Petition 80653

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Denominational Health - Annual Conference Health Care Plans (80653-FA-¶638)

Add a new subparagraph after ¶638.5 that reads as follows:
  
Annual Conference Group Health Care Plans – The board or other agency authorized by the annual conference shall sponsor or participate in a group health care plan that covers the annual conference’s full-time clergy and its full-time lay employees in the United States. Clergy appointed to an appointment extending the ministry of the local United Methodist church under ¶344.1, except those serving in positions for which the annual conference is responsible under ¶344.1a(1), and lay employees who are not employees of the annual conference, such as lay employees of local churches and lay employees of district and jurisdictional offices, need not be covered under the preceding sentence. For the purpose of this paragraph, group health care plan shall mean a health insurance plan, group health care plan, or multiple-employer health care plan that covers benefits for major medical and hospitalization expenses. The board or authorized agency may recommend additional eligibility for its group health care plan in its discretion.  
    
Add a new subparagraph to ¶638.5 that reads as follows:

In addition, the board or authorized agency shall develop and maintain health and wellness programs for the annual conference’s full-time clergy and full-time lay employees.  

Add a new subparagraph to ¶638.5 that reads as follows:
  
Moreover, annually, the board or other authorized agency shall submit health plan data, de-identified as necessary, including, but not limited to, financial soundness, claims experience and other cost drivers, plan designs and coverage, and eligibility criteria to the General Board of Pension and Health Benefits pursuant to ¶1506.  

Rationale

The denomination should ensure access to group health care plan coverage for active clergy and full-time employees of annual conferences. Sharing knowledge and information throughout the connection can help ease the Church’s struggle with the costs of health care coverage.