December 2017

In This Issue
•Happy Holidays from the NCMS Plan and MMIC Agency
•BCBSNC and Mission Health
•Exclusive Webinar--Key Changes You Need to Know About for 2018
•Blue Connect Mobile App For NCMS Plan Members
•Ask Rachel
•Practice Wellness Grant Program
•Managing Holiday Stress
 
 

Happy Holidays from the NCMS Plan and MMIC Agency

The holiday season is a time of reflection, service, and gratitude. We are incredibly grateful for the opportunity to serve you and your practice and wish you much success in the new year. We value your loyalty and our association with hundreds of practices across the state that participate in the NCMS Plan.

May this season bring you the gifts of peace, hope and joy. We wish you and your employees good health and good cheer in the new year.

Happy Holidays from everyone at the NCMS Plan and MMIC Agency!

 

BCBSNC and Mission Health

BCBSNC and Mission Health have entered into an agreement for Mission Health provider participation in BCBSNC networks effective December 15, 2017. Both parties are pleased to reach agreement on the mutual goal of ensuring that the people of Western North Carolina receive the affordable, quality health care that they need.

“This agreement will help slow the rise of health care costs in Western North Carolina,” said Patrick Conway, BCBSNC President and CEO-Elect. “We’re committed to ensuring our customers in the region have access to high-quality, affordable health care. We’re pleased that Mission has partnered with us to work toward that goal.”

For NCMS Plan practices and members, we are pleased that Mission Health will again be an in-network provider. With Mission as an out-of-network provider for the last two months, we know how frustrating, and in some cases costly, this time has been. Mission will be back in-network effective December 15. Please note that services and care provided by Mission between October 5 and December 15 will remain out-of-network, unless an emergency or approved through the Continuity of Care program.

 

Exclusive Webinar--Key Changes You Need to Know About for 2018

Please join us for our next NCMS Plan Employment Law Webinar:

Key Changes You Need to Know About for 2018

Thursday, January 11th
11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

With every new year come changes to laws impacting your employer duties and the employee benefits that you offer. In addition, for 2018, the Trump administration is focused on tax reform.
Not surprisingly, some of these tax reform changes include compensation and employee benefits.

This webinar will discuss changes in federal and state laws that impact you, as an employer. In addition, we will discuss the potential impact of the tax reform bills recently passed by the House of Representatives and the Senate on your compensation and benefits offerings, including:

• Deferred compensation and equity compensation changes
• Penalties on tax-exempt organizations that pay excessive compensation or “excess parachute payments”
• Changes to ACA employer and individual mandates
• Reduced tax rates for pass-through entities
• Changes to retirement plan hardship rules
• Limitations on Roth IRA conversions
• Repeal of certain nontaxable fringe benefits (such as dependent care assistance programs, moving expense reimbursements, adoption assistance programs, bicycle commuting and employee achievement awards)

Presented by:

Ann Murray, Partner
Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP

Click Here to Register!

 

Blue Connect Mobile App For NCMS Plan Members

In August, BCBSNC (the NCMS Plan's administrator) launched Blue Connect Mobile – a free app that allows NCMS Plan members to securely connect to their health plan from a mobile device. Designed to be simple and convenient, Blue Connect Mobile helps our members get up-to-the-minute information about their health plan, helping them manage costs and make wise decisions about where and when to seek care.

With Blue Connect Mobile, members can:
•Sign in and get instant access to their health plan information with Fingerprint/Touch ID™ Sign-In (on compatible devices).
•Easily share their digital member ID card with doctors and family members.
•Search, browse, and view their most recent claims information, and see the status of current claims.
•Track benefits, deductibles, out-of-pocket expenses, and spending account balances.
•Conveniently connect to a BCBSNC customer service representative through click-to-call and in-app messaging.

Blue Connect Mobile is also available in Spanish, and can be found in the App Store (iOS) and Google Play (Android). It is compatible with iPhone IOS 9.3 or later, and Android 5.1 or later operating systems.

For more information about Blue Connect Mobile, visit bcbsnc.com/mobile, or see this blog post.

 

Ask Rachel

Question:Rachel, we have an employee leaving our practice, do we offer them COBRA and how does that process work?

Answer: Depending on your practice size you would offer the employee State Continuation (under 20 employees) or COBRA (20 or more employees). Both full-time and part-time employees are counted. State Continuation and COBRA have a timeline and actions required that will first terminate the employee and then reenroll them as a continuant if elected.

