March 2014

In This Issue
NCMS Plan Customer Survey Shows High Satisfaction
Survey Indicates Knowledge of ACA Still Lacking
Ask George
Benefits of Wellness Programs: Numbers Don't Lie
Dietitian Referral Network Under Development: Your Feedback Wanted
 
 

NCMS Plan Customer Survey Shows High Satisfaction

For the seventh consecutive year, the NCMS Plan scored above 95% in a key satisfaction indicator: whether our participating practices would recommend the NCMS Plan to other practices. Among the respondents to the 2014 survey, 97% responded positively to this statement.

In an environment where satisfaction with health plans seems to be down across the country, we are proud to share testimonials from practices that recognize the distinction between the NCMS Plan and other health insurance programs. Visit http://www.ncmsplan.com/about-us/practice-testimonials/ to read what your peers have to say.

Though pleased with the results overall, there are areas of concern that will be a focus this year. One example is the drop in the positive service rating for our plan administrator, BCBSNC. A seven-year average of 87% positive ratings is respectable, but the 2014 rating of 84% bears closer review. BCBSNC is only part of our service structure, though. The staff and management of MMIC Agency are a dedicated support team for NCMS Plan practices as well. Scoring 95% in the most recent survey, our team, including your local Plan representative and our Raleigh-based staff, are here to assist if you have questions or frustrations with any of our selected vendors.

The NCMS Plan Customer Survey is conducted annually in the beginning of the year and distributed to all primary contacts of participating practices. This year, our response rate was nearly 25%.

 

Survey Indicates Knowledge of ACA Still Lacking

According to a poll conducted in January by the Kaiser Family Foundation, a majority of the public believes that only "some" provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) have been implemented. This, in spite of the significant implementation milestones that occurred January 1st, including the requirement for individuals to have insurance, the opening of Exchanges, and the provision of tax credits and cost sharing subsidies to eligible individuals. Very few provisions, in fact, remain to be implemented. When asked about specific elements of the law, awareness was slightly higher than prior polling, yet nearly half of those surveyed continue to indicate they do not have enough information to understand how the law will impact their families.

In the absence of credible and specific information, the public, including physicians and medical practice administrators across North Carolina, will wonder if they know all they need to know in order to make the best decisions...decisions that impact an employee’s health care and a practice’s bottom line. We would love to hear what you think? Do you feel you have enough information about the health reform law to understand how it will impact your practice and your employees?

The agent consultants representing the NCMS Plan can answer your questions and share how other medical practices are adjusting to this new health care environment. For more information, contact us at 1.800.662.7917 or e-mail Barry Hill, Director of Sales, at barry.hill@mmicnc.com.

 

Ask George

Question: George, our practice has grown over the last year and we are now subject to COBRA. What do I need to do or know about COBRA administration?

Answer: COBRA regulations require that group health plans provide certain employees and family members the option to continue health insurance after coverage would normally be lost. All employers who normally employed 20 or more employees on at least 50 percent of its working days during the prior calendar year are subject to COBRA.

Your practice may have grown over the last year, but be certain to calculate based on 50 percent of the calendar year. You may find that you are not subject to COBRA until the following year. Regardless of when you become subject to COBRA, the NCMS Plan does provide COBRA administration through a partnership with Ceridian. Ceridian is a trusted third party administrator that will reliably handle COBRA compliance, elections, billing & reporting for continuants within your group--at no charge to you! In fact, through our contract with Ceridian, they will administer COBRA for not just your NCMS Plan health plan, but up to five other COBRA-eligible plans, including dental and vision.

To start COBRA administration with Ceridian, simply send a letter or email to me indicating you want Ceridian services and we will take it from there. We will send your group information and rate structure to Ceridian for set-up. Once you are set-up with Ceridian, you will receive an implementation package with instructions on how to work with Ceridian. After that, you just notify Ceridian as folks leave employment and Ceridian will administer from that point forward.

If an employee elects COBRA, you will receive a Participant Update from from Ceridian. Forward that to me and the member's benefits will be reinstated and they will again appear on your group billing statement until they terminate or exhaust the benefit.

Ceridian Client Services can be reached for assistance at (800) 488-8757. As always, you can contact me directly with an inquiry at (919) 878-7561 or george.fanelli@mmicnc.com.

 

Benefits of Wellness Programs: Numbers Don't Lie

As a leader within your practice, we challenge you to become part of the solution that will positively impact the health of your employees, change practice culture and help your employees understand the relationship between their health, the premium they pay and the ultimate cost of health benefit coverage to the practice. The problems we all share are rising healthcare costs and a physically inactive workforce. At the end of the day…we can’t afford not to address employee wellness.

Debunking myths about employer-sponsored wellness programs is the first step in gaining buy-in from wellness skeptics. Myths like "an employee's health is not any of my practice's business" or "a practice wellness program is too expense." Jason Horay, the NCMS Plan's Health Promotion Coordinator, is well equipped to clear up these misconceptions and help you engage all levels of management in your practice to develop a comprehensive strategy. In fact, Jason recently developed an easy-to-understand graphic clearly outlining the benefits to your practice for creating or enhancing your practice’s wellness program. Using proven strategies, at no additional cost to participating practices, Jason can support you through the process.

Let’s work together to create a healthier future for your employees.

Dietitian Referral Network Under Development: Your Feedback Wanted

Nutritional counseling can help your employees assess their diet and set realistic, personal goals for better eating habits and a healthier lifestyle. And healthier choices can help them manage health conditions, such as weight management, diabetes, tobacco cessation, pregnancy and more.
The NCMS Plan is exploring the development of a referral network of dietitians across the state who are employed by a NCMS Plan member practice, and can provide nutrition counseling and presentations to neighboring NCMS Plan practices.

Through this referral network we can support NCMS Plan practices that employ dietitians by extending their service beyond their practice and into the surrounding medical community. NCMS Plan practices who receive on-site access to nutrition counseling benefit by continuing to create a healthy work environment that help employees make better choices and lead healthier lives.

The NCMS Plan covers nutritional counseling visits, which may include ongoing counseling to assess and adjust dietary intake in order to reach health or fitness related goals. There is no limit to the number of nutritional visits during the benefit plan year. As long as the dietitian is an in-network provider, the session is considered a Preventive Screening, covered 100%.

If you haven’t done so already, please take a moment to complete a brief survey so we may assess the extent of dietitians affiliated with a NCMS Plan practice and overall interest.

 

About the North Carolina Medical Society

Established in 1849, the North Carolina Medical Society (NCMS) is devoted to representing the interests of physicians and protecting the quality of patient care as the largest physician organization in the state. The NCMS Plan, sponsored by the NCMS, is the only statewide employee benefits plan designed specifically for North Carolina physicians.

For more information about many other benefits of NCMS membership, visit http://www.ncmedsoc.org/.