2013 News Stories       Email   Print

Small Business Exchange Delayed One Year (11/13)

CRSP Year-End Reporting Deadlines (11/13)

Concordia Plan Services Thanksgiving Holiday Hours (11/13)

Federal Judge’s Ruling Against Housing Allowance Likely to be Appealed (11/13)

CPS Portal Undergoing Maintenance (11/13)

Salary Deferral Agreement Updated for 2014 (11/13)

CHP Eligibility Rules Change for Adult Children for 2014 Coverage (11/13)

CMS Releases Key Medicare Values for 2014 (11/13)

IRS Announces Contribution Limits for 2014 (11/13)

Reminder About 2014 Concordia Retirement Program Rates (10/13)

National Save for Retirement Week, October 20-26 (10/13)

Concordia Plan Services Named 2013 Healthiest Employer! (10/13)

Blue Cross Blue Shield Self-Serve Website Maintenance October 12-13 (10/13)

Online Care Anywhere Brings a Doctor to You! (10/13)

MyCPS.org Website Maintenance October 6, 2013 (10/13)

Concordia Plan Services Health Care Reform Website Now Open (10/13)

New Online Benefits Website – myCPS.org (09/13)

CRSP Fund Has New Share Class (09/13)

Concordia Plan Services Delays “30 or More Hours” Rule for CHP Eligibility (09/13)

Health Insurance Marketplace Notice Template Now Available (08/13)

Concordia Retirement Plan Town Hall Meeting August 13 (08/13)

2014 Choice Election Materials Mail to Employers Week of August 5 (08/13)

Explaining Health Care Reform's Premium Tax Credits (07/13)

Concordia Retirement Plan Town Hall Meeting August 13 (07/13)

Board of Trustees for Concordia Plans Sets Rates for 2014 (07/13)

Concordia Plan Services Hours July 4-5 (07/13)

Delay Announced for Employer Shared Responsibility (Play or Pay) Mandate (07/13)

Support Needed for Senate Bill on Church Health Plans (07/13)

HHS Issues Final Rules on Contraceptive Services (06/13)

E-Learning Module Explains Health Care Reform’s Marketplace (06/13)

Cigna Assisting Members Impacted by Colorado Wildfires (06/13)

Do You Know Your Social Security Full Retirement Age? (06/13)

New Presentations Available About CRP Benefits (06/13)

Marketplace Notification Compliance Deadline October 1, 2013 (05/13)

Explaining the Summary of Benefits and Coverage (05/13)

Cigna’s Disaster Resource Center Helps with Challenging Situations (05/13)

Concordia Plan Services Closed May 27 (05/13)

Vision Service Plan Replacing Glasses, Contacts Lost in Tornadoes (05/13)

Express Scripts Extends Helping Hand to Victims of Oklahoma Tornadoes (05/13)

Vision Service Plan Replacing Glasses, Contacts Lost in May 15 Tornadoes (05/13)

Hearing Care Benefits Available to All Concordia Health Plan Members (05/13)

Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute Fee (05/13)

Express Scripts No Longer Coordinating Medicare Part B Prescription Drug Benefits (05/13)

Flyer Explains Health Care Reform’s Play-or-Pay Mandate (05/13)

Cigna Introduces New myCigna Mobile App (05/13)

Concordia Retirement Plan Town Hall Meetings May 7, 8 (05/13)

Flyer Explains Health Care Reform’s ‘The Marketplace’ (05/13)

ProManage PROgram™ Lowers Rate (04/13)

Upcoming Concordia Retirement Plan Town Hall Meetings  (04/13)

E-Learning Module Explains Health Care Reform’s Summary of Benefits and Coverage (04/13)

Website Maintenance - April 21, 2013 (04/13)

Support for Those Impacted by the Tragedies in Boston, MA and McLennan County, TX (04/13)

Concordia Retirement Plan Town Hall Meetings in California
(04/13)

Employers Can File for Previous Years’ Tax Credits
(04/13)

Cigna's EAP Wellness Seminars Now Available Via Webcast (04/13)

Concordia Retirement Plan Town Hall Meeting at Concordia Seminary (04/13)

Introducing the New Express Scripts Website! (03/13)

Inclement Weather Impacts Concordia Plan Services (03/13)

Employee Assistance Program Wellness Seminars in April (03/13)

Concordia Plan Services Hours March 28-29 (03/13)

Filing for Small Business Health Care Tax Credit Pays Off! (02/13)

Concordia Plan Services Announces Future Changes to Retirement Benefits (02/13)

Inclement Weather Impacts Concordia Plan Services
(02/13)

USPS Delivery Changes Have Minimal Impact on CHP Members (02/13)

Explaining Health Care Reform: Additional Medicare Taxes on High Earners (02/13)

HHS Announces Proposed Amendments to Rules on Contraceptive Services (02/13)

Technology Upgrades Starting This Weekend (01/13)

'Marketplace' Notification Compliance Date Delayed (01/13)

Shingles Vaccine Available to PPO Members Age 50 and Above (01/13)

Be Well Rewards are Back! (01/13)

Employee Assistance Program Seminars, Training Lineup for 2013 (01/13)

Video Simplifies Complex Affordable Care Act (01/13)

New Features on Express Scripts Website (01/13)

New SilverSneakers Fitness Program! (01/13)

Payroll Tax Holiday Ends for Social Security Tax Withholdings (01/13) 

National Glaucoma Awareness Month (01/13)

Chat Online with an EAP Consultant (01/13) 


Medco Pharmacy Transitions Name to Express Scripts
On December 19, Medco Pharmacy, the home delivery pharmacy purchased by Express Scripts in 2012, was renamed Express Scripts pharmacy. Express Scripts is the administrator of drug benefits for Concordia Health Plan Options A, B, C, D, E, HDHP, CSS, as well as for Medicare supplemental coverage.

There will no longer be any references made to the Medco Pharmacy in Express Scripts or Concordia Plan Services communications. Although identification cards were not impacted by the name transition, members should have received new identification cards from Express Scripts in December. (12/13) 



24/7 and Convenient – Online Care Anywhere
Online Care Anywhere® is a convenient, confidential, online healthcare service brought to you by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota. It is available to Concordia Health Plan members enrolled in Options A, B, C, D, E, and HDHP who reside in states where the service is offered. No appointment is needed, and a call to Online Care Anywhere is considered an office visit in relation to your cost. Find out now where Online Care Anywhere is available.

No appointment is needed! U.S. board-certified doctors are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, including holidays, to diagnose and treat:
• Acne
• Allergies
• Bladder infections
• Colds & Flu
• Depression or anxiety
• Ear infections
• Eye infections
• Sinus infections
• Skin conditions
• Stomach ache
• Urinary tract infections

You will have a live conversation with a doctor using video or secure text chat. Doctors can answer your questions, diagnose your condition, prescribe medications*, and provide follow-up care.

For more information, click here.  

*At this time some states will not allow doctors to prescribe medications via this service. (12/13) 



Reporting the Cost of CHP on Workers’ Form W-2s
Concordia Plan Services (CPS) wants to remind employers* in the Concordia Health Plan (CHP) they are still exempt from the IRS requirement of having to report the cost of employer-sponsored health coverage on each worker’s Form W-2.

On March 29, 2011, the IRS released Notice 2011-28 exempting employers that provide coverage through a self-funded church health plan, such as the CHP, from the requirement to report the cost of health coverage. (Other W-2 reporting obligations continue to apply.) This exemption was reaffirmed in IRS Notice 2012-9.

The IRS notice suggests that some of the exemptions provided may be transitional. However, CPS will continue to monitor IRS guidance and share information with you as it becomes available.

*The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod employers that offer health plans other than the CHP may not be eligible for the exemption from reporting the cost of health coverage, and should check with their health plan carrier or review IRS Notice 2012-9 to determine whether an exemption is applicable. (12/13) 



Federal Online Exchanges Delayed for Small Businesses
The White House recently announced that small businesses will not be able to buy health insurance via www.HealthCare.gov, which gives online access to federally-run Small Business Health Organization Program (SHOP) exchanges. The SHOP offers companies with fewer than 50 employees the opportunity to buy small group coverage through an exchange.

Small businesses that want to utilize the federally-run SHOP exchanges, which are set up in 34 states, can sign up through an insurance agent or broker or directly with a health insurance company. The federally-run online SHOP exchanges are scheduled to be available November 2014 in Arkansas, Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, New Hampshire, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

Online state-based SHOP exchanges are currently available to small businesses in the following 15 states – California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Idaho, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington, as well as the District of Columbia. Although it is a state-run SHOP exchange, Maryland is delaying its online access until next November.

This recent delay is the second to impact the SHOP exchanges. Earlier this year the White House delayed small business employees from being able to choose among any of the plans available on the exchanges. For 2014, employers will select the coverage for all workers instead. (12/13) 



Healthcare Coverage Options Expand for Early Retirees
Beginning 1/1/2014, Concordia Health Plan (CHP) members and their spouses who retire prior to the Medicare-eligible age of 65 will be able to obtain health care coverage through a health insurance marketplace under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and have the option of reenrolling in the CHP once they reach age 65.

Currently, members are required to be enrolled in the CHP as a worker or early retiree up to age 65 in order to be eligible for enrollment in the CHP for Medicare supplemental coverage. Starting 1/1/2014, early retirees can leave the CHP to purchase from a health insurance marketplace and reenroll in the CHP at age 65 when Medicare becomes the primary payer and benefits under the CHP will supplement Medicare.

A former retired member and his/her spouse will be permitted to reenroll in the CHP on the first day of the calendar month following receipt of a reenrollment request, if: 
• the member or his/her spouse meets the definition of Medicare member, and 
• if the member had continuous health care coverage, for the five years prior to the reenrollment request through: 
1. the CHP, 
2. a qualified health plan through an American Health Benefit Exchange under the ACA, or 
3. his/her spouse’s group health plan meeting the requirements for minimum essential coverage under the ACA. (12/13)



MyCPS.org Experiencing Technical Issues 
The myCPS.org portal is experiencing some technical issues today, 12/6/2013. Concordia Plan Services is working to correct these issues. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. (12/13)



Small Business Exchange Delayed One Year
The White House is delaying the launch of its online small-business exchange by one year; the new target date is November 2014.

The Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) was scheduled for launch November 1, 2013, offering companies with fewer than 50 employees the opportunity to buy small group coverage through an online exchange. The delay means small businesses will continue to purchase group coverage through current market methods. (11/13) 



CRSP Year-End Reporting Deadlines
Prompt year-end reporting for the Concordia Retirement Savings Plan (CRSP) is important. Employers must remit all CRSP contributions withheld during 2013 by the year-end payroll processing deadline in order for workers’ contributions to be used to calculate the fourth quarter 2013 Basic Match.

• For employers who process deferrals utilizing EBSO (formerly SOMI), the deadline is Friday, December 20, 2013, by 3:00 p.m. Central Time.
• For employers who process deferrals utilizing the MetLife website (PSC), the deadline is Monday, December 30, 2013, by 12:00 a.m. (midnight) Central Time.

These processing deadlines also apply to the final 2013 Employer Optional Match contributions. Contributions submitted after the deadline will be used to determine the Basic Match for 2014 (Basic Match available through June 30, 2014). Remember, all 403(b) withholdings are reported on the Form W-2 in Box 12 with a code of “E.”

NOTE: CRSP plan provisions require that tax-deferred worker contributions be deposited into the worker’s account within 15 business days after the end of the month in which the funds were withheld. (11/13) 



Concordia Plan Services Thanksgiving Holiday Hours
Concordia Plan Services will close at 2 p.m., Wednesday, November 27, and will be closed all day Thursday, November 28, and Friday, November 29, to celebrate Thanksgiving.

We will resume regular office hours 7 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday, December 2. (11/13) 



Federal Judge’s Ruling Against Housing Allowance Likely to be Appealed
A lower federal court in Wisconsin has ruled the clergy housing allowance exclusion to be unconstitutional. However, the court dismissed the challenge to the constitutionality of the in-kind parsonage exclusion for clergy, so that exclusion remains untouched.

According to the Associated Press, the decision is expected to be appealed to the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago. The court’s ruling will not take effect until and unless it is upheld by all appeals courts that consider it, or until the time for filing an appeal expires. Thus, there is no need for immediate action.

The challenge to the housing allowance law was filed by the Madison, Wisconsin-based Freedom from Religion Foundation. The original law, passed by Congress in 1954, exempted ministers from paying income tax on compensation designated as housing allowance.

Concordia Plan Services has been closely following this case, and will continue to do so. We are working together with other denominational plan boards to obtain additional information, and to determine our response. CPS will continue to provide information on this website about the case as it continues. (11/13)



CPS Portal Undergoing Maintenance
The myCPS.org portal will be undergoing maintenance, and therefore, unavailable on Sunday, November 24, 2013, from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. CST. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. (11/13)



Salary Deferral Agreement Updated for 2014
The Salary Deferral Agreement for the Concordia Retirement Savings Plan (CRSP) has been updated for 2014. The new Salary Deferral Agreement reflects the 2014 salary deferral and catch-up contribution limits. Click here for the new form.

If a worker is contributing less than the IRS limit of $17,500 to the CRSP in 2014, a new form does not need to be completed. A new form is only required if the worker is making a change in the salary deferral amount. Concordia Plans does not need a copy of his/her form.

If a worker qualifies and wants to contribute more than the IRS limit of $17,500 to the CRSP in 2014, a new 2014 Salary Deferral Agreement form will need to be completed. Catch-up contributions cannot be withheld unless a new form has been completed, even if the worker made catch-up contributions in 2013. Concordia Plans will need a copy of the form for our records (to show why the IRS limit was exceeded).

The 2013 Salary Deferral Agreement will remain on our website through January 31, 2014. (11/13) 



CHP Eligibility Rules Change for Adult Children for 2014 Coverage
Effective 1/1/2014, the Concordia Health Plan provisions are being updated to allow members the opportunity to cover their adult children to age 26*, regardless of whether the adult child is eligible for other coverage, including coverage as an LCMS worker. This change is made in conjunction with provisions of the Affordable Care Act that also become effective on 1/1/2014.

In 2011, the CHP was updated to allow members to enroll their adult children to age 26, regardless of full-time student status or marital status. However, if the adult child was eligible for or enrolled in coverage through his/her employer or spouse’s employer or through his or her active duty in the military, the child was not eligible for the CHP.

This change to CHP provisions creates a special enrollment opportunity for these adult children. Members who wish to enroll an adult child who will now be considered eligible for coverage under this updated rule for 2014 should submit a Request for Membership Change form to Concordia Plan Services by 12/31/2013. Coverage will be effective 1/1/2014. (However, CPS cannot guarantee ID cards will be received by 1/1/2014 for requests received after 12/1/2013.) To obtain a form, click here or call 888-927-7526.

If an eligible adult child is not enrolled during this special enrollment period, coverage will only be available at a later date if the child has another qualifying event under the terms of Special Enrollment or waits until the next Annual Open Enrollment period.

*This change does not apply for CHP members who are divorced spouses on a one-year extension, children on a six-month extension, or surviving spouses. (11/13)



CMS Releases Key Medicare Values for 2014
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has released the 2014 Medicare Part A and B premium, deductible, and coinsurance amounts. There is a slight decrease in Part A premiums and a small increase in Part A deductible and coinsurance amounts; Part B amounts are unchanged.

The Medicare Part A premiums for the 12-month period beginning 1/1/2014 are as follows:
• $426 premium to purchase coverage for older Americans and certain disabled individuals uninsured under Medicare Part A (Most people don’t pay a Part A premium because they paid Medicare taxes while working.)
• $234 premium for certain individuals entitled to a reduced monthly premium

The Medicare Part A deductible and coinsurance amounts for the 12-month period beginning 1/1/2014 are as follows:
• $1,216 deductible for Medicare-covered inpatient hospital care
• $0 coinsurance for the first 60 days of hospitalization
• $304 daily coinsurance for the 61st through 90th day of hospitalization
• $608 daily coinsurance for lifetime reserve days after the 90th day
• $0 coinsurance for the first 20 days in a skilled nursing facility
• $152 daily coinsurance for the 21st through the 100th day of extended care services in a skilled nursing facility

The Medicare standard monthly premium for Medicare Part B remains unchanged for 2014 -- $104.90 standard monthly premium. Also unchanged for 2014 is the Medicare Part B deductible, which is $147. (11/13) 



IRS Announces Contribution Limits for 2014
The IRS contribution limits for retirement savings plans for 2014 were announced in late October and are listed below. 

• The annual limit for a worker’s total elective contributions to a tax-deferred employer-sponsored  plan is $17,500. 
• The Age 50 Catch-up contribution limit remains $5,500. The Service Catch-up contribution limit remains $3,000 per year with a lifetime maximum of $15,000.
• The annual contribution limit for defined contribution plans has increased to $52,000. This limit includes all worker contributions, employer matching contributions, Basic Match funds, and catch-up contributions to all defined contribution plans.
• The IRS maximum compensation limit for 2014 is $260,000. This figure is used when calculating benefits and determining billing.

These limits affect workers who save in 401 (k) plans, 403(b) plans, most 457 plans, and the federal governments Thrift Savings Plan. If you have questions, visit www.IRS.gov. (11/13)



Reminder About 2014 Concordia Retirement Program Rates
As shared previously in communications regarding upcoming modifications to the Concordia Retirement Plan, contribution rates* will adjust mid-year, effective July 1, 2014, for employers participating in Packages 2 and 3**.

Though there will be no rate change for employers in The Church's Plan, the automatic Basic Match that was part of the Concordia Retirement Savings Plan of The Church's Plan will no longer be funded through The Church's Plan contributions. Employers will have the option to elect and directly fund matching contributions beginning July 1, 2014.

2014 CRP -- Traditional Option Retirement Program
The Church's Plan                1/1-6/30        7/1-12/31
Regular Basis                        8.7%                  8.7%
Full Basis                            11.7%                11.7%

Packages 2 and 3

Regular Basis                        7.5%                  8.7%
Full Basis                            10.5%                11.7%

2014 CRP -- Account Option Retirement Program
The Church's Plan                1/1-6/30        7/1-12/31
Eligibility Waiting Period            0%                0%
Non-Vested Worker                5.7%               5.7%
Vested Worker                       8.7%               8.7%

Packages 2 and 3
Eligibility Waiting Period            0%                0%
Non-Vested Worker                4.5%                5.7%  
Vested Worker                       7.5%                8.7%   

  *CRP rates are a percentage of the worker's reported annual compensation.
**Package 2 consists of the Concordia Retirement Plan, Concordia Disability and Survivor Plan, and the Concordia Health Plan. Package 3 consists only of the Concordia Retirement Plan and the Concordia Disability and Survivor Plan. (10/13)  
              



National Save for Retirement Week, October 20-26
It’s time to take a closer look at your retirement savings! That’s what we are asking workers to do during National Save for Retirement Week, October 20-26.

Personal retirement savings are a necessary part of retirement planning, and will supplement the benefits you receive from the Concordia Retirement Plan and Social Security. What better ways to start saving than with an employer-sponsored retirement savings plan, like the Concordia Retirement Savings Plan or other savings vehicle offered by your employer.
Not saving yet? Don’t panic. The important thing to do is start. Any amount you save will make a difference.

Already saving? Great! Take the time to evaluate your deferral amount and see if you can contribute any additional money to your savings. Even increasing the amount by 1% will make a big difference when you take into consideration potential investment earnings.

For more information on financial and retirement planning, click here. (10/13)



Concordia Plan Services Named 2013 Healthiest Employer!
Concordia Plan Services has been recognized as the 2013 Healthiest Employer in its respective size category by the St. Louis Business Journal! The Healthiest Employer Awards recognize companies and non-profit entities that commit to making wellness a priority and proactively shape the health of their employees.

Concordia Plan Services continues to encourage health and wellness among all Concordia Health Plan members through the Be Well … Serve Well health and wellness initiative and corresponding Be Well Rewards incentive program, which are designed to help members establish and maintain healthy habits. We are happy to report that 87% of our staff is participating in the Be Well Rewards program this year, and year-to-date, our 123 employees have earned $37,650 in Be Well Rewards.

