News

Wheelhouse Weekly – April 03, 2003

April 3rd 2003


THE MASTERS, MATES & PILOTS’
WHEELHOUSE WEEKLY

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

Volume 7 . . . . . Number 14. . . . . April 3, 2003

STORIES COVERED

ALSO

REMINDERS




 

MATSON NEGOTIATIONS UPDATE

Since February the MM&P has been in extensive negotiations with Matson Navigation to maintain MM&P’s presence aboard the two new ships being built at Kvaerner Philadelphia Shipyard to the company’s US West Coast-Hawaii trade specifications. Matson has demanded deep concessions from all their contracted unions, threatening that if they cannot get them, they will pursue a different game plan involving outside ownership and a ship management company, and, of course, different unions.

The most recent round of formal negotiations took place in San Francisco on March 13 and 14. It has been a relatively quiet three weeks since then, although discussion and planning have continued.

As this goes to press, MM&P President Capt. Tim Brown reports that, “fortunately, there is still no deal [for Matson] to put different crews [other than MM&P] on these two new ships; however, time is growing short. MM&P and MEBA believe that we have reached a decent compromise with Matson. The SUP and MFOW representing unlicensed personnel, and the ARA representing the radio operators, still have not reached an accord with regard to the cutbacks that they are willing to accept.”

If Matson goes through with its alternate plan, the company will take a pass on their right to purchase the vessels. Instead, they will make way for purchase by a third party which, in turn, would time charter the ships back to Matson. In this scenario, the ships would be run through a management company that, Capt. Brown noted, “could and probably would” crew the ships with members of unions other than Matson’s traditional cadre of unions, MM&P, MEBA, ARA, SUP and MFOW.

MM&P has had a number of individual discussions with Matson, as well as joint discussions with MEBA, looking for ways to bridge the gap between the cost structure that Matson demands and the reality of the MM&P’s current contract. All hands will be kept informed.

Meanwhile, an article in the maritimetoday.com newsletter reports that the MV MANUKAI, Kvaerner Philadelphia Shipyard’s first ship, was floated out of the building dock this weekend. The 712-ft. containership being built for Matson Navigation was towed to the outfitting dock for its final outfitting phase.

The $110 million ship which is constructed entirely of American-made materials, including Bethlehem steel, is scheduled to be deployed to its home base in Honolulu upon completion, and will sail between Hawaii, Seattle and Oakland. Construction is under way at the yard on its sister ship.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



 

MARITIME LABOR SAYS CARGO PREFERENCE LAWS SHOULD RULE

The MM&P, along with a coalition of maritime labor unions and related organizations has urged Senate Appropriations Committee leaders that all US cargo preference requirements be re-emphasized in legislation for the President’s supplemental and future legislation concerning Iraq.

In a March 28 letter to Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV), Ranking Democrat, and to Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK), the coalition strongly noted that such cargo preference laws are an investment in the nation’s defense.

The letter said in part,

“It is essential that the cargo base these laws generate be maintained so that US-flag vessels and their defense-ready civilian personnel remain on the sealanes of the world – available to our military forces and always prepared and willing to serve the interests of the United States of America.”

The letter noted that,

“More than 2500 mariners are serving today in the war in Iraq on US Navy sealift and US-flag commercial vessels delivering vital equipment and supplies for our Armed Forces. The MM&P, along with others in the coalition, emphatically believes that maintaining a strong, reliable fleet of US-flag vessels and their crews for the global War on Terrorism and overseas military operations is critically important.”

With this in mind, the letter strongly suggested that,

“all US Government-generated shipments – whether for military operations, humanitarian relief aid in Iraq and elsewhere, or for postwar Iraq reconstruction – should follow the letter and intent of longstanding US-flag cargo preference laws.”

In addition to the MM&P and MIRAID, the letter was endorsed by: the AFL-CIO’s Maritime Trades Department and Transportation Trades Department, the Transportation Institute, SUP, SIU, MFOW, AMO, AMO Service, MEBA and the American Maritime Congress.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly


 

OVERDUE KUDOS DUE TO MONICA BOATNER FOR L.A. HOLIDAY PARTY

Due to a lack of information at the Headquarters, for which the staff apologizes, MM&P failed to properly thank the main catalyst who organized the holiday party at the Los Angeles/Long Beach hall last year.

Monica Boatner, the wife of Pacific Ports Agent Dave Boatner, was the prime mover in getting the LA/LB holiday party off to a good start. Based on first-hand reports, the party was a smashing success primarily due to Monica’s efforts. So. . . a belated thank you to Monica Boatner for a job well done.

