News

Wheelhouse Weekly – September 18, 2003

September 18th 2003


THE MASTERS, MATES & PILOTS’
WHEELHOUSE WEEKLY

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

Volume 7 . . . . . Number 37 . . . . September 18, 2003

STORIES COVERED

ALSO

REMINDERS




 

SEALAND EXPRESS REFLOATED

The SEALAND EXPRESS, which ran aground in Table Bay in Cape Town, South Africa after dragging her anchor in a storm last month, has been refloated. Two salvage tugs pulled her off a sandy bottom shortly after 1500 hrs on Saturday.

Several previous bids to refloat the 33,000 ton vessel had failed, and authorities had at one stage considered building a causeway through the surf to take off her cargo of containers.

CLICK HERE to see a photo of the SEALAND EXPRESS being freed.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



 

WORST JOB LOSS CRISES SINCE THE GREAT DEPRESSION

The day after President George W. Bush announced the US economy is “looking up”, the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) confirmed that working families are enduring the worst jobs loss crisis since the Great Depression.

BLS announced Sept.5 that the economy shed another 93,000 jobs in August, for a new total of approximately 3.3 million private-sector jobs lost since the president took office. The BLS summary can be found at www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.nr0.htm.

“Instead of soaking America’s workers with failed economic policies that do not create jobs, that build mountains of debt for our children and destroy our capacity to meet the nation’s needs, the president should rebuild America with investments in what matters most-schools, our health care system and the nation’s crumbling infrastructure,” said AFL-CIO President John Sweeney.

“That is the only way to create and preserve jobs, restore real economic growth and security for working families and secure the nation,” Sweeney said. With 1.9 million unemployed Americans now looking for work for 27 weeks or longer, unemployment dipped slightly to 6.1 percent or 8.9 million workers, according to the BLS report, down from 6.2 percent in July.

Government officials are touting the recent drop in unemployment as evidence of an economic turnaround. The statistical drop, however, largely results from the 470,000 Americans who stopped looking for work last month, and thus had their names removed from the total workforce figure used to calculate unemployment percentages.

In fact, manufacturing employment plummeted by 71,000 in July while retail employment dropped by 14,000. Of the 93,000 jobs lost in August, 44,000 were in manufacturing, the BLS said. That made August the 37th straight month of manufacturing job losses, now totaling nearly 1.9 million manufacturing jobs lost since March 2001.

Among the approximately 49,000 service jobs lost in August, some 16,000 were in the information sector while telecommunications shed about 7,000 positions. And professional and business services employment edged down 10,000 jobs in August.

Last week, as new unemployment insurance (UI) claims jumped by 50,000 to 409,000, the highest level since mid-July, the newly jobless had growing reasons to fear they will exhaust those UI benefits before they find new jobs.

The percentage of jobless workers who used up their regular UI benefits without finding new work, and therefore need emergency UI benefits, reached 43.8 percent in July, the highest figure on record since 1950.

And a recent Federal Reserve Bank of New York report says most recent job losses will be permanent, thanks to the employers’ race to the bottom, sending US jobs to countries where workers suffer far lower wages and few workplace protections.

In addition to the steady hemorrhaging of blue-collar industrial jobs to other countries, government-sponsored research studies have predicted the loss of 3.3 million white-collar jobs to low-wage countries by 2015.

This year, the months ahead could be bleakest for US workers. The nationally respected outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc. predicted that, based on recent job trends, US employers would announce an additional 399,000 new job cuts during the final four months of 2003.

America’s working families need jobs, not promises, Sweeney said. The Bush administration has predicted its economic policies, including the tax cut package (called the “Jobs and Growth Plan”) that took effect in July, would create 5.5 million jobs by the end of 2004-344,000 jobs each month, starting in July 2003.

“The president is already in the hole, with an August jobs deficit of 437,000 promised jobs that did not materialize,” Sweeney said. “Today’s economy is defined by a seeming contradiction,” said Economic Policy Institute President Lawrence Mishel. “The recession officially ended in November 2001, yet 28 months into this business cycle we are experiencing the largest sustained loss of jobs since the Great Depression.”

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



 

EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY FOR SIMULATOR HEAD AT MITAGS

The MM&P’s Maritime Institute of Technology & Graduate Studies is searching for a Shiphandling Simulator Department Head. The Department Head is responsible for all aspects of the Department’s scheduled course delivery, administration, and instructor personnel. From time to time the Department Head provides instruction in other maritime courses. He/she reports directly to the Director of Training.

