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Communique 350 - Sept. 8, 2010

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NOTE: All Conference Sessions-related submissions should be sent directly to the Conference Secretary at conferencesecretary@
by 5 p.m. Fridays.

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or 877-972-9111

Kansas East Conference
4201 SW 15th Street
Topeka KS 66604

Communiqué 350 – Sept. 8, 2010

From Carol Fusaro, Kansas East Conference benefits officer:

Some Kansas East Conference members recently received a notice of a proposed settlement of a class-action suit brought against United Health Care (UHC). In order to file a claim, the group number and the coverage years are needed.

The group number for UHC is 705617, and Kansas East Conference was covered 2005 - 2006.

UHC, a unit of United Health Group (UHG), is the defendant in a $350,000,000 class-action settlement resolving a nearly decade-long challenge to its practices involving reimbursement for health-care services by out-of-network providers. The case was brought by the American Medical Association (AMA), other medical associations representative class plaintiffs, and union plaintiffs.

Data used by many insurers to determine reasonable and customary reimbursement levels for out-of-network health claims, based on inaccuracies in the data provided by Ingenix, a wholly-owned subsidiary of UHG, resulted in significantly lower reimbursements to providers causing some plan members to be “balance billed” for the difference between provider charges and insurer payments.

The settlement agreement provides funds for monetary benefits to be provided by UHG to members of the settlement class (those who do not opt out of the class action). If the settlement is finally approved by the court, members of the class will be entitled to payments from the fund as set forth in the “Plan of Allocation” included in the full notice.

In addition, independent of the AMA suit, the attorney general of New York claimed UHG’s ownership of Ingenix created a conflict of interest because the insurer had an incentive to depress reimbursement rates. UHG (and Aetna) have agreed to fund, through a $50,000,000 settlement with the NY AG, a not-for-profit entity to develop and maintain fee data on which reasonable and customary reimbursement levels will be based and to enhance transparency by establishing a Web site for consumers.

Some HealthFlex participants have received or will receive notice that they are potential class members of the settlement with UGH. As potential members of the class action, participants would need to evaluate the notice themselves to determine whether they want to remain a member of the class and thereby potentially benefit from the settlement fund but also have individual rights of action related to these issues foreclosed or opt-out of the class-action suit.

The deadline for claim submission is Oct. 5, 2010.

Download a copy of the lawsuit.

Health-care reform and Humana dependent children coverage
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the Health Care and Education Affordability Reconciliation Act of 2010 (the “Health Reform Acts”) require health plans that cover participants’ dependent children to offer that coverage to those children up to age 26, if the children are not eligible for employer-provided coverage. This requirement goes into effect the first plan year after Sept. 23, 2010; for Humana, this plan year begins Jan. 1, 2011.

Therefore, on Jan. 1, 2011, Humana will begin offering coverage to participants’ children who are under age 26, regardless of their student, marital or tax dependent status or their residency with the participant—if the children are not eligible for employer-provided coverage other than through a parent (e.g. through their own employer or their spouse’s employer).

Participants whose children are not currently covered in Humana, but who would be eligible for this coverage, may enroll the child or children during the Humana open enrollment period in October 2011 for coverage beginning Jan. 1.

For open enrollment meetings, see the conference calendar at

Old Mission follows the Yellow Brick Road for VBS
This summer, Old Mission UMC in Fairway hosted Vacation Bible School with a Kansas-based theme: The Yellow Brick Road.

“We have fun writing an original curriculum each year for our congregation and community,” said Karen Eisele, VBS director.

The VBS leadership team felt the Yellow Brick Road theme was the most rich in symbolism and visuals during the nine years they have created their own themes and curriculums.

Find out more at

Kansas East youth helping to transform world
Jordan Cardone, a member of Emmanuel UMC in Alta Vista, is one of 15 Denman Youth Evangelism award winners across The United Methodist Church in 2010. The youth are featured in the September-October 2010 issue of Interpreter magazine. Cardone is included as an example of the 2010 Laity Sunday theme, “Disciples Transforming the World – Through Presence.”

