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Michelle Agne

March report

Brother and Sisters,

 

I continue to receive calls concerning our HRA cards that we received upon ratification of our last contract. The HRA cards are not refilled yearly. If members had remaining funds left in their HRA account they were issued a new card effective January 2016 and good thru December 2018. We have a link to the List of Eligible Expenses on IBEW824 website. We have had several members that have had their cards deactivated after payment was taken due to the fact that some transactions required documentation to validate that the purchase was an eligible health care expense. At that point a letter should have been generated to the member to advise them that the card had been deactivated until a claim is submitted providing an itemized receipt which must of included date of service/purchase, type of service or product name, amount paid, name of person, and provider or organization providing the service or product. An Explanation of Benefits from your insurance carrier is generally the best document to use for substantiation. After the documentation is sent and verified the card can be reactivated. We have several members who have balances left on their cards but, need to complete the above process. If you need assistance with this please contact me so I may assist you with this process.

 

Several members have called asking what FMLA/Metlife process they should use for scheduled surgeries happening around April 1st. At this point I’m making a list of members that will fall in this situation so as we get additional information we can update the member and make sure that they get cared for. If you know of any of your Brothers or Sisters that may be in the above situation please have them contact me.

 

In Solidarity,

Michelle Agne    

February report

Brothers and Sisters,

Last month I reported on the FMLA process. This month I would like to remind you about Metlife process. We still have members who aren’t aware that we have file a Metlife claim. Metlife is a vendor for processing STD (Short Term Disability) and FMLA. They however are separate groups and don’t communicate with each other. FMLA protects our time Metlife approves our STD claims.

You may need to have both sets of paperwork filled out if you are going to be out more than 3 working days. It is crucial that we verify with the treating physician’s office that they will fill out FMLA/Metlife paperwork before we start seeing them.  

If you have a scheduled surgery you can open your claim and have it approved prior to the surgery date. You need to call Metlife (800.638.4228) and open a claim prior to the paperwork being sent from your doctor’s office. I recommend that you write the claim # on top of the paperwork prior to them sending it. After, the paperwork is sent make sure that the doctor’s office saves the fax confirmation sheet. 

It typically takes Metlife 3-5 working days to review a claim. After you claim is opened you will be assigned a case manager. Case managers are supposed to make contact with members while the claim is going through the approval process. 

If you don’t hear from them I recommend that you reach out to them. If they aren’t available please leave a message. Case managers must return your call within 2 hours if you call before 3pm. If you still don’t hear from them please call me so I can escalate your claim. 

It is important to know that Metlife typically approves 30 days at a time. If you are going to be out beyond 30 days we need to keep up with the expiration date and make a request to our doctors that they send in the necessary paperwork to get it extended prior to the expiration so your pay will be on time.  

I have had several calls over the last month inquiring on what will happen with FMLA/STD claims after April 1st.  I will report on this once we receive the information on how this will work.

If you are having any issues with FMLA, Metlife or Payroll give me a call. I have samples on how the forms need to be fill out or I can assist you with any problems that you may be experiencing.   

In Solidarity,

Michelle Agne  

January 2016

Brothers and Sisters,

Each New Year I report on FMLA changes or things that you might not be aware of. We still need the Metlife Attending Physicians forms filled out if you are out more than 3 consecutive days.

Who is Eligible?

If you have been employed for at least 12 months and worked at least 1250 hours during the 12 months immediately preceding the first day of leave (this averages to about 25 hours per week over 12 months). Hours counted toward the 1250 do not include vacation, medical leave or time off under employee compensation.

What is a “Serious Health Condition?”

The FMLA regulations define qualifying serious health conditions as an illness, injury or physical or mental condition that involves one or more of the following:

  • A hospital stay of at least one night;

  • Incapacity of more than 3 consecutive calendar days (not necessarily workdays and continuing treatment by a health care provider).

  • Incapacity due to a serious chronic disorder which requires periodic visits for treatment (for example asthma, diabetes, chronic back pain).

  • Incapacity due to pregnancy or for prenatal care.

  • Long term or permanent disability.

  • An absence to receive multiple treatments for restorative surgery after an injury or to prevent a period of capacity of more than 3 consecutive days.

 

What is meant by “incapacity?”

Incapacity means the inability to perform one essential function of your job, or perform other regular daily activities due to the serious health condition, treatment there of, or recovery there from.

What is meant by “treatment”?