The candidate should have a Master – Oceans Unlimited license, with at least 10 years’ sailing experience, with a minimum of 3 years as Chief Mate or Master. Tanker, Piloting and experience involving maneuvering in restricted waters desired. Demonstrated initiative, ability to meet schedules, and to work with high-level technology is strongly desired. The candidate should have excellent verbal and writing skills. Excellent interpersonal skills and proficiency with office support software a must.

The position is available immediately. Send resumes with letter of interest to MITAGS, ATTN: Human Resources; fax: 443-989-3258; Email: hr@mitags.org.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



 

MARITIME SECURITY POSITIONS FOR MASTERS AND MATES

The Maritime Security Division of Phoenix Security Corp. is recruiting masters and mates with extensive oceangoing experience. Candidates with these qualification who are interested in being trained in the ISPS Code, USCG rules and survey methodology as Ship Security Assessors should contact Security Personnel Coordination at 866-926-7724. For more info, Email Craig Thomas at MITAGS at cthomas@mitags.org.

 

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



 

ENVIRONMENTALISTS CHALLENGE MARAD’S GHOST FLEET PLAN

According to the Associated Press, environmental groups have filed a legal claim to stop the proposed transfer of 13 ships from Virginia’s James River “Ghost Fleet” to England to be dismantled.

The Sierra Club, the Basel Action Network and Earth Justice claim that the plan violates a national law against exporting hazardous wastes. The vessels contain tons of asbestos, lead, mercury, heavy oil and toxic PCBs, a petroleum-based carcinogen found in ship wiring.

The papers sent Tuesday to the Environmental Protection Agency are a prerequisite for a court challenge, according to Mike Town, Virginia director of the Sierra Club. The groups must wait 60 days before filing suit to block the transfer.

“We believe that if the public or even the EPA knew all of the facts of this misguided toxic ship dumping plan, the deal would have been scuttled a long time ago,” Sierra Club attorney Aaron Isherwood said.

As reported in last week’s Wheelhouse Weekly, MARAD has a multi-million dollar deal with Able UK that calls for 15 leave the James River for England by November. MARAD says plans to tow the obsolete ships to Able UK’s facility in Teesside, England by November are still underway.

A growing number of environmentalists fear the ships may break apart while crossing the Atlantic causing a catastrophic caustic calamity.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



 

KVAERNER POSTS BIG LOSS AT ITS PHILADELPHIA SHIPYARD

The Norwegian shipbuilding company Kvaerner, reported a large second-quarter loss mainly because of problems building container ships at its Philadelphia shipyard.

The Oslo-based group took a charge $55 million to cover higher costs and lower productivity in building three container ships at the yard. That resulted in a pretax loss of $58.1 million in the second quarter, compared with a year-earlier profit of $52.3 million. The company lost $59.3 million in the first half of the year.

Kvaerner said the Philly yard incurred higher costs and lower productivity in building the yard’s first container ship. Delivery on that ship, built for MM&P-contracted Matson Navigation, was scheduled for the end of June but has been delayed until this month.

While the $55 million charge covered the higher cost of completing the three vessels, the company said it will take further measures, including more layoffs, to improve productivity. Kvaerner’s Finnish yards, by contrast, posted a second-quarter profit of $48.5 million.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



 

LIBERIA’S SHIP REGISTRY UNDER UN SCRUTINY

The United Nations has raised concern about how Liberia spends earnings from it phony-flag of convenience ship registry and is now calling for an audit of those funds. The West African country’s registry is the world’s second largest. First place goes to phony-flag Panama.

The signing of a UN-brokered peace deal last month that ended a decade of bloody civil war has strengthened calls for a full audit of Liberia’s large maritime revenues.

“This is the time for a new approach, meeting the requirements of the UN Security Council,” says Hans-Heinrich Noll, general secretary of Verband Deutscher Reeder, the German shipowners’ association. “I think there is an obligation to set up appropriate measures to see how the money is spent.”

Liberia’s maritime operations are run by the US-owned Liberian International Ship & Corporate Registry. It took over in 2000 after the previous managers, International Registries were fired by the government of former president Charles Taylor, who went into exile in Nigeria last month. The phony-flag registry is based in the US.

