New Blood Pressure Guidelines from American Heart Association

High blood pressure should be treated earlier with lifestyle changes and in some patients with medication – at 130/80 mm Hg rather than 140/90 – based on new ACC and American Heart Association (AHA) guidelines for the detection, prevention, management and treatment of high blood pressure.

Blood pressure categories in the new guidelines are:

  • Normal: Less than 120/80 mm Hg;
  • Elevated: Systolic between 120-129 and diastolic less than 80;
  • Stage 1: Systolic between 130-139 or diastolic between 80-89;
  • Stage 2: Systolic at least 140 or diastolic at least 90 mm Hg;
  • Hypertensive crisis: Systolic over 180 and/or diastolic over 120, with patients needing prompt changes in medication if there are no other indications of problems, or immediate hospitalization if there are signs of organ damage.

 New BP Guidelines Infographic 1

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FAQs

I am not working. Can I stay on the Plan’s coverage?

If you are not working, but you are still eligible for Plan coverage under the collective bargaining agreement, you may continue your coverage under the Plan by making monthly payments to the Plan during your period(s) of leave. You must notify the Health and Welfare office when you return to work.

If you are out on Workers’ Compensation, you must also make your monthly payments directly to the Health & Welfare Plan because they are not deducted from your paycheck or from your Workers’ Compensation benefits.

Payments are due on the first of the month. It is your responsibility to make your Health & Welfare payments on time. The Plan does not send notices of delinquent payments, nor will it send you a bill. If you do not make your payments on time, your coverage under the Plan will end. Consider permitting the Plan to deduct payments from your bank account. Contact the Plan for more information.

Coverage will retroactively end as of the monthly premium payment due date if the required monthly premium payment is not paid within 30 days from the due date (e.g., if the monthly premium payment for September, which is due on September 1, is not paid by September 30th, coverage would be terminated as of September 1). If coverage is terminated due to non-payment of the required monthly premium payment, you may again become covered (on a prospective basis) by sending in the required monthly premium payment for future coverage. Your coverage will re-start as of the first day of the month following receipt of the required monthly premium payment. You will not be permitted to retroactively reinstate coverage for any period of coverage that terminated due to non-payment of the required monthly premium payment.

If you are on a leave of absence for military duty, you are permitted to continue medical, dental, prescription drug, and vision benefit coverage under this Plan for you and your covered dependents in accordance with the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA). Please see the “If You Enter Military Service”  section on the Life Events page for more information.

If your coverage ends due to termination of your employment with METRO, you may be eligible for COBRA for you and your family. Although METRO will notify the Health & Welfare Plan of your termination, you are also encouraged to inform the Health & Welfare Plan to avoid any delay.

If you lose Plan coverage due to the termination of your employment or any other reason, you may want to look into purchasing health coverage through a Health Insurance Marketplace.

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