December 2016

In This Issue
Happy Holidays from the NCMS Plan and MMIC Agency
IRS Extends ACA Reporting Deadline
2017 PPO Select Hospital Tier Changes
ID Card Format Changes Beginning January 1st
Glucose Test Strip Program Effective January 1st
Ask George
Practice Wellness...Personal
Wellness Webinar-"Living Your Why" with Sean Foy
 
 

Happy Holidays from the NCMS Plan and MMIC Agency

Serving you this past year has been our pleasure. Though the NCMS Plan is a unique and special program for physicians and their practices, we know that you have choices. We are grateful that you, your physicians, your employees, and their spouses and children have entrusted us with providing their employee benefits. In 2017, we will continue to strive to exceed your expectations.

We offer our gratitude and wish you much peace and great joy during this holiday season and throughout the New Year.

 

IRS Extends ACA Reporting Deadline

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has issued a deadline extension for 2016 ACA reporting. The due date for furnishing individuals with the 2016 Form 1095-B or the 2016 Form 1095-C has been extended from January 31, 2017, to March 2, 2017.

Also extended is the good faith compliance standard used during 2015. Incomplete or inaccurate forms will not be subject to penalty, so long as they were filed on time and the filer was operating in good faith.

The deadline for employer filing with the IRS remains February 28, 2017 for paper and March 31, 2017 for electronic filing.

 

2017 PPO Select Hospital Tier Changes

Effective January 1, 2017, the tier designation of several hospitals participating in the PPO Select network will change. These types of changes are made every year by BCBSNC to ensure cost-effective access to quality providers. The PPO Select product utilizes claims data to identify high quality, low cost providers and help consumers make more informed choices for their medical care. The identification of these providers is the result of an evaluation on cost and quality, and some fluctuations are anticipated as this evaluation is updated annually.

This chart highlights the changes to the network for 2017.

HealthNav, BCBSNC’s online provider directory, will be updated with the new tier information so members can check the participation status of hospitals and doctors.

 

ID Card Format Changes Beginning January 1st

The pharmacy section on each member ID card will no longer note all formulary tiers, copays and coinsurance. NCMS Plan member ID cards will say "Benefits included" in the prescription drug field of the ID card. BCBSNC, the NCMS Plan administrator, is simplifying the card to improve accuracy and eliminate complications. Many insurers have already made this change and removed Rx details from their ID cards.

The change is effective for NCMS Plan members starting January 2017 and upon renewal thereafter. In other words, if your practice renews in August, the change to your members' ID cards will not occur until August 2017 cards are issued for your practice.

This will not effect service at the pharmacy as pharmacists do not use the ID card to verify benefits; they use an electronic system. Pharmacists will continue to have the ability to access member-specific pharmacy benefits electronically to determine coverage and member responsibility.

 

Glucose Test Strip Program Effective January 1st

Beginning January 1, 2017, members will have one preferred brand of blood glucose test strips under the pharmacy benefit, CONTOUR® NEXT blood glucose test strips. This means that members will be able to receive CONTOUR NEXT test strips at the pharmacy without BCBSNC requiring any additional information from their provider. If members are not currently using CONTOUR NEXT blood glucose test strips, they will receive a letter containing important information they need to know. Please note: if a member receives glucose test strips through their durable medical equipment (DME) benefit, this change will not impact them.

In order to use CONTOUR NEXT blood glucose test strips, members will need to get a new blood glucose meter. Instructions for obtaining a free blood glucose meter will be provided in the letter to impacted members. Members may continue to use their current blood glucose test strips until their supply is gone, or until they expire.

NCMS Plan members have access to Healthy Outcomes Condition Care diabetes program and the opportunity to have deductibles waived on most diabetic testing supplies purchased through a contracted DME provider. Members can contact the customer service number on their ID card if they would like to learn more about this program.

 

Ask George

Question: George, the husband of one our employees recently lost their health insurance and their kids were covered under that policy, too. When can the employee add their family to our practice's policy?

Answer: The spouse's loss of coverage under another group policy would be a qualifying event for the husband and their children. Providing notification as soon as possible is critical. To add the spouse and children so there is no lapse, the employee will need to complete an NCMS Plan Enrollment Application and Change Form and submit to us within 30 days of the qualifying event. If the NCMS Plan receives the change after more than 30 days, the change would process effective on the first of the next month. Please note that adding a spouse and dependents will change the employee's coverage status to "Family" which will increase the monthly premium effective with the change.

For these and other changes, please review your monthly invoice carefully. If corrections are necessary, they should be submitted as soon as possible to be processed timely.

If you have a question to Ask George, you can always contact me at (919) 878-7561 or george.fanelli@mmicnc.com.

 

Practice Wellness...Personal

Beginning January 2017, the NCMS Plan will introduce a resource addressing issues related to Life, Family, Money, Work and Health. This Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is uniquely designed for the NCMS Plan. What’s more, it will be available to your practice at no additional cost.

Why is the NCMS Plan offering Practice Wellness Personal (PWP)?

The NCMS Plan has partnered with LifeWorks to deliver best-in-class counseling, digital content and perks to support members' emotional, mental, physical and financial well-being.

Well-being is more than simply the absence of disease. It is the full integration of social, emotional, spiritual, environmental, occupational, intellectual and physical well-being. These dimensions act, and interact, in a way that contributes to an overall quality of life. The NCMS Plan is dedicated to providing our members with strategies to eat, move and live in a purposeful and mindful way.

PWP also offers a news-feed style interface, which allows the NCMS Plan to communicate news directly to members. This direct communication channel will allow members to receive information on various Practice Wellness resources that support overall well-being.

What does this mean for you?

As an Administrator, the NCMS Plan will provide you with all of the information you need to inform and empower members to use this great new benefit, PWP. User guides and other communication tools will be available prior to the program launch so stay tuned!

Who is this program available for?

Practice Wellness Personal will allow for 24/7/365 assistance for all NCMS Plan members with health coverage.

How can I learn more?

A number of webinar Information Sessions have been scheduled. The schedule was sent as a separate e-mail. If you did not receive that schedule, please contact Jason Horay. Each session will last 30-45 minutes.

The NCMS Plan looks forward to working with you to continue to provide participating practices the resources to educate and inform. Together, we can make a difference in employees’ lives, a difference beyond a decrease in medical costs that translates into healthy, happy and high performing practices.

 

Wellness Webinar-"Living Your Why" with Sean Foy

Have you uncovered your calling? Do you place purpose in WHY you do the things you do? Do you know how to live your “why” every single day?

NCMS Plan members tuned in on October 26th, 2016 to join the renowned fitness, weight management, and healthy living expert, Sean Foy, for the “Living Your Why” webinar. The hour-long session challenged participants to identify their purpose or calling, and then to deeply consider if they are truly living their “why” to the fullest every single day.

The webinar provided an empowering well-being experience for attendees. During the discussion, Sean illustrated how to craft and live a purpose driven life while also helping those you care about do the same. The conversation introduced practical tips, strategies, and best practices for living your “why” day in and day out.

Some of those included:
• How to craft your "why"
• How to transition through the different stages of change when discovering your “why”
• Defining your core values
• Sharing your "why" with other people around you

If you were unable to join the webinar, I invite you to listen and share among your practice.

Living Your "Why" Webinar

As the New Year approaches, I challenge you to begin crafting your why. It can be one word, one phrase, one sentence, or one paragraph—everyone’s why is unique. Find your “why” and enter the New Year empowered to live out your passion and purpose every day!

 

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/.