Muncie Novelty/Indiana Ticket Update – June 17, 2020

We hope this update finds you and yours well.

As in past updates, our product markets continue to open in phases. As one may expect, we have not yet seen a surge in demand for all of our products.

It is encouraging that, as expected, we have been able to recall additional employees that did not return in our initial recall.

Discussion and planning continues for future recalls. Our intentions are first to have all of our employees recalled, and second to restore as many as possible to their former positions.

It’s possible that future recalls will be asked to fill temporary assignments in other available positions and / or departments.

As stated above, our intention is that assignments to other positions or department be temporary, until our market demand allows the employee to return to their former position.

As before, those recalled will be contacted individually about a week in advance to allow you sufficient time to prepare for your return.  If you are receiving this post, we will be using the same contact resources to notify you to return. Once contacted, please reply to your supervisor at your earliest convenience.

Finally, we are providing a link to a posting from the Indiana Department of Workforce Development warning of a fraud scam to unemployment insurance claimants. Please be aware of this scam and protect yourself. Click this link to view the fraud alert.

Your patience is appreciated in these uncertain times. As always, stay safe, and we look forward to seeing you.

Take care!
Ed Cowgill

I hope everyone had a nice Memorial Day Holiday, it’s hard to believe that so much time has passed since this all began.

You may recall from our previous post that we anticipated reopening in phases.  Indiana currently expects to enter “Stage 4” on June 14 allowing additional businesses to either open or increase capacity within their premises.  This stage includes several entities that consume our products, so we are planning to recall additional employees back to their jobs at that time.

Those recalled will be contacted individually about a week in advance to allow you sufficient time to prepare for your return.  If you are receiving this post, we will be using the same contact resources to notify you to return. Once contacted, please reply to your supervisor at your earliest convenience.

Second, we sent out recovery plans for insurance premiums paid for April & May, if you have not yet replied, please do so as soon as possible.

As always, stay safe and we look forward to seeing you.

Take care!
David & Megan

This afternoon, Governor Holcomb announced the State’s plan to begin reopening business across Indiana.  Stage 2 of the plan allows companies like ours to begin the reopening process on Monday, May 4.  Our management team met this morning to discuss a plan to do this as safely and responsibly as possible.

Looking at the Governor’s guidelines, we anticipate other States will follow similar paths.  While we are able to begin operating, many of our clients across the country are still closed or operating at a limited capacity.

As you might expect, there will be changes from our previous routines. New protocol will apply from the time we enter the building with temperature checks and a new time “clock” procedure.  Along the lines of a progressive reopening, we plan to start production at a slower pace than usual, calling employees to return a few at a time.

Each of us has a personal responsibility to keep ourselves safe and look out for our co-workers.  Enhanced cleaning of tools and equipment is essential.  Maintaining a clean work space is necessary.  While some items have been difficult to purchase in large quantities, we do have sufficient supply of sanitizer, soap, masks and gloves.  We will need to conserve use of these items so that we can replace them as supply starts to ramp up.  For example, when you return, you may want to bring a re-usable face covering from home.

Written guidelines will be available when you return, but these are things we have heard non-stop since the horrible virus put our lives on hold.  Social distancing, hand washing, limited contact, and stay at home if you are not feeling well or have a fever.

The first group to return will be contacted by their department manager with further instructions.  If you are not among those contacted, please do not think that your position is in jeopardy.  Our sincere wish is to return to full employment as quickly and safely as possible.

Thank you all for your patience as we continue to navigate this unique and uncertain obstacle.

To All Employees of Muncie Novelty and Indiana Ticket:

The Indiana Stay-At-Home order has been extended to May 1st. Muncie Novelty and Indiana Ticket will be closed at least until that date. Be assured that we will re-open as soon as legally allowed by state or local orders.

With President Trump’s Opening Up America Again plan and Governor Holcomb’s assurance that Indiana will be executing from those guidelines, there is hope we will see our parking lot full and machines running again in the not too distant future. Keep the faith that our best days are ahead that we’ll soon be working to restore our sector of American greatness.

To All Employees of Muncie Novelty and Indiana Ticket:

I hope everyone is doing their best to pull yourselves through this trying time. We wanted to give a brief update.  The State and County continue to mandate Stay at Home for non-essential businesses and their employees.  We have applied for Paycheck Protection loans under the Federal CARES Act, but it is currently unknown when this aid might be received.  Without this relief, we are unable to process payroll as usual.

This was hard to put in writing and I am sure even tougher to read.  As stated in our initial post we want to offer as much information as we can, but at this time there are more questions than answers.  Hopefully answers are coming soon and carry positive information once received.

As you might expect, payment from our customers has nearly stopped.  Many clients express willingness to pay for the products they received prior to the mutual pause, but are looking for extended terms or to make payments in installments.  We have made the same requests to some of our suppliers.

