It’s never too late to be a better you

TreadmillIf you’ve already given up on your New Year’s resolutions, don’t stress about it — statistically, 25 percent of people who make them don’t keep their resolutions for more than seven days!

Despite our best intentions, changing our lives for the better isn’t easy. That’s why Independence Blue Cross offers personal support and resources to help members enrolled in our health plans stick with their healthy lifestyle changes — 365 days a year.

Start off on the right foot
Just taking the first few steps toward improving our health can be daunting. To help make it easier to start, our members can call a Health Coach 24/7 at 1-800-ASK-BLUE (1-800-275-2583). These health care professionals can answer members’ health-related questions and address concerns, empowering them to make important decisions about wellness and preventive health.

Stay motivated with reimbursements and discounts
With our Healthy LifestylesSM Solutions* reimbursements, we reward members for taking small steps every day that can lead to big changes in their health. Members can earn up to:

  • $150 back on fitness center fees
  • $150 back on an approved weight loss program
  • $150 back on a program to quit tobacco use

Plus, members can also take advantage of valuable discounts on health-related products and services from leading national companies, like fitness gear and weight loss programs, to help them save money while doing something that’s good for them.

Set and track your goals to get results
When our members are on the go, they can download our free IBX app to get trusted health information from WebMD® on their mobile device. Plus, they can use the app to access convenient WebMD® tools to help them set personal wellness goals and track their progress.

The good news is, even if your efforts to change have gotten off track, the new year is still young! It’s not too late to start now (or start again). This time next year, you’ll be glad you did.

*These are value-added programs and services. They are not benefits under an Independence Blue Cross health plan, and are, therefore, subject to change without notice.

WebMD® is an independent company offering online health information and wellness education to Independence Blue Cross.

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Mary Eileen

I am a senior copywriter at IBX. For me, the key to personal health and wellness is having simple goals and sticking to them — whether it’s drinking more water, working in a few extra steps each day, or just making time to unplug once in a while. When I’m not busy wordsmithing, my favorite ways to unwind include enjoying local arts and culture, reading a good book, and watching TV cooking shows.

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Top 3 ideas for a good-for-you getaway

Beach YogaWith arctic temperatures here to stay for awhile, I know I’m not the only person who wants to fly away to a warm beach somewhere. Research has shown that even the simple act of planning a vacation — whether we’re booking a real getaway or surfing travel websites — can temporarily reduce stress and increase happiness.

Planning a trip to enhance health and well-being, commonly known as wellness travel, is a growing trend. If you’d like to make personal wellness the focus of your next vacation, consider these three ideas for a good-for-you getaway:

1. Strike a pose.
Whether you practice yoga faithfully or you’re new to this ancient discipline and want to perfect your asanas, yoga retreats offer you uninterrupted time to work on uniting your mind, body, and spirit. Retreats are available for different yoga styles (such as Ananda or Bikram), ability levels, and locations, including destinations in warmer climates, as well as several nearby options on the East Coast.

2. Relax and rejuvenate.
Wellness resorts cater to the whole person through a combination of health, fitness, and nutrition. Relax with spa treatments like massages and facials, get energized at a variety of fitness classes, and nourish your body with three healthful meals a day. There are even resorts that help you unplug and unwind by offering a digital detox.

3. Supercharge your body.
Want to challenge yourself to get in better shape? Then a destination fitness boot camp may be right for you. There are boot camps geared to all fitness levels and preferences, from those focusing on lower-key exercises like yoga and Pilates to high-intensity, military-style workouts. Depending on the location, they can also offer diverse fitness activities such as hiking, swimming, and kayaking.

No matter where you’re headed in 2015, IBX offers travel insurance plans to help give you peace of mind and keep you focused on reducing stress and improving wellness.
Researching this post has given me some great ideas for what to do with my vacation time this year. And it’s good to know that, whenever I need it, a quick mental escape is as close as my computer keyboard!

What’s your idea of the perfect wellness vacation?

The inclusion of the above links does not imply endorsement.

