News

Wheelhouse Weekly – July 10, 2003

July 10th 2003


THE MASTERS, MATES & PILOTS’
WHEELHOUSE WEEKLY

– Bridging the Information Gap With E-News You Can Use –

Volume 7 . . . . . Number 28 . . . . July 10, 2003

STORIES COVERED

ALSO

REMINDERS




 

CURRENT MM&P NEWSPAPER MAKES COMPELLING PLANS READING

The current issue of the MM&P Master, Mate & Pilot newspaper contains updated and in-depth info on MM&P Plans that will be of interest of Union members. Some of that info is briefly summarized below:

In his “From the President” column that can be found on page 2, MM&P International President Capt. Tim Brown reports that there is some encouraging news on the efforts to contain spiraling prescription drug costs of the MM&P Health Plan. From the first of the year through May 31, 2003, the Plan has paid out over $900,000 less to Express Pharmacy, the Plan’s prescription provider. This is in large part due to MM&P Health Plan participants having their doctor prescribe a generic drug if one is available that will perform in the same manner as the name brand drug. Participants are urged to continue this extremely cost-effective practice.

In her column, MM&P Plans Administrator Valerie Verrecchio, discusses some of the frequently asked questions she has received from her visits to the Halls. She notes that she receives many questions regarding the relationship between the Union and the Plans, which are separate entities.

The MM&P is the Union that represents the membership in negotiations with contribution employers. The Plans are individual Trusts established to administer the benefits negotiated in collective bargaining with the Contributing Employers, Ms. Verrecchio explains. She presents a detailed explanation as to how each Plan is structured and how each is its own separate entity governed by its own Board of Trustees.

In the section on the Health & Benefit Plan, there is a discussion of how the Plan contacts with vendors who provide national networks that allow the Plan’s members to access discounted services. These include MultiPlan and First Health, Cole Vision and Delta Dental.

Detailed info is also provided on the structure of the Pension Plan, IRAP/401(k), Vacation Plan, MATES Program, and the JEC. Ms. Verrecchio’s column, which can be found beginning on page 11, makes must reading for those interested in how the Plans work.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



 

GALA SEA-LAND ALUMNI REUNION SET FOR OCTOBER 11 IN EDISON, NJ

The Sea-Land 2003 Alumni Reunion Committee invites all company alumni to spend an evening with hundreds of their former Sea-Land associates from around the world at the Sea-Land 2003 Alumni Reunion.

This reunion is for all Sea-Landers… from every country, port and department. It should be an international night to remember. It will be held at the beautiful Pines Manor in Edison, NJ on Saturday, October 11.

Deadline for registration is July 21. To guarantee attendance at the biggest Sea-Land event ever, those interested in attending should register and send in payment now. Seats will be allocated based on reservations paid by July 31st payment deadline. Absolutely no walk-ins will be accepted the night of the party.

If you are coming from out of town or don’t care to drive home after a great party, the Reunion Committee has reserved a block of rooms at a special Sea-Land Reunion rate at the Clarion Hotel and Towers, across from the Pines Manor. Rooms should be booked early.

The cost is $80 per person. For the price of a Broadway show, those attending will be treated to cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, a Grand Buffet, delicious desserts, and the original cast of “Sea-Land, The Company.” For complete info on details and deadlines, see their website at www.sealandreunion.com.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



 

MATES REUNION BEING PLANNED FOR SEPTEMBER 19-21

The MM&P is in the process of preparing a schedule of activities for the upcoming MATES PROGRAM graduate reunion to be held at MITAGS from September 19-21. The names of those individuals who have responded positively are posted on the Union’s website. Click on the “Original MATES Program Reunion” button on the left side of your screen.

Additional info and updates will be posted as they become known.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



 

MM&P-CREWED SHIPS EARN MSC, NAVY SAFETY AWARDS

The US Navy’s Military Sealift Command has recognized 3 ships as winners of the MSC Surface Ship Safety Award for the October 1, 2001, to March 31, 2003, competitive period.

The Surface Ship Safety Awards recognize the outstanding contributions of ships crewed by civil service mariners to MSC fleet readiness, increased morale and efficient use of safety resources. Ships and crews earning the award exhibit consistently excellent safety records and employ proactive accident prevention programs.

The MM&P CIVMAR-crewed MSC ships USNS LEROY GRUMMAN, USNS SAN JOSE, and ocean tug USNS NAVAJO were selected from 37 eligible ships as the MSC’s safety leaders.

