The latest work-life information at IU
No. 48
August 2009

University Human Resource Services
Informed Employee

IU Voluntary Benefits Program

Web Exclusive:
Additional information about IU Voluntary Benefits.

Indiana University is pleased to offer a new array of optional benefits available to both full- and part-time Academic and Staff employees. Employees pay 100 percent of the cost of plans in the IU Voluntary Benefits Program; however, the group rates are more affordable than what one would pay as an individual. An information packet detailing this program will be sent to employees’ home addresses in late August.

  • Long-term care
  • Short-term disability
  • Critical illness
  • Vision wear program
  • Auto, home, and renters insurance
  • Mortgage
  • Identity theft
  • Pet insurance

A Personal Plans Advisor web portal at www. will be available to guide employees through the process of selecting plan coverages based on cost factors such as type of coverage, age, and effective dates. Employees can also get rates and quotes and enroll in a plan.

The first opportunity to select Voluntary Benefits begins September 1. From September 1 to September 30, 2009, is a special enrollment period allowing enrollment in certain plans without the requirement of proof of good health. During the month of September and anytime thereafter, enrollment can be done online. Information sessions and Webinars hosted by Marsh Voluntary Benefits will be held in early September.

Details of online enrollment and dates and times of information sessions and Webinars will be in the information packet mailed in late August.

The Indiana University Voluntary Benefits Program is provided through Marsh Voluntary Benefits (not associated with Marsh Supermarkets).


Pandemic Planning Tested During H1N1 Outbreak

Planning for potential natural or other emergencies is a regular task for university leaders. Many of these procedures were put to the test during the recent H1N1 influenza outbreak. While the flu turned out to be mild, plans were updated in preparation for any hazardous situation that could occur at IU campuses.

In 2008, President Michael McRobbie appointed the University Emergency Preparedness Committee, whose members represent all campuses and have expertise in all areas of crisis management. The committee is co-chaired by Paul Sullivan, deputy vice president for administration, and Mark Bruhn, associate vice president for information and infrastructure assurance. In the event of a pandemic threat to the university community, this group will meet daily to assess and monitor the health hazards to our campuses and make recommendations on protective responses.

Indiana University is committed to providing up-to-date information on H1N1 influenza and how it could impact the university community. During any critical incident, students and employees should stay informed by regularly looking at the IU Emergency Preparedness Web site, This Web site will be updated with new information as it becomes available and includes links for all emergency preparedness sites at IU campuses.

Kirk R. White, Coordinator
IU Critical Incident Communications Team


Preventing Influenza

As fall approaches, it’s a good time to review how to reduce the chances of getting influenza. There may also be increasing numbers of cases caused by the new H1N1 strain that first appeared in the United States in April, as this strain continues to circulate. The symptoms of this new H1N1 flu virus are similar to the symptoms of seasonal flu and include fever, cough, or sore throat and often body aches, headache, chills, and fatigue.

The main way flu is spread is through coughing or sneezing or by someone touching a contaminated surface and then touching their own nose, mouth, or eyes before washing their hands. The flu virus can live on inanimate surfaces for 2 to 8 hours.

How to Prevent the Flu


Individuals can significantly reduce their risk of the seasonal flu by getting the flu vaccine this fall. An H1N1 vaccine is currently being tested but it’s not known at this time if this will be recommended.

Additional Information

To recognize flu symptoms and self-treat at home, visit

Employees who are caregivers for a sick family member sick with the flu must take special precautions available at

See also university guidelines about H1N1 at

Diana Ebling, MD, Medical Director
IU Health Center, Bloomington



Tobacco Use and Health
Body Shape

The effect of smoking on the endocrine system (glands which secrete hormones) causes smokers to store even normal amounts of body fat in an abnormal distribution. Smokers are more likely to store fat around the waist and upper torso, rather than around the hips. This means smokers are more likely to have a higher waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) than non-smokers. A high WHR is associated with a much higher risk of developing diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, gallbladder problems and (in women) cancer of the womb and breast. A study of American men also found a dose-response relationship between the number of cigarettes smoked and waist-to-hip ratio.

However, changes to WHR induced by smoking need not be permanent. The results of a Swedish study suggests that while some weight gain after stopping smoking can be expected, it is less of a health risk because it is not deposited in the upper torso, where it is associated with increased risk of heart disease.

Excerpt from Fact Sheet no. 10, Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), August 2004




Page updated: 21 August 2009