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IBX Insights Team

Health care delivery is in the midst of reform and rejuvenation — an exciting prospect, but one that can also cause confusion and questions. With IBX Insights we want to be your first line of member-focused information, helping you understand the new health care model, how it affects your quality and cost of care, and the opportunities available through IBX to improve your health. Join the conversation with IBX associates who work every day to make health care more accessible and transparent for you.

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Frequently Asked Questions about your health coverage

ID cards | Billing | Customer service

Member ID cards
I just received my new member ID card in the mail. When can I start using it?
You can start using your new member ID card on the date your coverage from Independence Blue Cross (Independence) goes into effect, called the effective date. Be aware that you may receive an ID card up to 10 business days prior to the effective date. If your previous coverage is from Independence, use your old member ID card until the new card’s effective date. If you lost or destroyed your old ID card, you can print a temporary ID card on the secure member website, ibxpress.com.
If you use your new member ID card before the effective date, computer systems used by health care providers and pharmacies may not be able to identify you or find your coverage information. If this happens, your health care provider or their staff may perform a search on your name and date of birth, instead of member ID number; this should enable them to find the right information.

I have not yet received my member ID card. Can I still register the secure member site, ibxpress.com?
Yes. You can register for ibxpress.com using your Social Security Number. Simply enter your Social Security Number in the member ID field on the registration form. This field will accept your Social Security number as well as your member ID number.

How can I get a temporary ID card?
If you need a temporary ID card, you may:

  • Log on to ibxpress.com to print a temporary ID card.
  • View a card image through the IBX Mobile app.
  • Call the Independence Blue Cross customer service team at 1-800-ASK-BLUE.
  • If you call, a customer service rep will verify your date of birth and mailing address. A new, permanent ID card will be mailed to you in 7 to 14 days.

If you need your ID number before your new card will arrive by mail; for example, if you need it to fill a prescription, the customer service rep may provide you with your member ID number over the phone, as long as your identity can be verified.

If cannot access your temporary ID card on ibxpress.com, a customer service rep may help you assess the problem, and provide log on assistance, as needed.

Billing
How do I pay my bill?
We offer you several convenient ways to pay your health insurance bill.

Customer service calls
Should I expect a long wait when calling Independence Blue Cross customer service?
Independence Blue Cross (Independence) recently introduced new technology to eliminate the necessity for long waits, even at our busiest times. If call wait times are extended, you may request a call back rather than wait for a customer service rep.

Simply follow voice prompts to request a call back. You will not lose your place in line; therefore, your wait time will not be affected. An Independence customer service rep will call you.

What can I do to help make my call to Independence Blue Cross customer service go smoothly?
Please have your Independence Blue Cross member ID readily available. Be prepared to enter your member ID number using the keypad on your phone when prompted.

Your member ID number is 12-digits in length and located on the front of your member ID card, underneath your name. If you have a Medicare Supplement plan, this number is 13 digits with the last digit being a letter from the alphabet. Entering your member ID when prompted helps to ensure that your call is routed to the right person, thereby preventing delays.

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IBX Insights Team

Health care delivery is in the midst of reform and rejuvenation — an exciting prospect, but one that can also cause confusion and questions. With IBX Insights we want to be your first line of member-focused information, helping you understand the new health care model, how it affects your quality and cost of care, and the opportunities available through IBX to improve your health. Join the conversation with IBX associates who work every day to make health care more accessible and transparent for you.

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Specialty care for all of you – from head to toe

Vision & DentalRegular checkups of your oral health, together with vision care, are a powerful way to gauge your overall health, and can help maintain good health throughout your life. That’s why it’s important to consider a dental and vision plan along with your medical plan.

From a young age you’ve been taught to brush and floss at least twice a day in order to prevent tooth decay and keep your smile looking great. What you might not know is the effect these actions combined with routine visits with a dentist can have on maintaining and even improving your overall health. In fact, studies have shown that treating gum disease through regular dental visits can significantly reduce hospitalizations for chronic conditions, such as stroke, heart disease, and diabetes, which can save people thousands on medical costs.[1]

Independence Blue Cross dental plans give you access to over 2,000 dental providers in Southeastern Pennsylvania so you can get care in a location that is convenient for you.