Rewards dollars from the Be Well program (employers are also rewarded with a dollar-for-dollar match on every dollar workers earn) have also funded Lunch-n-Learns on various health topics, twice yearly healthy eating and physical activity challenges, entry fees for employees who participate in organized races or fitness events, and an on-site exercise center.

We have noticed a positive change in our corporate culture due to our wellness programs. Over 70% of our staff completed the Go! St. Louis Mile-by-Mile Marathon, in which participants walk or run 26.2 miles over 6 weeks. About 45% also signed up for a walking or running event during the Go! St. Louis weekend. In addition, we sent a team of 12 employees to the Ragnar Relay in Chicago, Ill. – a 32-hour, 200-mile race that runs from Madison, Wis., to Chicago.

An all-staff survey revealed that, as a result of our health and wellness programs, over 90% of our staff feel happier, 86% report that they are more productive at work, and 93% said they are in better overall health. 

Click on the following links to see Concordia Plan Services Healthiest Employer news and videos.

St. Louis Business Journal article
St. Louis Business Journal video featuring CPS President and CEO, Jim Sanft
The Reporter article

We are excited and proud of our CPS staff for making their commitment to health a top priority! (10/13) 



Blue Cross Blue Shield Self-Serve Website Maintenance October 12-13
The Blue Cross Blue Shield self-serve website for Concordia Health Plan members will be undergoing maintenance starting at 8 p.m. CST Saturday, October 12, through midnight on Sunday, October 13. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. (10/13)



Online Care Anywhere Brings a Doctor to You!
Online Care Anywhere® is a convenient, confidential, online health care service brought to you by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota, administrator of non-HMO Options* for Concordia Health Plan (CHP) members.
 
This service is for CHP members in Options A, B, C, D, E, and HDHP and who reside in states where the service is offered. Members have access to U.S. board-certified doctors. To find out where Online Care Anywhere is available, visit www.onlinecareanywheremn.com.

No appointment is needed! Doctors are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, including holidays, to diagnose and treat:

• Acne
• Allergies
• Bladder infections
• Colds
• Depression or anxiety
• Ear infections
• Eye infections
• Flu
• Sinus infections
• Skin conditions
• Stomach ache
• Urinary tract infections

You will have a live conversation with a doctor using video or secure text chat. Doctors can answer your questions, diagnose your condition, prescribe medications**, and provide follow-up care.

For more information, visit www.onlinecareanywheremn.com.

  *Medicare coverage does not include this service.
**At this time some states will not allow doctors to prescribe medications via this service. (10/13) 



MyCPS.org Website Maintenance October 6, 2013
The myCPS.org portal will be undergoing maintenance on Sunday, October 6, 2013, starting at 1 p.m. CST. Intermittent outages will be possible. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. (10/13)



Concordia Plan Services Health Care Reform Website Now Open
Concordia Plan Services (CPS) has created a website dedicated to helping Concordia Health Plan (CHP) members better understand the Affordable Care Act (ACA), or health care reform law, and to highlight what CPS has done so far to comply with the ACA as well as what we plan to do in the future.

You can access the CPS health care reform microsite by clicking here.

We recognize that the key to understanding this new legislation is communication. This website has been developed to provide you with an overview of some of the more prominent features of the ACA. It provides members with tools and resources, such as: 

    • a health care reform law timeline 
    • e-learning presentations and videos 
    • FAQ’s 
    • recent developments to health care reform 
    • what’s on the horizon with health care reform

There is also a section dedicated to highlighting the advantages of being in the CHP.

In addition, CPS will continue to provide health care reform news and information at www.ConcordiaPlans.org under Healthcare > Health Care Reform News and Information.

We hope you will take the time to review both websites. As we receive more information about the ACA, we will provide updates. So please visit often! (10/13)



New Online Benefits Website – myCPS.org
Concordia Plan Services is excited to present the myCPS.org online benefits* portal. This new website allows Concordia Health Plan (CHP) members to see some personal information on file with Concordia Plan Services as well as their health plan benefits, including information about Be Well Rewards.

Since myCPS.org displays information that is personalized, a username and password is required to access the site. Throughout September members in the CHP (and their enrolled spouses) are being sent letters announcing myCPS.org. These letters contain instructions for accessing the site, including the required username. (Members set up their password upon initial entry to the site.)

To help CHP members get acquainted with myCPS.org, a helpful e-learning module, "Overview to myCPS.org benefits portal," is available. We’ve also created a flyer which highlights features of the myCPS.org homepage.

If you have any questions about myCPS.org, please call CPS at 888-927-7526.

*Phase One of the benefits portal is focused on the CHP and health and wellness. Subsequent phases will incorporate other benefits like disability, retirement, and survivor benefits. (09/13) 



CRSP Fund Has New Share Class
Concordia Plan Services Investment Committee strives to provide the best investment lineup possible for the Concordia Retirement Savings Plan (CRSP).

On September 27, 2013, after the close of the stock market, a change will be made to one of the funds. The share class of the Invesco International Small Company I will be improved. Improving the share class of a fund reduces the fees plan participants pay, allowing them more potential for investment earnings. If you have a CRSP account balance with the fund listed above, you will see the transfer of funds on your 3rd Quarter CRSP Statement.

ProManage will not conduct a rebalance at this time.

The new ticker symbol for the fund is IEGFX.

For additional information on the investments offered through the CRSP, click here. (09/13)



Concordia Plan Services Delays “30 or More Hours” Rule for CHP Eligibility
Concordia Plan Services (CPS) will delay implementation of a previously announced change in eligibility rules to determine enrollment for the Concordia Health Plan (CHP). The CHP allows employers to elect from more than 20, more than 25, or more than 30 hours per week as the hours requirement for CHP eligibility. Employers that have elected the “more than 30 hours” option and that have workers employed exactly 30 hours were notified in August that worker eligibility in the Concordia Health Plan (CHP) would change from “more than 30 hours per week” to “30 or more hours per week” on January 1, 2014.

This change has been retracted. Therefore, the rule reverts to the current wording of “more than 30 hours per week.” The proposed change adopted wording and coincided with an effective date associated with the Employer-Shared Responsibility Mandate of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Subsequently, the IRS has announced it is delaying penalties associated with the Employer-Shared Responsibility Mandate until January 1, 2015. We apologize for any unintended consequences or issues the previously announced change may have caused LCMS organizations. Our intention for amending the CHP was to help applicable employers avoid possible penalties under the ACA.

CPS will continue to monitor, review, and amend our policies to maintain compliance with the law and act in the best interests of our participating employers and members. A review of potential options to maintain compliance for churches and schools of all sizes is underway and will be announced prior to the new Employer-Shared Responsibility Mandate of the ACA implementation date of January 1, 2015. (09/13) 



Health Insurance Marketplace Notice Template Now Available
As required by the Affordable Care Act (ACA), or health care reform law, employers will need to provide notification to their employees about the Health Insurance Marketplace that will be available in their state beginning October 1, 2013.

To assist employers with fulfilling this requirement, Concordia Plan Services has prepared a Health Insurance Marketplace modified Notice template designed for employers in the Concordia Health Plan (CHP). For an explanation of and instructions for the Notice, click here

Employers will be required to provide a Notice to current employees (all full-time, part-time, and temporary workers) by October 1, and any new employee employed on or after that date. The employer must provide the Notice regardless of whether or not the employer offers health coverage. Employers that do not participate in the CHP can find model Notices provided by the Department of Labor at www.dol.gov/ebsa.

The purpose of the Notice is to provide the employee:

• information about Marketplaces
• how to request assistance in accessing the Marketplaces
• a description of the availability of a Premium Tax Credit, or subsidy, (if applicable), and
• an explanation of the implications for employees if they decide to purchase a qualified health plan through a Marketplace.

Open enrollment for health insurance coverage through the Marketplace begins October 1 for coverage starting as early as January 1, 2014.

(Reminder: Open enrollment for the Concordia Health Plan runs September 23 through October 25.) (08/13)



Concordia Retirement Plan Town Hall Meeting August 13
Concordia Plan Services leadership will be hosting a Town Hall Meeting to discuss changes to the Concordia Retirement Plan (CRP) which will take effect 7/1/14.

The CRP Town Hall meeting will be held:

6:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m., Tuesday, August 13
Salem Lutheran Ministries
Community Center, 2nd Stage
22601 Lutheran Church Road
Tomball, TX 77377

The CRP is financially sound today. However, taking action now is necessary to help preserve the core primary retirement benefit for past, present, and future church workers. CPS understands that change may cause confusion and concern, therefore, please consider attending. We need your feedback and want the opportunity to address your questions in person.

Additional town hall meetings will be conducted by CPS leadership this summer. Click here for specific dates and locations of upcoming CRP Town Hall Meetings. (08/13)



2014 Choice Election Materials Mail to Employers Week of August 5
Concordia Plan Services (CPS) will be mailing employers their 2014 Concordia Health Plan (CHP) Choice materials the week of August 5.

Once employers receive their packets they will have until September 16 to return their election choices to CPS. This year’s CHP Open Enrollment period will be September 23-October 25. All worker elections and Open Enrollment applications are due to CPS by October 25.

The week of November 18, Concordia Plans will mail every worker in the CHP a Summary of Benefits and Coverage confirming his/her 2014 election. This is to ensure that a requirement set forth by the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, or health care reform law, is fulfilled by December 1, 2013. (08/13)



Explaining Health Care Reform’s Premium Tax Credits
Concordia Plan Services (CPS) is here to help employers and workers better understand the many facets of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), or health care reform law. Therefore, we have created an education series titled, “Explaining Health Care Reform,” consisting of e-learning modules and flyers focusing on some of the key health care reform topics.

Beginning January 1, 2014, premium tax credits will be available through the ACA to assist U.S. citizens and nationals currently living in the U.S. to purchase health coverage through the new health insurance Marketplace. Individuals eligible to qualify for premium tax credits are not offered health insurance through an employer, are not eligible for public health coverage (e.g. Medicaid, Medicare), have an income between 100% and 400% of the federal poverty level, and purchase coverage in the Marketplace.

