyone who has a depressed mood to seek help from a primary care doctor or mental health professional.
The midlife transition is a phase of life that brings gradual changes. Many women don’t have problems during this transition. You can make midlife your time for optimizing wellbeing by eating well, exercising, and getting quality sleep. The healthier you are at midlife, the more successful you’ll be combating age-related changes and diseases. “We see it almost like a window of opportunity where people want to be entering midlife as healthy as possible,” Joffe says. “It’s really important for people to do the right thing now and protect their health over time.”
To read the full article, “Preparing for Menopause: A Woman’s Midlife Change,” click here to log into the EAP website.
World Mental Health Day
World Mental Health Day, observed on October 10, provides an opportunity to raise awareness about mental health issues around the world and to mobilize efforts in support of mental health. The burden of mental disorders continues to grow with significant impacts on health and major social, human rights and economic consequences in all countries of the world.
- There are many different mental disorders with different presentations including depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, dementia and developmental disorders such as autism.
- There are effective strategies for preventing and treating mental disorders. Sadly, many suffer in silence due to the stigma of shame that often accompanies such illnesses.
Your Pearson Benefits Can Help
If you or a loved one is struggling with mental illness, the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) can help (you do not need to be enrolled in a Pearson health plan to access this benefit). Through the EAP, you and family members who live with you, have access to unlimited phone counseling and up to five face-to-face or video-based counseling sessions per issue per year. It’s all completely confidential.
To reach the EAP by phone, call 1.800.593.4138, employer ID: pearson
If you or someone you know is in crisis, call 911 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or Text “BRAVE” to 731731 to access free and confidential support 24×7.
Family Care Benefits
As a Pearson employee, you have access to LifeCare services to help your family through life’s major moments to everyday needs. With Care.com acquiring LifeCare earlier this year, you now have access to an expanded suite of benefits to help make your life easier as you navigate through life.
During Global WELL Week, there will be 2 live webinars where you can learn about all the features that Care.com and LifeCare have to offer. Check the Global WELL Week schedule to register for one of the sessions.
In addition to:
When your regular full-time care is not available, you have vetted and subsidized adult and child care providers and reimbursement when using your own personal network of caregivers.
Get 24/7 personalized assistance from highly trained Care Guides and helpful online resources to support you with daily demands and major milestones.
Great savings on Child Care Centers, Senior Care Facilities, Parenting Resources and more! In addition to savings on care, you also have exclusive access to other major discounts.
Receive 24/7 personalized support from International Board-Certified lactation consultants and additional tools and information.
Safely pump, store, and transport or ship your breastmilk home to your child when travelling for business.
You now have access to:
NEW – Care.com Membership – it’s free
Post jobs, search, and reach out to local caregivers 24/7, to find care for children, adults, pets, housekeeping, tutors, and more. You can use your Care.com Membership to find:
- Nannies and babysitters
- Senior caregivers
- Personal assistants
- Transportation assistance
- Pet sitters and groomers
- Summer or vacation camps
- Special needs caregivers
- Errand runners
NEW – Expert Assistance
One-on-one assistance of a dedicated advisor who helps make the process of finding your perfect caregiver easier. You can use Expert Assistance to help you find:
- Nannies and babysitters
- Tutors and distance learning facilitators
- Pet sitters and groomers
- Special needs caregivers
- Adult companion care
NEW – Senior Care Planning
Get professional guidance and assistance, whether your aging loved one lives close by or across the country. You can use Senior Care Planning to:
- Develop a plan to support your loved one
- Evaluate and understand senior care options and costs
- Find vetted senior care provider options
- Learn what to do when a parent doesn’t want help
- Help cope with the stress of being a family caregiver
- Manage in-home safety concerns
- Learn more about dementia and how it impacts your loved one
- Help family members come to a caregiving consensus
How does it work?
- Enroll and log in at pearson.care.com or the [email protected] app to get started. You can also call 800‑450‑7071.
- Identify the type of care you need on your company’s [email protected] website or the app. If you’re calling in, press the number that corresponds to your care needs.
- Follow the prompts to complete your search for care.
Global well week
We are committed to making Pearson a great place to work. One where every individual has a sense of belonging, the opportunty to invest in their wellbeing, enjoy a lifetime of learning, and flourish in an open, inclusive and suportive environment. We will accomplish this under the umbrella of Pearson Global WELL.
We are excited to announce the first Pearson Global WELL Week October 4th through 8th. During the week, all Pearson employees are encouraged to take a break from work to participate in the activities available. To find out what’s planned, click here.
In partnership with Pearson Global WELL and to better position Pearson employees for an even stronger financial future, a Roth feature will be added to the 401(k) plan beginning in February 2022.