What’s more, regular eye exams can help reveal health conditions that we might not otherwise know exist such as diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and other health conditions. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that 14 million individuals aged 12 years and older have visual impairment, among which more than 80% could be corrected to good vision with eye glasses or contact lenses.

Independence Blue Cross vision plans include a significant frame allowance that can be used toward the frames of your choice, including designer brands. The plans also include a one-year warranty if your frames break. Plus, with more than 40,000 ophthalmologists, optometrists, and retailers in our network, including Visionworks, which has one of the largest in-store frame assortments in the industry, there’s likely to be a brand to fit the style you’re looking for.

The good news is, you don’t have to look any further than Independence Blue Cross to get dental and vision plans that fit your coverage needs and budget, and you get a 15% discount on your vision plan when you buy both.*

Ready to help protect your overall health for the long-term? Learn more about purchasing an Independence Adult Dental and Vision Care plan and get covered from head to toe.

*Discount available when the following Adult Dental and Vision Care plans are purchased together: Adult Plus Dental and Vision Care 100, Adult Plus Dental and Vision Care 180, and Adult Prime Dental and Vision Care 180.

[1] Jeffcoat MK, Jeffcoat RL, Gladkowski PA, Bramson JB, Blum JJ. Impact of Periodontal Therapy on General Health: Evidence from Insurance Data for Five Systemic Conditions, American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 47 (2014) pp. 174–182. DOI: 10.1016/j.amepre.2014.04.001.

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Ginny Palmieri

Ginny Palmieri is vice president of Specialty Services for Independence Blue Cross (Independence). She is responsible for all facets of Specialty Services, including the launch and delivery of Specialty services and a transformation of the distribution of the Independence suite of Specialty products to the market. Product lines include Dental, Vision, Rx, Voluntary Insurance (Accident, Critical Illness, Cancer, Life), Stop Loss, Cobra, EAP and travel insurance. Ginny has over 25 years of diverse experience in strategy, marketing, human resources, operations, and communications management, with a strong record of accomplishment in developing teams that consistently meet and exceed corporate goals. Prior to her current role, she held senior positions at Independence Blue Cross as well as other leading health care and financial services companies, including Commerce Bancorp, Bank of America/FleetBoston Financial, Founders Health Care (Allegheny Healthcare System), Carson Valley School, and the American Red Cross.

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Use it or lose it: Top 3 ways to spend your FSA dollars before December 31

Pharmacy ShopperThe end of 2014 is fast approaching, which means you may only have a few weeks left to use up any funds left in your medical flexible spending account (FSA). Remember, because of IRS regulations, you forfeit unused FSA balances at the end of your plan year.[1] If you don’t use the funds by December 31, you lose them![2]

Stumped about what qualifies for an eligible FSA purchase? Read on for our top 3 ways to use your FSA funds before 2014 is over:

1. Deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance for covered medical and dental services.
It’s time to schedule those doctors’ and dentist appointments that you’ve been neglecting all year. Get those preventive health visits or teeth cleanings in before the end of the year, and you can use your FSA funds to cover your copayments, coinsurance, or deductible.

2. Covered prescription drug and vision expenses.
Stock up on contact lenses or contact lens solution, get a new pair of eyeglasses, and schedule a vision exam. Many vision expenses are eligible for reimbursement, so now’s the time to take care of any vision services you’ve been putting off.

Prescription drugs are also eligible for reimbursement, so another way to use all your FSA funds is to make sure you fill all of your prescriptions before the year ends.

3. Over-the-counter medications with a prescription.
If you have a condition that requires over-the-counter medications, you may be eligible for reimbursement for these medications, as long as you have a prescription. This may include pain relievers, antacids, antihistamines, decongestants, and cold medicines. Dietary supplements or vitamins (e.g., fiber supplements or calcium) may also be eligible if prescribed by your doctor.[3]

For a full list of the FSA expenses that may be reimbursed, refer to IRS Publication 502, which is available online at www.irs.gov.

