Special to the Advocate
In 2007, the Mississippi Conference Board of Medical Benefits began to study the feasibility of changing administration and utilization of the conference medical insurance plan.
The plan was approved at the 2008 Annual Conference, and on Aug. 1, the conference program became part of the Blue Cross Blue Shield network.
Right after the vote was taken at Annual Conference, the staff of the conference benefits office and the staffs of Northwestern Mutual and Blue Cross Blue Shield began to enroll all of the participants in the plan. After enrolling all of the participants, Blue Cross Blue Shield sent out welcome packets on July 30.
David Stotts, conference benefits officer, said he knew of only one bump in the road during the change over. While the plan was just a change in preferred provider organization and administrators, the deductibles were not to start over again. That will happen on Jan. 1 as usual.
The deductible data from the previous administrator did not get entered into the BCBS plan until the week of Aug. 3. Some participants had to pay another deductible. Stotts said that this will be corrected. Anyone paying a second deductible for 2008 should send the details in writing to Stotts either by e-mail (email@example.com) or by postal service to P.O. Box 1201, Jackson, MS 39215. The information will be investigated and refunds will be made.
“Good things certainly outnumber the problems,” Stotts said.
Stotts anticipates an increase in the reinsurance coverage for the fiscal year. The actual cost was reduced. Members now have access to more doctors, hospitals and heath care providers than ever.
“I trust that this change will save both the conference apportionments and the participants over the coming years. While we would like to see a reduction in the cost of our self insured plan, that may not happen. What I do believe will happen is a slower growth in the cost of the plan because of the discounts available through the BCBS network,” Stotts said.
Anyone with questions or concerns may contact Stotts or Jackie McGough at the conference office. As the welcome kit indicated, participants have direct access to a customer service rep at Blue Cross. If you have problems there, contact the conference office.
The BCBS rep is now who participants go to instead of the Northwestern customer reps. Any questions on the dental or vision ancillary plans should be directed to McGrough.