Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Church passes Denominational Health Plan

The General Convention just passed resolution A177 calling for the establishment of a Denominational Health Plan that would be mandatory for all dioceses, covering both lay and clergy employees. This implementation will follow a 3-year transition plan so that in the end, all dioceses will offer this one plan for medical coverage. This plan will be managed by the Church Pension Fund which has continually demonstrated its ability to handle financial dealings of the Church most effectively. (Click here for more details)

The mandatory nature of this plan is important from a cost perspective. The higher the participation level, the better the rates will be for both the Church and its employees in the plan. Things like plan deductibles, monthly fees, and details around what types of services are covered can be significantly affected by the number of people enrolled in the plan.

I am definitely not a Healthcare specialist. But having worked closely with the Human Resources department at my company, I can tell you that the Church Pension Fund will be quite busy as the plan manager for this Health Plan. One of the things I would be most concerned about are the cost of the plan, the benefits it actually covers, how pre-existing conditions are handled, how many doctors/hospitals accept the plan, and how emergency care is handled. I have not seen a Summary Plan Document (SPD) and without that, these questions remained unanswered for me. (Perhaps the Deputies received this document and not the Alternates).

Overall, I like the 'idea' of this plan but without having the details in front of me, it is difficult to get too excited at this point.

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