Showing posts from March, 2011

Sooner or Later

I've been saving this post for a very long time.  As we come to the end of another fiscal year, one in which we have much to celebrate, I want to take a moment to challenge the thinking of a sub-culture within our company that looks for signs of layoffs...constantly. This was undoubtedly our comeback year so as we move forward to build a better Thomas Nelson I'd like to ask this simple question: how can we as Christians contemplate and come to terms with the gravity our own mortality and eternal destination and yet gyrate uncontrollably at the thought of losing a job ? Over lunch one day Sam Moore told me the story of how he came to buy Thomas Nelson from Lord Thomson.  Undoubtedly many of you have heard or read that story, although some of our newer or younger people haven't.  It is one of the great lines on this topic and what follows is the abbreviated version of what Sam told me. Lord Thomson, British publishing magnate getting on in years, notices the success of

A Thankful Monday

This morning as I was doing my usual 6:30 email and web news check the big story was another Abercrombie and Fitch stumble . Adding to its history of sexualizing pre-teens, the company recently made the news for selling a push-up padded bikini top marketed to girls as young as seven.  The news caused me, on a groggy Monday morning, to pause and be thankful for where we work.  While we're not without our problems (what workplace isn't?), I wondered for a moment what it would be like as a person of faith working at A & F.  How could you be proud of your company?  How could you feel good about going to work knowing that you contributed to a product line and company culture that makes money turning second graders into sex objects? By contrast last week I spent a day in Abilene visiting the missionaries who had come to Nashville for flood rebuilding and relief.  They reminded me that it was the inspiration of our products that caused them to form domestic mission teams .  T

Why I've Not Blogged and What's Next

After posting almost daily I've been silent for about a couple of weeks.  Since my last post we've been at the individual counseling stage for employees making important and sometimes difficult benefits choices.  I've also been to Texas to do the same for our Live Events workforce.  The days have been too full to allow much blogging time. I've also been avoiding topics other than Open Enrollment until April 1st.  We have been using this blog as a place to post FAQ-type information for Thomas Nelson's benefits plans.  This has driven traffic to the blog.  Because of this I've shied away from op-ed pieces; I don't want anyone thinking that I've driven them to my blog so they could be exposed to my opinions on one topic or another. After April 1st I hope to get back to regular posts on more general workplace topics as our benefits enrollment deadline will have passed.  I may also have one more post on the CAN-DO ordinance before Metro Council, as its Fi

So What Constitutes a Medical Emergency?

In the choice between P and S networks one of the most common concerns is emergency room care.  We always say, "Never drive past an ER", meaning that you should never think about in and out of network in emergency situations.  Another reason is that emergency care (which is different from emergency room care which could include going on the weekend for the flu) is covered in our medical plan at the same in-network rate at any hospital. When we give this response the first very reasonable question we get is, "So what is emergency room care to Blue Cross?"  The concern is that a person might go to an out of network hospital thinking something is serious, find out that it isn't, and then be stuck with a big ER bill for out-of-network treatment. Here, exactly, is the Blue Cross Blue Shield definition for emergency care. An emergency situation is defined by a "prudent layperson" who possesses an average knowledge of health and medicine, as a medical

Why Are We Moving the Book Archive?

While plans are not yet finalized, the word appears to be out that we're planning on moving the company's archive to space in the warehouse building.  All manner of speculation ranging from dead-right to ridiculous has made its way around the building.  I'll take responsibility for not getting out ahead of this story; it is a proverb in HR and PR that if you fail to tell your story someone will tell it for you, facts or no facts.  So what's the real story? We are out of space.  With the recession-era move of all offices into the Corporate building, and subsequent subleasing of our other spaces, we are committed to one location for our publishing operations.  We are about to embark on a new budget year with less than five spaces left in our building.  When the new budget year rolls around on April 1st we will begin to receive requisitions to hire those approved positions and we have no place for them to go. Our options were to reduce all cubicles down to 6x8, makin

If "Preventative Services" are Free, How are They Defined?

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (the law behind Congressional Healthcare Reform also known as PPACA) mandates that all preventative services be delivered at no cost to the insured patient (that's you if you participate in our health plan).  So since most everyone at some point or other has been burned by the specificity of how an insurance carrier defines covered services, the big question so far as been, "What exactly is considered a preventative service?"  Here from the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee PPACA flier "Preventative Services" is how BCBS defines these services.  All Members • One-a-year preventive health exams. More frequent preventive exams are covered for children up to age 3 • All standard immunizations adopted by the CDC • Screening for colorectal cancer (age 50 – 75 ), high cholesterol and lipids, high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes and depression • Screening for HIV and certain sexually transmitted diseases,

High Deductible Plans and Medicare Part B Don't Go Together

Those of you who have reached or are approaching age 65 have an extra decision to make regarding our Open Enrollment. You are or soon will be enrolled in Medicare Part A, which is free and automatic for U.S. citizens. This covers hospitalization, nursing homes, skilled nursing facilities, and some home health. This does not impact your group insurance decision at all. What is an issue is whether or not you should take Medicare Part B, which covers physicians, outpatient procedures, and durable medical equipment. Part B must be elected and will cost you, for this year, at least $1,384.80 for the next 12 months. In our opinion, and that of our broker Corporate Benefits Alliance, this coverage will not pay more in benefits than you'll pay in premium (see chart). Now before your eyes gloss over, let's walk through it. Medicare pays 80% (you pay 20%) after a $162 deductible. Medicare is always the payer of last resort, but it will pay its portion between the $162 Medicare ded

Guest Post: "Why was that High Deductible Plan so SCARY?" by Matt McCurry

Let’s face it : most of us like security. When it comes to our health I would venture to guess that we all love security. Health, and the lack there of, can be a scary thing , and that’s why I was willing to pay for “peace of mind”. Two years ago I subscribed to the theory that paying the highest insurance premium had to be cheaper than paying the doctor or hospital for their services out of my own pocket. It also gave me the sense of security I was looking for in regard to my family’s health. I was married , we had just had our son , and I knew we would be going to the doctor quite a bit because that’s what infants like to do. So what changed my our mind? Our wonderful HR department had just sent out the new insurance premiums , and after I picked myself up off the ground I decided that I really need ed to weigh out every option. I read up on this crazy thing called an HSA and found it to be quite intriguing. Not only was it a way for us to save up for medical expenses , but it

S and P Network Hospitals

With the start of Open Enrollment, one of the biggest issues for Tennessee staff is whether to take a plan with the Blue Cross Blue Shield network S or network P. The most common question is, "What's the difference?" Well, here you go: Hospitals in the S Network include Vanderbilt, St. Thomas, Baptist, Nashville General, Williamson Medical Center (Franklin), University Medical Center (Lebanon), and Middle TN Medical Center (Murfreesboro). The HCA hospitals, which are in the P network but not in the S Network, include: Centennial, Southern Hills, Summit, Skyline, Stonecrest, & Hendersonville Medical Center. A complete list of P and S network providers can be found her e. Note that there are several network listed on that page but only P and S are available in our plan. A complete list of HCA hospitals, none of which are available in the S network, can be found here . As always, see any member of your Human Resources team with any questions you might have.