Notes:

  • Generally you have time in early 2015 to submit FSA expenses incurred in 2014. This run-out period allows you some time to pull together all your receipts and submit them.
  • FSA rules vary by plan so you should confirm your plan’s specific FSA rules with your employer or plan sponsor.
  • You can use your medical flexible spending account to cover eligible expenses for you and your eligible dependents. Eligible dependents include any person you claim as a dependent for federal income tax purposes.

[1] Unless your FSA plan offers the 2 ½-month extension or the $500 rollover option.
[2] Depending upon plan design.
[3] Items used to maintain general health (e.g., Chapstick® or One-a-Day® vitamins) are not eligible.

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IBX Insights Team

Health care delivery is in the midst of reform and rejuvenation — an exciting prospect, but one that can also cause confusion and questions. With IBX Insights we want to be your first line of member-focused information, helping you understand the new health care model, how it affects your quality and cost of care, and the opportunities available through IBX to improve your health. Join the conversation with IBX associates who work every day to make health care more accessible and transparent for you.

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Common questions about the 2015 open enrollment period for individuals

There’s a lot to know about enrolling in health coverage, whether you’re a first-time buyer or renewing a plan. So we’ve compiled a list of questions you may have about enrolling in a plan, renewing a plan, and paying your premium.

Enrollment | Renewals | Payments | ID cards

Enrollment

How do I enroll?
If you’re a first-time buyer, it’s easiest to enroll online, but you can also call 1-888-475-6206 to enroll or request an enrollment kit. If you’re a returning member and you need to renew your plan or choose a new one, skip ahead to the Renewals section.

How long do I have to enroll?
Open enrollment for 2015 coverage runs from November 15, 2014, through February 15, 2015, but there are a number of key dates you’ll want to be aware of.

November 15, 2014 – Open enrollment began

December 15, 2014 – Last day to apply for coverage with a January 1, 2015 effective date

January 15, 2015 – Last day to apply for coverage with a February 1, 2015 effective date

February 15, 2015 – Last day to apply for 2015 coverage with a March 1, 2015 effective date

If you experience a qualifying life event, you may be able to get coverage sooner through a Special Enrollment Period.

What plans are available for 2015?
We have a wide variety of plans available for you to choose from. Compare plans and benefits.

How do I confirm my coverage and eligibility once I’ve enrolled?
If you purchased a plan directly from Independence Blue Cross, you will receive an email that day to confirm your application was received. All new members will receive a letter from Independence Blue Cross confirming your enrollment within 7-10 days after your application was submitted.

Renewals

How do I renew my current plan?
If you do not make a change by December 15, 2014, you will automatically be renewed in the same plan (if your current plan is available), or a similar plan (if your current plan is not available). You can view your renewal summary and new rate for 2015 coverage by logging into your ibx4you.com account and clicking View Your Renewal Summary. If you do not remember your username and password, you can reset your account.

If you received a subsidy in 2014, it’s important to make sure you get the most accurate subsidy for your 2015 health plan to avoid tax penalties. Update your application at www.healthcare.gov or contact the Marketplace at 1-800-318-2596 with your household income to confirm your 2015 subsidy amount and renew your health plan.

Who can I contact for help with my plan renewal?
We encourage you to log in to your ibx4you.com account to view your renewal information first. You can also speak with one of our agents by calling 1-888-475-6206.

Can I change plans for 2015 coverage?
Yes, you can change plans for 2015 coverage by logging into your ibx4you.com account and selecting Shop Plans. For coverage to be effective for January 1, 2015, you will need to select your new plan by December 15, 2014.

Changes to your plan will not appear in your member profile until approximately one week after your request. For example, if you make changes to your policy on a Saturday, you may not see those changes until the following Friday.

  • All changes must be made within one policy change request, otherwise you will need to wait approximately one week until you can submit another change.
  • If the effective date is in the future, you will find the requested changes to your plan information under “Open Policy Change Requests” until the actual effective date, at which time the updated policy information will move to the “Current Coverage” section.
  • At any stage before you submit your plan changes, you can withdraw your request by selecting “Return to Checklist/Withdraw.” Once you hit “Submit,” you cannot withdraw.

