NCMS Plan Steady in Midst of Financial Upheaval
One day the markets drop more than ever...the next day, the biggest
gain ever. Some banks close, others merge. Huge sums of money and global
cooperation are discussed as part of the solution to get the financial
markets back on track. The latest financial news effects us all, some more
than others. The emotional rollercoaster of reading financial headlines is
stressful and unnerving...and many have not even seen their quarterly
retirement statements yet.
The NCMS Plan maintains a focus on the
long-term financial stability of the Plan. Our goal is to preserve the
assets that protect our Plan and pay the claims incurred by you and your
employees. Because the NCMS Plan's Board of Trustees and investment
management team share this singular focus, your Plan is capable of meeting
its financial responsibility to you, your employees, and the more than
1,000 participating practices. With a focus on stable short-term
securities and a well-diversified conservative portfolio, the Plan remains
well capitalized and able to meet our financial requirements.
Thank you for the trust you vest in us to provide your employee
benefits and manage the NCMS Plan's assets responsibly and in your best
Mellon HSA Announces Change
Effective October 2008, Mellon HSA Solution will offer a new HSA
investment platform. Mellon provides HSA (Health Savings Account)
administration to many NCMS Plan practices and their employees. The
enhanced investment platform will provide HSA account holders a seamless
and affordable way to invest for the long-term. Offering a wider variety
of no load, highly-rated mutual funds, the enhanced platform includes a
host of features:
- No Investment Minimums: Once account holders reach $2,000 in their
checking account, they can begin investing with no minimum investment
- No Transaction Costs: Provides account holders freedom to move
between mutual funds and move dollars back to their checking account.
- Automatic Investment Service: A way for HSA savings to be
automatically transferred into, out of, or within a selection of mutual
funds. A great way to take advantage of dollar-cost-averaging.
Mellon will communicate these enhancements to all HSA account holders
through their HSA statements. Account holders currently invested in
Dreyfus funds (the former investment platform) will be asked to liquidate
their investments by January 31, 2009. Step-by-step instructions will be
provided to these account holders.
A monthly fee of $2.90
(deducted from individual accounts) will be charged to use the new
Online Health Assessment
Feel free to customize and share this article with your employees in
your newsletter, on your intranet, by e-mail, or on a bulletin board.
Would you like to know more about your own personal health? You
can in just 20 minutes. That’s all it takes for you to complete an online
health assessment. Where can you find this comprehensive tool? Simply
visit the NCMS Plan's Member Services page at http://www.bcbsnc.com/members/ncms/home.stm,
click Member Services and sign in with your Userid and Password. Go to
Member News and click on “Take the Health Profile Survey.” You will have
taken the first step toward providing yourself with a personalized health
report. The assessment is specific to you and will address your own risk
factors and includes a detailed summary of your health.
get started, it is helpful to have a tape measure handy (or already have
measured your waistline approximately 2 inches below your belly button.)
If you know the dates of your most recent physical and have test results,
have them on hand as well.
Once you have completed the health
survey, you will be provided with a numeric score as well as a peer
average score so that you can compare the two. You can also see how
changing your behavior can change your risk of developing certain
conditions. You will also be given the opportunity to sign up for Online
Healthy Living Programs.
Take the online health assessment and
make the decision today to start down the road to health and
Question: Our practice has an NCMS Plan dental product underwritten
by Metlife. I have an employee who asked me if the contract year for her
dental benefits matches the calendar year or not. Basically, she wants to
know if the contract year maximum starts over and if the deductible resets
on January 1st. Does it?
Answer: Actually, it does not. The
NCMS Plan's Metlife dental contract year is 8/1 to 7/31 for all practices
regardless of the original group effective date. Of the four NCMS Plan
dental products, it appears that your group has selected Plan D since it
is the only option with a deductible. The initial dollar amount you must
incur before Metlife will assume liability for any remaining costs due to
dental claims is $50 per covered individual. The deductible is waived for
preventive services. This deductible has a per individual family limit of
$150 meaning that only three people in a given family must meet the
deductible. The contract year maximum under Plan D is $1,500. Both the
deductible and the contract year maximum reset every August 1st.
For comparison, the other NCMS Plan dental products, Plans A
through C, each have no deductible but do have different contract year
maximums. Plan A has a contract year maximum of $1,000, Plan B's contract
year maximum is $1,250, and Plan C has a contract year maximum of $1,500.