Treatment by a healthcare provider on a least one occasion, which results in a regimen of treatment

Treatment on two or more occasions by a healthcare provider within 30 days of the first day of incapacity, unless extenuating circumstances exist

The first or only visit to the healthcare provider must take place within 7 days of the incapacity 

Does a healthcare provider have to be a licensed physician?

No. The FMLA regulations define “health care provider” fairly broadly. The term not only includes physicians but also optometrists, osteopaths, chiropractors, podiatrist, dentists, clinical psychologists, Christian Science practitioners, nurse practitioners, nurse midwives, and clinical social employees (if authorized under state law to diagnose and treat serious health conditions without supervision), and other providers recognized by the employer or group health plan.
 

In Solidarity,

Michelle Agne

December 2015

 Brothers and Sisters,

I have received several calls over the last month concerning our Union Dental discount that we have been receiving for several years from Dr. Pulliam. Dr. Pulliam recently retired and sold his practice to Dr. Honig. Any issues that had occurred during this transition have been corrected. Dr. Honig is now a member of the Union Dental network and he is able to offer the discounted rates to IBEW824 members, family members, and retirees. 

We were recently notified that Verizon has made some changes to the way that they process LTD claims. They now are having the Verizon Accommodations Team call the member to explain the process before it is sent to MetLife. If you or someone you know are in this situation please call your representative at the hall so we can assist you. 

IBEW/Verizon Stress committee are still attending the day of Safety Rodeos for Outside Plant. We are still looking for members to participate in educating our members on the services the Employee Assistance Program offers. If you are interested please give me a call.

In Solidarity,

Michelle Agne

November 2015

 Brothers and Sisters,

Over the last month I have had numerous calls regarding payroll issues. Payroll has had several changes in there processes. Before, we can escalate any issues they require that we do what they call a self-resolution. I have found “Ask Penny” is the fastest way to get a response.  If your issues still aren’t resolved after doing that please write down who you were speaking with and call your rep at the hall so we may assist you.  

I received several calls concerning the Annual Enrollment for health care benefit for 2016. It stated that “Your Medical, Dental, Life Insurance, and Accidental Death and Dismemberment Coverage will automatically continue for 2016, as applicable. Your tobacco user status, Health Assessment credit, and spending account contributions will also automatically continue into 2016”.  So, if no changes were made it will continue for 2016. Please take a minute to make sure that your beneficiary are spelled correctly and they are up to date. Also, print it out and keep it with your important documents. 

In Solidarity,

Michelle Agne

October 2015

Brothers and Sisters,

Over the last several months the IBEW824/Verizon Stress Committee has participated in outside plant Safety Rodeos. Our goal is to educate our members on the services that Employee Assistance Program offers. We have had representative that specialize in Financial Planning and Stress Management at the day of safety. I reported last month that the outside plant Safety Rodeos would resume September 16th. This has been delayed due to an equipment problem at the training center. We are still looking for members to join us on this committee if you are interested please call your rep at the hall so we can get you scheduled.

Congratulations to the Comcast DSR’s in South Florida who ratified there 1st contract with IBEW824/Comcast. I wanted to thank Deborah Hernandez, Francisco Cou and Voley Cortes for all of your hard work with this process.

Just a reminder with the Metlife/FMLA paperwork. We only fill out the top portion of the Metlife paperwork. FMLA we only put our name, 1st date of absence and employee id #. We never fill out anything in the body or add any additional notes. If something needs to be changed, corrected or added on the original paperwork please have the doctor initial whatever he/she is adding. If you need any assistance or have questions please call your rep at the hall so we may assist you with this.

In Solidarity,

Michelle Agne

September 2015

Brothers and Sisters,

I have reported several times over the last year about issues that our members are still experiencing with our HRA cards. The link to the List of Eligible Expenses is on IBEW824 website. Please take a look to see what is covered. We have several members that have had their cards deactivated/declined after payment was taken. Some transactions require documentation to validate that the purchase is for an eligible health care expense. An Explanation of Benefits from your insurance carrier is generally the best document to use for substantiation. The card will continue to be deactivated/declined until this process is complete.  If you know that you have monies left on your card and are experiencing this issue please call me and I will assist you.

We have recently had members that have overlooked updating their beneficiary. Please take a minute to go Verizon Benefit Connections.com to make sure that your beneficiary are spelled correctly and it is up to date. Also, print it out and keep it with your important documents.

