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The SEANC Scoop STATE EMPLOYEES ASSOCIATION OF NORTH CAROLINA IMPORTANT LINKS

Member-Only Discounts SEANC Insurance SEANC in the News Update Contact Info Calendar of Events The Reporter

November 1, 2013

State Health Plan Enrollment: "It’s Really Been a Nightmare" No, it’s not Halloween that’s spooked state employees and retirees this week, the nightmare as explained by SEANC Member Kathy Merritt to the News and Observer, has been continued problems with the State Health Plan enrollment. Merritt summed up the mess well, describing her experiences trying to enroll in her health care coverage as, complicated, confusing and difficult. “It has really been a nightmare,” she said. Last week, the State Treasurer’s office extended the open enrollment deadline to Nov. 15. This week, the frustration continued and SEANC asked members to share their concerns in order to address problems face-on and to bring a clear picture of the issues and problems to the public’s attention. There was an overwhelming response from many members about the difficulties with excessively long waits on the phone and a non-functioning wellness assessment website, among others. SEANC member and retired state worker Mary O’Neill talked to WRAL, where she showed on camera that the website was failing. The good news for O’Neill was that after the interview she received a personal phone call from the State Treasurer’s office to assist her. It just goes to show that the squeaky wheel really does get the oil.

Wayne Memorial Will Lose the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of N.C. Network Over High Costs Members Urged To Start Shopping for Services Now If your doctor is affiliated with Wayne Memorial Hospital in Goldsboro, please be on alert! Wayne Memorial is raising its rates yet again, which is causing Blue Cross and Blue Shield of N.C. to reject them as a network provider. BCBSNC insurance will be an out-of-network provider at the hospital after Dec. 5, 2013. At issue is the cost of outpatient services at Wayne Memorial


which are said to be 85 percent higher than the statewide average for North Carolina hospitals. Due to the high number of SEANC members in the Goldsboro area, we wanted to make sure that you knew about this situation. Start shopping around now for health care services in the event that BCBSNC is no longer innetwork at Wayne Memorial come Dec. 5. You may view the BCBSNC member services webpage to find all local in-network care options.

SEANC to N.C. Representatives: Pass Immigration Reform Now District 3 member Ann Castro spoke out in favor of comprehensive immigration reform this week in Morganton, in a press conference in front of the offices of Rep. Mark Meadows. Castro asked Meadows to join 189 congressmen and sponsor an immigration reform bill and bring it to a vote in the House of Representatives. If you are wondering how CIR affects state employees Castro explains this on the association’s Facebook page in her Oct. 26 post. Numerous health care, law enforcement and education employees all deal with documented and undocumented immigrants in our state, directly or indirectly. If legalized, immigrants would increase federal tax revenue by almost $66 billion over 10 years. Federal grants, highway construction, Medicare and other federal monies trickle down to state coffers.

SEANC Welcomes 73 New Members! Congrats to the 73 new members who recently chose to empower themselves and the public services they provide this week by joining SEANC! Welcome new members from the Departments of Administration, Health and Human Services, Public Safety, Transportation, Administrative Office of the Courts, East Carolina University, A&T University, N.C. Central University, Piedmont Technical College, Pitt County, Robeson Community College, Office of the State Treasurer, UNC Hospitals, UNCCharlotte, Wake County Schools, and Wake Technical Community College. Contact Member Action Director Lynn Cote for more information on hosting an event at your worksite.


Plan a weekend getaway to Biltmore Planning a weekend getaway to the Biltmore? Use your SEANC membership to save some cash! SEANC members receive discounts to Asheville’s historic mansion by purchasing tickets in advance using this website. Also this year, members can enjoy a discount to the popular Candlelight Christmas Evenings at the house through the holiday season.

State Employees Association of North Carolina 1621 Midtown Place Raleigh, NC 27611 800-222-2758 | seanc.org

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November 8, 2013

Privatization: Wrong for N.C. and Bad for Taxpayers The state continues to find out the hard way what state employees already know – that privatization of public services does not work and costs taxpayers money. Several stories came out this week showing the pitfalls of contracting out services. The Division of Motor Vehicles is now desperately trying to cancel a contract with a company creating new “high-tech” driver’s licenses. In two years, the state has spent $1 million with nothing to show for it from the contractor, according to WRAL-TV. Another example of the poor work that results from privatization came from the Department of Transportation, where a traffic alert sent out by an IT contractor warned drivers that, “Women drivers, rain and Obama care” were causing problems on the Raleigh Beltline Wednesday afternoon. But it seems the McCrory Administration has not learned its lesson. The Department of Health and Human Services hired three new communicators - ballooning its staff to 24 - to promote its upcoming Medicare privatization scheme.

