There is a lot of talk lately about the upcoming implementation of some of the first phases of health care reform. No matter which side of the political spectrum you find yourself, it is important to be informed about the issues. I ran across a video tutorial about health care reform from BCBSNC that I thought was good at explaining the issues and next steps for those seeking health insurance coverage. This is a good learning opportunity for clergy and laity in our churches. Even if these provisions do not currently apply to you, it will be good to know the issues to be prepared to advocate for your brothers and sisters when opportunities arise.
The self-insured group health plan for active employees is in place now and will be in place in 2014. I have received several emails with pastors asking if it is better for them to get insurance in the exchange. It is possible that in the long run, active employees purchasing coverage in the exchange may be a good alternative. Those markets are too young and too uncertain to say for sure that is a good option at this point. These are different from the options available to retirees for Medicare supplemental plans – those markets are more mature. The NC Conference leadership as well as the denominational leadership is keeping an eye on the changes in this market and will keep you informed as changes take place that will impact you or the availability of your coverage. The goal of the insurance committee is to provide meaningful benefits to our clergy and lay employees in a way that is sustainable so that we can help to ensure benefits can continue long into the future. We are all working toward that same goal – along with you – and will let you know as we learn of new options to help meet this goal.