Petition 80656

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Denominational Health - Episcopal Group Health Care Plans and Retiree Access (80656-FA-¶817)

Add a new subparagraph after ¶817.8 that reads as follows:  
  
Episcopal Group Health Care Plan—The General Council on Finance and Administration shall sponsor or participate in a group health care plan that covers bishops elected by jurisdictional conferences, 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 General Council on Finance and Administration may recommend additional eligibility for the group health care plan in its discretion. In addition, the Council of Bishops shall develop and maintain health and wellness programs for bishops. Moreover, annually, the General Council on Finance and Administration shall submit Episcopal 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 ¶817.8 that reads as follows:
  
Episcopal Retiree Health Care Access—The General Council on Finance and Administration shall respect the health and wholeness of retired bishops in the United States and their spouses by facilitating 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 retirees 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. On or before December 31, 2008, the General Council on Finance and Administration 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 the retired population covered by the Episcopal Group Health Care Plan to the General Board of Pension and Health Benefits, and must submit a similar report biannually thereafter. On or before December 31, 2010, the General Council on Finance and Administration must create a plan to address the funding requirements of its projected future medical liabilities for the population covered by the Episcopal Group Health Care Plan. On or before December 31, 2008, the General Council on Finance and Administration shall document in writing its policy regarding the portability of retiree health care eligibility, coverage, cost-sharing, and benefits and communicate the policy to new and current bishops in the United States. For the purpose of this paragraph, portability encompasses credit given to clergy for service within the denomination prior to becoming a bishop 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 bishops. Where there is commitment to retirement benefits, that commitment should be honored and its current liabilities funded. Sharing knowledge and information will help address cost concerns and assist in improving the health of clergy and lay employees.