Each of these ships received a plaque in recognition of their efforts and is authorized to display a large green “S” signifying the Surface Ship Safety Award on its bridge bulwark. MSC also recognized three other MM&P CIVMAR-crewed ships, fleet oiler USNS JOHN ERICSSON, ammunition ship USNS MOUNT BAKER and hospital ship USNS COMFORT as runners-up for the Surface Ship Safety Award.

“These ships exemplified an aggressive safety program which actively contributed to mishap prevention. They have set the standard in MSC afloat safety for our fleet,” said Vice Adm. David Brewer III, USN, Commander, Military Sealift Command in a message sent to all MSC ships.

One winner and one runner-up are chosen from each of the following categories of MSC ships: Naval Fleet Auxiliary Force oilers, NFAF cargo ships and other MSC civil-service mariner crewed ships. USNS SAN JOSE, the highest-rated ship overall, also earned the 2002 Department of the Navy Safety Excellence Award in the Military Sealift Command category.

From January to April 2003, MSC ships delivered more than 21 million square feet of combat equipment and other cargo, the equivalent of more than 300 football fields, to the Central Command area of operations. MSC ships also pumped more than 117 million gallons of fuel to US Navy and coalition warships in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



 

AFTER SUPPORT OF FREEDOMS, USNS SPICA HEADS HOME

Between November 2002 and June 2003, while Military Sealift Command’s combat stores MM&P CIVMAR-crewed ship USNS SPICA supported Operations Enduring and Iraqi Freedom, the ship set new benchmarks for service to the fleet.

Deployed to the Mediterranean and under the operational control of US Navy’s Sixth Fleet, SPICA coordinated underway support for all ships in the Mediterranean theatre in the days leading to the war.

From November to January, SPICA, completed 19 underway replenishments, moving more than 2,800 pallets of supplies and transferring more than 257,000 gallons of fuel as the sole combat stores ship operating in the Mediterranean. At one point, SPICA conducted two replenishments with USS GEORGE WASHINGTON and then raced across the Med to resupply the USS HARRY S. TRUMAN carrier battle group.

Cmdr. James Shields, USN, officer in charge of the military detachment aboard SPICA, reported that in just the first six weeks on station, SPICA completed a full trip around the Mediterranean with stops at Rota, Spain; Augusta Bay, Sicily; and Souda Bay, Crete, and serviced customers as far east as Cyprus before meeting the TRUMAN just inside the Strait of Gibraltar.

While supporting the WASHINGTON and TRUMAN battle groups, SPICA had what is believed to be a record day when it supported seven ships of Allied Task Force East.
Lt. Cmdr. Michael Moore, USN, assistant OIC of SPICA’s Military Detachment, explained the amount of work done by SPICA during the hectic seven months.

“Last deployment, SPICA moved more than 13,300 pallets of material during a seven-month deployment,” said Moore. “Since our load-out in October 2002, SPICA has moved more than 19,900 pallets of material.” Moore added, “And in one 96-hour period, we delivered over 1,200 pallets of material.” After 8 months and 53,000 miles, SPICA completed the equivalent of roughly two trips around the world.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



 

NEW PORT HOMELAND SECURITY REGULATIONS TO COST BILLIONS

Thousands of US ports and ships will have to toughen security against the threat of terrorism under rules recently issued by the Homeland Security Department.

Some 10,000 ships and 5,000 coastal facilities will be required to assess their vulnerabilities, hire and train security officers and purchase security equipment. The nation’s 361 ports will have to establish security committees, draft security plans and hold training drills and exercises.

Under the rules, people waiting to board large passenger ships, including ferries, could be subject to the types of body and baggage screening now in place at airports. The regulations also will force the owners of 4,121 domestic ships to buy and install transponders so their identity and movements can be continuously tracked.

Several experts, including Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta, have said America’s ports are the most vulnerable segment of the transportation industry today. Ninety-five percent of international cargo to the US is carried by ship.

The new rules, which will become final late this year after one more public review, apply security protocols typically associated with international seafaring to many domestic vessels, public ports and other piers, terminals and loading docks.

The USCG estimates the cost to ports, ships, coastal facilities and offshore oil drilling units will exceed $7.3 billion over the next 10 years.

All port facilities that handle oil, chemicals, explosives and other volatile maritime cargo are subject to the new federal regulations. The same applies to facilities that serve vessels that carry more than 150 people and receive ships bound for international waters.

