Ideas for Planning a Green Vacation

Family playing on the rocksAre you taking a summer vacation this year? Consider these Go Green suggestions to make it a more environmentally friendly trip.

Select a green destination- does the city have:

  • A robust public transportation system
  • Acres of parkland
  • Walkable neighborhoods
  • Designated bike lanes
  • Farmers markets

Hotel stay

  • Skip the bottles of water in the room, instead opt for reusable beverage container
  • Participate in the hotel’s linen and towel reuse program, if available
  • Turn lights off when you leave the room
  • Decline housekeeping (some hotels will give a food and beverage credit)
  • Bring your own travel size soaps to use (encourage hotel to enroll in Clean the World, a nonprofit organization that sends donated hotel toiletries to developing countries).

Green activities

  • Sail, snorkel, scuba dive, hike, paddleboat, paddleboard, kayak, bike, swim, bird-watch
  • Visit crafts or food market, and use reusable bags
  • Take a tour with local guides
  • Use available space in your suitcase to provide supplies to communities you visit with “Pack for a Purpose”:
    • It’s easy- check your destination; find an accommodation or tour company and a project it supports; choose supplies you wish to take from the specific items requested; drop off the supplies at the accommodation or tour company.

Remember, you can Go Green with Starmark® by opting into the Starmark Document Center to conveniently access your important documents online 24/7/365.

Source: Green means go: How to plan an eco-vacation from start to finish. Andrea Sachs. The Washington Post. 5.22.17.


June 2, 2017 at 2:25 pm Leave a comment

Making Your Health a Priority

524177336.jpgAccording to a recent article, making commitments and creating an actual action plan can help you reach your health and fitness goals. Try these simple steps:

  • Pick one thing to change. Prioritize with a list of what you would like to change and then take time to really think about it. Do some items affect others on the list? Once you determine what your top priority is, set a goal that is tangible.
  • Create a positive habit. Don’t focus on the outcome, but rather a new behavior. For example, if you plan to lose weight, try eating healthier and just getting up and moving versus only focusing on the scale.
  • Change your environment. Depending on the goal, this can vary. But, if your goal is to eat healthier, be sure to stock your kitchen with healthy, wholesome foods you will actually eat.
  • Small changes add up. Remember even the littlest changes can lead you closer to your goal.
  • Get back on track. You may veer off track once in a while, so stay positive and get back into your routine quickly.
  • Use daily reminders to stay on track. You can add goal reminders into your smart phone calendar or wherever you might see it to help reinforce positive behaviors.

Need more? Plan participants can log into the Starmark® website for an online tool to help with their health goals.  

Source: 7 steps to making your health your No. 1 priority. Betsy Mendel. Los Angeles Times- Health and Wellness. April 13, 2017.

April 14, 2017 at 2:03 pm Leave a comment

Is It a Cold or Sinus Infection?

454955385.jpgDo you know the difference between a cold and a sinus infection? The length of time you have symptoms of watery eyes, a stuffy nose or sneezing is a great indicator to what’s causing your congestion.

Cold (typically improve without antibiotics within 10 days or less) Symptoms:

  • Sore throat
  • Cough
  • Headache
  • Stuffy nose
  • Mucus buildup
  • Sneezing
  • Fatigue
  • Swollen sinuses
  • Low-grade fever in adults, higher in children

Sinus Infection (may require medication) Symptoms:

  • Sinus pressure behind the eyes and cheeks
  • Runny or stuffy nose that lasts more than a week
  • Worsening headache
  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Postnasal drip
  • Fatigue

Acute infections go away on their own or after a simple course of antibiotics. If you think you have a sinus infection, see your doctor.

Need to consult a doctor? For $45 or less, you can talk to a licensed doctor from work, home or on the road 24/7 with Teladoc®. Click here to learn more, visit their website at or call 1.800.Teladoc (835.2362).*

*The consult fee is the lesser of $45 or the office visit copay, if selected. The consult fee is subject to change during the plan year. When requesting a consultation, members should use their Starmark® medical ID number (found on their medical ID card) and reference Starmark (Trustmark) as their insurance provider when prompted by Teladoc. Teladoc is not an affiliate of Starmark or Trustmark® Life Insurance Company.

Source: Is It a Cold or Sinus Infection? Matt McMillen. WebMD. April 14, 2017.