A UN panel found that payments from the registry, totaling almost $1 million, were used to pay for arms and transportation that violated a UN weapons embargo on Liberia. The panel described the commissioner and the bureau as “little more than a cash-extraction operation and cover from which to fund and organize opaque off-budget expenditures including for sanctions-busting”.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



 

EPA TURNS DOWN BALLAST WATER PETITION

The US Environmental Protection Agency has rejected a petition filed by three environmental advocacy groups seeking repeal of the regulation allowing ships to discharge ballast water in the US.

The environmental advocacy groups sought to bring ballast water discharges within the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES), meaning that individual permits would be required for each ship.

In its rejection, the EPA said that such a change “would be a massive undertaking,” especially if permits were required for each discharge. The agency also noted that there are many ongoing activities related to control of invasive species in ballast water, many of which are likely to prove more effective and efficient than NPDES permits.

They include USCG programs to foster the development of new discharge technologies and a recent USCG proposal for all vessels equipped with ballast tanks to submit ballast water management reports or face fines.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



 

US COURTS GET TOUGH ON FOREIGN FLAG CRUISE GIANTS

The Lloyd’s Register publication “Fairplay” reports that lawyers for Miami’s largest foreign-flag cruise lines are preparing strategies to counter two separate judgements that expose them to potential multi-million dollar medical negligence payouts.

In the first case, Florida’s Third District Court of Appeal has cleared the way for a lawsuit on behalf of a woman who became sterile at the age of 14 after a 1998 Carnival cruise. The suit claims Carnival’s doctor Mauro Neri misdiagnosed stomach cramps as flu. She left the cruise, was diagnosed with appendicitis, underwent surgery and sustained an infection that left her unable to bear children. The court rejected Carnival’s argument that it is not responsible because Neri was an independent contractor.

In the second case, the court has rejected Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines’ (RCCL) doctor Kenneth Holtz’s 2001 bid to have a negligence claim heard in Liberia, flag state of the VOYAGER OF THE SEAS. The families’ successful bids to have their claims heard in Miami represent a hardening of court attitudes towards cruise lines efforts to avoid US jurisdiction in damage cases.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



 

MITAGS ACADEMIC NOTES

MITAGS’s Certificate has a New Look: Get one before old man winter arrives.

If you need ARPA and Basic Safety Training back-to-back, they will be offered from 9/29 through 10/10/03. The next scheduled 5-Day Hazardous Materials Course is 09/29/03.

 

Class Openings

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

~~~ ~~~ ~~~

  • ARPA: 9/29

~~~

  • BST: 10/6

~~~

  • CMM-ADVSTB: 10/27
  • CMM-ADWX: 9/29
  • CMM-ECDIS: 10/20
  • CMM-VPEN: 10/13
  • COMP-APS: 9/22
  • CONT-PLNG: 9/26, 10/8, 10/23

~~~

  • FF-ADV: 9/22

~~~

  • GMDSS: 10/27

~~~

  • MED-DOT-DA: 9/20, 10/4
  • MEDIA-RSP: 10/24
  • MED-PIC: 9/29
  • MED-PRO: 9/29
  • MED-SMC: 10/27
  • MSC-ATER: 10/7
  • MSC-CBRD-1: 9/21, 10/6
  • MSC-DC: 10/9
  • MSC-ENVPRO: 10/17

~~~

  • ROR-1: 9/22, 9/29, 10/10 (Evening Class), and 10/15

~~~

  • SEC-OFF PCS: 9/23, 10/16, 10/20
  • SHS-EMR5: 10/13

~~~

  • T-PIC: 9/22

~~~ ~~~ ~~~

Check the MITAGS website for up-to-date course descriptions associated with the course title abbreviations, and for schedule revisions.

 

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

Class Openings

~~~ ~~~ ~~~

  • 9/15-19: VPEN & Basic and Adv. Firefighting
  • 9/15-26: Medical Person-In-Charge
  • 9/22-6: ECDIS
  • 9/29-10/3: Basic Safety Training
  • 9/29: Radar Recertification

