By Human Resources Communications on September 17, 2019
As students go back to school and summer comes to a close, there are two things that tend to cause anxiety as we settle back into a fall routine: packing lunches and planning weeknight dinners.
Is plant-based eating healthy? What about carbs; those are bad right? Is more fat better or worse, and what type? Is coconut sugar better than cane sugar? Does fruit have too much sugar? What’s the deal with gluten? What about sea salt vs. table salt?
Is your head spinning?
With conflicting reports, studies and “expert” opinions, there can be a lot of confusion. Things become even more complicated when we add allergies, other restrictions, and our desire to eat well and prevent chronic disease into the mix.
The great news is that UBC employees enrolled in Extended Health benefits get free (or low cost) access to the experts in food and nutrition: registered dietitians (RDs). Dietitians are trained health professionals who studied nutrition for a minimum of five years and know exactly what’s up in the nutrition world. UBC has the only training program for dietitians in BC and sees about 36 graduates a year.
Dietitians can help:
- Ensure you are meeting your nutrition goals
- Slow the progress or prevent many chronic diseases that are closely linked to nutrition, including cancer, heart disease and diabetes
- Find simple, healthy and delicious recipes that fit within any allergies or restrictions, and ensure you aren’t at risk for nutrient deficiencies
- Improve your gut health
- Improve sports performance
- Clear up any confusion and bust nutrition myths
- Clarify the nutritional implications of different life stages, such as pregnancy or aging
- Deal with infant feeding issues and questions
- Improve your relationship with food
- Identify and work through barriers that prevent you from eating well
- And more!
Benefits Coverage, Support and Community Resources
Use your Extended Health benefits:
- Employees enrolled in Sun Life Extended Health benefits are covered for 80% of the cost of RD services, up to a maximum of $600 per calendar year. Note that this $600 is shared with other paramedical practitioners, including acupuncturists, chiropractors, naturopaths, speech therapists, and others.
- Check your available balance on the Sun Life website or mobile app.
Access your Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP):
- EFAP provides much more than counselling services. If you are enrolled in the EFAP, talk to an RD over the telephone. All EFAP services are confidential. Visit workhealthlife.com for more information or call Morneau Shepell at 1-844-880-9137. (Note: Please enter “University of British Columbia” as your organization when accessing workhealthlife.com.)
Explore these community resources:
- Looking for a dietitian in your area? Use the Dietitians of Canada’s Find a Dietitian
- Call 8-1-1 toll-free to contact a HealthLinkBC dietitian or you can email them your questions. Available Monday to Friday, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., HealthLinkBC dietitians have advanced training in a variety of topics, such as allergies, infant feeding, cancer and more. This program is provincially funded.
Did you know…
……that Food + Nutrition is one of the six priority areas in the new UBC Wellbeing Strategic Framework? Dietitians across the Vancouver and Okanagan campuses contributed to this important work that supports UBC’s vision for “a nutritionally sound campus” that “promotes health and wellbeing for all members of the UBC community.”
Related Benefits FYI articles:
Melissa Baker, Workplace Wellbeing Strategist for HR, is an alum of the UBC dietetics program and came back to UBC as a staff member in 2016. Melissa is passionate about embedding health and wellbeing into the everyday operations of the university and loves staying up-to-date in the crazy world of food and nutrition.
By Human Resources Communications on February 8, 2017
March is Nutrition Month, a national celebration focused on healthy eating education and awareness.
At UBC we have benefits and tools to help you (and your eligible dependents) maintain and improve your health and wellbeing, including your nutritional health. Here are some ways your UBC benefits can help you:
- Reimbursement of services by a Registered Dietitian and/or Naturopath under the Extended Health Benefits plan.
- Nutrition support, health coaching, naturopathic services and healthy weight management program from Shepell, UBC’s Employee and Family Assistance Provider.
Registered Dietitian and Naturopath
The UBC Extended Health Benefits plan is designed to help promote the continued health and wellbeing of staff, faculty and their dependents. There is coverage for a wide range of services, including paramedical practitioners such as Registered Dietitians and Naturopaths.