Monica is following in the footsteps of Mrs. Paul Nielsen, Grace to her friends, who was the principal architect of previous holiday parties when Paul Nielsen was the Offshore Pacific Ports Vice President.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly


 

LIST BEING DEVELOPED OF ORIGINAL MATES PROGRAM GRADUATES

International President Capt. Tim Brown reports that,

“For almost a year the staffs at MITAGS and the MM&P HQ have been working to collect the names of the graduates of the original MATES program. Inasmuch as record keeping in the late 1960s was not as streamlined or efficient as it is now, this was a large task that was done as time permitted.

“We are now close to finalizing the list of names that we generated from several sources.

“So, you might ask, why are we doing this? There is an old saying that goes along the lines of, ‘You don’t know who you are unless you know where you have been.’ This brings us to the point:

“MM&P is considering having an Original MATES Program Graduates’ Reunion sometime in the early fall of this year.

“We will be printing a list in the MM&P paper of all those that we have so far determined were graduates of the original MATES Program. We encourage all graduates to verify that their names are listed and to also let us know if we’ve missed anyone who is a graduate but whose name is not on the list.”

MM&P Headquarters will also be sending out a letter to the graduates to assess the level of interest in having a Reunion weekend at MITAGS. MM&P would be able to provide for a discount for rooms at MITAGS, with the International subsidizing the cost to some degree. Again, this would probably depend on the level of interest in this project.

Please watch the MM&P paper closely in the future if you are an original MATES program graduate.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly


 

US CUSTOMS INVESTIGATING END RUN OF NEW 24-HOUR RULE

US Customs is checking into reports that at least one steamship line is rerouting cargo to Canadian ports in order to avoid new US security requirements. If true, the carrier’s cargo would be treated as high-risk.

The agency is working with Canada to match manifest requirements with the US and it is felt that Canada will shortly adopt its own version of the 24-hour rule. So far, governments representing 18 of the top 22 container ports in the world have signed up to participate in Customs’ Container Security Initiative.

To date, the agency has conducted many security-related seizures and identified suspicious cargo shipments. The Customs Service feels that calls for 100 percent container security checks would slow down trade, and not measurably increase security.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly


 

USCG SAFETY ALERT ON DECK OPENINGS

In a recent safety study released by the USCG, it was observed that a number of personnel injury incidents occurred during operations in which grating or other deck covering had been temporarily removed.

Cases involved personnel who were working at temporary deck openings and who became entangled in equipment, tripped, or simply forgot that the opening was there and became seriously injured in the process.

Coast Guard regulations require that openings in decks that are not in use be covered, guarded, or otherwise made inaccessible. Further, in cases where there is a hazard of falling ten or more feet when engaged in an activity such as during and after removal of decking, personnel are required to wear secured safety belts.

For more info on the study or other USCG safety-related issues, contact Ken Olsen at 202-267-1417 or kolsen@comdt.uscg.mil.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



 

SS AMERICAN VICTORY COMPLETES SUCCESSFUL SEA TRIALS

As America’s modern gray-hulled freedom-fighting fleet filled to the fo’s’c’les with beans and bullets sailed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, one of their surviving grand dames, the 58-year old SS AMERICAN VICTORY, successfully underwent a voyage of her own.

On March 6, this Victory-class ship, the type that were built and served during World War II, and continued in service during the Korean and Vietnam wars, underwent rigorous sea trials on Tampa Bay.

The sea trials followed more than over 70,000 hours invested by volunteers to restore and reactivate the ship, performed over three and one-half years. “The American Victory’s performance surpassed our greatest hopes,” said MM&P member Capt. John Timmel, President and Founder of the Victory Ship, Inc. “When you wake up a sleeping giant after 34 years, you always wonder if you might have overlooked something.” Timmel, a Tampa Bay pilot, served as the pilot for the 80-mile sea trial.

The AMERICAN VICTORY was sailed during the sea trials by an all-volunteer crew, with an average age of 71 and, collectively, more than 515 years of at-sea experience. The oldest crewman was 80, the youngest 47. The 10-hour sea trial encompassed hard over turns, a high speed run, reversing engines from full ahead to full astern and from full astern to full ahead, navigation equipment checks and engine room equipment testing.

The next step in the AMERICAN VICTORY’s restoration process is to ready the ship for her “Relive History” cruises, which will provide an opportunity for passengers to experience first hand what life at sea was like on board merchant vessels.

The six-hour day cruises, scheduled to begin in early summer, will give up to 800 passengers the chance to sail back in time, survive mock attacks on the ship by World War II and Korean and Vietnam war era warplanes, witness memorial services honoring crews of merchant vessels lost at sea and enjoy live big-band music, period reenactors and lunch. The project includes development of a world-class, interactive mariners museum designed to capture the interest of youth as well as veterans who served or were transported on ships like the SS AMERICAN VICTORY.

