United Methodist Church Employees’ Out-of-Pocket Healthcare Expenses to Increase Due to Obama’s Health Law

(PHOTO: REUTERS/MIKE SEGAR) A man looks over the Affordable Care Act (commonly known as Obamacare) signup page on the HealthCare.gov website in New York in this October 2, 2013 photo illustration. The federal government's portal logged over 2.8 million visitors by afternoon October 2, largely in an attempt to sign up for Obamacare.
(PHOTO: REUTERS/MIKE SEGAR)
A man looks over the Affordable Care Act (commonly known as Obamacare) signup page on the HealthCare.gov website in New York in this October 2, 2013 photo illustration. The federal government’s portal logged over 2.8 million visitors by afternoon October 2, largely in an attempt to sign up for Obamacare.

The United Methodist Church will soon implement changes to its employee insurance coverage that will increase out-of-pocket expenses due to the Affordable Care Act.

In late August the Board of Directors for the UMC General Council on Finance and Administration agreed to revise the insurance coverage for bishops and general church employees.

A spokesperson for the staff of GCFA explained to The Christian Post what the new changes, slated to begin next year, will look like.

“Plan participants covered under the general agencies of The United Methodist Church benefits program will be offered ‘choices’ in their healthcare coverage,” said the spokesperson.

“The medical plan options range from plans which include co-pays and deductibles to a high deductible health plan with a health savings account.”

The staff spokesperson also explained why the UMC did not seek some kind of exemption from the federal healthcare law, since it is a distinctly religious entity.

“The Affordable Care Act applies ‘shared responsibility’ requirements to all ‘applicable large employers,'” continued the spokesperson.

“The definition of applicable large employer includes, in effect, all employers with 50 or more employees, regardless of status of the employer (governmental unit, private employer, religious or church employer, etc).”

Passed in 2010 and upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court, the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, has been a source of controversy.

Proponents have argued that the law has successfully expanded healthcare coverage for millions of uninsured Americans, while critics have noted certain problems with its implementation.

On Aug. 28, UMC GCFA leadership agreed in a conference call to revise health insurance standards for employees, which will increase costs for the general agencies of the denomination.

“While there is an increased cost to the General Agencies, it is within the assumptions used in preparation of the 2017-2020 quadrennial budget,”stated a GCFA press release.

“Due to the rising costs of health claims for those covered under the plan, the board heard recommendations on needed changes to the plan. Based on claims history in 2014 and 2015, overall costs are slated to go up 15 percent in 2016.”

 

Click here to read more.

SOURCE: The Christian Post
Michael Gryboski

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