The Homeland Security Department has distributed $337 million in grants to ports and facilities and later this year will release an additional $105 million. Still, it is expected that the maritime industry will have to assume much of the cost of making itself more secure.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



 

PANAMA CANAL NOW REQUIRES AIS NAVIGATION EQUIPMENT

The Panama Canal Authority has announced the formal implementation of the Automatic Identification System (AIS). AIS is now required equipment for all vessels transiting the waterway.

The new AIS system will alleviate many of the challenges of navigating the Canal because Canal pilots will now be able to better view all traffic transiting through the Canal. It is expected to be particularly valuable in narrow passages and low-visibility situations.

In addition, the ACP will be able to improve Canal traffic flow and reduce the length of intervals between transiting ships.

The AIS works in real time and transmits data to all AIS-equipped ships or shoreside facilities within VHF radio range, providing Canal authorities with a complete and precise view of all traffic in the Panama Canal. Position and other data are distributed instantaneously from the ship’s sensors into the AIS system, where it is formatted and transmitted in a short data burst on a dedicated VHF radio channel.

The AIS automatically identifies a ship, type, position, course, speed, navigational status and other safety-related information through new software located onboard and onshore. All ships transiting Canal waters that are over 300 net tons or more than 60-feet in length must now be equipped with an AIS system that meets the standards set by the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

The Canal implementation of AIS is well ahead of the 2004 IMO deadline. According to the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), all vessels will be required to carry AIS systems effective on the date of the first safety equipment survey between July 1, 2004 and December 31, 2004.

Between Canal’s July 1, 2003 implementation date and the dates required by SOLAS, for those vessels not yet carrying AIS, the Canal will provide portable AIS vessel tracking units for a $150 fee.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



 

ABS COUNTERS SPAIN’S PRESTIGE CASUALTY CLAIMS

The American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) has instituted legal action against the Government of Spain seeking recovery for any claims made against the classification society for damages arising from the PRESTIGE casualty.

The ABS action is in response to the suit filed against the classification society by the Government of Spain seeking more than $700 million in damages for the pollution caused by the sinking of the tanker.

The ABS counterclaim alleges that the extensive pollution that has occurred can be directly attributed to the Spanish Government’s failure to properly activate and implement an effective oil spill contingency plan as required by Spanish law.

It also alleges that the Government’s decision to deny the vessel access to a place of refuge in the face of severe weather was a clear violation of its legal duty and that the Government acted recklessly, negligently and grossly negligently in its response to the casualty.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



 

MITAGS ACADEMIC NOTES

Online Application “Glitch” Corrected

If you received a “CLASS FULL” MESSAGE on-line for some of the CMM courses, please try again. As you can see from the list below, we have plenty of openings. Thanks to the members who brought the problem to our attention. Do not hesitate to call the admissions office if you experience any difficulties applying on-line.

 

License Advancement Program

If you qualify for raise in grade, our LAP course commencing 7/28 still has openings. Check with Ms. Mary Matlock in Admissions if you have questions regarding the approval of your USCG application.

 

Class Openings

Between now and the end of September, seats are available in the following courses:

  • ARPA: 9/15
  • ASSESSOR TRNG: 8/8
  • BRM: 8/4
  • BST: 7/21, 9/15
  • CMM-ADVSTB: 8/18
  • CMM-CHS I: 8/25
  • CMM-CHS II: 9/1
  • CMM-ECDIS: 7/28
  • CMM-MPP: 9/15
  • CMM-SHMGT I: 8/4
  • CMM-SHMGT II: 8/11
  • CMM-SHS-ADV II: 7/14, 8/11
  • CMM-VPEN: 7/21
  • CMM-WKP: 9/8
  • COMP-ABSS: 9/8
  • COMP-APS: 9/2
  • COMP-NET: 8/25
  • CONT-PLNG: 7/24, 8/5, 9/11
  • CSE-AAES: 8/4
  • FF-ADV: 7/28, 9/22
  • FL: 8/1, 9/5
  • FRB: 9/22
  • GMDSS: 8/4
  • HAZ: 8/25
  • ISM/REG-UPDT: 8/4
  • LAP: 7/28
  • MED-DOT-DA: 7/26, 8/16, 8/30, 9/20
  • MEDIA-RSP: 7/25, 8/6, 8/29, 9/12
  • MED-PIC: 8/11
  • MED-PRO: 7/21, 8/11
  • MED-SMC: 9/1
  • MSC-ATER: 8/20
  • MSC-CBRD-1: 8/18, 9/26
  • MSC-COMMS: 8/11
  • MSC-DC: 8/9, 9/13, 9/18
  • MSC-ENVPRO: 8/18
  • ROP: 8/25
  • ROR-1: 8/4, 9/15, 9/22
  • SEC-MAR: 8/7
  • SEC-SHPOFF: 7/21, 9/8
  • SHS-BAS: 7/28, 9/15
  • SHS-EMR5: 8/18
  • T-PIC: 9/22

Check the MITAGS website for descriptions associated with the course title abbreviations.