Registered Dietitians provide advice and counselling about diet, food and nutrition. They can help you make healthy food choices and manage any special health conditions you may have such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer, allergies and obesity.
Registered naturopaths use a natural and holistic approach to the maintenance of good health and can help you with improving digestion, boosting energy levels, proper nutrition and food choices.
To learn more about coverage for Registered Dietitians and Naturopaths, visit the Extended Health page.
Nutrition Support, Health Coaching, Naturopathic Services and Healthy Weight Management Program
UBC’s EFAP provider Shepell offers four services that can assist you and your eligible dependents with health eating. All services are provided by telephone consultation. To book services or for more information on what service is right for you, call the Shepell Care Access Centre at 1-800-387-4765 or visit www.workhealthlife.com.
Nutrition Support Services
Shepell’s Nutrition Support Services can help you make positive changes to your diet and address weight loss or gain, eating routines, and lifestyle changes. You can also access Registered Dietitians who can assess your eating habits, identify dietary concerns and answer nutrition-related questions.
Support is available for a variety of concerns, including:
- Weight loss or gain
- Boosting stress resilience
- Healthy eating on-the-go
- Accommodating shift work
- Well-balanced vegetarian diet
- Lowering/managing cholesterol levels
- Reducing high blood pressure
- Regulating diabetes
- Preventing heart disease
- Preventing osteoporosis
Shepell’s Health Coaches teach you about the changes required to be well and stay well, while providing motivation to reach lifestyle goals.
Health Coaches can work with you to create a risk-reduction action plan targeting:
- Weight management
- Healthy eating
- Smoking cessation
- Responsible alcohol use
- Stress management
- Exercise as a component of a healthy lifestyle
Shepell’s Naturopathic professionals will provide you with information about naturopathic medicine and how it works; you will learn practical lifestyle practices that you can use every day.
Healthy Weight Management
Shepell’s Healthy Weight Management program can help you manage your weight by changing your behaviour and learning about physical activity and nutrition with the support of a personal coach.
Healthy Weight Management consists of the following components:
- Online assessment
- Interactive online program including trackers, goal setting and challenges
- Smart scale to track progress and outcomes
- Consultations with a coach over the phone or online chat
By Human Resources Communications on December 5, 2014
UBC’s Extended Health benefits plan provides coverage for dietician services. Dieticians can provide individuals with an assessment of nutritional needs, design and implement nutrition care plans and therapeutic diets, and share information about foods and human nutrition to attain, maintain and promote health.
No medical doctor’s referral is required.
Your dietician must be a Registered Professional Dietician (R.P.Dt), Registered Dietician (R.D or R.Dt) or Professional Dietician (P.Dt) and an active and licensed member of the provincial regulatory body where they practice (in BC, this is the College of Dieticians of British Columbia).
The College of Dieticians of British Columbia maintains a database of Registered Dieticians in the province. If you are looking for a dietician, search their database.
Reimbursement for most employment groups is 80% of reasonable and customary charges (100% for Childcare Workers at the Vancouver campus). Reasonable and customary charges represent the fee that practitioners typically charge for certain services or procedures. In BC, Sun Life’s reasonable and customary charge is $150 per one-hour visit.
For all employment groups with the exception of CUPE 2950 (new in 2016), the annual limit for dietician services is $600, and is combined with coverage for the following practitioners: licensed speech therapist, acupuncturist, chiropractor, homeopath, podiatrist, chiropodist, osteopath, naturopath, audiologist and occupational therapist. For CUPE 2950, the limit is $500 per person.
How to Make a Claim
Pay for the claim first and submit a claim your using an Extended Health claim form.
Questions about Eligibility of Services?
Contact Sun Life directly at 1-800-361-3612 to determine if a dietician service is eligible for coverage under the UBC Extended Health care plan, before you take on the service. You are responsible for the cost of any services that you agree to that are not covered by UBC’s Extended Health.