Dispel The Gender Myths

Depression. Are women more prone to depression and suicide? No, in fact, just the opposite is true. It’s important for men to know the symptoms of depression including persistent feelings of sadness, difficulty sleeping and loss of interest in activities that once made you happy. Depression negatively affects physical health. Talk to your PCP if you think you might have depression. Immune System. Think the male immune system is stronger than the female? It’s not, which is why it is important for men to follow the basics:

  • Don’t smoke
  • Limit alcohol
  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Get physically active
  • Manage stress

Don’t wait until you are sick to visit your PCP. See your PCP annually to discuss any new symptoms or concerns, and have your cholesterol and testosterone levels, blood pressure and prostate health checked. Most of all, follow your PCP’s instructions and ask questions if their advice is unclear. Also, speak openly with your primary care provider (PCP). Your PCP is not just there to treat you when you are sick, but to partner with you to help prevent health issues. 

Prostate Cancer

Mens Prostate Cancer


 What are the symptoms? Early prostate cancer often has no warning signs. In its advanced   stage, prostate cancer includes these symptoms:

  • Trouble having or keeping an erection.
  • Blood in the urine.
  • Slow or weakened urinary stream or the need to urinate more often.
  • Pain in the pelvis, spine, hips or ribs.

 Other diseases can also cause these symptoms. So, it’s important to speak to your doctor   about them to determine the exact cause of your symptoms.

What is prostate cancer screening? If you and your doctor agree that screening is right for you, there are 2 ways to evaluate prostate problems:

  • The PSA test. This measures the amount of prostatespecific antigen (PSA) in your blood. Most healthy men have levels under 4 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL) of blood. Elevated PSA levels may indicate prostate cancer.
  • The digital rectal exam (DRE). This is a quick test done in the doctor’s office that checks the prostate for any bumps or hard areas that might be cancer. Your doctor may check for other abnormalities at the same time.



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How does the Spousal Credit work?

The 2012 collective bargaining agreement permits employees to receive a credit of up to $1,200 if their spouse opts out of the Transit Employees’ Health & Welfare Plan’s health insurance program. It can only be used as a credit against medical and dental benefit expenses incurred as a Participant in the Plan. You must elect the spousal credit option each year.

Up to $100 per month will be applied to reduce the cost of your medical and dental insurance. It cannot be applied to reduce the cost of any supplemental life insurance you may have elected or of any other voluntary benefit.


Your plan requires a monthly contribution of $80 toward single coverage and $208 toward family coverage. Here is how the credit will work:

  • For a family with only employee and spouse coverage, the spousal credit would change your plan from family to single (from $208 to $80) and the credit would further reduce the monthly contribution for single coverage ($80) to zero.
  • For a family with employee, spouse and children coverage, the spousal credit would not change your family plan coverage ($208), but it would reduce the $208 amount you pay to $108 (the maximum credit of $100 per month).

This credit is available to employees and retirees, but cannot be combined with the employee opt-out payment. This credit is available only if the employee or retiree remains covered in the Transit Employees Health and Welfare program.

You can only elect the spousal credit option during the annual open enrollment period, usually in May of each year. It will be effective for your premiums for the following July 1st. Download the Spousal Credit form here.

If you have more questions, please contact the Health and Welfare Plan Office.

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