Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Clergy Health Insurance

CAUTION: STEPPING UP ON SOAPBOX

Western North Carolina Conference released their insurance rates for 2009. The rate for 2008 was $8,460 a year for one clergy. I posted my issues about that a year ago, here. In 2007 the rate was $6,060. That huge rate hike was explained and it was due to a year of astronomical claims (some extremely tragic situations in people's lives costing around $11 million that year). I guess that translate into the insurance provider seeing WNCC as high risk and now we are paying for it.


The $2,400 jump from 06-07 I guess was not enough because now we have jumped up another 9% to $9,300 a year for clergy. That is outrageous. I know they were talking about that some costs might have be sent to the clergy in order for the churches to afford to have a minister but come one, $9,300 a year! I know other conferences who don't pay that much. We have around 1,100 clergy in our conference (low ball estimate). That means we are paying Medcost (our provider) $10,230,000 a year for insurance for clergy only. $10 million dollars. $10 MILLION DOLLARS!!!


For my family I will now pay $820 a month, or $9,840 a year for them to be on my insurance. I know that this is double what NCC and SCC pay for their families insurance. For 2008 my family and I will be giving Medcost $19,140. I can by a car with that. I could do some really good ministry with that. I could create 75,000 food bags through Meals for Learning and feed starving children in Africa for years! But nope. $10 million for clergy and a couple more million for their spouses and family will all be heading to Medcost headquarters to sit in a CEO's pocket.


I would say I should get sick this year to get my money's worth but then I would have a chuck out a $1,000 deductible plus 30% up to $3000 and THIS is the insurance we're paying for! HAHA!!! (I need to laugh or I will cry)


I am not sure when this will stop. But we in the WNCC will reach a point of mutiny very soon. When all costs are rising, when churches are struggling to raise budgets to pay the light and HVAC bills and when members are losing jobs, paying high gas and food costs and deep in debt, the dam will break.


The bottom line: Health Insurance is ruining my conference and the local church because it is sucking the life out of their budgets and leaving no room for proper funding of ministries. This leaves churches and the conferences to cut staff and ministries in order to afford health care. There is something VERY WRONG with this system.


STEPPING OFF MY SOAP BOX NOW.

6 comments:

Daniel said...

while i completely agree with your outrage... i wonder what is to be done about it? chances are pretty good this isnt a profit making venture for the conference, and i dare say that even with a projected intake of $10 mil, they are losin money here. So, what do we do?

Rev. J said...

I am not sure what can be done to improve the situation. I know ever conference has their own insurance, so would things improve if two or three of them got together with an insurance company in order to lower rates. Besides negotiating with different companies I don't know many other options. I know increased health care costs is something everyone/company is dealing with (one cause of outsourcing to other countries).

The conference is not in this to make money, MedCost and other insurance companies are. I guess the only other option is to hope that a vote in Nov. would change the health care system in our country?

I'm open for ideas though. If you don't mind sharing, how much do you all pay for health care in other United Methodist Conferences around the nation? What has your conference done to help the local church/conference?

Daniel said...

grouping in even larger bundles is a good idea. and to some degree, as i understand it, that optionis there and some conferences go for it. (disclosure: used to work in the north ga conf admin office)

again, i agree that a vote in nov (and beyond) for greater regs on health care would be a good idea-and hopefully help facilitate a system that is more fair to all.

let me do some research on the specifics here, locally. i am the business manager for the georgia advocate and presently our clergy editor is of the s.ga conf. So I'll include that data as well.

full, full disclosure: my mother has run the benefits office in n.ga for many years now. sadly, her frustration level is much higher than even our own.

look for an email from me soon. (maybe thurs-grandmothers funeral tomorrow.)

Rev. J said...

look forward to the information you can provide and blessings upon you celebrating the life of your grandmother.

My prayers are with your mother as well, who knows this pain even more than I can imagine!

Questing Parson said...

How true. How sad. How tragic for the local church and the pastors.

mark said...

well said... Too many pastors cause their bodies damage because of the STRESS they place upon themselves. Of course, the life of a pastor will always have competing tensions. These, however, do not need to translate into distress (see Hans Selye on this one).