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Just So You Know – May 2018

UNDERSTANDING THE AUDIT PROCESS

The PWGA has active audit programs, each with a specific function to make sure that all employers are in compliance and pay the required contributions. These programs ensure writers receive the maximum benefits to which they are entitled.

The Employer Compliance Department handles all inquiries regarding reportable earnings and possible delinquencies/discrepancies. If a writer has a problem (e.g., missing contributions, late or incorrect reporting), Employer Compliance handles the claim and collects the contributions on their behalf. The bottom line? If your client is experiencing a problem, please let us know and we will use our resources to get to the bottom of it.

Either you or your client should contact the Employer Compliance Department (818-846-1015 x603 or by email at: EmployerCompliance@wgaplans.org). We will require a copy of the project contract and evidence of payment for services. After reviewing the documents, if we determine that contributions are due on your client’s behalf, Employer Compliance will bill the employer and collect the outstanding amounts due.

Employer Compliance also bills employers based on findings from audits performed by the PWGA’s independent audit firm. This independent audit firm audits all employers signatory to the MBA in three or four year time periods to make sure that the employer is reporting and paying correctly.

Employer Compliance also audits 10% owners; these are writer-owned companies and have specific rules that must be met in order for contributions to be accepted. If your client is an owner or member of a reporting signatory, they may want to speak to Employer Compliance to make sure that they are following the 10% Owner reporting rules correctly. These rules can be tricky and it is to their benefit to make sure their company complies with the rules.

The PWGA also contacts new and renewing signatories when we are notified that they have signed up or renewed their signatory status. We help educate them on their obligations to submit Pension and Health contributions and walk them through the correct way to remit payment. This helps to alleviate errors that might otherwise occur.

In addition to the above, the PWGA reviews all incoming employer reportings, including Individual Signatories and New Media projects to ensure that all employers are in compliance and paying contributions correctly and in accordance with the Minimum Basic Agreement.

If you or your client has a question or concern, please contact us. We will be happy to assist in any way we can.

ONLINE RESOURCES

We get a lot of calls from business managers about medical billing and payment issues: Have you processed my claim yet?; Is the annual deductible satisfied?; Has the dependent premium been paid?; Has a particular bill been paid?; these kinds of questions take up an inordinate percentage of managers’ time if the phone calls we receive are any indication. There’s good news: we have easy tools to make gathering this information simpler, much, much simpler.

If your client already has an account set up, they can go to the link below to obtain payment information (from the time they first joined the WGA), thus making it easy to determine if the writer should have coverage, or if a pension amount (which is based on earnings) is correct. Explanation of Benefits (EOBs) are available to print and view online, and the writer can determine whether or not a dependent premium has been paid (They can pay it online, too).

If your client has an account already, they should go here:

https://wgaplans.org/login/?redirect_to=view-my-profile/manage-subscriptions

If your client doesn’t have an account, it takes only a minute or two to set one up. All that is required is a WRX number (found on the writer’s health insurance card), the writer’s last name, and their date of birth. That’s it. The sign up page is:

https://wgaplans.org/registration-validation/

Save yourself some aggravation and help get answers faster and more easily. Online is the way to go.

COBRA CONSIDERATIONS

Throughout your clients’ careers, there may be periods when they lose Health Fund coverage for a time. If this happens, they they will be offered the opportunity to purchase COBRA Continuation Coverage. COBRA can be elected for the Participant and/or their covered dependents. Participants that have been covered under the Fund for up to 2 years in the last 5 years will be entitled to 18 months of COBRA coverage. If they have been covered for more than 2 years in the last 5 years they will be entitled to 24 months of COBRA coverage.

COBRA Continuation Coverage and the rules regarding administration of that coverage are federally mandated. Premiums are billed on a monthly basis; they are due on the 1st of every month, but the Participant has until the last day of the month in which the premium is due to make their payment. (Note: Please keep in mind that coverage is not effective until the premium is paid.)

Because the consequences of missing a COBRA Premium payment are significant, the PWGA sends out reminders on the 15th of each month proactively:

  • Email blasts and post card payment reminders are sent on the 15th of the month prior to the new quarter. (If a reminder is received and the business manager believes the payment has been made, please contact the Eligibility Department to verify (818-846-1015 x189).
  • Payments for more than one month (for example, paying for the entire year) must be mailed to the Fund office. We will accept a business check, personal check or money order only.
  • We encourage Participants to pay online. As a third-party, business managers will need to use the instructions below.

(Note: A business manager may also set up bill pay with their client’s bank account. However, it is highly recommended that they contact the Fund office to verify that payment has been received.)

How to Make an Online Payment Without Logging into The Participant’s Account:

  • Go to pwga.org
  • Click on “Health”
  • Click on “Pay Premium”
  • Enter the Participant’s ID number (numbers only – no letters)
  • Enter the Participant’s last name
  • Enter the Participant’s birth date
  • A prompt will appear: “Do they live in U.S.A.?” – Click Yes
  • Enter last 4 digits of the SSN
  • Enter Credit or Debit Card Information
  • Response will be “Payment Pending”

For more information, please contact the Eligibility Department at: 818-846-1015 x189 or by email at: EMailbox@wgaplans.org.