SEANC Salutes our Proud Veterans North Carolina has a rich heritage of military service. With Veterans Day on Monday, we would like to take this opportunity to honor all of the men and women who have sacrificed to protect the freedoms we enjoy as Americans. After their military service is complete, many veterans choose to continue to serve the public as state employees. SEANC is proud of our members who are veterans, and grateful for their continued dedication. If you are a veteran, there are state employees within the Division of Veterans Affairs who stand ready to assist you. A Veterans Day parade and ceremony will take place in downtown Raleigh on the north side of the Capitol grounds this


Saturday. Families can gather at 9:30 a.m. and the ceremony will be held at 11 a.m. Governor Pat McCrory has proclaimed November as Veterans and Military Family Appreciation Month and said it was an “honor to live in a military friendly state.” Also, on Thursday the first Veterans Treatment Court in the state launched in Harnett County to assist vets who may struggle with the transition back into the civilian world.

SEANC Welcomes 66 New Members! Congrats to the 66 new members who recently chose to empower themselves and the public services they provide this week by joining SEANC! Welcome new members from the departments of Administration, Revenue, Transportation, Public Safety, Health and Human Services, and Agriculture, Central Piedmont Community College, Hyde County Schools, Office of the Courts, Lenoir Community College, N.C. Central University, Pender County Schools, Wake County Schools, Winston Salem State University and retirees. Contact Lynn Cote for more information on hosting an event at your worksite.

Poll Shows Support for Immigration Reform With the 2014 midterm elections less than a year away, a new poll released Thursday suggests that North Carolina lawmakers who oppose comprehensive immigration reform do so at their own peril. The nationwide survey sponsored by three conservative groups – the Partnership for a New American Economy, Republicans for Immigration Reform, and Compete America – found that 69 percent of North Carolinians support reform, and that North Carolinians are two-and-a-half times more likely to penalize than support candidates who oppose reform at the ballot box. A full 48 percent of North Carolinians polled said they were less likely to support an elected official who opposed reform compared with just 20 percent who were more likely to support a reform opponent. The full poll can be found here.


Member Discount: Disney on Ice SEANC members can get exclusive discounts to see all of their favorite Disney characters in Raleigh as Disney on Ice presents “Let's Celebrate!� The show runs from December 11-15, 2013 at PNC Arena. For more information, click here.

State Employees Association of North Carolina 1621 Midtown Place Raleigh, NC 27609 800-222-2758 | seanc.org


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Member-Only Discounts SEANC Insurance SEANC in the News Update Contact Info Calendar of Events The Reporter

November 15, 2013

State Health Plan Enrollment Deadline is Today! The State Health Plan’s open enrollment period ends today. Employees who do not wish to be placed in the Traditional 70/30 Plan need to take action to choose either the Enhanced 80/20 Plan or the Consumer-Directed Health Plan. All employees are also encouraged to avoid unnecessary surcharges by completing the wellness activities. Changes will take effect Jan. 1, 2014. Enrollment information is posted on the plan's website. If you have questions today, please feel free to call the SEANC Central Office for assistance.

SEANC Statewide Boards meet in Raleigh SEANC’s Insurance Board of Trustees and Retiree Council met this week at the SEANC Central Office in Raleigh. Chairwoman Doranna Anderson presided over the insurance board, which discussed marketing strategies and possible changes to various plans in the future. For more on the insurance plans SEANC offers, click here. Chairman Spillman Grice hosted his first Retiree Council meeting, where members discussed the State Health Plan enrollment process and the state of the retirement system, as well as a pending study on the state treasurer’s role as sole investor of the system’s funds and optional retirement plans.

More State Workers Side with SEANC!


Congrats to the 81 new members who recently chose to empower themselves and the public services they provide this week by joining SEANC! Welcome new members from the departments of Administration, Agriculture, Commerce, Health and Human Services, Public Safety, Transportation, and Environment and Natural Resources, Central Piedmont Community College, Craven Community College, Cumberland County Schools, Fayetteville State University, Office of the Courts, Lexington City Schools, Richmond County Schools, Southeastern Community College, State Employees' Credit Union, Office of the State Treasurer, UNC-Chapel Hill, Wake County Schools, Western Carolina University and retirees. Contact Lynn Cote for more information on hosting an event at your worksite.

Have you moved? We need to know! We want to ensure that we have your correct address and that you are receiving all of the benefits that come with your SEANC membership. If you have moved in the past year and haven’t notified the SEANC Central Office now is the perfect time, please send your updated address

to

Kacee

Gore.

Take the Sting out of Holiday Spending Looking to buy a new laptop, television or other big-ticket item for a loved one this holiday season? Let SEANC's partnership with Purchasing Power help. The program lets you break large expenditures down into manageable monthly payments by payroll deductions. Through Dec. 15, SEANC members receive free shipping on all purchases with the promo code FSHOL13. For more information, visit Purchasing Power's website today.

