March 2013

In This Issue
Practices Recognize the Unique Advantage of the NCMS Plan
Ask George
Extended Partnership with Ceridian Brings You Payroll Services
Motivating Employees to Act Through Incentives
Multi-Dimensional Approach at Cabarrus Health Alliance

Practices Recognize the Unique Advantage of the NCMS Plan 

Affordable Care. Essential Benefits. Marketplaces and Exchanges. These words are in headlines everyday, but it's like when you were a kid and you'd say a funny word over and over until it seemed to have no meaning. Unlike other employers, though, medical practices in North Carolina have a unique resource that brings clarity and meaning to health insurance...the NCMS Plan.

The NCMS Plan, available exclusively to physicians and their practice employees, gives medical practices an advantage over other employers. Think of the NCMS Plan as "The Physicians' Marketplace for Employee Benefits". Our customer survey results show that for years the NCMS Plan has been filling a void that health care reform and the Affordable Care Act are just now waking up to...that employers need affordable and comprehensive health coverage for their employees.

So how do NCMS Plan practices feel about our affordable and comprehensive health coverage? Let's look at the numbers:

92% of respondents agreed that the NCMS Plan is a good value for the money.
92% agreed that the NCMS Plan is doing its best to provide affordable coverage.
93% responded positively to our variety of benefit plan designs available.

Practices in the the NCMS Plan are served exclusively by our representatives across the state. Representatives that 93% of survey respondents said were both accessible and responsive. And the support our practices receive includes the staff of MMIC Agency dedicated to the NCMS Plan. MMIC Agency service was rated positively by 98% of survey respondents.

While the NCMS Plan counts more than 900 practices as participants, there are many more that could benefit from participation. We encourage you to share this with other practice managers and let them know what you already do...the NCMS Plan is the only employee benefits program in the state serving medical practices, and medical practices only.

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Ask George 

Question: I received my billing statement and just noticed that we are still being billed for an employee that left several months ago and needs to be terminated. What should I do?

Answer: You can send an NCMS Plan enrollment/change form, but the NCMS Plan has a 30-day retroactive change limit. If for example, the employee's termination occured in October 2012, but you did not submit the termination or notice they remained on your bill until February 2013, we can only retroactively terminate the employee back to January 31, 2013.

To avoid another instance where several months premium is remitted for a separated employee in error, practices should audit their monthly billing statements to provide a measure of internal control. This will ensure that forrmer employees do not continue to appear on the bill for months after they separated from employment. Additionally, always remember to promptly notify us of employee terminations.

If you have questions about the termination process or billing, call me at (919) 878-7561 or e-mail

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Extended Partnership with Ceridian Brings You Payroll Services 

As your benefits consultants, we are constantly seeking out new solutions to help you simplify the way you run your practice. We have expanded our partnership with Ceridian, a leader in payroll, tax, benefits and HR solutions. Ceridian currently provides COBRA Administration services to the NCMS Plan, and now Ceridian can bring you the tools you need to improve your HR/Payroll processes and maximize the value of your benefits spend.

Ceridian’s HR Authority package provides all the proven services your practice needs now –and in the future. Plus, our preferred relationship with Ceridian helps us to offer you this solution at a very competitive price.

We are excited to offer you Ceridian’s solutions to help streamline your administrative tasks so you can focus on what you do best: running your practice. For more information, please contact Joe Chaney at (800) 790-9057 x 6746 or Agency/Ceridian HR Authority and reference the NCMS Plan and MMIC Agency.

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Motivating Employees to Act Through Incentives  

One of the most challenging aspects of designing an effective wellness incentive program is to establish reasonable and achievable standards. Many practices offer wellness incentives to drive employees toward the completion of a health assessment and/or an annual exam. However, a growing number of practices are designing employee wellness incentives to motivate lifestyle changes that will lead to healthier workforces (e.g. tobacco free or BMI). Many practices structure employee wellness incentives within the health benefits portion of the comprehensive employee benefits plan. Providing an incentive linked to health insurance premium is powerful, as employees recognize this as a clear value. It is a strategy that also can help offset costs for the employer by shifting higher contributions to employees who are not participating in the health promotion program, thereby paying, at least in part, for the expenses related to the programs being implemented.

There are various ways in which incentives can be structured. As the NCMS Plan's Health Promotion Coordinator, Jason Horay will work with you in selecting the right incentives to promote engagement in your wellness initiatives and as a key component of the Practice Wellness Grant Program.

Here is an example used by a client practice:

Practice X supports and promotes employee wellness. Through the wellness programs offered by the NCMS Plan, employees of Practice X are provided with opportunities to enhance their health and wellness and also qualify to have more of their premium paid by the employer. Employees who complete the following criteria will have 100% of their employee health premium paid by Practice X. Those who choose not to complete these items, will have only 90% of their premium paid by Practice X.

1. Complete the NCMS Plan Health Assessment
2. Attend an on-site Healthy Living seminar
3. Participate in a seasonal influenza vaccine program

Want more information about how your practice could design a similar program? View the NCMS Plan webinar, "Wellness Incentives: Utilizing Incentives to Maximize Participation".

And to learn more about the Practice Wellness Grant contact Jason Horay at or (919) 878-7530. The Grant program is only available through the end of 2013, so don't delay!

Multi-Dimensional Approach at Cabarrus Health Alliance  

While the primary focus of this public health agency is on the health of the community, Cabarrus Health Alliance (CHA) also has a strong emphasis on the wellbeing of its 220 employees and strives to create a culture of wellness throughout the workplace. CHA's new state of the art building clearly demonstrates its support for healthy lifestyles, with an onsite employee fitness center, a wellness kitchen, and external glass stairwells, all with floor-to-ceiling windows to allow the community to see employees modeling healthy habits.

In August 2012, the CHA Board adopted a comprehensive employee wellness policy, ensuring the sustainability of existing wellness initiatives. Included is a healthy food and beverage policy that requires healthy options to be available at all meetings and events, breastfeeding policies to support new moms returning to work, as well as a wellness committee policy that allows work time to be used for participation on the committee and requires equal representation from all departments. Employee wellness efforts have continued to be successful, but CHA is always striving to enhance and improve their initiatives.

"Supporting our staff to make healthier choices is an agency priority. The partnership with the NCMS Plan is an excellent opportunity to provide additional support and motivation for employees to live healthier lives," said Dr. William F. Pilkington, CEO and Public Health Director of Cabarrus Health Alliance.

CHA is in the process of earning a Practice Wellness Grant and is involving all employees in the planning and dissemination of how grant funds will be spent. Grant dollars will likely be put towards enhancements to the fitness center, stress management programming, healthy cooking classes, weight management programs and much more. CHA looks forward to continuing their efforts of improving the health of the community and their employees.

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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.

For more information about many other benefits of NCMS membership, visit