To learn more about premium tax credits, click here.

CPS will do all it can to help employers and workers navigate the changing landscape of health care. Be watching for more communication in the “Explaining Health Care Reform” series. (07/13) 



Concordia Retirement Plan Town Hall Meeting August 13
Concordia Plan Services leadership will be hosting a Town Hall Meeting to discuss changes to the Concordia Retirement Plan (CRP) which will take effect 7/1/14.

The CRP Town Hall meeting will be held:

6:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m., Tuesday, August 13
Salem Lutheran Ministries
Community Center, 2nd Stage
22601 Lutheran Church Road
Tomball, TX 77377

The CRP is financially sound today. However, taking action now is necessary to help preserve the core primary retirement benefit for past, present, and future church workers. CPS understands that change may cause confusion and concern, therefore, please consider attending. We need your feedback and want the opportunity to address your questions in person.

Additional town hall meetings will be conducted by CPS leadership this summer. Click here for specific dates and locations of upcoming CRP Town Hall Meetings. (07/13) 



Board of Trustees for Concordia Plans Sets Rates for 2014
The 2014 rates for the Concordia Plans have been approved. Official Rate Notices will accompany the Concordia Health Plan Choice Election materials slated to mail the first week of August and rates are now available on our website. To view CHP rates in your area, click here.

Concordia Health Plan
Many factors are considered when determining the rates for the Concordia Health Plan (CHP). The percentage increase this year reflects:
 
• The rise in overall net healthcare trends (approximately 6.5%),
• An increase to cover our catastrophic illnesses and specialty drug claims experience (approximately 2.0%), and
• Costs directly associated with the Affordable Care Act, or health care reform law, including associated risks and required fees the Plan must start to pay (approximately 4.0%).

Remember, with the CHP there are no commissions, broker fees, or targeted profit margins—it is your self-funded trust. Approximately 92 cents of every contribution dollar collected are used to cover health claims for our members.

The average increase across all Options is 12.5%. While catastrophic claims and specialty drugs accounted for approximately 30% of total CHP costs in 2013, what a blessing it is to walk together with our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ by providing coverage to protect these families during their time of extreme need. It is because of the participation of all our employers and members that we can take care of those who need health coverage the most—and we thank you for your participation!

The rate increases effective January 1, 2014, for CHP Options will be:

• Option A 13.5% Option E 11.5%
• Option B 13.5% Option HDHP 11.5%
• Option C 12.5% All HMOs 12.5%
• Option D 11.5% Medicare Supplemental 5.8%

Employers will receive their official rate notices showing their specific CHP rates along with 2014 CHP Choice election forms and materials by mail in August.

Concordia Retirement Plan
As shared previously in communications regarding upcoming modifications to the Concordia Retirement Plan (CRP), contribution rates* will adjust mid-year, effective July 1, 2014, for employers participating in Packages 2 and 3. There will be no rate change for employers in The Church’s Plan:

CRP—Traditional Option Retirement Program     
    1/1-6/30     7/1-12/31
 The Church's Plan Regular Basis        8.7%              8.7%
  Full Basis

     11.7%

       11.7%
Packages 2 and 3 Regular Basis

       7.5% 

         8.7%

Full Basis      10.5%        11.7%

CRP—Account Option Retirement Program       
     1/1-6/30  7/1-12/31
 The Church's Plan Eligibility Waiting Period          0%         0%
  Non-Vested Worker      5.7%      5.7%
Vested Worker      8.7%      8.7%
Packages 2 and 3 Eligibility Waiting Period         0%         0%
Non-Vested Worker      4.5%      5.7%
Vested Worker      7.5%      8.7%

Concordia Disability and Survivor Plan
Concordia Disability and Survivor Plan (CDSP) rates* will not change.
• With Dependents 2.25%
• Without Dependents 1.2%

*CRP and CDSP rates are a percentage of the worker’s reported annual compensation. (07/13) 



Concordia Plan Services Hours July 4-5
Concordia Plan Services will be closed Thursday, July 4, and Friday, July 5, in observance of Independence Day.

We will resume regular office hours 7 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday, July 8. (07/13) 



Delay Announced for Employer Shared Responsibility (Play or Pay) Mandate
The Obama Administration announced that the implementation of the employer shared responsibility mandate (sometimes referred to as the Play or Pay mandate) of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will be postponed until January 1, 2015. This mandate was to take effect January 1, 2014. The delay means that large employers (those with 50 or more full-time or full-time equivalent employees) will not be subject to the penalties or reporting requirements under the shared responsibility provisions of the law for another year. Additional guidance is expected in the coming weeks and months. Concordia Plan Services will continue to monitor and research this issue for our LCMS ministry partners, and we’ll share updates as they are made available.

This announcement is further testament to the complexity of fully implementing all the components of the ACA and the chaotic atmosphere that monumental change can bring. In light of this delay and the launching of new online health coverage Marketplaces for 2014—as well as the unknowns associated with this new coverage purchasing environment, 2014 offers an opportunity to pause and observe how this new landscape unfolds. Be assured that your Concordia Health Plan will be here for you in 2014, complying with all applicable aspects of the ACA, and providing you with comprehensive coverage and benefits aligned with our Lutheran faith and beliefs. We will continue to walk with you and support you in your ministry. (07/13) 



Support Needed for Senate Bill on Church Health Plans 
In the turmoil accompanying the passage of the Affordable Care Act (health care reform), the important role of church plans was overlooked.

Beginning in 2014, government subsidies will be made available to eligible individuals who purchase their health coverage from government health care exchanges; however the subsidies will not be available to those who get their health care from church health plans (e.g., the Concordia Health Plan).

Please write your United States Senators (contact information at senate.gov) urging them to support a new bill which will allow workers enrolled in church health plans to receive the same subsidies as other individuals. Click here for a draft letter to use as a model. (07/13)



HHS Issues Final Rules on Contraceptive Services
The Department of Health and Human Services has released the final rules on the coverage of certain preventive services under the Affordable Care Act.

As a grandfathered plan, the Concordia Health Plan and its enrolled members are exempt from the requirements of these regulations. Concordia Plans Services staff will continue to monitor and review this information to determine impact and ramifications on all LCMS mission and ministry partners. (06/13) 



E-Learning Module Explains Health Care Reform’s Marketplace
Concordia Plan Services is here to help employers and workers better understand the many facets of the Affordable Care Act, or health care reform law. Therefore, we have created an education series titled, “Explaining Health Care Reform,” consisting of e-learning modules and flyers focusing on some of the key health care reform topics.

Beginning 10/1/13, every state must have a Marketplace (formerly called the Exchange)—an online shopping space for the sale and purchase of health insurance—ready for individuals and small-business employers (those with generally fewer than 100 employees) to begin purchasing health coverage that will become effective 1/1/14.

The Marketplace, a key component of the health care reform law, is expected to enable individuals and small-business employers to compare qualified health insurance options in order to find the plan that best meets their needs and budget. Small-business employers will use the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) to find health insurance in the Marketplace.

To learn more about the Marketplace, click here.

Concordia Plans will do all it can to help employers and workers navigate the changing landscape of health care. Be watching for more communication in the “Explaining Health Care Reform” series. (06/13) 



Cigna Assisting Members Impacted by Colorado Wildfires
Cigna Behavioral Health is available to help Concordia Health Plan members impacted by the Colorado wildfires. Members can contact the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) or find helpful disaster and recovery information in the Disaster Resource Center by clicking here.

For a list of state and federal resources, click here.

For more information about coping with loss due to a fire, click here. (06/13) 



Do You Know Your Social Security Full Retirement Age?
In 1983, an amendment passed that increased the full retirement age for Social Security for anyone born in 1937 or later. This change includes all retirement and survivor benefits; however, the Medicare-eligible age remains at 65, regardless of what year you were born.

Use the chart below to find your full retirement age.

Year you were born            Full Retirement Age
1937 or earlier                       65
1938                                     65 & 2 months
1939                                     65 & 4 months
1940                                     65 & 6 months
1941                                     65 & 8 months
1942                                     65 & 10 months
1943-1954                           66
1955                                    66 & 2 months
1956                                    66 & 4 months
1957                                    66 & 6 months
1958                                    66 & 8 months
1959                                    66 & 10 months
1960 or later                        67

Your Social Security Retirement benefits are adjusted based on when you retire and when you decide to begin receiving your benefits. The earliest you can collect Social Security Retirement benefits is age 62, regardless of when your full retirement age is. However, the reduction for doing so can be up to 30% depending on the year in which you were born. If you begin collecting benefits at your full retirement age, you can receive your full benefit. Should you choose to work past your full retirement age, you may receive a higher monthly payment.

Effective July 1, 2014, the retirement age for the Concordia Retirement Plan will coincide with the Full Retirement Age for Social Security. You will need to wait until your Full Retirement Age to retire in order to be eligible for a full, unreduced Primary Retirement Benefit (pension benefit). (06/13)



New Presentations Available About CRP Benefits
Two new video presentations, designed to help explain the changes to the Concordia Retirement Plan and Concordia Retirement Savings Plan, have been added to the website. Changes to these plans will be effective July 1, 2014.

The first video is a recorded presentation of a Town Hall Meeting conducted by Concordia Plan Services President and CEO Jim Sanft. In his presentation, he explains why the changes were necessary to preserve the core retirement pension benefits and what changes are being made. This presentation provides a compressive overview of all the changes that will take place. If a Town Hall Meeting was not available in your area, or you were unable to attend, this video brings the message to you.

The second video is a presentation specifically about the Rule of 85. This presentation explains how the Rule of 85 can affect Concordia Retirement Plan benefit calculations and how it comes into play for benefits accrued before and after July 1, 2014.

Both videos can be accessed through our Concordia Retirement Plan Update microsite under the News and Updates heading and in the Resource section. (06/13)


Marketplace Notification Compliance Deadline October 1, 2013
The Department of Labor (DOL) announced that employers have until October 1, 2013, to provide notification to their employees about the Health Insurance Marketplace, formerly referred to as the Exchange, which will be available in their state.