State Employees Association of North Carolina 1621 Midtown Place Raleigh, NC 27609 800-222-2758 | seanc.org


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Please note the next edition of The SEANC Scoop will be December 6, 2013. SEANC wishes members a safe and happy Thanksgiving holiday!

November 22, 2013

SEANC Denied Chance to Push for State Health Plan Cost Saving Measures SEANC Legislative Director Ardis Watkins was denied the opportunity before the State Health Plan Board of Trustees today to discuss several proposals on how to save the State Health Plan money that could provide funding for benefit enhancements and assist plan members. SEANC had a dozen proposals including saving the plan up to $400 million by linking hospital reimbursement rates to a percentage of Medicare reimbursement rates, establishing a self-audit rewards program to reimburse members for finding billing errors and a proposal to reimburse plan members for bank overdraft fees arising from enrollment errors by the State Health Plan and its vendors. However, we wanted to make sure that you, the members, see all of SEANC's benefit suggestions to improve the State Health Plan. SEANC stood alone representing all state employees and retirees at the meeting. Watkins noted in her remarks that the State Health Plan is not a gift, "It is a benefit of employment." She pointed out that only one state spends less on health care for its employees than North Carolina – and that’s Mississippi. The North Carolina Association of Educators did not send a representative to advocate on behalf of their members. However, teacher and SHP trustee Kim Hargett described the State Health Plan saying teachers felt "blessed to have a safety net of health coverage." SEANC was surprised to learn from Hargett that teachers like wellness surcharges (associated with activities like a health care assessment that if not completed) cost employees money. This is in direct contrast to SEANC members' experiences described to the board by trustee Charles Johnson. "The average state employee views these wellness surcharges as a choice between eating and paying the rent,” he said. “That's how the average member feels. They want to know why the State Health Plan is sitting on one billion dollars and still hitting employees with surcharges. Until


we make it affordable for the worker in his 20s who can’t afford to cover his kids and his wife under the current plan, we're moving backwards. We want the plan to help the average state worker."

SEANC In The News State employees are no strangers to hard work, but stagnating paychecks and rising inflation are forcing public employees to work multiple jobs while the General Assembly cuts corporate taxes and caps revenues on luxury items like boats. SEANC member and Wake County Court Clerk Renee Wilkins was profiled in the News & Observer this week. Wilkins works four jobs to cover the cost of living for her family and hardly has time with her children. In response, SEANC’s Executive Director Dana Cope exposed the shameful truth about public employee wages and called for a change in priorities. “We have people who are literally on food stamps and child care subsidies. They can’t make it on their government job, on their salary,” he said.

Dueling Pay Raises Objections Meanwhile in the same article, House Budget Chairman Nelson Dollar said he “fully expects” state employees and teachers to get a raise next year. Rep. Darren Jackson of Wake County went further and said the state “should make several years of larger-than-usual raises.” On the opposite end of the spectrum DHHS Head Dr. Aldona Wos told Cherry Hospital leaders “The sheer number of state jobs means there is not enough money in North Carolina to increase the salaries of all state employees, and any increases must be strategic.” We’re going to bet on the House who controls the budget process on this one!

State Human Resources Act Forums Save the Date!


What once was the State Personnel Act (SPA) is now called the State Human Resources Act (SHRA) and SEANC is planning forums around the state. Come learn about the changes, how they affect your workplace rights and why you should care. The forums will be led by SEANC’s Tom Harris and Ardis Watkins who will educate members on the changes. Forums will be held from 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. and are scheduled for the following dates and locations: January 15 - Charlotte - Central Piedmont Community College January 21 - Morganton - Western Piedmont CC Auditorium January 28 - Raleigh - NCSU McKimmon Center February 5 - Wilmington - New Hanover Cooperative Extension February 6 - Goldsboro - Wayne Community College

More State Employees Side with SEANC Congrats to the 78 new members who recently chose to empower themselves and the public services they provide this week by joining SEANC! Welcome new members from the departments of Administration, Health and Human Services, Public Safety, Revenue, Transportation, and Environment and Natural Resources, East Carolina University, Appalachian State University, Burke County Schools, Charlotte-Mecklenburg County Schools, Guilford County Schools, Harnett County Schools, Courts, N.C. State University, Sampson County Schools, Wake County Schools, UNC Hospitals, UNC-Chapel Hill, and retirees. Contact Lynn Cote for more information on hosting an event at your worksite.

Rewards for Holiday Recruitment! Now through the holiday season, members who recruit five new state employees will receive $20! Just complete the New Member Verification Form on the SEANC webpage at www.seanc.org/recruiterresources. For more information please contact Kacee Gore.

Holiday Travel Discounts


Traveling this holiday weekend? Take advantage of the great member discounts available through SEANC for Avis and Budget Car Rental services, AAA Carolinas and several hotel chains.

State Employees Association of North Carolina P.O. Drawer 27727 Raleigh, NC 27611 800-222-2758 | seanc.org

Scoop November 2013  
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