Do I need to do anything to renew with a subsidy?
It is important that you review your Marketplace application, and update your Marketplace application if necessary, to ensure that you receive the full amount of financial assistance that you may be eligible to receive in 2015. If you do not have the correct subsidy in 2015, you may be subject to a tax penalty at the end of the year for a subsidy that was too large. If you do not update your Marketplace application, you will automatically be enrolled in your renewing coverage with your 2014 subsidy amount.

If you have questions about your subsidy or need to update your subsidy amount, visit www.healthcare.gov or contact the Marketplace at 1-800-318-2596. Not sure if you are eligible for a 2015 subsidy? Use our subsidy calculator to see if you may qualify.

Why don’t I see my 2015 renewal when I log in to my ibx4you.com account?
If you purchased your 2014 health plan after November 1, 2014, you will not be automatically enrolled in a plan. Therefore, you will not see renewal information in your ibx4you.com account. To enroll in a plan for 2015, you will need to create a new account and actively select a plan. You can do this by visiting www.ibx4you.com, clicking Shop for a Plan, and selecting Shop Now.

How can I update the contact information in my account?
If you purchased your health plan directly from Independence Blue Cross and want to update your home address, phone number, date of birth, and other information associated with your account, log in to your ibx4you.com account and click Request Change.
If you purchased your health plan from the Marketplace, visit www.healthcare.gov or contact the Marketplace at 1-800-318-2596 to update your account information.

Payments

What are my payment options?
We have plenty of options available for you to pay your premium. The easiest and most convenient options allow you to pay by e-Bill on ibxpress.com or pay by phone using our automated system. Learn more about payment options.

ID cards

When should I expect to receive my ID card?
You should receive your ID card by January 1.

If you do not have your ID card by January 1, 2015, you can log in to www.ibxpress.com to print a temporary card.

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IBX Insights Team

Health care delivery is in the midst of reform and rejuvenation — an exciting prospect, but one that can also cause confusion and questions. With IBX Insights we want to be your first line of member-focused information, helping you understand the new health care model, how it affects your quality and cost of care, and the opportunities available through IBX to improve your health. Join the conversation with IBX associates who work every day to make health care more accessible and transparent for you.

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Are you prepared for open enrollment?

Open Enrollment

This year, open enrollment for buying health insurance begins on November 15, and there are some important things you can do to get prepared.

Whether you’re a returning member or a first-time buyer, we have five tips to make open enrollment easier for you.

1. Make sure you can access your account.
If you purchased a plan from the Health Insurance Marketplace on www.healthcare.gov for 2014, make sure you can log in to your account now. If you need your username or password reset, you can contact the Marketplace at 1-800-318-2596.

We encourage all members to make sure we have your correct email address and mobile phone number on file so you can receive important notifications. Visit www.ibx4you.com/myinfo to update or provide this information.

If you are a first-time buyer, you will need to set up an account when open enrollment begins, so skip to step 2.

2. Prepare your financial documents and health care budget.
The government will be providing subsidies to lower monthly premiums and reduce out-of-pocket costs for eligible shoppers. Use our subsidy calculator to see if you may be eligible. You will need your estimated household income to apply for a subsidy on www.healthcare.gov. If you received a subsidy in 2014, it is important that you review your Marketplace application to make sure the information is still current and correct. The Marketplace uses this information to determine the amount of any subsidies and lower copayments, coinsurance, and deductibles you may be eligible for. If you have any changes, you will be able to update your application when the Marketplace opens on November 15, 2014. If you like your plan and don’t have any changes to your Marketplace application, you don’t have to do anything. You’ll automatically be enrolled and just have to pay the monthly premium.

3. Get ready to shop.
If you want to shop for health plans online, it is important that you have the most up-to-date web browser. For the best user experience with the online shopping tool, please use Internet Explorer 9+ or Chrome 29+.

