NCML Expands To Offer Health Insurance - Black Enterprise
Black Enterprise Magazine July/August 2018 Issue

North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company jumped into the fray of companies fighting for a piece of the new Medicare Part D pie, a potentially profitable opportunity given that nearly 43 million people are eligible for the program.
NCML is one of many businesses interested in becoming one of the prescription drug plan (PDP) sponsors and has created a co-branding agreement with Universal American Financial Corp., which specializes in products for seniors and has underwritten roughly $1 billion in premiums.

“We wanted to leverage our insurance knowledge and the relationship with our partner” to “add value to the lives of our senior policy holders,” says Arthell Davis, NCML’s group department vice president. Davis says NCML is not looking at the product as one that will directly yield profits, but will “provide [additional] services to customers.” The company’s Prescription Pathway program was expected to be available in April.
According to Mohit Ghose, vice president of public affairs for America’s Health Insurance Plans, a trade association of health insurance companies, “[Potential providers] should make a bid factoring in expected administrative cost and profit. If the PDP is approved, the government-sponsored Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) provides monthly payments based on the original bid minus the beneficiary premiums.”
In order to receive these subsidies, a PDP sponsor must go through a rigorous, six-month application process and provide several requirements, including access to negotiated drugs prices, a contracted retail pharmacy network for consumers, outreach activities consistent with CMS standards, quality assurance operations, and drug utilization reviews.

There has been speculation about the effect of competition on the long-term survival rates of new PDP sponsors. Prior incarnations of private health plans have shown that programs tend to come and go.
The problem in the past was that payment rates were cut and, as a result, health plans were not able to provide stable, reliable benefits, according to CMS Administrator Dr. Mark McClellan. To insure a sound future for all PDPs, he says that each program is undergoing continuous review to make sure that “coverage will be there for beneficiaries” and that overall costs remain at the levels seen “in the start of this directive.” -Alexis McCombs

Nissan-Mitsubishi-Kia of Lake Charles broke ground in early January on a state-of-the-art dealership in a Louisiana community that was ravaged by Hurricane Rita last year. Financial backers of the multimillion-dollar construction project include Hibernia National Bank, Stonehenge Financial Capital Co., and the National Urban League. The old dealership will house the pre-owned vehicle division.
-Glenn Townes

The Amalgamated Bank has named Derrick Cephas president and CEO. He is the first African American to lead the company, which has more than $4 billion in assets and is the last remaining bank owned by a labor union. “We want to deal with that sector of the population that does not have a banking relationship,” says Cephas. The 82-year-old institution, based in New York City, will now target union members, nonprofits, and small businesses by offering banking products and launching a financial literacy program.

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Marcia Wade Talbert

Marcia is a multimedia content producer focusing on technology at Black Enterprise Magazine. In this capacity she writes and assigns stories to educate readers about social media; digital integration; gadgets, apps, and software for business and professional development; minority tech startups; and careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). In 2012, she received two Salute to Excellence Awards from the National Association of Black Journalists and was recognized by Blacks in Technology (BiT) as one of the Top 10 Black achievers in the tech arena for 2011 at SXSW in Austin, Texas. She has spoken about technology on panels for New York Social Media Week, at The 2012 Rainbow/PUSH Wall Street Summit, as well as at Black Enterprise’s Entrepreneurs Conference and Women of Power Summit. In 2011, chose her as one of 28 People of Color Impacting the Social Web, and through crowdsourcing she was listed as one of BlackWeb2.0's/HP's 50 Most Notable African American Tastemakers in Social Media and Technology for 2010. Since taking on the role of Tech editor in September 2010, she has conceived and produced five cover stories on Technology and/or STEM and countless articles, videos, and slideshows online. Before joining as an interactive general assignment reporter in 2008, she freelanced with Black Enterprise beginning in 2003 while working as the technical editor at Prepared Foods magazine. There she further honed her writing skills and became an authority on food ingredients, including ingredients used in food fortification and enrichment. Meanwhile, her freelancing with Black Enterprise and helped her stay current on issues pertaining to the financial and business welfare of African Americans. As a general reporter for Black Enterprise she attended and reported on the Democratic and Republican National Conventions, where she interviewed Valerie Jarrett, senior advisor and assistant to President Barack Obama and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. Marcia has a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture with an emphasis in food science from the University of Minnesota, and a Master of Science degree in journalism from Roosevelt University in Chicago. En route to her secondary degree, she served as the editor-in-chief of the Roosevelt University Torch, a weekly, student-run newspaper. An avid photographer and videographer, Marcia is one of several employees at BLACK ENTERPRISE who interned for the publishing company as a college student. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, a food scientist; her seventeen-month-old daughter; and “The Cat”, but still considers Chicago home.