By W. Ralph Ford, Pension and Benefits Officer
The Conference Board of Pensions has done a good job of working to improve our health care benefits through Benefits Management Services (BMS). We now have an opportunity to take advantage of Blue Cross/Blue Shield’s vast nationwide network of providers.
In the past, when one of our participants went out of network (usually out of state), they did not receive the discount on charges from doctors and hospitals that we enjoy with an in-network facility. Beginning Jan. 1, 2014, we will move from BMS to Blue Cross/Blue Shield as a third party administrator (TPA) of our self-funded health care plan. This will apply to our active clergy, dependents, laity and retirees. This will save money for the plan and also save any out of pocket cost associated with other networks resolving our claims. Plan savings will occur by avoiding out of network fees which are passed on to all participants.
In order to enroll in this new plan, nothing will be required of you. The folks at BMS and BCBS will do all the paper work necessary. All participants will be given new insurance cards before Jan. 1, 2014.
In addition, we have requested that BCBS have pharmacies process claims at the cash register rather than our participants waiting to file claims at a later date.
If you have any questions or concerns, please call my office at (225) 346-1646.