A Roth 401(k) allows you to make after-tax contributions and take tax-free withdrawals when you retire. No other income taxes are owed on your contributions or on any earnings. Advantages of a Roth 401(k) include:
- Unlike a traditional 401(k), there are no income limits on the Roth 401(k)
- Qualified withdrawals are tax-free
- Your earnings grow tax free.
In addition, non-Roth after tax savings will be available.
Educational webinars will be held throughout the month of February, and you will have the ability to model various contribution scenarios through online tools to help you decide if participating in the Roth 401(k) is right for you. Stay tuned for more information after the new year.
Enrolling for 2022
Understand Your Costs, Compare and Enroll
In 2022, there will be an increase in some payroll contributions, but not all, as this chart demonstrates. There are, however, no changes to deductibles, copays, or out-of-pocket maximums for next year.
|Administrator||Coverage||Change in Per‑Paycheck Costs|
|Aetna, Anthem, Cigna||Medical||+3.8%|
|Delta Dental||Dental||No Change|
Open Enrollment | Answers at your fingertips
If you have questions while enrolling, a “Chat Now” button is located in the bottom right corner of each page on the Mercer Marketplace website. When you click this button, you will connect with a benefits counselor for a secure, live chat. If you have questions about your 2022 benefits or enrolling, call Mercer Marketplace at 1-855-237-6421. Benefit counselors are available to assist you Monday to Friday, 7 am to 10 pm and Saturdays, 10 am to 2 pm (all times Eastern).
Step 1 – Have Your Information Ready
- Have the social security number and birth date easily accessible for any dependent(s) you will be adding to your coverage.
- Know what plan(s) you want to enroll in. This is also a good time to review your list of beneficiaries to make sure they are up to date.
Step 2 – Visit Mercer Marketplace
- Select “Explore 2022 Benefits.”
- If it is the first time you are using the Marketplace, you will need to register as a new user. To register, you will need the last 4 digits of your social security number, your last name, your date of birth and your home zip code. Follow the instructions to set up your account.
- Forgot your login credentials?
- Click on “Forgot Username or Password” or
- Click on the “My Total Rewards” icon in myCloud. After you arrive at the My Total Rewards landing page, scroll down and look for “For Benefits Enrollment” and click on the blue “here” button.
New Hire Enrollment – What You Need to Know
If you started working at Pearson on, during or after Open Enrollment, you will need to enroll twice – once for the remainder of 2021 and again for 2022. Elections you make for 2021 will not carry over into 2022. Follow Steps 1 and 2 above for completing your 2021 enrollment. Once you have completed those steps, you will see a button for “Open Enrollment.” Click on that to enroll for 2022.
Do I have to enroll?
You should log in and confirm you have the coverage you need and want for 2022. If you don’t make any changes, you will be automatically enrolled in your current coverage with the exception of Flexible Spending (FSA), Health Savings Account (HSA) and Commuter/Parking elections.
If you are currently participating in any of the following accounts and want to continue to do so next year, you must make an election for 2022, even if the amount you are contributing will stay the same.
- Health Savings Account
- Health Care and/or Dependent Day Care Flexible Spending Accounts
Please note: Your 2021 balances in the HSA and Commuter/Parking accounts will carry over into 2022, but your FSA funds do not.
2022 Tax Advantaged Accounts Limits
|Health Savings Account 2022||Other Pre-tax 2022 Limits *|
Catch-up Contribution (for those who will be age 55 or older in the 2022 plan year): add an additional $1,000 to the above amounts
*as of October 4, 2021.
What if I am currently enrolled, but don’t want coverage in 2022?
If you are currently enrolled in Pearson Benefits but do not need coverage in 2022, you must go into the system and “waive” coverage. If you do not take this action, you will see payroll deductions for coverage for all of 2022.
New Plan Option for 2022
Beginning January 1, 2022, employees in California will be offered an additional, less expensive, Kaiser HMO option – the Kaiser $2,850 Deductible Plan. See below for a short summary.
$2,850 Deductible with
|Deductible (Single / Family)||$2,850 / $5,700|
Single / Family
|$5,500 / $11,000|
|Preventive Care||Plan pays 100%|
|PCP Office Visit||Plan pays 70% after deductible|
|Specialist Office Visit||Plan pays 70% after deductible|
|Prenatal Office Visits||Plan pays 100%|
|Urgent Care Visit||Plan pays 70% after deductible|
|Annual Preventive||Plan pays 100%|
Plan pays 70% after deductible
Plan pays 70% after deductible
Non-emergency care is not covered.
|Plan pays 70% after deductible|
|Fertility benefits (includes artificial insemination, GIFT, ZIFT and in-vitro)||
Plan pays 70% after deductible
No lifetime maximum
New medical plan features for 2022
For those enrolled in either the $1,850 or $2,850 Deductible Plans, let’s take a minute to recap the features of a Health Savings Account and how to maximize its benefits.
