Voices from throughout the Church have been responding to communications by the Board of Pensions about a potential restructuring of healthcare dues for the Medical Plan Traditional Program for active members. From pastors to mid council staff to churches and other employ-ers, we have heard many voices through many channels. We want you to know that we are lis-tening.
The Healthcare Committee has decided to re-consider portions of its proposal to better ac-commodate the thoughtful and heartfelt con-cerns you have raised and consider alternatives that seek to better balance the needs of all — members, dues payers, and the plan itself. While the original medical dues recommenda-tion and contribution assumptions were based on financial information available to the Board in October 2012, the year-end financial position of the Medical Plan is better than was antici-pated. Although very good news, the lower-than-forecast expense-to-revenue ratio is not a total cure for the many challenges that face our Medical Plan. However, it will help in the design of a new proposal, as the overall cost-increase projections have lessened slightly.
The revised proposal will be shared with the full Board of Directors at the March meeting and a recommendation will be put forth for a vote at the Board’s meeting in June.
As we work together to determine how best to restore the Medical Plan to fiscal health, we continue to believe that the dues payers — the employing organizations –should have some flexibility in cost-sharing with their members, should they choose to do so. However, we rec-ognize the need to reconsider the approach we take to designing this cost-sharing — and the
overall amount to be shared — with particular consideration to smaller churches, members with lower salaries, and all dependents covered by the plan. And, we expect to pursue a more evolutionary, multi-year approach to any imple-mentation actions, including rate increases and other changes.
Make no mistake, the times ahead are difficult ones, and we will continue to need to increase revenues in order to avoid decreasing benefit levels. (This is because, unlike the Pension Plan, the Medical Plan operates on a pay-as-you-go basis. Thus, every dollar paid in claims must be met with a dollar of revenue.) And al-though there is no easy answer to the Medical Plan’s financial difficulties, we believe that, as a result of the feedback provided by our members and employing organizations and the recent, more favorable financial forecast, we are on a path to achieving a better solution — one that still will provide a sustainable plan.
What happens next?
- The Healthcare Committee will reconsider the healthcare dues design and share the re-considered approach with the full Board of Di-rectors. The Board of Pensions will publish the spring 2013 issue of The Board Bulletin, which will include an article on the proposal.
- The Board of Pensions will use the Regional Benefits Consultations (RBCs) to share the pro-posal and solicit input from attendees.
The Board will publish a Benefits Update to share the content of the RBC discussions with plan members, churches and other employing organizations, and other constituents.
As always, you can email or call the Board at firstname.lastname@example.org or 800-773-7752 (800-PRESPLAN), respectively, about this or any other benefits-related matter.