4. Make sure you have your enrollment information handy.
If you’re a returning member, print out the appropriate enrollment card below and use it to record important account information you’ll need when you apply. This way, the application process will go much quicker.

New members can also use these cards to document plan choices for 2015.
Enrollment card for plans purchased on the Health Insurance Marketplace
Enrollment card for plans purchased on ibx4you

5. Register for a meeting.
We offer in-person assistance at events and select CVS locations as well as webinars, and other ways to help you get more information about open enrollment. View calendar of events.

If you’re a first-time buyer who wants an easy way to learn about how health insurance works and how to choose the right plan for you, visit our new site, Health Insurance Basics.

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Paula Sunshine

As Vice President of Consumer Sales and Marketing at Independence Blue Cross, Paula Sunshine is accountable for the Individual Under-65 market segment. In this capacity, she is directly responsible for developing and executing all direct-to-consumer marketing and sales capabilities. In addition, Ms. Sunshine is accountable for insuring the delivery of market-competitive products and pricing as well as operational readiness for the Consumer market.

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Top 3 ways to reduce your risk for Type 2 diabetes

Glucose levelDiabetes awareness is a cause very close to my heart. Diabetes affects cousins on both sides of my family, but when I was younger, the only thing I knew about it was that at family parties my cousins had to have sugar-free soda or skip the cake. It’s only when I got older and learned more about diabetes did I fully understand the truth behind this disease — the difference between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, the dangers of diabetes, and more importantly, how I could protect myself from developing Type 2 diabetes.

Today, 29.1 million people in the United States live with diabetes and another 86 million live with pre-diabetes. In honor of Diabetes Awareness Month, I urge you to join the fight against this prevalent disease with these top 3 tips:

1. Know your risk.
Before you can reduce your risk, you need to know your risk. With the Harvard School of Public Health’s disease risk calculator, you can find out your risk for diabetes in minutes. Fill out a few simple questions and this tool can assess how likely you are to develop Type 2 diabetes.

2. Get some help with your diet.
One of the best things you can do to prevent Type 2 diabetes is to make healthy food choices. A registered dietitian can provide nutritional counseling and education on pre-diabetes and diabetes, and will help you plan meals that can reduce your risk or help you better manage your diabetes. Most Independence Blue Cross health plans include a dietitian benefit* that covers six visits annually with a registered dietitian at no cost to you. You can search for a participating registered dietitian using our online provider directory.

3. Make physical activity a priority.
Although regular physical activity is important for everyone, it’s even more important for those with diabetes or at risk for diabetes since exercise has been proven to lower blood glucose levels.

But don’t be intimidated by the prospect of becoming more active. You don’t have to take up marathon training to see an effect. Fitting physical activity into your day is as easy as raking leaves, walking around while on the phone, or dancing while cooking dinner. Start small with these creative ways to get moving each day.

*Not all employers offer nutrition counseling visits as part of their health plan benefits. Please contact Customer Service or your benefits administrator to determine if this benefit applies to your coverage.

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IBX Insights Team

Health care delivery is in the midst of reform and rejuvenation — an exciting prospect, but one that can also cause confusion and questions. With IBX Insights we want to be your first line of member-focused information, helping you understand the new health care model, how it affects your quality and cost of care, and the opportunities available through IBX to improve your health. Join the conversation with IBX associates who work every day to make health care more accessible and transparent for you.

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Top 3 ways to ensure “fall back” doesn’t hold you back

Daylight Saving TimeAn extra hour of sleep. To many it’s as elusive and coveted as the Holy Grail, and on Sunday, November 2, it will be there, within our grasp. As Daylight Saving Time ends, we will turn back the clock, snuggle into our cozy beds, and peacefully enjoy our extra Zzzs.

Not so fast, Rip Van Winkle. While 60 little minutes of sleep may not seem like much, it’s just enough to throw you – and especially your children – right off your beloved schedules. Here’s how to hold fast.

1. Don’t sleep in
Go to bed and wake up at your normal times. Your body wants to wake with the sun, and fighting it with the covers over your head will only lengthen your adjustment period.