Since the AMERICAN VICTORY arrived in Tampa in Sept. 1999 from the US Maritime Administration’s James River Reserve Fleet in Virginia, the not-for profit organization has raised nearly $4 million in cash and in-kind services to restore the ship. Another $2.5 million is needed to complete the project.

“The maritime community and the general public in Tampa Bay and across the country have been tremendously supportive,” said Timmel. “We would not have been able to undertake the sea trials without the help of a host of marine industry firms which have provided in-kind labor, engineering expertise and equipment to help us restore the ship,” he said.

For volunteer, donation and general info about the SS AMERICAN VICTORY project, contact the ship at 813-228-8766 or visit www.americanvictory.org.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly


 

TECHNICAL VOLUNTEERS SOUGHT FOR MERCY SHIPS VESSELS

The Marine Operations Department of Mercy Ships, a global charity that uses a fleet of hospital ships to bring hope and healing to the world’s most poor and needy, is seeking volunteer technical crew for their vessels.

In order to fulfill this mission, dedicated technical crew are involved daily in vital functions behind the scenes. Engineering plants operate 24/7 providing the critical services that are needed on the ships and in the operating rooms. It is especially vital that these engineering positions are fully manned.

Currently, the M/V ANASTASIS, a 12,000-ton converted luxury liner, is on station in West Africa providing free medical care and other services to the needy in Togo.

If you are interested in volunteering with Mercy Ships, or have any questions, please feel free to call or Email Steve Wargo at wargos@mercyships.org; 800-772-SHIP ext: 7001
or Kurt Adkins at adkinsk@mercyships.org; at ext:7082.

Volunteer service aboard Mercy ships and similar organizations’ vessels does not conflict with MM&P Plans’ prohibited service restrictions.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



 

MITAGS ACADEMIC NOTES

Class Openings

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

  • 4/14-18: MED-PRO, MSC-COMMS, CMM-VPEN
  • 4/19: MED-DOT-DA
  • 4/25: CBRD-1
  • 4/28: ROR-1
  • 4/28-5/2: ARPA, CSE-AAES, CMM-ADVSTB
  • 5/5-16: MED-PIC
  • 5/5-9: CMM-CHS I, BST, MED-PRO
  • 5/10: MED-DOT-DA
  • 5/12-23: GMDSS
  • 5/12-16: CMM-CHS II, FF-ADV, COMP-NET
  • 5/12-15: SEC-ShpOff
  • 5/16-17: MSC-DC
  • 5/19-23: GMDSS-REF, ROP
  • 5/19: ISM/REG-UPDT
  • 5/20: CONTG PLNG
  • 5/21: MEDIA RSP
  • 5/22: SEC-MAR
  • 5/23: CBRD-1, ASSESSOR TRNG
  • 6/2-27: MED-SMC
  • 6/2-6: COMP-ABSS, T-PIC
  • 6/9-12: SEC-ShpOff
  • 6/14: MED-DOT-DA
  • 6/16: CBRD-1
  • 6/17: MSC-ENVPRO
  • 6/18: MSC-ATER
  • 6/19-20: MSC-DC
  • 6/21: MED-DOT-DA
  • 6/23-27: SHS-EMR5, COMP-MAR, CMM-MPP
  • 6/27: CBRD-1

Propulsion Plants Course Approved

The U.S. Coast Guard has approved the MITAGS 35-hour Marine Propulsion Plants course (CMM-MPP).

The course, identified in NMC Policy Letter No.04-02 as a requirement for advancement to Chief Mate/Master, will convene at MITAGS on June 23.

Successful completion of this 5-day session will also serve to satisfy the non-regulatory Diesel Control Systems (DCS) company requirement.

 

Advanced Cargo-handling Course Approved

The MITAGS 70-hour Advanced Cargo Operations course (CMM-CHS), approved by the Coast Guard as satisfying the cargo operations training requirements for STCW certification as Master or Chief Mate, will convene at MITAGS for the first time on May 5.

This new course may be taken in a single, continuous program, or in two 35-hour modules. Both modules must be completed within one year to receive the Advanced Cargo Operations certificate.

The 1-week Advanced Stability course (CMM-ADVSTB), a prerequisite for CMM-CHS, will be held the week of April 28.

 

Strategic Sealift Communications

Five quotas remain in the April 14-18 course. This course, designed specifically for deck officers on MSC contract vessels, often has a waiting list. Take advantage of this rare opportunity and contact Mary Matlock today.