If your practice is subject to COBRA, when you terminate an employee from NCMS Plan coverage you should also notify your COBRA administrator. Many NCMS Plan practices use Flores & Associates as their COBRA administrator...a free service with your NCMS Plan coverage. For this example, we will assume your practice uses Flores. When Flores receives the qualifying event notification, they will notify the former employee of their eligibility for COBRA and provide instruction for electing continuation. The former employee has 60 days from notification to decide if they would like to continue coverage. If they elect COBRA you will receive a report from Flores indicating they have enrolled. At this point you would send this report and an Enrollment/Change Application to the NCMS Plan informing them this member is now on COBRA. This is communicated to BCBSNC. The member pays Flores directly each month and in turn you will receive a check from Flores for the member’s premiums. You will continue to receive reports from Flores on a weekly basis. If you are notified by Flores that your continuant has terminated their COBRA coverage, send this notification and a change form to terminate their COBRA coverage with the NCMS Plan, otherwise the continuant will remain on your plan and bill.

If your practice has less than 20 employees, the process is similar to above. State Continuation differs from COBRA in that the former employee must have been covered by your health plan for three consecutive months prior to losing eligibility (typically by termination). Terminate the employee's coverage as you normally would, but your practice extends the offer of State Continuation to them. Although not required, you may give oral or written notification of the employee's eligibility for State Continuation. If the employee wants to elect coverage they notify your practice, complete an Enrollment/Change Application and provide premium payment. In this scenario, the employee would send the group a check each month for the full premium that the group is charged each month by BCBSNC. To terminate an employee's continuation you could simply let us know by sending a change form and we can forward to BCBSNC.

If you have questions about COBRA, State Continuation, or any other topic, please email me at rachel.eaton@mmicnc.com.

 

Practice Wellness Grant Program

Are you a NCMS Plan practice seeking a creative way to financially support your health promotion efforts while effectively engaging, motivating and incentivizing your employees? The NCMS Plan is committed to continually helping you realize the benefits of an effective health promotion program and equipping your employees with multiple strategies to improve the various dimensions of well-being.

The Practice Wellness Grant Program, with the mission of financially rewarding practices for launching a sustainable health promotion program or expanding an existing one, is a platform for you to get started or continue building upon your success. Practices have the opportunity to earn up to $100 per enrolled employee ($20,000 max) for implementing the CORE components.

“We are excited to welcome back this program and recognize that practices, like people, are unique, so our goal is to offer flexibility in tailoring programs that meet the needs of our population” said Jason Horay, Health Promotion Program Manager for the NCMS Plan.

Act Now! Contact Jason Horay at jason.horay@mmicnc.com or (919) 878-7530 if you are interested in applying for a Practice Wellness Grant. For more information, visit www.ncmsplan.com.

 

Managing Holiday Stress

The holiday season can be a busy time. It can be easy to get caught up in the rush of family visits, shopping, parties, and end of year work deadlines. It’s also an important time to slow down, tune out distractions, and make the most of your gatherings with family and friends. Practice Wellness Personal offers resources to help you manage your time and focus on what’s important. Log in to ncmsplan.lifeworks.com, click on the “Life” tab, then on “Employee Assistance,” and see the feature “How to have Happy Holidays” on our home page.

You’ll find links to articles, a new podcast, and more:

• Listen to the podcast, Taking a Purposeful Pause. Mariann Johnson, an instructor with the internationally known Institute for Mindful Leadership, outlines the benefits of practicing mindfulness, and leads a brief guided meditation to put into practice in your daily life.
• Read articles such as Managing Holiday Stress, Budgeting for the Holidays, Being Present as a Parent, or How to Keep from Overindulging During the Holidays.
• Check out our weekly Work and Life blog for more tips on balancing work and life during the holidays or any season.

If you’re looking for comprehensive help and support in ANY area of your life, you can speak confidentially to a trained consultant or counselor. Call the dedicated and confidential number: (800) 248-6615 or visit ncmsplan.lifeworks.com and enter your invitation code. Your code is made up of ‘PWP-’ followed by your subscriber ID and you can set up your account.

Questions about Practice Wellness Personal? Please contact Jason Horay at jason.horay@mmicnc.com.

 

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 www.ncmedsoc.org.