Employers will need to provide the Marketplace Notice to existing employees by October 1, 2013, and to any new employee employed on or after that date. Although the deadline is set, the DOL has only issued temporary guidance and model notices addressing the Marketplace Notice requirement. Employers may rely on this guidance until the DOL issues future rules or additional guidance.

Concordia Plan Services is closely monitoring this topic for employers and will keep employers informed when new guidance is released.

Employers will be required to provide each employee with a Marketplace Notice. The purpose is to provide the employee with information about:

• Marketplaces
• how to request assistance in accessing the Marketplaces
• the availability of a premium tax credit, or subsidy, (if applicable), and
• implications for the employee if they decide to purchase a qualified health plan through a  Marketplace.

To view the temporary model notices, visit www.dol.gov/ebsa. Under “Notice to Employees of Coverage Options” you will find:

• Model Notice for employers who offer a health plan to some or all employees
• Model Notice for employers who do not offer a health plan (05/13)



Explaining the Summary of Benefits and Coverage
Concordia Plan Services is here to help employers and workers better understand the many facets of the Affordable Care Act, or health care reform law. Therefore, we have created an education series titled, “Explaining Health Care Reform,” consisting of e-learning modules and flyers focusing on some of the key health care reform topics.

The Summary of Benefits and Coverage (SBC) is a requirement of the health care reform law. The law requires health insurers and self-insured group health plans, like the Concordia Health Plan (CHP), to fill in a government-provided template to illustrate the general medical benefits and coverage provided by the health plan so that consumers can more easily understand their benefits and compare coverage.

Both Concordia Plans and employers in the CHP share the responsibility of distributing SBCs to workers, and must adhere to specific distribution timeframes to avoid incurring penalties. To better understand the purpose and distribution requirements of the SBC, click here.

Concordia Plans will do all it can to help employers and workers navigate the changing landscape of health care. Be watching for more communication in the “Explaining Health Care Reform” series. (05/13) 



Cigna’s Disaster Resource Center Helps with Challenging Situations
In light of the recent disaster in Oklahoma, Concordia Plan Services wants to remind Concordia Health Plan (CHP) members* how they can access the Disaster Resource Center available through Cigna Behavioral’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP).

Natural disasters are unpredictable, but CHP members can always count on the EAP and the Disaster Resource Center to be there in a time of need. The Disaster Resource Center provides information to help people cope with a variety of disasters, crises, and challenging situations.

To explore these resources, click here.

*The EAP is not available to CHP for Medicare members. (05/13) 



Concordia Plan Services Closed May 27
Concordia Plan Services will be closed Monday, May 27, in observance of Memorial Day. We will resume regular office hours, 7 a.m.-5 p.m., Tuesday, May 28. (05/13) 



Vision Service Plan Replacing Glasses, Contacts Lost in Tornadoes
Any Concordia Health Plan member, or covered dependents, who lost glasses and/or contacts in tornadoes that hit areas of northern Texas on May 15 and in Oklahoma on May 20 are encouraged to contact the Vision Service Plan (VSP) customer service department to arrange for replacements at no cost.

VSP is also making this offer available to non-members.

CHP members should contact a VSP customer service representative at 800-877-7195, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. ET, Monday-Friday, if they need eye care and/or replacement glasses due to the impact of the tornadoes.

Non-VSP members in need of eye care and/or replacement glasses can contact their local American Red Cross chapter or shelter to request a VSP gift certificate redeemable for free
eye-care services and materials. To receive a certificate, patients must have a Social Security number, have lost their glasses during the disaster, and have either no vision insurance or no available benefits through existing vision insurance. (05/13) 



Express Scripts Extends Helping Hand to Victims of Oklahoma Tornadoes
Express Scripts, provider partner with the Concordia Health Plan (CHP), is responding to the needs of CHP members recently impacted by tornadoes in the Oklahoma counties of Cleveland, Lincoln, McClain, Oklahoma, and Pottawatomie by implementing Emergency Refill-Too-Soon Procedures.

CHP members who have lost or damaged medication resulting from the tornadoes are being permitted prescription refills even if the refill occurs sooner than allowed by Express Scripts’ normal standards.* Pharmacies will need to enter a special override code (provided by Express Scripts) in order to process the claims for affected members.

These emergency procedures will remain in effect through June 17.

*These procedures do not apply to CHP members enrolled in HMO Options because prescription drug benefits for these members are administered by Cigna Healthcare. (05/13)



Vision Service Plan Replacing Glasses, Contacts Lost in May 15 Tornadoes
Any Concordia Health Plan member, or covered dependents, who lost glasses and/or contacts in the series of tornadoes that hit areas of northern Texas on May 15 are encouraged to contact the Vision Service Plan (VSP) customer service department to arrange for replacements at no cost.

You can contact a VSP customer service representative at 800-877-7195, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. ET, Monday-Friday. (05/13) 



Hearing Care Benefits Available to All Concordia Health Plan Members
Concordia Health Plan (CHP) members, including Medicare supplement members, receive the highest quality services and products at discounted prices when they access their hearing care benefits provided through the HearUSA Hearing Care Network.

As a member of the CHP, you and your enrolled dependents* receive substantial discounts on diagnostic testing and hearing aids. Members pay no additional contribution cost, and they pay the discounted amounts directly to the provider for all products and services provided. HearUSA providers are licensed audiologists and board certified hearing aid dispensers who dispense many brands of hearing aids.

For a directory of licensed audiologists and board certified hearing aid dispensers in the HearUSA Network, click here.

*Hearing care services for children under age 19 are covered as medical benefits under the applicable benefit administrator. (05/13) 



Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute Fee

Concordia Plan Services is here to help employers and workers better understand the many facets of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), or health care reform law. Therefore, we have created an education series titled, “Explaining Health Care Reform,” consisting of e-learning modules and flyers focusing on some of the key health care reform topics.

The ACA imposed a Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) fee on health insurers and health plan sponsors to support PCORI. PCORI is a non-profit corporation established to serve as a resource to patients, providers, purchasers, and policymakers in making informed decisions about health outcomes, clinical effectiveness and appropriateness of medical treatments, items and services. PCORI’s primary duties include identifying research priorities and setting an agenda for research provided through federal funding.
 
For workers (as well as other plan members) and their dependents enrolled in the Concordia Health Plan (CHP), Concordia Plan Services is responsible for paying this fee for 2012 through 2018. This is treated like an excise tax by the IRS.

To learn more about PCORI, click here.

CPS will do all it can to help employers and workers navigate the changing landscape of health care. Be watching for more communication in the “Explaining Health Care Reform” series. (05/13)



Express Scripts No Longer Coordinating Medicare Part B Prescription Drug Benefits
Effective 4/1/13, Express Scripts is no longer facilitating the coordination of prescription drug benefits with Medicare Part B.* Therefore, Concordia Health Plan (CHP) for Medicare members will need to have their Part B medications filled through a local pharmacy.

Convey Health Solutions (formerly NationsHealth Pharmacy) informed Express Scripts that it was closing its pharmacy effective 4/1/13. At that time Express Scripts decided not to contract with another Part B pharmacy.

CHP for Medicare members may fill a Part B medication or supply through most retail pharmacies. If you are already filling your Part B medication(s) at your local pharmacy, (or through another Medicare Part B mail order pharmacy, other than Convey Health Solutions (formerly NationsHealth Pharmacy), there should be no interruption in service or impact to the amount you are currently paying. You should present your Red, White, and Blue Original Medicare card, along with your CHP Medicare supplement Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota card, when filling Medicare Part B eligible prescriptions, which includes:

• Diabetes testing and maintenance supplies
• Respiratory agents
• Immunosuppressants
• Oral anti-cancer medications

If you have been filling your prescription(s) through Convey Health Solutions, you will need to obtain a new prescription from your doctor, and begin filling your medications through a retail pharmacy. As a result of this change, you may experience an increase in the amount you pay for your Part B prescription(s) because your benefit may no longer be coordinated with Medicare Part B. Your pharmacy may also ask to see your CHP Medicare supplement Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota card. This change also means that you will not be able to fill your Part B prescription through the Express Scripts home delivery pharmacy.

Some durable medical equipment or supplies may not be available at retail pharmacies or through the Express Scripts home delivery pharmacy. To verify whether or not your supplies are available through the Express Scripts home delivery pharmacy, visit www.Express-Scripts.com or call Express Scripts at 866-698-1327, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. TTY users should call 800-899-2114.

If you have additional questions or need more information, contact Concordia Health Plans at 888-927-7526 or info@ConcordiaPlans.org.

*This change does not affect Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Benefits. (05/13)



Flyer Explains Health Care Reform’s Play-or-Pay Mandate
Concordia Plan Services is here to help employers and workers better understand the many facets of the Affordable Care Act, or health care reform law. Therefore, we have created an education series titled, “Explaining Health Care Reform,” consisting of e-learning modules and flyers focusing on some of the key health care reform topics.

The Employer Play-or-Pay Mandate pertains to large employers (those with 50 or more full-time or full-time equivalent employees) and is effective 1/1/14. The purpose of the play-or-pay mandate is to broaden access to health care coverage by requiring large employers to offer coverage to full-time employees or pay a penalty. The health care reform law does not require employers to provide health benefits. However, it does impose penalties in some cases.

To learn more about the play-or-pay mandate, click here.

CPS will do all it can to help employers and workers navigate the changing landscape of health care. Be watching for more communication in the “Explaining Health Care Reform” series. (05/13) 



Cigna Introduces New myCigna Mobile App
The all-new myCigna Mobile App gives Concordia Health Plan members a simple way to personalize, organize, and access important dental information – on the go.

With your smartphone and the myCigna Mobile App, you can:

• Search for a dentist from the Cigna national network
• Access maps for instant driving directions to the dentist
• Get important plan details, like what you’ll pay in and out of network
• Quickly view dental ID cards for everyone on your plan
• View and search recent and past dental claims
• Add dentists to your contacts right from a claim or directory search,
• And so much more!