 

REMINDER: Attendance Verification & Cancellation is Vital

If you are scheduled for a course, call, write, or Email admissions to advise whether or not you will attend. Many classes are in demand and maintain a Standby List. “No Shows” are missed training opportunities for other members.

 

Schedules, Course Info & Registration

Courses are subject to change. Always check the MITAGS website for updated course availability. You can also check future schedules, review detailed course descriptions and register on-line or contact Admissions at admissions@mitags.org or by calling toll-free, 1-866-656-5568.

 

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly


 

PMI ACADEMIC NOTES

Summer Class Openings

  • 7/21-29: Able Bodied Seaman
  • 7/30-31: Ratings Forming Part of a Navigational Watch
  • 7/28-8/8: Advanced Cargo Handling and Stowage
  • 7/2/-8/1: ARPA
  • 8/4-8: Basic and Adv. Firefighting
  • 8/18-22: VPEN
  • 8/18-22: ARPA & Basic Safety Training
  • 8/18-29: Medical Person in Charge
  • 8/25-29: TPIC
  • 9/1-5: Radar Observer Unlimited
  • 9/1-12: GMDSS
  • 9/3-5: Ship Security Officer
  • 9/8-12:Basic Safety Training
  • 9/15-19: VPEN, Basic and Adv. Firefighting
  • 9/22-6: ECDIS, Ship Construction and Stability

Contact DeeDee Lazik at 206-441-2880 or 888-893-7829 (toll free) for registration.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly


 

MM&P MARKET WATCH AS OF 7-09 CLOSE

 D O W

 N A S D A Q

 9,156.20

— for the week

 1,747.46

 — for the week
 Vanguard 500 Index Fund (VFINX)

 92.63

 Vanguard Extended Market Index Fund (VEXMX)

23.10

 Vanguard International Growth Fund (VWIGX)

 13.69

 Vanguard Morgan Growth Fund (VMRGX)

 13.37

 Vanguard Windsor II Fund (VWNFX)

 23.77

 Vanguard GNMA Fund (VFIIX)

10.68

 Vanguard High Yield Corporate Fund (VWEHX):

 6.23

 Vanguard Total Bond Index (VBMFX)

 10.46

 Chase Growth Fund (CHASX)

13.90

 Fidelity Asset Manager (FASMX)

15.14

 Fidelity Growth and Income (FGRIX)

 33.27

Fidelity Magellan Fund (FAGX)

 89.80

 Spartan US Equity Index Fund (FUSEX)

  35.54

 

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



~ Reminders ~


 

 

MEMBERS AND FAMILIES GET SPECIAL SUMMER RATES AT MITAGS

By popular demand, and for a limited time only, MITAGS is opening up its renowned conference center hotel to MM&P members and their families at a very affordable rate. This is the first time MITAGS has made their facilities available as a vacation destination for MM&P members.

Centrally located just south of Baltimore, MITAGS is within easy reach of the many top tourist attractions found in the Washington DC, Baltimore, Annapolis, southern Pennsylvania and northern Virginia area. MITAGS is just five minutes from BWI Airport, a leading hub for low-cost airlines such as Southwest and Air Tran. The BWI Amtrak Station is also just minutes away.

MM&P member summer rates are just $85 per night, per room. Occupancy is limited to member, spouse and two children. Complimentary full breakfast buffet and free shuttle service to BWI Airport or Amtrak are included.

For more info or reservations contact the MITAGS reservation department at 410-859-5700 extension 0, or Email: reservations@ccmit.org.

Be sure to mention this special when making your reservation. Offer is based on availability and only valid June 1 through September 10.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



 

SPECIAL RATES FOR UNION MEMBERS AT ORLANDO DISNEY HOTEL

As a special summer promotion for union members at the Hotel Royal Plaza, a unionized hotel located in the heart of Downtown Disney, the rate for a standard room has been reduced to just $69.

