Conference Budget, Insurance, Pension, Equitable Compensation, Trustees and Clergy Medical Leave Reports Approved
Anne Lloyd, chair of the Conference Council on Finance Administration, expressed appreciation for the 91.58% of the apportionments that were paid in 2018. She noted that the NC Conference was one of 26 annual or missionary conferences that fully paid apportionments to the General Conference.
Celebrating a reduction in budget due to meeting funding goals for retiree pension and health care and removing funding for an Episcopal residence, annual conference members approved the request for $16,205,448 for the 2021 annual conference budget. This budget represents a 23.13% decrease from the approved 2020 budget.
The conference has a self-insured health plan administered by Blue Cross/Blue Shield. The health insurance plan approved for 2020, a 6.4% increase over 2019, adds a tele-medicine option for plan participants with no copay for the participant. One item was referred to the Insurance Committee to study the ability to change the exclusion of pre-existing conditions for dependents up to age 26 rather than 19 as included in the Committee’s report. Life insurance and wellness programs were unchanged while dental premiums increased by 6.4%.
The report of the Board of Pension was presented by Dennis Goodwin, chair of the board. Under the Pre-82 Plan for retirement, clergy will receive $773 per service year in 2020, an increase of 2.5% over the 2019 rate. Retiree Health Reimbursement Accounts (HRA), based on the number of years of credit received toward retirement health insurance benefits, were approved to increase by 3% in 2020. In 2020, the maximum HRA for a pastor with 40 years or more in the plan will be funded at $3,443 (90% of the maximum tier of $3,826).
Dennis Goodwin noted the funding goals of the pre-82 pension and retiree health plans have been met and, as such, the Conference Claimants budget and the Past Service Liability apportionment were removed from the Conference budget. Goodwin noted that it is important to remember our funding status is dependent on current market conditions and rate increase assumptions so drastic changes in either of those could move us to a more or less funded status and require attention to the plan in the future in order to continue offering those benefits for years and decades to come.
Changes to the Ministers Transition Fund plan design were approved to be effective at the end of the Fund plan year creating a partnership between the Transition Fund and Wespath’s United Methodist Personal Investment Plan.
The minimum salary for full-time pastors for 2020 was approved to increase by 2.5% to a salary of $46,627 for full-time pastors. The report was amended to continue minimum salary for student pastors at 65% of the full-time minimum, or $30,308, while a study is done by the Commission on Equitable Compensation on student pastor salaries. The report was further amended with changes to language on vacation recommendations for clergy.
Trustees and Clergy Medical Leave
The reports of the Conference Board of Trustees and Joint Committee on Clergy Medical Leave were approved as presented in the Conference Workbook with one change noted to the list of closed churches in the Trustees report.
- The salary for district superintendents in 2020 was approved at $112,766, an increase of 1.56% over the current salary.
- An item allowing for mailing lists to be distributed for annual conference work was referred to CFA for consultation with the Conference Communications Committee.
- A recommendation was approved as part of the financial reports authorizing a legal trust to be established for benefit plan reserve assets.