You Now Have CHOICES!
Welcome to the inaugural issue of CHOICES, the quarterly
e-newsletter for North Carolina Medical Society Employee Benefit Plan
(NCMS Plan) practice managers. You make choices everyday, some are easier
to make than others. Choosing employee benefits and a carrier is probably
not one of the easy ones. With so many alternatives, we thank you for your
business and for your decision to take advantage of the features and
flexibility offered by the NCMS Plan. We strive to improve our service to
you and our communication with you. CHOICES is one more way that we
will stay in touch.
CHOICES will feature articles and
information for you, and perhaps, by you. Our goal is to keep you informed
about your NCMS Plan and to answer your questions about plan
administration. CHOICES will include certain feature articles in
•Ask George: George Fanelli, Account Service
Representative for the NCMS Plan, will answer your frequently asked
questions. We encourage you to submit questions to George at [email protected].
•Copy/Paste: An article that you can “copy/paste” into your
own employee newsletter, intranet, or bulletin board. Information that you
can share with your employees encouraging them to use NCMS Plan benefits
like wellness programs and online member services.
Manager’s Forum: The opportunity for you to share information with
other practice managers...information directly related to employee
benefits or not. This is your forum and we encourage you to participate
(and perhaps win!).
We hope that you find CHOICES to be a
useful resource. If you have comments or feedback you want to share,
e-mail Gary Bossert, Director of Operations, at [email protected]. Thank
you again for choosing the NCMS Plan, where choice is your greatest
Customer Satisfaction Survey Results
In 2007, the NCMS Plan conducted a Customer Satisfaction Survey. Thank
you to everyone who participated. We received a response rate of 33%, a
very high return for a satisfaction survey and an indication of your
interest in and commitment to the NCMS Plan.
Here are a few key
statistics pulled from the survey results:
- 98% felt that NCMS sponsorship was important.
- 95% would recommend the NCMS Plan to others.
- 84% felt that the frequency of communication from the NCMS Plan was
good or excellent.
- 94% of respondents felt that customer service provided by MMIC
Agency, Inc. was good or excellent.
We are pleased with the results of the survey. Your feedback tells us
we are on the right track, but there is always room for improvement.
CHOICES is one way that we will increase our communication with you and
keep you informed of NCMS Plan news and events.
Thank you again
for your feedback and support. We look forward to soliciting your feedback
again this year. Watch your mail for the 2008 NCMS Plan Customer
Copayment for Chronic Health Condition Drugs Reduced
The NCMS Plan has partnered with its administrator, Blue Cross Blue
Shield of North Carolina (“BCBSNC”), on a new medication adherence program
targeting four specific chronic health conditions.
called Medication Dedication, reduces the copayment for brand name drugs
that treat the chronic health conditions of congestive heart failure, high
blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol. These brand name drugs are
being moved into a lower drug classification tier which will lower the
amount of the copayment. By reducing the copayment for these prescription
medications, it is hoped that your employees with these chronic health
conditions will take their medications as prescribed. Members enrolled in
a High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP), which have no prescription drug
copayment, will continue to pay the contracted price for these brand name
This change is effective January 1, 2008, and is expected
to continue through 2009. To take advantage of this change, simply take
the prescription for a brand-name drug that has been moved to a lower drug
tier to a network pharmacy and the lower copayment will automatically be
applied at the pharmacy. For a complete list of the prescription drugs
involved, go to https://www.bcbsnc.com/pdfs/medication_dedication_brand_drug_list.pdf.
The Medication Dedication program has a second component that the
NCMS Plan is not participating in. This part of the program would waive
the copayment for generic drugs used in the treatment of these four
specific chronic health conditions. Given the already high adherence rate
of the NCMS Plan’s members, and the costs associated with the copayment
waiver, the NCMS Plan has chosen not to participate in this part of the
program at this time.
Please share this information with your
employees that are enrolled in the NCMS Plan. If you have any questions,
please contact Gary Bossert or George Fanelli at 800-662-7917.
Question: When our practice hires a new employee, I sometimes get
confused about the probationary period that applies and when benefits are
effective. Can you explain the different probationary periods and
effective dates of coverage?
Answer: When pondering
probationary periods for new hires, it’s important to remember that
practices are given four probationary period options at their initial
enrollment in the NCMS Plan.
The four options are as follows:
- 0 True: Coverage is effective on date of hire.
- 30 Days: Coverage is effective on the next first of the month
following 30 days of employment.
- 60 Days: Coverage is effective on the next first of the month
following 60 days of employment.
- 90 True: Coverage is effective on date following 90 days of
A practice may choose a probationary period for all employees, or one
probationary period for physicians and another for non-physician
George Fanelli is an Account Service Representative
with the NCMS Plan. If you have a question you would like answered in a
future issue of CHOICES, e-mail George at [email protected].
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.
According to North Carolina Prevention Partners, the estimated
annual cost per employee of unhealthy nutrition, inactivity and tobacco
use in NC is, on average, $5,000. At least a quarter of medical costs are
for conditions that are largely preventable. The North Carolina Medical
Society Employee Benefit Plan (NCMS Plan), the practice’s health insurance
provider, believes that active participation in wellness programs is one
way we can all help keep health care costs down.
The NCMS Plan,
with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, offers a program called
Member Health Partnerships to help you better manage your health and your
unique health conditions. The program offers educational materials and
support services customized to your specific health concerns and needs.
Enrolling in Member Health Partnerships is easy -- all you need to do is
complete a health survey. Participation in the program is confidential and
By joining the Member Health Partnerships program, you’ll
get: one-on-one answers to your health questions, nutrition counseling,
free or discounted health management supplies and drugs, a personalized
health report, a health organizer, support to quit tobacco, and access to
specific health management programs for conditions such as asthma,
diabetes, heart disease, and migraines to name a few. In fact, members
with diabetes can receive deductible waivers for diabetic testing supplies
and free blood glucose meters with testing strip orders.
today by calling 1-800-218-5295 or visit https://www.bcbsnc.com/memberservices/
register as a member and download the enrollment survey.
Practice Manager's Forum
Do you have tips, ideas, or suggestions that you want to share with
practice managers who get this newsletter? Do you have questions you want
to ask of other practice managers? We want this article to be a resource
to you...a resource that extends beyond employee benefits to the other
areas that you wrestle with every day.
If you would like to submit
something for publication in a future issue, e-mail [email protected]. If your
article is selected for inclusion, you will receive a token of our
appreciation for participating in this forum.
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/legacy/pages/news_highlights/news_detail.jsp?id=199.