Rates are in effect from June 1 to September 30 and do not include a resort fee of $7 per room, per night. Kids 12 and under eat free breakfast, lunch and dinner when accompanied by a paying adult.

For more info, call 1-800-248-7890 or go to their website at www.royalplaza.com. Call early for reservations as rooms are subject to availability and make sure to ask for the Union Leisure Rate.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



 

MM&P MEMBERS AT SEA CAN NOW SAVE ON SHIP-TO-SHORE CALLS

Through a special arrangement with ShipCom, MM&P members at sea will now receive a significant discount on personal ship-to-shore radiotelephone calls. The rate is $2.50 per minute to any phone number in the US. This is a significant discount from the usual rate of $3.99 per minute. Calls may be placed collect, or billed to any major credit card.

To take advantage of this offer or for more info contact Station WLO on HF SSB channels 405, 607, 824, 1212, 16401, 1807, or 2237 or on HF radio telex channels (selcall 1090) 406, 606, 806, 810, 815, 1205, 1211, 1605, 1615, 1810 or 2215.

MM&P members must identify themselves as an MM&P member and provide the operator with the last 4 digits of their MM&P book number in order to get the discounted rate.

Any vessel equipped with HF radio telex may send and receive Internet email via the telex terminal. For more info contact WLO radio via telex or HF SSB voice.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly


 

 


 

MM&P HQ MEMO TO ALL OFFSHORE MEMBERS AND APPLICANTS

Effective for employment commencing on or after April 10, 2003 and until further notice, any Member or Applicant who is known to have shipped as a Licensed Deck Officer aboard a vessel under contract with another labor organization shall lose his/her shipping card and be required to re-register prior to seeking employment with MM&P.

Members and Applicants are advised that such action jeopardizes their standing in Masters, Mates & Pilots. Members and Applicants are urged to contact MM&P if they are solicited for offshore employment by other labor organizations. Any Licensed Deck Officer employment with other labor organizations must be dispatched through Masters, Mates & Pilots.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



 

TAX RELIEF FOR OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM CIVILIAN MARINERS

Qualified merchant mariners serving on vessels under Department of Defense operational control in direct support of US Armed Forces have been determined by the IRS to be eligible for the benefits of section 7508 of the Internal Revenue Code. 26 U.S.C. §7508.

This includes individuals, (including the spouse of such individuals) serving in the combat zone as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom aboard Maritime Administration and Military Sealift Command owned or controlled vessels.

Mariners are advised to consult their tax professionals with respect to the impact of this relief with respect to their individual situations.

Only mariners serving in the combat zone are covered. At present, the combat zone for Operation Iraqi Freedom is defined as follows:

  • Persian Gulf;
  • Red Sea;
  • Gulf of Aden; and
  • Gulf of Oman;
  • That portion of the Arabian Sea that lies north of 10 degrees north latitude and west of 68 degrees east longitude; and
  • The total land area of Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Bahrain, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates.

Section 7508(a)(1) permits the postponement of certain time-sensitive acts for individuals serving in support of the Armed Forces in a designated combat zone. Activities specifically mentioned include the filing of tax returns, the payment of income, estate, or gift taxes (except employment and withholding taxes), tax claims filings or bringing suits for credits or refunds, filing any petition with the US Tax Court, making a qualified retirement contribution to an IRA, or performing any other act listed in Revenue Procedure 2002-71.

Detailed information can be obtained by consulting Publication 3 Armed Forces’ Tax Guide (2002 Returns). The Guide can be obtained by contacting the IRS or from the IRS website, www.irs.gov.

These benefits are afforded to the spouse of a qualified individual without any requirement that the individual and spouse file a joint return. Taxpayers within the US may seek assistance by calling the IRS toll-free at 1-800-829-1040. Taxpayers outside the US may call the IRS in Philadelphia, PA., at 215-516-2000 or via fax at 215-516-2555 (these are not toll free numbers).

More detailed info can be found on the MARAD website at: marad.dot.gov/Publications/employment/marinertaxes.html.

