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Policies and Benefits

July/August 2017
Volume 24 Issue 6

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We Hire Vets

The Office of Governor Greg Abbott and the Texas Workforce Commission have partnered with the Texas Veterans Commission to launch the "We Hire Vets" employer recognition program.

Under the program, any state agency with a workforce that consists of at least 10 percent military veterans can display the "We Hire Vets" decal on their website. TDCJ currently employs more than 5,000 military veterans, which is approximately 14 percent of the agency workforce, and is proud to be recognized for hiring men and women who have served in the armed forces.

More information about employment opportunities for veterans can be found on our website.

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Update: HealthSelect transition to BlueCross/BlueShield

TDCJ employees should note that on September 1, BlueCross and BlueShield of Texas took over as third-party administrator for the Employees Retirement System of Texas’ HealthSelect insurance. Plan participants should review the following tips to avoid problems during the transition.

Doctor referrals issued by UnitedHealthcare prior to September 1 have been transferred to BlueCross and BlueShield (BCBSTX) of Texas for administration. If the provider is in the BCBSTX network, the referral will be valid through the referral’s original end date; if the provider is not in the BCBSTX network, the referral will be valid for the referral’s original end date or 90 days, whichever comes first. All referrals issued on or after September 1 must be issued by BCBSTX.

Certain health situations may qualify for a waiver to see a non-network provider, such as pregnancy in the second or third trimesters, patients who continue to be hospitalized after August 31, a terminal illness where life expectancy is less than six months, and treatment of cancer, heart disease and transplants on a long-term basis. In these situations, plan participants will need to complete and submit a Transition of Care form to BCBSTX.

During this transition, plan participants may receive a phone call from BCBSTX or ERS asking about your health insurance coverage. If you receive call, ask the caller to identify who they are and who they work for before disclosing any personal information. BCBSTX and ERS staff members will clearly identify themselves and will never ask you for your Social Security number. To confirm that a call from BCBSTX is valid, contact a personal health assistant directly at (800) 252-8039.

Here are a few additional benefits now available to plan participants:

  • If you consult with an in-network Virtual Visit doctor, your copay after September 1 will be zero – there is no cost to you. Virtual Visits give you the ability to talk with a doctor without leaving your home or office for those times when you can’t get to your regular doctor, if you get sick while traveling, or as an alternative to the emergency room. You have the choice of two services, MDLIVE and Doctor on Demand. Both of these online doctor services can diagnose and treat a wide range of medical conditions and if needed, prescriptions can be sent electronically to a pharmacy near you.

  • Access to Well onTarget, a wellness program designed to support healthy choices. Participants have access to self-directed online courses designed to help you achieve your health goals. There are also interactive tools, progress trackers and a health library to help you stay on course.

  • The Fitness Program available through BCBSTX allows you access to more than 8,000 participating gyms nationwide with no long-term contract; membership is month-to-month with a one-time enrollment fee of $25, and a $25 monthly fee per member.

  • Eligible participants can enroll in the Naturally Slim or Real Appeal weight loss programs. Naturally Slim is based on scientific understanding of nutrition and obesity, and is administered by experienced medical professionals. Real Appeal is a member-made program, with online tools and weight loss coaches.

  • The Airrosti copay has been reduced to $25. Airrosti Rehab Centers treat soft tissue injuries affecting muscles, tendons and ligaments.

More information about the transition is available on the BCBSTX website. BCBSTX mailed new medical ID cards to all HealthSelect of Texas participants in late August.

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Information Security: how to recognize, report malicious email

Malicious emails continue to be the most popular method for launching a phishing or malware attack against computer users. According to the 2017 Internet Security Threat Report from Symantec Corporation, a company specializing in software security, one in every 131 emails sent in 2016 contained malware. Here are a few tips on how to avoid trouble by recognizing and reporting malicious email.

Take a good look at the email in Figure 1 and make a list of things that seem odd.

The attachment with this email contained a link to a phishing website, but it could have just as easily contained malware. The goal of the malicious actor who sent this email is to get you to open the PDF file. All the following are attempts to make the source – and the attachment - seem legitimate:

  • The word “accounting” in an email address near the top of the message.

  • The “Re:” prefix in the subject suggesting that you or someone in your organization requested the invoice in a past email.

  • The natural sounding message body.

  • The signature block of a seemingly respectable business person based in America.

Now, compare your list of red flags to the items circled in red in Figure 2.

The first and most telling clue is the address that the email originated from and how it looks completely unrelated to the business in the signature block.

Another red flag is a common tactic found in malicious emails: the receiving address (your address) is not listed in the "To:" field. Instead, that field shows a legitimate-looking accounting address ( to trick you into thinking the email may have come from that address, rather than the one in the "From:" field.

Some malicious emails can be spotted by taking note of the geographic locations listed in signature blocks and indicated by telephone numbers. This email example claims to have originated from California, and you’ll notice that all of their offices are exclusively in California, which makes it unlikely they would do business with a Texas state agency. Also, the email was received at 6:49 a.m. Central Time, which means it would have been sent at 4:49 a.m. Pacific Time, another good reason to doubt its legitimacy.

Here are some other ways to protect yourself from malicious emails:

  • Scrutinize every detail of an email before opening the attachment or responding to the sender. NEVER open an attachment if you have any doubts about its authenticity.

  • Alert TDCJ's Office of the Information Security Officer (contact information below) if you find any of the red flags listed above, or if you have other reasons to believe an email may not be safe.

  • Never enter any of your TDCJ login details into websites or forms that are not hosted by TDCJ, which is indicated by a URL ending with Never give your login details to anyone.

  • Notify the OISO immediately if you think your login details have been compromised or your PC is infected.

If you have any questions about spotting malicious emails or any other aspect of information security, contact the agency’s Office of the Information Security Officer at 936-437-1800 or

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Call toll-free to report waste, fraud and abuse of TDCJ resources

Waste, fraud and abuse of state resources cost all taxpayers millions of dollars each year

The Office of the Inspector General is dedicated to detecting, investigating and prosecuting reports of waste, fraud and abuse of state resources within all divisions of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

If you have any information regarding waste, fraud or abuse of state benefits, equipment, personnel or funds, please contact the Office of the Inspector General, Crime Stoppers or the State Auditor’s Office toll free.

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