 

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

That Pacific Maritime Institute’s latest Vocational School Catalog is now available. It contains the latest info on PMI’s new programs that will assist mariners in upgrading from OS to Master Mariner.

Detailed booklets for Entry Level, AB to Mate, and Mate to Master can be downloaded at PMI’s website. Some preliminary drawings of PMI’s new simulation space on the proposed 15,000 square foot facility on the Seattle waterfront are also available.

Call for details at 888-893-7829 or download the PMI course schedule with descriptions at www.mates.org/Schedule/Schedule.pdf or visit their web site at www.mates.org.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly


 

MM&P MARKET WATCH AS OF 4-3 CLOSE

 D O W

 N A S D A Q

 8,285.00

+55.20 for the week

 1,396.72

 +11.06 for the week
 Vanguard 500 Index Fund (VFINX)

 81.33

 Vanguard Extended Market Index Fund (VEXMX)

18.68

 Vanguard International Growth Fund (VWIGX)

 11.47

 Vanguard Morgan Growth Fund (VMRGX)

 11.35

 Vanguard Windsor II Fund (VWNFX)

 20.57

 Vanguard GNMA Fund (VFIIX)

10.70

 Chase Growth Fund (CHASX)

12.88

 Fidelity Asset Manager (FASMX)

13.85

 Fidelity Growth and Income (FGRIX)

 30.50

Fidelity Magellan Fund (FAGX)

 79.73

 Spartan US Equity Index Fund (FUSEX)

  31.21

 

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



~ Reminders ~


 


 

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


 

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


 


 

IMPORTANT RENEWAL INFO ON USCG DRUG FREE CERTIFICATES

Mariners renewing their license or Z-cards should be aware that some USCG Regional Exam Centers are now only accepting the “Drug Free Certificates” from Greystone Health Services or other USCG approved drug testing agencies. Any other drug test certifications will no longer be accepted.

Upon request Greystone will send duplicate “Drug Free Certificates” on their own stationary to members and applicants so that they can satisfy the USCG. Request forms for this purpose are available at MM&P West Coast ports, which is where this USCG demand is now being enforced.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly


 

SHIPPING-OUT ON SURGE AND RRF VESSELS

Members and Applicants are reminded that in order to receive pension credit, vacation and other benefits for sailing aboard a surge sealift or Ready Reserve Fleet vessel in support of U.S. operations in Iraq and neighboring areas, you must ship through a MM&P hall in accordance with instructions provided to each Union Hall.

Members and applicants are asked to protect their benefit status and, for applicants, their applicant status. Shipping aboard these vessels in any other way will not ensure that benefits will be passed through to MM&P Plans.

Applicant points will be awarded only for assignments shipped through MM&P offices.

You may direct any questions regarding this issue to:

  • Capt. Banks: gbanks@bridgedeck.org; phone: 410-850-8700 ext. 21
  • Capt. Boatner: dboatner@bridgedeck.org; phone: 310-834-7201
  • Mike Rodriguez: mrodriguez@bridgedeck.org; 410-850-8700 ext. 23
  • or to the Vice President in your area.

     

    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


     

    MM&P HEALTH PLAN PARTICIPANTS: Delta Dental Payment Errors

    Effective January 1, 2003, the reimbursement under the dental portion of the Plan was changed from 90 percent in-network to 80 percent in-network and from 80 percent out-of-network to 70 percent out-of-network.

    DUE TO AN ERROR at Delta Dental, the claims for MM&P members for services rendered after 1/1/2003, in some cases, have been paid at the old reimbursement rate. The error has been corrected, however, and Delta will be asking for refunds from providers for the 10 percent overpayments. That means that members who were affected by this error will most likely receive a bill from dentists for the additional 10 percent.

    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


     

    IMPORTANT UPDATE FROM THE MM&P PLANS OFFICE

     

    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 will become 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


     

    JERRY BACKMAN MEMORIAL FUND

    A memorial fund has been established in the memory of recently deceased MM&P member Jerry Backman. Jerry shipped out of San Francisco and was 49-years old at the time of his tragic death as the result of an auto accident. Jerry leaves a widow and two children.

    Donations made in memory of Jerry will be used to assist with the education of his children, a 22-year old daughter and a 15-year old son.

    The Backman family is privately managing the fund. They are most appreciative of all the messages expressing sympathy and the positive stories from his shipmates and friends.

    Contributions may be sent to:

    The Jerry B. Backman Memorial Fund c/o Bank of the West 2900 Railroad Avenue Pittsburg, CA 94565

     

    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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