I report every month about the Metlife/FMLA battles that we go through on a daily basis. The good news is most members are calling as soon as they find that they are in need of Metlife/FMLA paperwork. So, I want to thank all of the Chief Stewards, Stewards and members who are looking out for our brothers and sisters to get them cared for. Remember both sets of paperwork is on IBEW824.org. Just a reminder we only fill out the top portion of Metlife and Name, Employee ID, and first date of absence on FMLA. The doctor fills the rest out. If you aren’t sure, need a sample or help call the hall and we will assist you.

Over the last several months the IBEW824/Verizon Stress Committee has participated in outside plant Safety Rodeos. Our goal is to educate our members on the services that Employee Assistance Program offers. We have had representative that specialize in Financial Planning and Stress Management at the day of safety. We will start September 16th. We are looking for members to join us on this committee if you are interested please call your rep at the hall so we can get you scheduled.

In Solidarity,

Michelle Agne

August 2015

Brothers and Sisters,  

Sherry Waters, Chief Steward in E-Commerce, Stewards Felicia Archie, Lisa Little, Aisha Darby, Noreen Walton and I met with Carolyn Knudsen, Mark Bell, Amy Napper and Kristine Reelfs for our quarterly round table meeting. We brought up some concerns that we have with the Disconnection Chats and LEC retain offers. One of our concerns is if an Account Associate receives 2 complicated chats at the same time (such as 2 disconnects) what would the process be. Mark advised that they still can reach out to the ECCS team to help or take over one of the chats. The other concern was if a LEC retain offer was given would that impact your quota. A message was sent to all Account Associates on 7.31.15 stating that LEC Retain Save offers are NOT on the Consumer Revenue Grid and do NOT negatively impact your revenue. The other concern that was brought up was Verizon Northeast chats that have been done in Florida are being sent to a vendor in Texas (due to the sale). The question was asked about balancing the chats out where Florida would split the registrations with Texas instead of Florida getting the majority of registrations and less billing and orders. Mark advised that he will look into balancing it out better between Florida E-Com and the Texas vendor.  

I have reported over the last several months that we are having problems with management giving craft member’s managements FMLA or Metlife forms. This continues to happen. The wrong forms will delay your approval and make the process more stressful than it has to be. FMLA and Metlife (STD administrator) are separate for craft members. You have to have both sets filled out by your doctor. The only part that we fill out is the top of each page on the FMLA paperwork and the top portion on the Metlife Attending Physicians Statement. The rest of the paperwork is filled out by the treating physician. The most current craft FMLA and Metlife Attending Physician Form is on IBEW824.org. If I can be of any assistance please call me.  

In Solidarity,  

Michelle Agne

magne [at] ibew824 [dot] org

July 2015

Brothers and Sisters,

I continue to receive calls concerning our HRA accounts. I want to remind you that we have a link to the List of Eligible Expenses on IBEW824 website. You can use your HRA for Dental, Vision and many other things.  We have had several members that have had their cards deactivated after the payment was taken. When we received our cards a letter was attached:

 

Save your documents. Save all itemized receipts for eligible health care expenses. While most debit card transactions can be automatically substantiated, some debit card transactions do require documentation to validate that the purchase is for an eligible health care expense. In addition, if you submit a claim online, via fax, or by mail, you will be required to provide documentation to validate your eligible expenses. Itemized receipts must include date of service/purchase, type of service or product name, amount paid, name of person, and provider or organization providing the service or product. An Explanation of Benefits (EOB) from your insurance carrier is generally the best document to use for substantiation. After the documentation was sent to verify that the transaction was a health care expense the card was restored.

 

If you are experiencing any of these issues please contact me so I can assist you.

 

In Solidarity,

Michelle Agne

 

June 2015

Brothers and Sisters,

Over the last month the IBEW824/Verizon Stress Committee has participated in outside plant Safety Rodeos and the Verizon Health Fair. Our goal is to educate our members on the services that Employee Assistance Program offers. We have had representatives that specialize in Financial Planning and Stress Management at these events. We will continue attending the Safety Rodeos until the end of June and pick back up the beginning of September. We are looking for members to participate on this committee if you are interested please give me a call.

I have reported several times over the last couple months that we are having problems with management giving craft member’s managements FMLA or Metlife forms. This continues to happen. The wrong forms can delay you approval and make the process more stressful than it has to be. FMLA protects our time. Metlife is who administer our STD. We need both sets of paperwork filled out by your doctor. Please call the hall if you need any assistance.

In Solidarity,

Michelle Agne

    

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