EPC Medical Benefit Plan Update

EPC Stated Clerk Jeff Jeremiah provides and update from the Board of Benefits and the Committee On Administration about the EPC Medical Benefits Plan.

Having taken responsibility for making necessary changes to our Medical Plan, the Committee on Administration has also committed to communicating with you as quickly and as effectively as possible about any changes that are made.  That’s the reason for this brief video.  We have three important items to call to your attention today.

One, the EPC Medical Plan will be in business in 2014 and 2015.  Because of continued uncertainties and delays in the implementation of major portions of Obamacare, we don’t expect a large number of EPC churches will depart our Medical Plan to go to Exchanges in 2014.  As long as enough churches participate in the Plan to keep it viable, we’re going to make improvements to the Plan in order to better serve you.

That leads to our second point:  In an effort to make our Plan more affordable (especially to those under 55 years old), an age-based premium structure will be implemented in 2014.  This will result in substantially lower premium costs for many Plan participants and no increase for all other participants next year.  We believe that the reduced costs of this new premium structure will make our Plan attractive to EPC churches that are currently not in the Plan.  Those churches will have the opportunity to enter our Plan for 2014 during the open enrollment period November 1-20, 2013. 

Here’s an important qualifier: In terms of cost alone, we do not expect to be competitive with medical coverage offered on exchanges.  The reason being that those plans will be subsidized by the federal government’s Premium Tax Credits.  Our plan will not.  However, if you consider entering an Exchange, please remember that the EPC Plan is exempt from the mandate to provide abortions and abortifacient drugs.  Plans offered on the Exchanges are required to offer that coverage.

Third: In order to provide you better customer service, the administration of as much of the Medical Plan as possible has been outsourced to a professional benefits administrator –CDS.  This outsourcing is already in process.

In closing, this video blog is a brief overview provided to introduce you to these important developments.  More information about these will be coming to you soon via email.  If you need information immediately, please contact Phil VanValkenburg at .

Thank you and God bless you!

 

Comments(2) Login to Post Comments

Jim Barstow on Aug 29, 2013 2:43pm

Thank you to the COA for all their work on thi!! One thing that was not addressed at GA and was the "elephant in the room" no one talke about is what is being done about the number of churches not in the EPC medical plan? It is my understanding that this is mandatory for teaching elders and those churches who are not enrolled could potentially hurt those who are.

Dana Cadman on Sep 4, 2013 10:21am

On behalf of Jeff Jeremiah:

Jim,

You are correct in stating that participation in the EPC Medical Plan is mandatory (by Act of the General Assembly). However, this mandate has “no teeth” to it.

One of the realities of life in the EPC: we are willing to pursue discipline when doctrinal or moral/ethical problems arise. However, we have always been loath to even consider enforcing compliance in matters such as participation in the Medical Plan, participation in Per Member Asking and other items. Over the years, some presbyteries have tried to insist that ministers ordained (or received) participate in the Plan. But if the local church (rarely the minister) pushed back, the presbytery would back down.

Our hope is that we can make the Plan more attractive to churches not currently in the Plan. In addition, churches will want to make a statement about the Contraceptive Care Mandate and be willing to rally around the position taken by the EPC Medical Plan. What will work against us here is that most members of EPC churches are currently in medical plans that fund abortions and abortifacient drugs.

I hope this helps you understand this “elephant in the room” and how we’ve been living with it.

A final note: when we had 182 churches back in 2007 we had about 60% participation in the Plan. In 2013, with over 475 churches, we have about 60% participation in the Plan.

Thank you for your comment.