View the article, “Young Evangelists Transforming Their World,” online at

Pittsburg Community Garden needs votes to help Wesley House
The Pittsburg Community Garden is one of the programs in the Refresh Pepsi Project. The community garden is making a difference in Pittsburg by donating food to Wesley House, an outreach program of Pittsburg First UMC. During 2010, 4,445 pounds of food has been donated to Wesley House.

With nearly 18 percent of the people living in Crawford County live at or below the poverty line. To help reach the goal of donating 10,000 pounds of fresh vegetables, people can cast their vote for the community garden at

To vote, set up an account with Pepsi using your e-mail address. Or, you can text your vote in by texting 102137 to 73774.

To learn more about Wesley House, visit

FirstLight charter service, Sept. 12
On Sept. 12, FirstLight United Methodist Faith Community in Gardner will constitute as an official United Methodist church. Bishop Scott Jones will be leading FirstLight in worship at 10 a.m. at Gardner-Edgerton High School, 425 N. Waverly Rd.

For more information on FirstLight and Constitution Sunday, visit

Disability Awareness Sunday, Sept. 19
The Kansas East Conference encourages local churches to celebrate Disability Awareness Sunday Sept. 19, although churches may observe it at another time during the year.

The observance is an opportunity to raise awareness about disabilities and to find solutions to the barriers faced by those with disabilities.

One hundred percent of the offerings stay in the Kansas East Conference. Funds currently on hand and any new contributions are earmarked for poured sidewalk accessibility at Camp Chippewa after Bridges to the Future funding and projects are completed.

Special offering envelopes are available from the conference office on a first-come first-served basis. Call 877-0972-9111, or e-mail

More information and resources are available at

SCJ Disaster Response Academy, Sept. 21-24
The South Central Jurisdiction Disaster Response Academy will be Sept. 21-24 at Mount Sequoyah Retreat Center in Fayetteville, Ark.

Each participant may choose only one track of coursework: basic, intermediate or advanced. Each track consists of 18 hours of class time. Participants must attend the entire academy to receive certification in the chosen track.

Get the details at

Clergy gathering, Sept. 22
There will be a Gathering of the Orders and Fellowship of Local Pastors Sept. 22 from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Countryside UMC, 3221 S.W. Burlingame Rd. in Topeka. Elders, deacons, local pastors, associate members, provisional members, candidates for ministry and retired clergy are expected to attend.

If you plan to attend, contact Leslie Van Blarcom at by Sept. 15 and indicate if you wish to reserve a boxed lunch for $6 and identify your clergy category (elder, deacon, local pastor, candidate, provisional member, retired). Make payment with exact change or a check made out to Countryside UMC on site.

Get more information at

Open Doors, Clean Hearts, Dirty Hands mission event, Sept. 25
The Flint Hills District is hosting a mission day, Open Doors, Clean Hearts, Dirty Hands, Sept. 25 in Emporia.

During the morning at Emporia First UMC, Rev. Nanette Roberts will speak on “What are we doing for God’s Sake?” Rev. Claudia Bakely will speak on “Responding to the challenges of being the church in the ever-changing world.” A discussion panel on “How do we recognize and respond locally to the needs of those in poverty?” will follow.

In the afternoon, there will be three mission opportunities through the Emporia Rescue Mission at the ‘Abundant Harvest Food Kitchen and Clothing Boutique’ in Emporia:

  • Shrubbery and tree trimming
  • Sorting and packing clothing
  • Painting the interior hall and ceilings of the facility

Youth in 6-12 grades will be visiting the Emporia State Campus Ministry site and then helping with work at the campus ministry facilities. Youth who wish to participate will need to have a completed health waiver signed by parents and notarized.

The registration fee is $10, which includes lunch. Registrations are due by Sept. 16.