For MM&P members at sea who might have difficulty accessing the MARAD website, the MM&P Communications Department will Email this info to you upon request. Email requests to: communications@bridgedeck.org.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly


 

CLARIFICATION OF DRUG FREE CERTIFICATE FOR MMD RENEWAL

Mariners renewing their licenses, Z-cards, other Merchant Marine Documents or Coast Guard credentials are advised that under the USCG’s national credentialing requirements, Coast Guard offices and Regional Exam Centers require “Drug Free Certificates” on stationery from a drug testing service agent. Drug testing service agents are defined in 49 CFR Part 40 (available for download at: www.dot.gov/ost/dapc/main/CFRintro.htm). Drug test certifications issued by other parties, such as health plans, will no longer be accepted.

Upon request, drug testing service agents will send “Drug Free Certificates” on their own stationary to merchant marine personnel so that they can satisfy the USCG drug test requirement for credential transactions.

MM&P members and applicants are advised that request forms for this purpose are available at MM&P port offices along with info on drug testing facilities. This is a nationwide USCG credentialing requirement and this notice is a clarification of info originally provided in the February 27, 2003 Wheelhouse Weekly, Volume 7 Number 9.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly


 

LATEST USCG INFO ON PRIORITY SYSTEM FOR MMD CARDS

Applications for Merchant Mariner Documents can no longer be completed entirely through the mail. Applicants must now appear in person at a USCG Regional Exam Center to prove their identity and provide fingerprints. The following priority system has been implemented:

  • Priority One is assigned to mariners who are, or are about to be, employed on a vessel directly involved in a military operation. A letter from a shipping company, labor union, ship management company, or government agency attesting to the ship’s military purpose and the mariner’s position is needed for this priority.
  • Priority Two is given to mariners who are actively sailing. Evidence of current or scheduled employment on board a vessel, such as a letter or recent certificate of discharge is needed for this priority.
  • Priority Three is for all other transactions based on date of receipt.

Contact the National Maritime Center for additional info or questions at 202-493-6798.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly


 

GENERAL EXECUTIVE BOARD CLARIFIES OFFSHORE QUOTA SYSTEM

During MM&P General Executive Board meetings held at MM&P HQ on January 15-16, 2003, the quota system established for admittance to the Offshore Membership Group was clarified to make it clear that this quota system does not apply to MM&P Offshore Unlicensed members.

On October 3-4, 2002, the GEB established quotas effective October 4, 2002, stating that “No member of any membership group, including the Offshore Unlicensed Membership Group, may transfer into the Offshore Licensed Membership Group without having been a member of the organization for at least as long as the length of time that the lowest applicant admitted into membership has in the organization.” The wording of this statement was subsequently determined to be incorrect.

On January 16, 2003, the GEB corrected the quota guidelines to read:

“No member of any MM&P membership group, except for members of the MM&P Offshore Unlicensed Membership Group, may transfer into the Offshore Licensed Membership Group without having been a member of the organization for at least as long as the length of time that the lowest applicant admitted into membership has in the organization.”

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly


 

HEALTH & BENEFIT PLAN CHANGES EFFECTIVE APRIL 1, 2003

The following Health and Benefit Plan changes went into effect on April 1, 2003.

 

INPATIENT HOSPITAL DEDUCTIBLE

All inpatient hospitalizations (both PPO and non-PPO) will be subject to the Annual Major Medical Deductible ($250 individual/$500 family) and an additional inpatient deductible of $150 per admission. Both the Annual Deductible and the $150 inpatient deductible count towards the individual out of pocket maximum of $3,000.

 
REIMBURSEMENT FOR INPATIENT HOSPITAL EXPENSE

The Plan will pay 90% for all PPO hospitals after satisfying Major Medical deductible and $150 per admission inpatient deductible. The Plan will pay 70% for all non-PPO hospitals after satisfying the Annual Major Medical deductible and $150 per admission deductible.

 

IN-NETWORK (PPO) PHYSICIAN VISITS

For Primary Care Physician visits, after satisfying the annual Major Medical deductible, the participant pays a $15 co-pay per visit and the Plan pays the balance of the contracted amount. For specialty visits, after satisfying the annual Major Medical deductible, the participant pays a $25 co-pay and the Plan pays the balance of the contracted amount. The co-pay amount does not count towards the $3,000 annual out of pocket maximum.

 

OUT-OF-NETWORK PHYSICIANS

Once the participant satisfies the annual Major Medical deductible and an additional $150 annual out of network physician deductible, the Plan will pay 90% of the UCR. For specialists, once the participant satisfies the Major Medical deductible, the Plan will pay 70% of the UCR.

 

OUTPATIENT FACILITY – IN NETWORK (PPO)

After the participant satisfies the annual Major Medical deductible, the Plan pays 90% of the contracted charges.