Download myCigna Mobile App today from the App Store or Google Play. (05/13)



Concordia Retirement Plan Town Hall Meetings May 7, 8
Concordia Plan Services leadership will be hosting Town Hall Meetings to discuss changes to the Concordia Retirement Plan (CRP) which will take effect 7/1/14.

The CRP Town Hall meetings will be held:

6:30 p.m., Tuesday, May 7
Concordia College
Pietruski Auditorium
171 White Plains Road
Bronxville, NY

7:00 p.m., Wednesday, May 8
Concordia University
Luther Hall
Room 121
2811 NE Holman Street
Portland, OR

7:45 p.m., Wednesday, May 8
Hales Corners Lutheran Church
12300 West Janesville Road
Hales Corners, WI

The CRP is financially sound today. However, taking action now is necessary to help preserve the core primary retirement benefit for past, present, and future church workers. CPS understands that change may cause confusion and concern, therefore, please consider attending. We need your feedback and want the opportunity to address your questions in person.

Multiple town hall meetings will be conducted by CPS leadership this spring and summer. Click here for specific dates and locations of upcoming CRP Town Hall Meetings. (05/13) 



Flyer Explains Health Care Reform’s ‘The Marketplace’
Concordia Plan Services is here to help employers and workers better understand the many facets of the Affordable Care Act, or health care reform law. Therefore, we have created an education series titled, “Explaining Health Care Reform,” consisting of e-learning modules and flyers focusing on some of the key health care reform topics.

The Marketplace (formerly called the Exchange) is a key component of the health care reform law. Beginning 10/1/13, every state must have a Marketplace—an online shopping space for the sale and purchase of health insurance—ready for individuals and small-business employers (those with generally fewer than 100 employees) to begin purchasing health coverage that will become effective 1/1/14. Small-business employers will use the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) to find health insurance in the Marketplace.

Small-business employers with less than 50 full-time equivalent workers are not required to provide health coverage for their employees, but large employers with more than 50 such workers may be subject to penalties if they do not offer a plan that provides affordable, minimum essential coverage.
Marketplaces will be open to most U.S. citizens and nationals currently living in the U.S. Individuals and small-business employers do not have to purchase from the Marketplace; however, effective with 2014, individuals without minimum essential coverage may be subject to a penalty if they do not provide proof of coverage when they file their federal tax return. To better understand the Marketplace component, click here.

Although the Concordia Health Plan (CHP) is currently not planned to be available for purchase in the Marketplace, the CHP is deemed to be “Marketplace Equivalent” and will continue to be available for LCMS employers and workers. Concordia Plan Services will continue to provide LCMS employers and workers with quality health care coverage consistent with LCMS beliefs and faith. CPS will continue to retain and build membership for the CHP.

CPS will do all it can to help employers and workers navigate the changing landscape of health care. Be watching for more communication in the “Explaining Health Care Reform” series. (05/13) 



ProManage PROgram™ Lowers Rate
Effective April 30, 2013, the ProManage PROgram™ rate will be reduced for Concordia Retirement Savings Plan (CRSP) participants. ProMange is a professional investment advisor, whose services are available to members in the CRSP, to assist with the asset allocation of their accounts.

The new rate for the CRSP Account will be an annual fee rate of 16.89 basis points. This fee is based on the account balance and is charged on a monthly basis. Plan members will now be paying $1.41 per month per $10,000 of their account balance. Members will be paying about $.04 per month, per $10,000 less than the previous quarter. ProMange investment services are available at a fraction of what it would generally cost to pay an outside financial advisor.

Workers who are enrolled in the CRSP are automatically enrolled in the ProManage PROgram. Workers can opt out of (or re-enroll in) ProManage by accessing their CRSP account online at www.metlife.retirementpartner.com.

For additional information on ProManage, click here. (04/13)



Upcoming Concordia Retirement Plan Town Hall Meetings
Concordia Plan Services leadership will be hosting Town Hall Meetings to discuss changes to the Concordia Retirement Plan (CRP) which will take effect 7/1/14.

The CRP Town Hall meetings will be held:

6:30 p.m., Wednesday, May 1
Trinity Lutheran Church
2701 Maple Avenue
Lisle, IL

6:30 p.m., Wednesday, May 1
Hope Lutheran Church
32400 Hoover Road
Warren, MI

7:30 p.m., Thursday, May 2
Concordia Lutheran High School
1601 St. Joe River Drive
Ft. Wayne, IN

In addition, our Benefit Consultants will be conducting benefits meetings in the following locations:

5:30 p.m., Monday, April 29
Trinity Lutheran Church
1354 S. Otsego Avenue
Gaylord, MI

7:00 p.m., Tuesday, April 30
St. Lorenz Lutheran Church
140 Churchgrove Road
Frankenmuth, MI

7:00 p.m., Thursday, May 2
St. Matthew Lutheran Church
5125 Cascade Road SE
Grand Rapids, MI

The CRP is financially sound today. However, taking action now is necessary to help preserve the core primary retirement benefit for past, present, and future church workers. CPS understands that change may cause confusion and concern, therefore, please consider attending. We need your feedback and want the opportunity to address your questions in person.

Multiple town hall meetings will be conducted by CPS leadership this spring and summer. Click here for specific dates and locations of upcoming CRP Town Hall Meetings. (04/13) 



E-Learning Module Explains Health Care Reform’s Summary of Benefits and Coverage
Concordia Plan Services is here to help employers and workers better understand the many facets of the Affordable Care Act, or health care reform law. Therefore, we have created an education series titled, “Explaining Health Care Reform,” consisting of e-learning modules and flyers focusing on some of the key health care reform topics.

The Summary of Benefits and Coverage (SBC) is a requirement of the health care reform law. The law requires health insurers and self-insured group health plans, like the Concordia Health Plan (CHP), to fill in a government-provided template to illustrate the general medical benefits and coverage provided by the health plan so that consumers can more easily understand their benefits and compare coverage.

Both Concordia Plans and employers in the CHP share the responsibility of distributing SBCs to workers, and must adhere to specific distribution timeframes to avoid incurring penalties. To better understand the purpose and distribution requirements of the SBC, click here.

Concordia Plans will do all it can to help employers and workers navigate the changing landscape of health care. Be watching for more communication in the “Explaining Health Care Reform” series. (04/13)



Website Maintenance - April 21, 2013
The Concordia Plan Services website will be down for maintenance beginning at 6:00 a.m. CT this Sunday, April 21. It is anticipated that the site will be unavailable for 8 hours. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. (4/13)



Support for Those Impacted by the Tragedies in Boston, MA and McLennan County, TX
When a traumatic event occurs, whether a bombing or some other unforeseen horrific act, it's important to take good care of you. As a church worker for the The Lutheran Church -- Missouri Synod, you may be in a position of needing to help others cope with the trauma before you yourself have had a chance to deal with your own feelings. Cigna, the Concordia Health Plan's service provider for the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) has some helpful information about physical, mental, and emotional self-care during such turbulent times.

To learn what you can do for yourself -- so that you can better care for others -- and to get information about how you can better support your own family members, who may be struggling during a time like this, go to www.cignabehavioral.com. No login is required. Under "Members," click on "More (including our Disaster Resource Center)." Then, under "Disaster Resource Center," click on "click here." Scroll down to "Violent Attacks/Traumatic Events" and click on the link. You'll find extensive resources for responding to mass tragedies, including some specific to the explosion is West, TX. We highly recommend you spending a few minutes checking out the resources on this site.

And, as always, an EAP counselor is available 24/7, at no cost to you, by calling 866.726.5267.  (04/13)



Concordia Retirement Plan Town Hall Meetings in California
Concordia Plan Services leadership will be in Southern California April 17 and April 20, to discuss changes to the Concordia Retirement Plan (CRP) which will take effect 7/1/14. The CRP Town Hall meetings will be held: 

6:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 17 
Concordia University—Irvine
Performing Arts Center
1530 Concordia West
Irvine, CA 92612

10 a.m. Saturday, April 20
St. John’s Lutheran Church
Walker Hall
154 S. Shaffer St.
Orange, CA 92866

The CRP is financially sound today. However, taking action now is necessary to help preserve the core primary retirement benefit for past, present, and future church workers. CPS understands that change may cause confusion and concern, therefore, if you live near Irvine or Orange, please consider attending. We need your feedback and want the opportunity to address your questions in person.

These are just two of many town hall meetings that have been and will be conducted by CPS leadership this spring and summer. Click here for specific dates and locations of upcoming CRP Town Hall Meetings. (04/13) 



Employers Can File for Previous Years’ Tax Credits

Employers who are eligible to claim the Small Business Health Care Tax Credit, but were unaware of the credit and therefore missed filing in past years, can still file starting with the 2010 tax year.

The IRS has been accepting late returns for 2010 and 2011 when an explanation of late filing is attached to the return. The IRS has not stated when they will stop accepting returns; however, the sooner you file the return, the more likely it is to be accepted. For calendar-year employers (January 1 – December 31), the filing due date is May 15. For an employer with a fiscal year-end of June 30, the due date is November 15.

On December 2, 2010, the Internal Revenue Service issued Notice 2010-82. This guidance allows small employers enrolled in denominational health plans, like the Concordia Health Plan, to be eligible to claim the Small Business Health Care Tax Credit. This credit was made available under the 2010 Affordable Care Act (health care reform).

To determine if you are eligible, review the Small Business Health Care Tax Credit FAQs. If you are eligible, find out how to file and calculate your credit by reading the Information and Sample Credit Calculation flyer. Detailed instructions for determining if a credit is available can be found by reviewing IRS Form 8941. IRS Notice 2010-82 also provides information about the credit. Both of these items are available at www.irs.gov.

One eligible LCMS church has received $50,000 just for claiming this tax credit for the past three years! What a blessing for this church’s ministry.

For additional information, contact Concordia Plan Services at 888-927-7526 or info@ConcordiaPlans.org. (04/13)



Cigna’s EAP Wellness Seminars Now Available Via Webcast
Beginning April 10 Concordia Health Plan members* will have the choice of participating in Cigna’s EAP Wellness Seminars via telephone or website!