~~~

  • 10/1-3: Ship Security Officer
  • 10/6-10: Search and Rescue and Emergency Procedures
  • 10/6-17: GMDSS
  • 10/13-17: Radar Observer Unlimited
  • 10/13-17: Cargo Handling and Stowage
  • 10/20-24: Tankerman Person-In-Charge
  • 10/20-31: Medical Person-In-Charge
  • 10/20-24: ARPA
  • 10/20: Radar Recert.
  • 10/20-24: Advanced Meteorology
  • 10/27-28: Compasses
  • 10/27-31: Basic and Adv. Firefighting
  • 10/27-31: Advanced Watchkeeping

~~~ ~~~ ~~~

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 9-16 CLOSE

 D O W

 N A S D A Q

 9,567.30

+ 147.10 for the week

 1,887.30

 + 63.49 for the week
 Vanguard 500 Index Fund (VFINX)

 95.41

 Vanguard Extended Market Index Fund (VEXMX)

24.47

 Vanguard International Growth Fund (VWIGX)

 14.55

 Vanguard Morgan Growth Fund (VMRGX)

 13.81

 Vanguard Windsor II Fund (VWNFX)

 23.93

 Vanguard GNMA Fund (VFIIX)

10.46

 Vanguard High Yield Corporate Fund (VWEHX):

 6.18

 Vanguard Total Bond Index (VBMFX)

 10.27

 Chase Growth Fund (CHASX)

13.84

 Fidelity Asset Manager (FASMX)

15.13

 Fidelity Growth and Income (FGRIX)

 33.59

Fidelity Magellan Fund (FAGX)

 91.71

 Spartan US Equity Index Fund (FUSEX)

  36.47

 

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



~ Reminders ~


 


 

JOB OPENINGS IN SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA

A MM&P Pacific Maritime Region-contracted company with operations in the San Francisco Bay area is seeking to add up to six tug captains to their employee roster. The jobs are located in the Bay area.

  • Tractor Tug and Conventional Tug experience is highly desired.
  • MM&P members from any Membership Group are encouraged to apply.
  • Living within commuting distance is a necessity.
  • Relocation assistance may be available.

For additional info or to indicate interest, contact John Schaeffner, PMR’s Portland Branch Agent, by Email to jschaeffner@bridgedeck.org or by phone to 503-283-0518.

Resumes may be sent to him by Email, faxed to 503-283-0518, or delivered to the PMR Portland Hall:

John Schaeffner, Branch Agent Pacific Maritime Region – IOMM&P 2225 N. Lombard St. #206 Portland, OR 97217

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



 

BULL & OYSTER ROAST WITH THE FABULOUS HUBCAPS AT MITAGS

The oldies show band, The Fabulous Hubcaps, will bring their high-energy rock & roll to MITAGS on Saturday, October 11, from 6:00 PM -11:30 PM. Also featured is an all-you-can-eat bull and oyster roast.

Tickets are just $37 per person. A bed and breakfast plan is also available for the price of $140.

Reserve tickets and/or overnight accommodations now by contacting reservations@ccmit.org or voice 410-859-5700 x 0. For more info, contact: Howard Van Kirk at Email: hvankirk@ccmit.org or voice at 443-989-3515.

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



 

WWII REGISTRY SITE OPEN TO ALL WHO SERVED IN ANY CAPACITY

The National WWII Memorial has a site on its webpage for individuals who served in any capacity during WWII to register to be included in the Memorial’s Registry. The main site is www.wwiimemorial.com.

If the individual clicks on WWII Registry, he/she can find out if he/she is already included as a result of one of the WWII databases and, if not, can follow the directions to register. Any American who contributed to the war effort is eligible for the Registry.

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



 

CREDIT UNION “BACK-TO-SCHOOL” LOAN SPECIAL

Need money to pay for those back-to-school needs, summer vacation bills, or even your holiday shopping? Now is a great time to borrow from your credit union. The Masters, Mates & Pilots Federal Credit Union is pleased to announce a “Back to School” signature loan sale.

The new standard loan rate is 9.99%. The preferred rate is 9.24%.

Don’t let time pass you by as this rate is available only for a limited time – until September 30. Rates and conditions for this loan sale are effective July 22.

If a new or new-for-you car is in your future, your MM&P FCU continues to offer competitive loan rates. Rates start as low as 5.25% and believe it or not, MM&P FCU auto loan rates may cost you less than dealers’ zero-percent financing incentives.

Share savings and share certificates of deposit are also available. Savings accounts may earn up to 1.51% APY and certificates are earning up to 2.73% APY.

All MM&P FCU rate offerings and conditions are subject to change without notice. Call or Email Kathy Klisavage, Credit Union Manager, for complete details regarding these low-interest loans. She can be reached by Email at: mmpfcu@bridgedeck.org or toll-free at: 1-800-382-7777.

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 and Moran Towing of Florida 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.

 

Who Can Be a Member?

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.

 

Want to Know More?

For additional details or to get answers to your questions on all 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.

 

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


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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