There are several good reasons your HSA works to your advantage. This account that you use to pay for qualified health care expenses is owned by you, controlled by you, is tax-free, and Pearson helps by contributing to it.
Beginning in 2022, lump sum company contributions made at the beginning of the year to your Health Savings Account will no longer occur. Instead, the company contribution to your Health Spending Account will be matched throughout the year, dollar for dollar with your payroll contributions, up to $500 for employee-only coverage, or $1,000 if you are covering dependents.
The Internal Revenue Service sets annual limits on the total amount of money that can be contributed to your HSA. In 2022, the limits on combined contributions by both you and Pearson are:
- $3,650 for employee-only coverage
- $7,300 for family coverage
If you will be age 55 or over in 2022, you can contribute an extra $1,000 beyond the limits above for calendar year 2022.
Frequently Asked Questions about the Health Savings Account
Q. I don’t have enough saved in my HSA right now for a large expense. Can I pay another way and reimburse myself later when my balance is greater?
A. If you have a large expense before you have enough saved in your HSA, you can pay another way and reimburse yourself from your HSA later. Just be sure to save your receipts.
Q. Can I be claimed as a dependent on someone else’s tax return or be enrolled in any other medical coverage if I contribute to a Health Savings Account?
A. According to Internal Revenue Service (IRS) regulations, you are not allowed to be claimed as a dependent on another person’s tax return if you are participating in a Health Savings Account. In addition, the IRS does not allow you to be enrolled in any other medical coverage, including a spouse’s plan or Medicare if you have an HSA.
Q. Can I withdraw money from my HSA for anything other than qualified health care expenses?
A. If money is used for ineligible expenses, you will pay ordinary income tax on the amount withdrawn, plus a 20% penalty if you make that withdrawal before age 65.
Just like any financial account you have, you need to be able to manage account activity. It’s easy to do with your HSA, here’s how:
- Track your stats. Log in to your medical plan’s website to see how much of your deductible you’ve met, review claims, use helpful tools, and more. Likewise, keep tabs on your HSA by logging in to the Mercer Marketplace (click on “Link to your Saving and Spending Accounts” at the bottom of the Savings Account tile) to view your balance, submit claims, and more.
- Change your HSA contributions anytime. Adjust your contributions as necessary during the year to keep your savings on track with your anticipated expenses. Note: You can only spend HSA contributions that have actually been deposited into your account.
- There is no “use it or lose it” rule. You will never lose any money left in your HSA, as it rolls over year after year, so use your HSA to stash away tax-free money you can spend on eligible health care expenses anytime during your career or in retirement.
Open Enrollment Edition of For Your Benefit
With the annual Open Enrollment period upon us (October 11 – 22), it’s time to consider your 2022 coverage. One only has to think of the pandemic to appreciate the comfort that comes from knowing your benefits are there when you need them. Inside you will find information about the plan options, enrollment reminders, and details on new benefit features included in Pearson’s health plans. I encourage you to take a few minutes to read the magazine, so you are prepared to make informed decisions.
Pearson continues its average contribution of 80% toward the cost of medical coverage while employees contribute 20%, in aggregate. Employees enrolled in the national medical plans (those administered by Anthem, Cigna and Aetna) will see an increase of 3.8 % which, on average, equals an increase of approximately $11.61, keeping in mind that employee contributions vary by plan, coverage tier and salary band. California employees will have a new $2,850 plan available to them which will be administered by Kaiser.
Here are important reminders (more within the magazine) as you plan for your 2022 enrollment:
The Health Savings Account (HSA), Flexible Spending Account and Commuter/Parking elections do not transfer from year to year – you must make an election for 2022, even if you want to continue with the same amount per paycheck next year.
- Please note a change in the way the HSA company contribution will be applied beginning in January. More information can be found in this issue
- If you choose not to participate in Pearson Benefits plans in 2022, you must waive coverage, otherwise you will continue to see deductions in your paycheck for all of next year.
Good news! I am always excited when I can announce new benefit features at Pearson.
Take a moment to learn about expanded LifeCare benefits and the new Roth 401(k) coming in February, 2022.
There is also news about Pearson’s inaugural Global WELL Week this month. We want you to take some time away from your work and focus on your overall health. Learn more about what’s planned and click here to see the schedule of events.
While the focus of this edition is Open Enrollment, we also take a look at some important health awareness campaigns including:
- World Mental Health Day – Sponsored by the World Health Organization, the purpose is to raise awareness and lessen the stigma associated with mental illness
- World Menopause Day – Learn more about this natural part of the female aging process
In Good Health,
Vice President, Global Benefits
Welcome to the Open Enrollment edition of For Your Benefit
Here are some of the articles featured in the magazine