Get more information and a registration flier at, or call the Flint Hills District office at 785-776-7730.

Trail ride fundraiser, Sept. 25
Ride the trails in the hills of Camp Chippewa Sept 25 for an equipment fundraiser. Register for either a morning or afternoon session.

Get a registration form and more information at, or contact the camp office at 785-242-6797 at

The Song of Silence retreat, Oct. 12-14
The inaugural monastic/spiritual experience for laity and clergy, The Song of Silence, will be Oct. 12-14 at Camp Chippewa. The retreat will feature the gentle rhythms of worship, solitude, work, prayer, sacred reading, prayer yoga, silence, guided imagery and journaling. The leaders will be Lee Domann, Paul Wolf, Mitch Todd, Dale Lewis and Morgan Whitaker Smith.

Registration before the early-bird deadline, Sept. 14, is $130; after that date, it is $145. Clergy will be able to earn 2.0 CEUs and fulfill the spiritual formation requirement of the Kansas East Conference.

For more information, go to

Rural Life Fellowship Legislative Consultation, Nov. 9-12
Laity and clergy committed to town and country and rural ministry are invited to attend the United Methodist Rural Fellowship Legislative Consultation will be Nov. 9-12 in Tampa, Fla. One of the goals of the event is putting together a legislative package for General Conference 2012 that may affect small and rural churches.

The cost is $ 365 per person - double occupancy or $545 per person - single occupancy. The cost includes room, three lunches, one dinner and snacks.

The Kansas Area Rural Fellowship Committee is offering six $200 scholarships to attend the event. They are available on a first-come first-served basis.

To get a registration form, contact Ron Williams at Your registration will reserve a scholarship for you.

Get more information about the event at

Edgertons’ Haiti update
A new update on the recovery efforts in Haiti from Joe and Shirley Edgerton, who were missionaries in Haiti, has been posted in the e-newsletter archives at

K-State Wesley e-newsletter
The latest Wesley Update e-newsletter is posted at

Keys to building vital congregations
Topical preaching, varied worship styles, effective lay leadership and small groups. These are the things United Methodist congregations can do right now to become more vital and strengthen the denomination, say members of the Call to Action Steering Team.

Team members stressed that data shows local churches of all sizes can take certain steps without any action from the bishops or General Conference, the denomination’s top legislative body.

Learn more at

Border school strengthens minds and spirits
Many of the students at the Lydia Patterson Institute live in Juarez, Mexico, and must cross the U.S.-Mexico border checkpoint and clear customs on their way to school every day. It’s not uncommon for them to have to wait in lines for an hour or more to enter Texas.

But it is worth it. The only United Methodist Church-sponsored campus in the U.S. with a predominantly Hispanic population offers children from impoverished homes a future, said Socorro De Anda, school president.


Finishing Strong, Ending Well, Oct. 5-7
The Alban Institute will present Finishing Strong, Ending Well: Crafting the Culminating Chapter of Your Ministry Oct. 5-7 at Lake Junaluska, N.C. with Larry Peers. This seminar shows you how to intentionally go about finishing your career well and celebrating your reservoir of accumulated wisdom.

Get more information at

New Vision for the Long Pastorate, Oct. 19-21
Come and join others who are committed to staying in an extended pastorate but don’t want to become complacent, who are trying to decide whether to stay or who want to know when to make a move at the Alban Institute’s New Vision for the Long Pastorate Oct. 19-21 in Washington. Ed White will be the facilitator.

Find out more at

Breaking Through: Leadership & Congregational Practices for Sustaining Change & Spiritual Vitality, Nov. 16-18
How do you get a congregation from “stuck” to “thriving?” This three-day seminar Nov. 16-18 in Arizona explores how to overcome some of the common patterns and dynamics that keep leaders and congregations from being able to sustain the necessary changes for “breaking through” to becoming vital centers for spiritual growth and for ministry in their communities.

Get the details at

Visit the conference Web site at for more news and events.