Posts Tagged ‘Voluntary Short-Term Disability Program’

VSTD COVID-19 Elimination Period Waiver is Extended

June 17, 2020

Dear Member:

As many of you may recall, the SMART Voluntary Short Term Disability Plan temporarily suspended the Elimination Period for COVID-19 (Coronavirus) disabilities. In an announcement to you dated April 15, 2020, we communicated that the Elimination Period was being waived for any COVID-19 (Coronavirus) disabilities beginning in the months of March, April and May 2020.

We are pleased to announce that the Plan will be extending this waiver for three (3) more months through August 2020. So, effective with all diagnosed COVID-19 (Coronavirus) disabilities beginning in the months of March through August 2020, the Plan’s Elimination Period will be waived. Members must usually be disabled for 21 days before benefits will begin on the 22nd day. This is known as the Elimination Period or Waiting Period. We are waiving this Waiting Period for positive COVID-19 (Coronavirus) disabilities. This change will expedite and increase benefits for approved applicants so that you will have immediate access to money. The Waiting Period will be reinstated for COVID-19 (Coronavirus) disabilities beginning on and after September 1, 2020.

We are pleased that the Plan can take this action on your behalf. We wish you and your family health and wellness during these trying times.

Sincerely,
Board of Trustees
Mr. Joseph Sellers Jr., General President SMART
Mr. Jeremy Ferguson, President-SMART Transportation Division
Mr. Joseph Powell, General Secretary-Treasurer SMART

The SMART Voluntary Short Term Disability Plan is administered by:
Southern Benefit Administrators, Incorporated
P.O. Box 1449
Goodlettsville, Tennessee 37070-1449
Toll-Free: (844) 880-1071, Fax: (615) 859-0201

View this announcement in PDF form.

VSTD NOTICE: ELIMINATION PERIOD WAIVED FOR COVID-19 (CORONAVIRUS) DISABILITIES

April 15, 2020

As Trustees of the SMART Voluntary Short Term Disability Plan, we have a responsibility to manage your Plan with care and prudence. We are always concerned with maximizing the benefit of the program for you, particularly in your time of need. We believe this has been accomplished over the years through favorable
changes to the Plan that have directly benefited you as a member.

We are all now facing a pandemic in this country with the spread of COVID-19, also referred to as Coronavirus. This disease has consumed our attention as a nation for weeks now and is a unique challenge for our country and its citizens. We want you as members of the SMART Rail and Bus workforce to know that the Plan is with you and supporting you where it can during this threat. It is for this reason that we are pleased to announce that we have taken immediate action to make it easier for you to qualify for a benefit from the Plan if you have been diagnosed with COVID-19 (Coronavirus). This disease has largely caught our country off guard and we know being afflicted with it can have direct and immediate financial implications for you and your family. The Plan is positioned to help.

Effective with all diagnosed COVID-19 (Coronavirus) disabilities beginning in the months of March, April and May 2020, the Plan’s Elimination Period (Waiting Period) will be waived. Currently, members must be disabled for 21 days before benefits will begin on the 22nd day. This is known as the Elimination Period (Waiting Period). We are waiving this Waiting Period for positive COVID-19 (Coronavirus) disabilities. This change will expedite and increase benefits for approved applicants so that you will have immediate access to money. Currently, the Waiting Period will be reinstated for COVID-19 (Coronavirus) disabilities beginning on and after June 1, 2020.

We are pleased that the Plan can take this action on your behalf. We wish you and your family health and wellness during these trying times.

Sincerely,
Board of Trustees
Mr. Joseph Sellers Jr., General President SMART
Mr. Jeremy Ferguson, President-SMART Transportation Division
Mr. Joseph Powell, General Secretary-Treasurer SMART

The SMART Voluntary Short Term Disability Plan is administered by:
Southern Benefit Administrators, Incorporated
P.O. Box 1449
Goodlettsville, Tennessee 37070-1449
Toll-Free: (844) 880-1071, Fax: (615) 859-0201

View this announcement in PDF form.

Disability insurance available to members

disability-insurance_image Updated: October 1, 2015 Although you may have missed the open enrollment period for the long-term (VLTD) and short-term disability (VSTD) plans, members can still sign up for disability insurance. Members who missed the open enrollment deadline will be subject to pre-existing condition screening, a medical exam and approval.  Additional questions should be directed to your regional field supervisor (contacts). Bus VLTD, Bus VSTD Rail VLTD, Rail VSTD  

Long-term disability program forthcoming

disability-insurance_imageThe trustees of the SMART Voluntary Short-Term Disability program are pleased to announce that they have reached a tentative agreement with Anthem Life Insurance Co. on a group long-term disability plan for our bus and rail members.

The plan is intended to provide a seamless transition to long-term coverage for members when disability exceeds the short-term policy limits. Participation is voluntary.

The plans will offer various options for coverage and premium rates. Implementation will include an open-enrollment period that will allow members to enroll in a combination of short- and long-term disability coverage without any pre-existing condition exclusion.

Details regarding the implementation timeline, an explanation of the new benefit options and enrollment instructions for the long-term disability plan will be forthcoming shortly.