 

OUTPATIENT FACILITY – OUT-OF-NETWORK

After the participants satisfies the annual Major Medical deductible, the Plan will pay 70% of the UCR charges.

 

As always, please feel free to contact the Plan Benefit Advisors with any questions at 877-667-5522.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly


 

 

HEALTH & BENEFIT PLAN CHANGES

The Board of Trustees, based on recommendations by the Cost Containment Committee, adopted changes to the Health & Benefit Plan. The following changes became effective January 1, 2003:

Annual Deductible

The current annual deductible of $150/$300 will be raised to $250/$500.

Out-of-Pocket Maximum

The current out of pocket maximum of $2,000 will be raised to $3,000.

Dental Reimbursement Levels

  • The Plan payment to in-network dental providers will go from 90% to 80%.
  • The Plan payment for out-of-network providers will go from 80% of UCR to 70% of UCR.
  • New contract with Delta Dental replaces Aetna/US Healthcare (Prudential Dental) agreement. See below for additional information.

Prescription Drug Program

Mail order drugs will be subject to a 20% co-pay for all single source brand name and generic drugs with a maximum out of pocket, per prescription, of $75.

For brand name drugs where the generic equivalent is available, the member will be responsible for paying the total cost of the difference between the brand name and the generic drug. The Plan will then pay 80% of the cost of the generic and the member will be responsible for the 20% up to a per prescription maximum of $75.

The Plan has also removed the mandatory mail order provision. This means that any prescription, regardless of the number of refills, can be obtained at a retail level but will be limited to a 30-day supply. However, obtaining maintenance medications through the mail order program may still be less expensive to you.

A synopsis of these changes and additional changes effective April 1, 2003 appears in the November-December 2002 issue of the MM&P’s Master, Mate & Pilot newspaper. The Plan Office has also mailed a summary of all changes, with examples, to Health & Benefit Plan participants.




ADDRESS CHANGES

Remember to notify the Plan office whenever you move or have a change of address. There are a number of important mailings scheduled for the next few months and we would like to keep all members well informed. You can fax your address changes to the Plan Office at 410-850-8655 or you can email them to the Plan Office at mmpplans@aol.com.

 




 

NEW DENTAL PROGRAM WITH DELTA DENTAL

This is a reminder that effective October 1, 2002, the MM&P Plan’s contract with Prudential Dental expired. Prudential was purchased by Aetna/US HealthCare in 2001 and could no longer offer the Plan the same type of fee-for-service arrangement as before.

In order to continue to offer Plan Participants an in-network dental benefit option, the Plan reviewed proposals from organizations that provide network dental services. After review, the Trustees approved a contract with Delta Dental, the largest provider of dental services in the US.

The Delta Dental Claims Processing Center in Mechanicsburg, PA, will handle claims administration for all MM&P eligible participants and dependents. This includes claims submitted by out of network dentists as well as those who are Delta Dental providers.

Plan participants who choose to go to a contracted provider will pay 10 percent of the contracted amount and the Plan will pay 90 percent. Participants will have access to all Delta providers in the Delta Premier Network option that includes over 133,000 dentists nationwide.

 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

~ Where Does My Dentist Submit My Claims?

Effective October 1, 2002, all dental claims with dates of service on or after October 1, 2002, from both in and out-of-network providers, should be sent directly to: Delta Dental, One Delta Drive, Mechanicsburg, PA 17055-6999. Participants will receive a claim form in the mailing sent out by the Plan Office on August 11. Your dentist can copy this form and use it to submit all dental claims incurred on or after October 1, 2002.

~ How Do I Find A Delta Dentist?

You can locate participating dentists in your area in two ways. You can call 1-800-932-0783 from 8 AM to 8 PM Eastern Time, Monday-Friday, or you can sign on to the Delta website at www.MidAtlanticDeltaDental.com. Once you have signed on to the website, key on the bar marked “Pennsylvania”. (MM&P Plan members are enrolled in the Delta Premier Option through Delta Dental of Penn.) Next enter the search criteria to find participating Delta dentists in your area or enter your own dentist’s name to find out if he/she participates with the Premier network.

 

WORK IN PROCESS

Delta Dental will coordinate with the Plan Office to transition all billing for “work in process”. This means that all root canals, orthodontia work and other staged procedures that are not completed under the old arrangement will be carried over and the remaining balance billing, for work performed on or after October 1, 2002 will be processed by Delta Dental.