The EAP Wellness Seminars are now available as live interactive webcasts, and are accessible via computer and mobile device (e.g., smartphones and tablets, such as the iPad). Seminars will continue to be accessible by telephone through the end of 2013. The registration process is the same for webcast and telephone.

Register now for an upcoming EAP Wellness Seminar!

*The EAP is not available to CHP for Medicare members. (04/13) 



Concordia Retirement Plan Town Hall Meeting at Concordia Seminary
Concordia Plan Services leadership will be at Concordia Seminary–St. Louis, 7 p.m., Thursday, April 4, to discuss changes to the Concordia Retirement Plan (CRP) which will take effect 7/1/14. The meeting will be held in Werner Auditorium, 801 Seminary Place, in Clayton, Mo.

The CRP is financially sound today. However, taking action now is necessary to help preserve the core primary retirement benefit for past, present, and future church workers. CPS understands that change may cause confusion and concern, therefore, if you live in the St. Louis area, please consider attending. We need your feedback and want the opportunity to address your questions in person.

This will be the first of many town hall meetings conducted by CPS leadership this spring and summer. Click here for specific dates and locations of upcoming CRP Town Hall Meetings. (04/13) 



Introducing the New Express Scripts Website! 
Express Scripts has enhanced its website features to better serve you and your family! Concordia Health Plan (CHP) members can access the new Express Scripts website starting 4/1/2013

Once CHP members login, either as returning customers or registering for the first time (members who have been inactive for 365 days will have to re-register), they enter the main page of the Express Scripts Member Portal. From this page, members can:
  • Receive medication-related alerts and take action
  • Order refills and renewals for their own and their household’s prescriptions
  • Enroll in Worry-Free Fills®
  • Transfer retail prescriptions to home delivery 
  • Review a mail order summary or confirmation, as well as payment and billing
  • Check the status of an order
  • Ask a pharmacist questions anytime, day or night
In addition, there are new privacy features. Each member over age 18 must register separately for the Express Scripts Member Portal. You can grant permission for other adults in your household to access your information through an option called “Household view.” When you enable household view, your adult dependents can view your information, place orders on your behalf, and more!

Also available is a new Express Scripts mobile app! If you currently have an Express Scripts app, be sure to download the new version from your app store. (You can only download the mobile app if you are registered on www.Express-Scripts.com.)

If you use home delivery, you may see references to the Medco name and, more specifically, the Medco Pharmacy®, which is a home delivery pharmacy now owned by Express Scripts. This is temporary. Eventually, the Medco Pharmacy will be renamed as the Express Scripts Pharmacy.

Express Scripts will continue to refer to Medco as a part of its family of pharmacies until it is renamed Express Scripts. Calls made to you may display Medco on your caller ID, and you may receive emails that include references to Medco for the time being.

For more answers to some common questions about the new Express Scripts website, click here. Visit www.Express-Scripts.com to check out the new features today! (03/13)



Inclement Weather Impacts Concordia Plan Services
Trying to Contact Concordia Plan Services? We regret that due to severe weather in our area, our office will open late at 9:00 a.m. on Monday, March 25, 2013, and our service resources may be limited.

Please be aware that you may experience a delay in service, and we apologize for any inconvenience to you. As an alternative, you can contact our benefit administrators directly for assistance at the contact information found under this link to Providers. (03/13)


Employee Assistance Program Wellness Seminars in April
When you are in need of advice or help, you may find what you’re looking for through Cigna’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP) 2013 National Wellness Seminars.

Click on the links below to pre-register for the seminars coming up in April: 
    • April 10 “Dreaming of a Good Night’s Sleep” 
    • April 17 “Go You…Go Green”

For a complete schedule of 2013 EAP Wellness Seminars, click here.

These EAP seminars and training opportunities are open to Concordia Health Plan (CHP) members and their families, as well as managers and others in supervisory roles at employers who offer the CHP. (The EAP is not available to Medicare members.)

In addition to seminars and trainings through the EAP, remember that Concordia Plan Services can also host workshops and presentations on health and wellness, personal finance, and retirement planning—at no cost. Visit our Employer Services page to learn more. Our list of available E-Learning sessions also continues to grow. (03/13) 



Concordia Plan Services Hours March 28-29
Concordia Plan Services will close at 2 p.m., Thursday, March 28, for Maundy Thursday and will be closed all day Friday, March 29, for Good Friday.

We will resume regular office hours 7 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday, April 1. (03/13) 



Filing for Small Business Health Care Tax Credit Pays Off!
Concordia Plan Services wants to remind employers that they may be eligible to claim the Small Business Health Care Tax Credit. One eligible LCMS church has received $50,000 just for claiming this tax credit for the past three years! What a blessing for this church’s ministry.

On December 2, 2010, the Internal Revenue Service issued Notice 2010-82. This guidance allows small employers enrolled in denominational health plans, like the Concordia Health Plan, to be eligible to claim the Small Business Health Care Tax Credit. This credit was made available under the 2010 Affordable Care Act (health care reform).

We know the process is a little daunting, but please take the time to find out if your church is eligible to file for this credit. If you are, we have provided an information/sample credit calculation flyer along with FAQs to help you work through the steps to file. You can even file for past years.

Detailed instructions for determining if a credit is available can be found by reviewing IRS Form 8941. IRS Notice 2010-82 also provides information about the credit. Both of these items are available at www.irs.gov.

For additional information, contact Concordia Plan Services at 888-927-7526 or info@ConcordiaPlans.org. (02/13)



Concordia Plan Services Announces Future Changes to Retirement Benefits 
The effects of the economic recession and prolonged recovery are changing the complexion of the retirement industry. In response to these factors and to preserve the core retirement benefit for retirees, as well as current and future church workers, Concordia Plan Services has announced updates to the Concordia Retirement Plan (the “Plan”), effective July 1, 2014. Concordia Plan Services provides retirement, health care and other benefits to nearly 50,000 current and retired workers of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod and their dependents.

“The Concordia Retirement Plan is financially sound today. The changes we will institute, starting in July 2014, will allow us to preserve the core or ‘primary’ retirement benefit for those who have served the Church and its ministries, and sustain this benefit for future workers,” said Concordia
Plan Services President and Chief Executive Officer Jim Sanft. “In light of the economic challenges facing the retirement industry, true stewardship means acting now to secure the Plan for all members.”

The changes will not impact current retirees or surviving spouses, and no retirement benefits earned prior to July 1, 2014, will be affected. The most recent funding level of the CRP is 92 percent as of January 1, 2013. The adjustments currently being made are designed to maintain and extend the Plan’s ability to meet its benefit obligations.

To help plan members prepare for these adjustments, Concordia Plan Services will increase education efforts on the benefits of a blended defined benefit/defined contribution approach to retirement, and the importance of saving for retirement. Among the adjustments that will take effect July 1, 2014, are adjustments for early retirement, changes to the death benefit and adjusting the normal retirement age to generally conform with the normal Social Security retirement age.

Plan members can access additional details about the plan changes by clicking here. Concordia Plan Services’ leadership will also be conducting a series of town hall meetings in the spring and summer of 2013, hosted at congregations, schools and universities around the country. Information on these events, once scheduled, can be accessed by clicking “Town Hall Meetings” in the Quick Links section of our homepage. Check back periodically for an updated schedule.

“We understand that change spawns questions,” Sanft said. “We are committed to helping our members understand and embrace these changes, and offer opportunities for their questions to be answered and their voices to be heard.” (02/13)



Inclement Weather Impacts Concordia Plan Services
Trying to Contact Concordia Plan Services? We regret that due to severe weather in our area, our office is closed Thursday, 2/21/2013. In addition, our office will open late at 9:30 a.m. on Friday, 2/22/2013, and our service resources may be limited. 

Please be aware that you may experience a delay in service, and we apologize for any inconvenience to you. As an alternative, you can contact our benefit administrators directly for assistance at the contact information found under this “link to Providers.” (02/13)



USPS Delivery Changes Have Minimal Impact on CHP Members
The United States Postal Service (USPS) recently announced they will stop delivery of letters on Saturdays starting the week of August 5, 2013. However, Saturday delivery changes will have minimal impact on Concordia Health Plan members who receive prescriptions through Express Scripts mail order delivery.

Prescription medication shipments are considered to be a package shipment, and the USPS will continue to deliver packages on Saturday. Express Scripts has confirmed the USPS will do the following:

  • Include all parcel services in the packages delivered on Saturdays – including First Class Parcel, Priority Mail Parcel, Parcel Select, Lightweight Parcel.
  • Plan to continue to pick up parcels from mailers like Express Scripts who currently get Saturday parcel pick-up service from the USPS.
  • Continue to provide mail clerks on-site to accept mail on Saturdays.
  • Evaluate the impact of this change on the delivery standards (1-3 days).
  • Change the processing schedules at their origin/destination facilities.
  • Continue to pick up mail at the Post Office for PO boxes as it is currently for mailroom, remittance processing, etc.

If you have any questions or need additional information, call Concordia Plan Services at 888-927-7526. (02/13) 



Explaining Health Care Reform: Additional Medicare Taxes on High Earners
Effective 1/1/13 under the Affordable Care Act, or health care reform, workers earning more than $200,000 a year ($250,000 for joint filers) will have to pay higher Medicare taxes on applicable wages above those thresholds. Once a worker hits the threshold, the Medicare tax rate should increase by 0.9%.

For example: A worker earns $210,000 for the year:

• His Medicare withholding up to and including $200,000 is at the regular 1.45% Medicare tax rate
• His Medicare withholding on the remaining $10,000 is at the new high-earner rate of 2.35%

Note: Withholding at the higher rate doesn’t begin until the worker’s earnings actually exceed $200,000.

This increase only applies to the employee portion of Medicare taxes as well as to earnings for self-employed ministers of religion, payable as part of their SECA taxes. There is no change to the employer’s share of the Medicare tax, and employers do not have to match the increased Medicare tax amount from their employee’s wages. However, employers are still responsible for the withholding and reporting obligations with respect to the increased employee Medicare tax.

We encourage you to work with your payroll or tax professional to ensure you follow these new withholding rules. For more information about the additional Medicare tax on high earners, click here.