Disability benefit to increase for rail members

The trustees of the SMART Group Voluntary Short Term Disability program are pleased to announce that, effective March 1, 2015, the $346 per week maximum short-term disability benefit will increase to a maximum of $400 per week for 34 weeks, with no change in premium.

This increased benefit will apply to all disabilities that begin on or after March 1, 2015. Any disabilities that began prior to March 1, 2015, will be paid under the $346 per week benefit provision.

Watch the Transportation Division website for further details.

Anthem issues update on client data breach

PrintAnthem President and CEO Joseph R. Swedish has issued the following statement regarding the data breach of the company’s information systems last week:

Last week, we made you aware that Anthem was the target of a very sophisticated external, cyber-attack. Since that time, we have been working around the clock continuing our assistance in the FBI investigation; analyzing the data to understand the impact to our members; responding to questions from our clients, members and partners; and securing a best-in-class vendor to provide identity protection services to our members as quickly as possible.

To that end, we understand that you and your employees – our members – are eager to receive more information about how to enroll in the credit protections we are providing. Starting this Friday, Feb. 13, current and former Anthem members whose information was included in the database that was compromised, can visit AnthemFacts.com to learn how to enroll in two years of free credit monitoring and identity theft repair services provided by our vendor – a leading and trusted identity protection provider. Members can access these services starting Friday, Feb. 13, prior to receiving a mailed notification from Anthem, which will be sent in the coming weeks.

The free identity protection services provided by Anthem include two years of:

  • Identity Repair Assistance: Should a member experience fraud, an investigator will do the work to recover financial losses, restore the member’s credit, and ensure the member’s identity is returned to its proper condition. This assistance will cover any fraud that has occurred since the incident first began.
  • Credit Monitoring: At no cost, members may also enroll in additional protections, including credit monitoring. Credit monitoring alerts consumers when banks and creditors use their identity to open new credit accounts.
  • Child Identity Protection: Child-specific identity protection services will also be offered to any members with children insured through their Anthem plan.
  • Identity theft insurance: For individuals who enroll, the company has arranged for $1,000,000 in identity theft insurance, where allowed by law.
  • Identity theft monitoring/fraud detection: For members who enroll, data such as credit card numbers, Social Security numbers and emails will be scanned against aggregated data sources maintained by top security researchers that contain stolen and compromised individual data, in order to look for any indication that the members’ data has been compromised.
  • Phone Alerts: Individuals who register for this service and provide their contact information will receive an alert when there is a notification from a credit bureau, or when it appears from identity theft monitoring activities that the individual’s identity may be compromised.

Industry standards under similar circumstances are to provide credit monitoring services for one year; however, we are exceeding these standards and providing these identity protection and credit monitoring services to all impacted members for two years, in response to your concerns. This has been our priority from day one, to be transparent, protect your data and to give our members peace of mind.

We have been working to arrange for these credit monitoring and identity theft protection services since the attack on our systems was discovered. Doing so has required enormous efforts and commitment of resources to ensure that our vendor can accommodate what we anticipate will be very high demand for these services. It was essential that we work with the vendor to develop the infrastructure to handle a high volume of calls and web traffic, and to train representatives to accurately answer questions from our members. Our goal is to provide peace of mind, while minimizing frustration for our members. We are able to provide these services 11 business days after discovery of the attack.

We will distribute press releases in our markets on Friday announcing the identity protection services are available. We will also send letters in the mail to our members in the coming weeks with information on how to sign up for services. We will share a copy of these communications with you before they are distributed.

We will continue to provide updates as we learn more about the attack, and we are here to answer your questions to the best of our ability.

A message regarding cyber attack impacting Anthem

PrintAs you may have heard, Anthem, Inc., the parent company of SMART’s voluntary short-term disability insurance provider Anthem Life Insurance Co., was the victim of a cyber-attack. Anthem has informed us that its member data was accessed, and that such access could possibly have included VSTD member data as well.

We are working with Anthem to better understand the impact on VSTD members. To date, Anthem has informed us of the following:

  • Once Anthem determined it was the victim of the cyber-attack, it immediately notified federal law enforcement officials and shared the indicators of compromise with the HITRUST C3 (Cyber Threat Intelligence and Incident Coordination Center).
  • Anthem’s Information Security is working to eliminate any further vulnerability and continues to secure all of its data.
  • Anthem immediately began a forensic IT investigation to determine the number of impacted consumers and to identify the type of information accessed. The investigation is ongoing.
  • The information accessed included member names, member health identification numbers/Social Security numbers, dates of birth, addresses, telephone numbers, Email addresses and employment information, including income data. Social Security numbers were included in only a subset of the universe of consumers that were impacted.
  • Anthem is still working to determine which members’ Social Security numbers were accessed.
  • Anthem’s investigation to date shows that no credit card or confidential health information was accessed.
  • Anthem has advised us there is no indication at this time that any of our members’ personal information has been misused.
  • All impacted Anthem members will be enrolled in identity repair services. In addition, impacted members will be provided information on how to enroll in free credit monitoring.

Anthem has created a website – www.anthemfacts.com – and a hotline, 1-877-263-7995, for its members to call for more information.

We will continue to keep you updated on Anthem’s ongoing investigation and any further developments as they are made known to us.

SMART Transportation Division
Voluntary Short-Term Disability Program Trustees