It is important to remember that all work that has been pre-determined by Prudential/Aetna must be completed and billed with a billing date on or prior to September 30, 2002, in order to assure that your co-pay will remain the same as quoted in the initial pre-determination.

Any work started under the old Plan but billed for date of service on or after October 1, 2002 will be reimbursed according to whether the dentist is participating in the Delta Dental network. If your dentist is not a participating dentist, the balance billing will be paid at the out-of-network rate of 80 percent of the Plan’s UCR schedules.

 

CLAIMS QUESTIONS

All questions about any dental claims incurred on or after October 1, 2002, including claims submitted by out-of-network providers, should be directed to Delta Dental at 1-800-932-0783. You have been provided with a Delta claim form to forward to your dentist, however, your dentist may submit any standard dental billing form as long as the bill is sent directly to Delta at the above listed address.

 

IDENTIFICATION CARDS

Participants have been sent a brochure that includes a perforated generic identification card. This card lists the telephone number and the billing address for Delta. You are not required to carry an identification card because your social security number and birth date will identify you as an eligible participant in the Delta Dental Network.

It is important to remember that MM&P claims will be processed by Delta Dental of Pennsylvania. You or your dentist can access your eligibility by calling either the Plan Office or Delta Dental at 1-800-932-0783.

If you or your dentist have any questions, you can contact Delta Dental at 1-800-932-0783 from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday.

Plan members are identified by social security number and the Group Plan number for MM&P which is 7117.

Billing for both in and out of network claims should be submitted on standard dental billing forms and sent directly to Delta at

Delta Dental of Pennsylvania One Delta Drive Mechanicsburg, PA 17055

You can locate participating providers on-line at www.MidAtlanticDeltaDental.com. Masters, Mates and Pilots members have access to providers in all of the Delta networks.

 

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly


 

CREDIT UNION MEMBERS: PAY YOURSELF FIRST WITH DIRECT DEPOSIT

  • Do you want an easy way to grow your savings?
  • Do you want an easier way to make deposits to your Masters, Mates & Pilots Federal Credit Union account?

Consider establishing payroll or pension direct deposit.

Many employers allow you to directly deposit your pay into several different financial institutions. Trinity Management, Strong America, Moran Towing of Florida, and McAllister Brothers are among the MM&P-contracted companies that already provide for employees to deposit funds directly into the MM&P Federal Credit Union.

MM&P Health & Benefit Plans Pensioners and A&G Region Pensioners may have deductions made directly from their pension check to their Credit Union account. In addition, employees of MM&P, Plans, MITAGS and MIRAID are also eligible for payroll deduction directly into their Credit Union account.

Add to your savings by paying yourself first! Contact your payroll office to establish Credit Union direct deposit or to find out if this is available for you. For additional details or to get answers to your questions on this or other MM&P Federal Credit Union programs, contact Kathy Klisavage, Credit Union Manager, toll-free at 1-800-382-7777 or by Email at mmpfcu@bridgedeck.org.

 

 

NEW, USED OR REFI: LOW VEHICLE LOAN RATES AT MM&P FCU

Members are reminded that the Masters, Mates & Pilots Federal Credit Union is offering vehicle loans as low as 5.25 percent. Rates range from 5.25 to 6.99 percent for terms of 24 to 60 months. It doesn’t matter if it’s for a new, used or a refinanced vehicle.

These rates are also in effect for new or used recreational vehicles, motorcycles or boats. Limited funds available at this rate, certain terms and conditions apply.

MM&P Federal Credit Union membership is open to all MM&P members, to all MM&P, MITAGS, MIRAID and Plans staff, and to their immediate families.

Rates and terms of offer are subject to change. Call Kathy Klisavage, Credit Union Manager, toll free 1-800-382-7777 or Email mmpfcu@bridgedeck.org for all the details.

 

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly


The MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly is the official electronic newsletter of the International Organization of Masters, Mates, and Pilots, ILA, AFL-CIO, 700 Maritime Blvd., Linthicum Heights, MD 21090-1941. Phone: 410-850-8700; Fax: 410-850-0973; Email: iommp@bridgedeck.org. For further info or to subscribe contact John Peige at jpeige@bridgedeck.org. The Wheelhouse Weekly is sent via Email to MM&P-contracted vessels at sea, broadcast worldwide via FEC marine telex andis posted on our web page.

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