Again - all NCMS Plan dental products will reset any deductible and
contract year maximums on each August 1st.
George Fanelli is an
Account Service Representative for the NCMS Plan. If you have a question
you would like answered in a future issue of CHOICES, e-mail George at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Revised NCMS Plan Enrollment/Change Form
Due to additional disclosures required by ERISA (the Employee
Retirement Income Security Act), the NCMS Plan Employee Enrollment
Application And Change Form has been revised. Specific changes were the
addition of two required notices on the last page: the Women's Health and
Cancer Rights Act of 1998 (WHCRA) notice and the Special Enrollment Rights
notice (noting ability of member to add dependent(s) at some point in
future if qualifying event occurs).
The revised form can be
accessed online at http://www.medicalmutualgroup.com/mmic/media/pdf/ncmedsoc_plan/APP002C_0708_Employee_Enrollment_Application_Change_Form.pdf.
Hard copies are available upon request. Please begin using the new form
with your next enrollment or change.
Blue Points Program to Change in 2009
Beginning January 1, 2009, the Blue Points incentive program for
physical and wellness activities is changing. There will be more ways to
earn rewards while getting in shape and living a healthier life. Your
employees will be able to choose from an all-new selection of rewards,
including gift cards from popular retailers.
Your employees can
keep earning points to redeem any of the current prizes until December 31,
2008. Current points must be redeemed by December 31st and will not carry
over on January 1. All participants will start with a zero balance on the
first day of the new Blue Points program.
Employees will be
notified of these changes when accessing their online Blue Points activity
Dedicated NCMS Plan Service Representative
Over the past three years, Brooke Davis has been the NCMS Plan's
dedicated service representative for enrollment and billing issues at
BCBSNC (the health plan administrator). She has been a primary point of
contact for practice administrators. Brooke has provided both the Plan and
our participating practices with reliable and responsive service. Sadly
for us, Brooke is transferring to another position, but we are pleased to
announce that her replacement has been named and is very familiar with the
Kimberly Pryor will take over Brooke's role effective
immediately. Kimberly has many years of experience, including familiarity
with the NCMS Plan as a back up to Brooke. Please make a note of
Kimberly's name and her phone number, 919-765-1741. The e-mail address and
fax number will not change (email@example.com and 919-765-3564,
Kimberly is a contact for practice administrators
only, not individual employees or dependents. She can assist you
with adding employees or dependents, cancellations, address changes, or
other routine maintenance and billing issues.
Of course, George
Fanelli (Account Service Representative, MMIC Agency) will continue to
assist you with any other concerns you may have.
Practice Manager's Forum
PractEssentials Launches New Practice Management Consulting
Declining reimbursement and soaring operating costs are two of the most
important challenges facing your practice today. Have you laid the
foundation yet for the improvements you need to make? How will you
identify the specific areas that need improvement?
To assist your
practice with these ever-increasing challenges, PractEssentials, a North
Carolina Medical Society Foundation initiative, provides a variety of
consulting services designed to help your practice identify potential
problem areas, evaluate options, and implement solutions. All consulting
services are provided at a discounted fee structure for North Carolina
Medical Society members. Call today to learn how PractEssentials'
personalized services can help your practice: (800) 722-1350
If you would like to submit an item for publication in the Practice
Manager's Forum, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. If your
article is selected for inclusion, you will receive a token of our
appreciation for participating in this forum.
NCMS Membership Invoices
NCMS membership runs on a calendar year, and dues invoices have been
distributed for 2009. Your practice's continuing participation in the NCMS
Plan requires 100% physician membership in the NCMS. To learn more about
the products and services available to NCMS members, visit http://www.ncmedsoc.org/, or contact
the NCMS for more information.
Whether the challenge is access to
health care, scope of practice, reimbursement, or fighting the obstacles
to providing quality health care on a daily basis, your most powerful
relationship is with your professional organization, the North Carolina
Medical Society (NCMS).
About the North Carolina Medical Society
As the largest physician organization in the state, the North Carolina
Medical Society (NCMS) is devoted to representing the interests of
physicians and protecting the quality of patient care. The NCMS Plan,
sponsored by the NCMS, is the only statewide employee benefits plan
designed specifically for North Carolina physicians.
information about many other benefits of NCMS membership, visit http://www.ncmedsoc.org/.