As your partner in ministry, Concordia Plan Services is a resource for you—we will help you navigate the changing landscape of health care reform. For up-to-date news and information related to health care reform, click here. You can also contact us at 888-927-7526. (02/13) 



HHS Announces Proposed Amendments to Rules on Contraceptive Services
On February 1, 2013, the Department of Health and Human Services released proposed amendments to rules regarding Women’s Preventive Services Coverage and religious organizations.

Based on initial review of the proposed amendments, they appear to expand the definition of a “religious employer” that is exempt from the requirement to provide contraceptive coverage. Also, the proposed amendments expand the accommodations for additional nonprofit religious organizations that meet defined eligibility requirements.

Concordia Plans staff is studying the proposed amendments to determine potential implications for those enrolled in the Concordia Health Plan (CHP), as well as LCMS ministries not enrolled in the CHP, in order to take appropriate action to meet our commitment to serve those who serve the church in a manner consistent with our Lutheran faith and theology. (02/13) 



Technology Upgrades Starting this Weekend
In the coming weeks, starting this weekend, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota will be performing critical technology upgrades. This will result in some member service disruptions during the following times:

From 12:01 AM Saturday February 2 through 8:00 AM Sunday, February 3
From 12:01 AM Saturday February 9 through 11:59 PM Sunday, February 10
From 12:01 AM Saturday February 23 through 11:59 PM Sunday, February 24
From 12:01 AM Saturday March 2 through 11:59 PM Sunday, March 3
(01/13)



‘Marketplace’ Notification Compliance Date Delayed
Instead of a March 1, 2013, deadline employers may have until late summer or fall of 2013 to provide notification to their employees about the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) Health Insurance Marketplace, formerly referred to as the Exchange, which will be available in their state.

According to a Frequently Asked Question document released from the Department of Labor, the delay is necessary for several reasons:

• To give the Department of Labor time to coordinate the notice with the Department of Health and Human Services’ educational efforts and Internal Revenue Service’s guidance on the minimum value of plans available in the Marketplace
• To ensure a smooth implementation process including providing employers with sufficient time to comply
• To select an applicability date that allows employees to receive the information at a meaningful time, potentially to coordinate with the fall open enrollment season for the Marketplace.

The Department of Labor is also considering providing model, generic language that could be used to satisfy the notice requirement.

Concordia Plan Services is closely monitoring this topic and will keep employers informed of any additional information that is released. As always, if you have questions, please contact us at 888-927-7526.

As your partner in ministry, Concordia Plan Services is a resource for you—we will help you navigate the changing landscape of health care reform. (01/13) 



Shingles Vaccine Available to PPO Members Age 50 and Above
Concordia Health Plan (CHP) members ages 50 and older can receive the shingles vaccine without a prescription.*

This vaccination is covered at 100% under Preventive Care with a network PPO provider. It is also covered at 100% by Express Scripts if administered by the pharmacist at a network pharmacy. For members enrolled in CHP Medicare supplemental coverage, Medicare B does not cover the administration of the shingles vaccine. However, the cost is covered at 100% by either Blue Cross or Express-Scripts, as long as the vaccine is administered by a network provider or a pharmacist at a network pharmacy.

Shingles is a disease caused by the varicella-zoster virus, which is the same virus that causes chickenpox. After an attack of chickenpox, the virus lies dormant in certain nerves in the body. For reasons that are not fully understood, the virus can reappear in the form of shingles, more commonly in people with weakened immune systems and with aging.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) lowered the age of who could receive the vaccine without requiring a prescription from 60 to 50 in March 2011.

*CHP members with an Option HMO must be age 60 or older to receive the vaccine without a prescription. Cigna follows the recommendation set forth by the Center for Disease Control (CDC). The FDA has approved the shingles vaccine for patients age 50-59, but the CDC has not issued an affirmative recommendation for expansion to this age group. (01/13) 



Be Well Rewards are Back!
The Concordia Health Plan Be Well Rewards program is back for a third year! The 2013 program will be available February 1 and will remain much the same as the past two years. Participants can still earn $300 in rewards, as well as an additional $50 in bonus rewards. Click here to view the e-brochure which details the 2013 menu of activities and bonus opportunities.

Also, as in prior years, employers will earn an equal number of rewards for every dollar earned by their enrolled workers and spouses.

Your workers have received information about the 2013 program, please encourage them to participate! (01/13)



Employee Assistance Program Seminars, Training Lineup for 2013
When you are in need of advice or help, you may find what you’re looking for through Cigna’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP) 2013 National Telephone Wellness Seminars and Management Training.

These EAP seminars and training opportunities are open to Concordia Health Plan (CHP) members and their families, as well as managers and others in supervisory roles at employers who offer the CHP. (The EAP is not available to Medicare members.)

For a schedule of 2013 EAP Telephone Seminars, click here. To access Confirmation Codes to pre-register, click here

For an additional cost, employer benefits representatives can offer wellness seminars and/or management trainings for their employees. To view the 2013 EAP Wellness Seminars and Management Training Catalog, click here. To request an on-site Wellness Seminar or Management Training session, click here.

In addition to seminars and trainings through the EAP, remember that Concordia Plan Services can also host workshops and presentations on health and wellness, personal finance, and retirement planning—at no cost. Visit our Employer Services page to learn more. Our list of available E-Learning sessions also continues to grow. (01/13)  



Video Simplifies Complex Affordable Care Act
In a continued effort to learn and to help keep our members aware of what is happening with the Affordable Care Act, or health care reform law, Concordia Plan Services would like to share a video made possible by The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

This short, animated movie, “Health Reform Hits Main Street,” illustrates how health insurance coverage will work under the Affordable Care Act. It explains the problems with the current health care system, the changes that are happening now, and the big changes coming in 2014.

To watch this video, click here. (01/13)



New Features on Express Scripts Website 
Express Scripts has enhanced its website features to better serve members. Concordia Health Plan (CHP) for Medicare members can currently access these new features, while other CHP members will have access starting 3/1/2013. 

Once CHP members login, either as returning customers or registering for the first time (members who have been inactive for 365 days will have to register), they enter the main page of the Express Scripts Member Portal. From this page, members can:

• View prescription and family member information (Each member over the age of 18 must register separately.)
• Receive medication-related alerts and take action
• Order refills and renewals for their own and their household’s prescriptions
• Enroll in Worry-Free Fills®
• Transfer retail prescriptions to home delivery
• Review a mail order summary or confirmation, as well as payment and billing
• Check the status of an order
• Easily navigate to any feature of the site

For more answers to some common questions about the new Express Scripts website, click here. To visit the website, click here. (01/13) 



New SilverSneakers Fitness Program!
As of January 1, 2013, all Concordia Health Plan Members with Medicare supplemental coverage have a free membership in the SilverSneakers Fitness program!

SilverSneakers is available as part of the Concordia Health Plan Be Well … Serve Well initiative and can help members reach their health and wellness goals. It includes a fitness membership with access to more than 11,000 locations nationwide. The program also includes online tools and support, as well as at-home fitness kits.

Information about the program and member ID cards were mailed to eligible members in December. You can also learn about the SilverSneakers program at www.SilverSneakers.com or by calling 888-423-4632, Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. ET. (01/13) 



Payroll Tax Holiday Ends for Social Security Tax Withholdings
The IRS recently released updated withholding guidance for 2013. The payroll tax holiday, which reduced the employee portion of Social Security taxes by 2% during 2011 and 2012, has expired. An extension of the tax holiday was not included in the recently signed American Taxpayer Relief Act. The Social Security Tax will revert back to its normal rate effective January 1, 2013.

The Social Security Tax rates for 2013 will be:

Employee-portion: 6.2% of wage earnings, up to the maximum wage base of $113,700
Employer-portion: 6.2% of wage earnings, up to the maximum wage base of $113,700
Self-employed persons: 12.4% of wage earnings, up to the maximum wage base of $113,700

Employers should now withhold employee Social Security taxes at the 6.2% rate.* The IRS recommends employers begin withholding the 6.2% rate as soon as possible, but no later than February 15, 2013. Adjustments for any under-withheld taxes must be made no later than March 31, 2013.

Workers who are self-employed should begin using the new rates when calculating their 2013 estimated taxes. For additional information on the Social Security Tax rate, visit www.IRS.gov. IRS Notice 1036 includes information on the Percentage Method Tables for Income Tax Withholding.

*This rate does not include the Medicare tax rate and/or other applicable payroll taxes. (01/13)



National Glaucoma Awareness Month
January is National Glaucoma Awareness Month. Glaucoma is an eye disorder that is caused by too much pressure in the eye. It affects about 3 million Americans, but is often very treatable if detected early. Annual exams, new medications, and surgery can slow or stop the progression of the disease.

Concordia Plan Services wants to remind Concordia Health Plan (CHP) members that Vision Service Plan (VSP), which administers vision care benefits* for the CHP, covers annual eye exams at 100%, after a $10 copay, when provided by a VSP network doctor. For more information about vision care benefits as a CHP member, click here.

And, CHP members can earn 25 Be Well Rewards points for this preventive exam through the Be Well Rewards program*. You can start logging your healthy activities at www.bewellservewell.com starting February 1, 2013!

Looking for more eye care information for you and your family? Visit the Eye Care Information section of www.vsp.com for articles, tips and special offers for VSP members only.

*Not available to members enrolled in the CHP Medicare supplemental coverage. (01/13) 



Chat Online with an EAP Consultant
Concordia Health Plan (CHP) members* are now able to interact with Cigna’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP) telephonic consultants and personal advocates through a new secure and confidential web-chat feature – Click to Chat.

The Click to Chat pilot, which will run until January 31, 2013, will be available 8 a.m.-4 p.m. CST, Monday-Friday. You can use the web-chat feature for:

• Accessing EAP coverage information
• Requesting EAP authorization
• Behavioral health concerns (i.e., stress, depression, anxiety)
• Legal and financial services

You can find this new feature at www.cignabehavioral.com. Click on “Login to access your benefits” and enter “lcms” next to “Employer ID.” Click to Chat is located near the bottom navigation bar.

*Not applicable for Medicare members (01/13)