May 21, 2015

By Fred Koenig

Times are changing. The Affordable Care Act is driving that change when it comes to health care. The result is that next year Missouri Conference clergy and anyone else who is on the Missouri Conference health insurance plan will have five health insurance options to choose from. One of those options will be the same plan that everyone is currently on now. 
    Conference Director of Financial and Administrative Ministries Nate Berneking and Clergy Relations and Benefits Administrator Trudy McManus have been on the road to talk about these changes at several different locations around the Missouri Conference. Berneking went over the basics of the Affordable Care Act and how it effects the health insurance that the Conference is able to offer. He then went into a detailed description of the five options. The plans being discussed are for 2016. The enrollment period will not be until this fall.
    “It’s our goal to give you a lot of time to think about it,” Berneking said during a presentation. “We want you all to be healthy.”
    In Missouri about 400 clergy and families are on the Conference health insurance plan. In a recent survey, 82 percent said they wanted higher deductibles if they could keep savings for something else. That will now be an option on two of the plans, which offer Health Savings Accounts. 
    Some Conferences, like Missouri’s neighbor to the East (Illinois Great Rivers Conference) and the West (Great Plains Conference) have discontinued offering health insurance, and sent their members to the public insurance exchange. There are seven other Conferences that are participating this Healthflex Exchange with the Missouri Conference.