Petition 80654

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Denominational Health - Annual Conference Retiree Health Care (80654-FA-¶638)

Add a new subparagraph after ¶638.5 that reads as follows:

Annual Conference Retiree Health Care Access – The board or other agency authorized by the annual conference shall respect the health and wholeness of the annual conference’s clergypersons and lay employees, who, in the case of clergy, have retired in accordance with ¶359.1, ¶359.2(b),  ¶359.2(c), or ¶ 359.2(d) other than as applied to ¶359.2(a) of The Book of Discipline and, in the case of lay employees, have retired in accordance with the annual conference’s retirement policy, and are eligible for Medicare, and their spouses, by providing access to Medicare supplement plans and prescription drug coverage plans. Access for retirees and their spouses may include, but shall not be limited to (i) sponsoring an employer retiree health care plan that supplements Medicare; (ii) participating in a multiple employer retiree health care plan that supplements Medicare; (iii) securing eligibility under group contracts with Medicare supplement plan providers; (iv) subsidizing the costs for retired clergypersons and retired lay employees and their spouses to enroll in Medicare Part D plans or Medicare Advantage plans; (v) providing subsidies toward or group relationships with providers of individual retiree coverage policies; and (vi) providing fixed dollar retiree health benefits. Providing access does not compel an annual conference to fund such coverage (i.e., coverage can be retiree-pay-all); however, an annual conference may fund or subsidize the cost of coverage for its retired clergy and lay employees in its discretion. Additional eligibility may be determined by the annual conference; for example, for early retirees and surviving dependents.  
Add a new subparagraph after ¶638.5 that reads as follows:
  
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

Many believe that caring for retirees is part of the Church’s responsibility. Where there is a commitment to retirement benefits, that commitment should be honored and its current liabilities funded. Annual conferences should strive to provide adequate access to health care coverage for retirees and their spouses.