This is a tough time for all of us, and hopefully if we can find a way to stick together as a team and community, we will all have a chance to get back to normal.  Please continue to take all recommended precautions to prevent the spread of this horrible virus.

Stay safe,
David & Megan

An amendment has been written into our health insurance plan. This is in addition to the Healthiest You app, that was already available. HY is intended for a one-time medical issue that one could access via telephone for medical advice or prescription help.

The amendment would be for ongoing medical treatment, such as mental or physical health counseling where a member is wanting continued treatment with the same provider.

To All Employees of Muncie Novelty and Indiana Ticket:

As this week progressed, some of the questions we have had are finally being answered. Many questions remain and we are adjusting day to day as information becomes available.

We did finally receive information regarding the Company insurance plan and from the Indiana Department of Insurance (see https://www.muncienovelty.com/cms/aga-health-insurance-update-for-covid-19/). Both directives allow for an extension for employees that are not actively at work to remain insured without the COBRA provision (see the accompanying document). Again, health insurance premiums have been paid through the end of April.

With this, our initial concern related to unemployment has been relieved. As of today, we are planning to remain closed until at least April 7 per the State’s Stay at Home Mandate.

We are entering payroll today for the March 20-26 work week, with the regular payable date of April 2. For many of you, the Company is including a bonus, to assist due to the unforeseen closure. Obviously, this situation also has impact on our clients and suppliers and we cannot currently project cash flow beyond the information we have available today.

After several conversations with our legal counsel, we do not know of any limitations that should prevent you from seeking unemployment assistance as individual circumstances dictate. We are all hopeful that the stimulus package is passed soon and will provide additional relief. Our shared hope is that this will help us get through this period and that we can soon begin planning for recovery.

As mentioned above, we are seeing new information every day and we will pass along anything we see that is relevant to the Company and our Employees. Please continue to take care of yourselves and families.

Sincerely,
David & Megan

On March 18, 2020, President Trump signed H.R. 6201, cited as the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, to be effective no later than April 2, 2020. This act outlines a number of items relating to employee benefits, including provisions on health plan coverage for COVID-19 testing.  There are three main items to be aware of and consider in this environment.

  1. Health plans must cover 100% of COVID-19 testing cost

All health plans, including self-funded plans (Grandfathered and Non-Grandfathered), must cover testing for COVID-19 with no cost sharing to the health plan member.

The act prohibits health plans from imposing any cost sharing (deductible, copays or coinsurance) for any testing and or visit resulting from a COVID-19 test. The health plan will cover 100% of the cost of the visit and the test, no matter what setting the COVID-19 testing takes place. Visits can be completed in person, at an urgent care, an emergency room, or through telemedicine.

The act also prohibits any health plan from having prior authorization or other medical management requirements for the testing of COVID-19.

No amendment will need to be added to your self-funded health plan to stay in compliance with the above provisions. Automated Group Administration, Inc. will process any testing related claims with codes for COVID-19 at a 100% benefit level for the health-plan member.

  1. Review health plan active at work provision relating to layoff, reduction of hours, or extended sick time

Another timely item affecting the health plan is the definition of active at work. Your health plan document has provisions for an employee, who is not actively at work or has had a reduction in hours to remain eligible for the health plan.  Most plans have a 1-month period before the employee would have to terminate from the plan and go through the COBRA procedures. Most plans further allow someone who is not actively at work, but is still receiving wage or salary, to stay on the plan for 3 months (or an extended longer period for some plans) before having to terminate and elect COBRA. We have worked diligently with our re-insurance carriers, and they have agreed to allow unemployment benefits to be considered wage or salary during this trying time. If a health plan chooses to allow this, members can stay on the plan for up to 3 months, for most plans, without having to go through the COBRA process.

Obviously, the employer can continue the current practice of terminating and offering COBRA to a member that is not actively at work.  In addition, any employee that is terminating employment will go through the normal termination plan provisions and be offered COBRA, if appropriate.

  1. Review Telemedicine Coverage

It is required that telemedicine for COVID-19 testing be included by your plan at no cost to the member.   Many plans also have implemented our HealthiestYou product that expands telemedicine services to all appropriate conditions. This service can be accessed 24/7 at no cost to the members.  This has been very popular over the last several years, and we have had very positive feedback during the recent increase of respiratory visits.

We have had many members and providers inquiring about benefits for physician office visits when the physician is not physically present.  The majority of health plans nationwide do NOT provide this service within the plan.  With the increase in the number of physician offices and practices being temporarily closed to physical visits, several providers have decided to provide direct tele-visits for their current patient base.  While not every service or specialty may be reasonable to complete by telemedicine, there are a number of services, covered by a health plan, that may be appropriate.  Those services may include follow up office visits or mental health visits for continuation of treatment plans. For some of these situations, continuity of care is a crucial aspect of a member’s care plan.