2. Savor the sun
Earlier sunrise means more time for you to enjoy it. Help adjust your biological clock, or circadian rhythm, by getting outside in the sunshine for 20 to 30 minutes in the a.m. and reminding your cells that, yes, it really is morning.

3. Don’t forget breakfast
A potentially sleepier morning only intensifies your need to enjoy a nutritional kick-start. Opt for something that combines whole grains, healthy fats, and lean protein for the best boost of energy.

Sticking with a normal sleep and wake schedule once the switch is made is also essential. It may take a few days, but soon your new morning with be as natural as the sunrise outside your window.

DreamIt Demo Day #DreamItHealth – Bringing Health Care Innovation to Philadelphia

DreamIt Health

Divya Dhar, CEO & Co-Founder Seratis Health – DreamIt Health Class of 2013.

Today is DreamIt Health Philadelphia 2014 Demo Day, a big day for the Philadelphia health care innovation community!

Over the past four months, nine exciting startup companies recruited from across the country have been working full time right here in Philadelphia. They bring experience, passion, and energy to nine different ideas that they hope to turn into successful companies. Today, with mentorship from Independence Blue Cross (Independence) and Penn Medicine, they “graduate,” pitching their products and business models to a room of over 300 investors, industry leaders, and potential customers. I am very excited to see how the companies have progressed since starting the Dream It Health Philadelphia 2014 program in July.

The DreamIt Partnership
It’s an honor to be involved in this program. DreamIt Health Philadelphia is the first-ever health accelerator located in Philadelphia, and the first in the nation to be sponsored by a city’s leading health system and a region’s largest health insurance provider. This is the second year Independence has sponsored this accelerator with Penn Medicine and DreamIt Ventures. It’s a great way to bring new health innovators to the region and help realize our vision of Philadelphia as a magnet nationally for health care innovation.

Many of my colleagues at Independence Blue Cross work closely with DreamIt companies, providing meaningful real-world feedback about the complexities of the health care industry to entrepreneurs as they develop their product offerings. We also make connections and offer access to resources that would, otherwise, take these teams years to duplicate. But the learning isn’t just a one-way proposition. Working with these energetic, passionate, and creative entrepreneurs provides a whole new perspective to Independence employees; their ideas energize and inspire us as we work to re-imagine health and health care for our members.

DreamIt Class of 2013
One of our biggest successes from last year’s DreamIt class is that the majority of companies who came to the region for the program have stayed and grown right here in Philadelphia, adding to our thriving health tech innovation community. Here are a few shining examples from the class of 2013:

  • Biomeme transforms your smartphone to a real-time DNA lab.
  • Seratis brings doctors and nurses out of the pager era by allowing healthcare providers to coordinate, track, and analyze care across the team.
  • Fitly combines personalized healthy meal planning with easy recipes, fresh ingredients, and free home delivery into a dynamic mobile-web app.

I can’t wait to see what’s next for the 2014 class of companies. For real-time updates, follow along on Twitter #DreamItHealth or check out the DreamIt website for video clips of the pitches in the upcoming days.

Let us know which company you think has the best new idea!

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Tom Olenzak

Tom Olenzak is director of innovation and corporate development for Independence Blue Cross (IBX). Through the Independence Center for Health Care Innovation, which seeks to develop a culture of innovation within IBX, Olenzak is responsible for leading IBX’s efforts to identify external sources of innovation to support the company’s objects; and helping lead a dialog among institutions across the health care ecosystem to address some of the largest issues impacting the cost and quality of health care. Olenazak is also manager of the IBX Strategic Innovation Portfolio, which makes investments in venture capital funds and emerging health care information technology companies that support IBX’s strategic initiatives. Olenzak has twenty years of extensive entrepreneurial, venture capital, and senior management experience in the health care and information technology industries. He has held operating and investment positions at several health care and technology companies, including Safeguard Scientifics, First Consulting Group, and Integrated Systems Consulting Group. Olenzak is a graduate of Princeton University and lives in Malvern, Pennsylvania.

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