Petition 80655

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Denominational Health - General Agency Group Health Care Plans and Retiree Access (80655-FA-¶714)

Add a new subparagraph after ¶714.4 that reads as follows:  
  
Each general agency shall sponsor or participate in a group health care plan that covers the agency’s full-time clergy and full-time lay employees in the United States. 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 provides benefits for major medical and hospitalization expenses. The sponsoring general agency may determine additional eligibility for the group health care plan in its discretion. In addition, general agencies shall develop and maintain health and wellness programs for their full-time clergy and full-time lay employees. Moreover, each general agency shall annually submit its 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.  

Add a new subparagraph after ¶714.4 that reads as follows:  
  
Each general agency shall respect the health and wholeness of its clergypersons and lay employees, who have retired in accordance with the general agency’s retirement policy, 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 lay employees and their spouses to enroll in Medicare Part D plans or Medicare Advantage plans; (v) providing subsidies toward and group relationships with providers of individual retiree coverage policies; and (vi) providing fixed dollar retiree health benefits.  
Add a new subparagraph after ¶714.4 that reads as follows:

On or before December 31, 2008, each general agency must submit a generally accepted financial valuation, such as in accordance with Statement of Financial Accounting Standard No. 106, as amended, of its projected medical liabilities for its population covered by its employer retiree health care plan to the General Board of Pension and Health Benefits, and must submit a similar report biannually thereafter.  
Add a new subparagraph after ¶714.4 that reads as follows:

On or before December 31, 2010, each general agency must create a plan to address the funding requirements of its projected future medical liabilities for the population covered by its employer retiree health care plan. On or before December 31, 2008, each general agency shall document in writing its policy regarding the portability of retiree health care eligibility, coverage, cost-sharing, and benefits and communicate the policy to its clergy and lay employees and incoming clergy and lay employees from annual conferences or other general agencies. For the purpose of this paragraph, portability encompasses credit given for service outside the general agency within the denomination to clergy and lay employees toward (i) eligibility for health care coverage in retirement and (ii) accrual of employer subsidies toward or employer cost-sharing of the cost of health care coverage.

Rationale

The denomination should ensure access to group health care plan coverage for active clergy and full-time lay employees of general agencies. Where there is a commitment to benefits in retirement for clergy and lay employees, that commitment should be honored and its current liabilities funded.