April 11, 2017 at 8:49 pm Leave a comment

How to Protect Yourself When Purchasing Prescriptions Online

157336210.jpgKeep yourself out of potential harm by following these tips from the FDA and the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy if you choose to purchase prescriptions online:

  • Only buy from state-licensed pharmacy websites located in the U.S. Check with the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) or the FDA’s pharmacy licensing database to see if an online pharmacy has a valid license and meets state quality standards.
  • Look for the NABP’s Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites™ seal, also known as the VIPPS® seal, or visit the VIPPS website to find legitimate pharmacies that carry the seal.
  • Look for the .pharmacy domain which means the website has met the NABP’s safety standards.
  • Don’t buy from websites that sell prescription drugs without a prescription or that offer to prescribe a drug for the first time without a physical exam by your doctor or by asking you to answer an online questionnaire.
  • Be wary if a website offers prices that are dramatically lower than the competition.
  • Don’t give any personal information – such as a Social Security number, credit card information, or medical or health history – unless you are sure the website will keep your information safe and private.
  • Use legitimate websites that have a licensed pharmacist available to answer your questions.
  • Make sure the website provides contact information and allows you to talk to a person if you have problems or questions.

Telltale signs of counterfeit drugs.

  • The packaging has been torn, punctured or otherwise compromised.
  • The bottle or package looks sloppy. (ex., the label is crooked or looks markedly different from the legitimate version.)
  • The pills are cracked, chipped or a different color.
  • The pills taste different from what you remember.
  • You feel sick or strange after taking the medication.

Source: National Business Group on Health RX Alert. Issue No. 5. February 1, 2017. Issue: Online Pharmacies- Buyer Beware.

April 11, 2017 at 1:27 pm Leave a comment

It’s Buyer Beware When You Shop Online for Prescriptions


If you are considering shopping online for your prescription medicine, the Food and Drug Administration has a warning: Don’t be deceived! Ninety-seven percent of online pharmacies are fraudulent and could put your health at risk.

While there are pharmacy websites that operate legally on the internet, providing convenience, privacy and safeguards for purchasing medicines, there are many more “rogue” websites that sell potentially dangerous drugs. These sites may even look professional and legitimate, but offer drugs that have not been checked for safety or effectiveness, are unapproved, or that contain dangerous ingredients.

Source: National Business Group on Health RX Alert. Issue No. 5. February 1, 2017. Issue: Online Pharmacies- Buyer Beware.

April 11, 2017 at 9:09 am Leave a comment

Go Green Campaign Success Means Greener National Forests

Color Tree and Roots. Vector Illustration.As a result of you and your employer choosing to opt-in to the Starmark® Document Center, Starmark completed its 2016 Go Green campaign with a donation to the National Forest Foundation. The donation will be put towards planting 2,000 trees, making our national forests greener.

The Document Center centralizes key documents online and provides secure, around-the-clock access to online tools and resources to help you manage your health benefits, including:

  • Claims information and online Explanation of Benefits (EOBs)
  • Benefit Summary, including access to your network’s provider lookup
  • Starmark ID card
  • Prescription benefit information
  • Suite of health and wellness tools and resources

Thank you for helping make a positive difference in our environment!

April 10, 2017 at 9:08 pm Leave a comment

Save on Groceries with These Tips

525345550.jpgThere are many ways to buy healthy items at the grocery store and save a little money. Try these tips for every aisle.

Fruits and Vegetables

  • Buy in season produce. They will be less expensive and have the peak flavor. Don’t over purchase so you don’t have any waste. View this quick reference to see what is in season.
  • Try buying canned items and choose fruit canned in 100 percent fruit juice and vegetables with low-sodium or no salt added. These items are still nutritious and last longer than fresh but with a lower price.
  • Buy frozen vegetables without added sauces or butter. These items are nutritious and may cost less and last longer than the fresh variety.


  • Make at least half your grains whole grain. Check the ingredient lists and pick items that have whole grain listed first.
  • Whole grains include whole wheat, brown rice, bulgur, buckwheat, oatmeal, whole-grain cornmeal, whole oats, and whole rye.
  • Rice and pasta are budget-friendly options.
  • Choose hot cereals like oatmeal or whole grain dry cereal.
  • Try whole grain snacks like whole wheat crackers or popping your own popcorn.


  • Buy low-cost items like beans and peas (kidney beans, split peas and lentils). Add as a side or main dish.
  • Purchase family-sized or value pack and freeze what you don’t use when purchasing meat. Choose lean meats like chicken and turkey, or ground beef when it is 92 percent lean.
  • Seafood can be cheaper if you buy canned tuna, salmon or sardines. They also have a longer shelf life than fresh seafood.
  • Eggs are a great, low-cost option that is easy to prepare.
  • Learn more how you can vary your protein routine.


  • Choose low fat or fat-free milk. They provide as much calcium but fewer calories than whole and 2 percent.
  • Purchase the large size of low-fat plain yogurt instead of individual sized/flavored ones. You can add in your own flavors by mixing in fruits.
  • Choose reduced-fat cheese or low fat.
  • Double check the sell by date to make sure you are buying the freshest dairy products and can use it in time.

Learn about how you can also save on healthcare costs with Starmark’s Ways to Save, an educational resource online to help you become an empowered consumer of healthcare.

Source: Shop Smart to Fill Your Cart. USDA April 14, 2017.


April 10, 2017 at 9:07 pm Leave a comment

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