ELKHART, Ind. (Mennonite Church USA)—Congregational participation in The Corinthian Plan (TCP), a Mennonite Church USA-sponsored health coverage and benefits program based on mutual care practices, continues to be stable as the plan begins its sixth year on Jan. 1, 2015.
“We’ve seen congregations continue to make the decision to remain a part of The Corinthian Plan in spite of other options,” says Duncan Smith of Wheat Ridge, Colo., director of TCP. “This allows the plan to keep meeting its goals and its mission of serving the church.”
As of the end of August 2014, 398 congregations within Mennonite Church USA are participating in the self-funded plan, with a total of 980 pastors and other church staff members covered. Sixty-one congregations also remain a part of the plan although they have no eligible employees. Smith notes that the Church Benefits Board that oversees TCP is confident in the plan’s financial position.
The question about the impact of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is one Smith hears often: Does The Corinthian Plan still have a place in the health coverage market since the ACA does not exclude for medical conditions and the federal government provides subsidies of its own?
According to Smith, the impact has been minimal. Participants say they are staying in the plan because the premium rate increases have been reasonable; they have a broad network of health care providers to choose from nationally; and the plan is portable from one congregation to another. Also, they don’t have to navigate the health insurance exchanges.
Smith added that he and the board—which met Sept. 19—will continue to monitor the ACA during its second year and to evaluate whether TCP continues to offer value to the church while remaining sustainable.
“Whether The Corinthian Plan continues on will depend on whether it is meeting the needs of the Mennonite Church USA congregations it serves,” Smith says. “We still hear a lot of affirmation for the mission of the plan of helping congregations gain access to health coverage.”
While the current national medical inflation rate is 9.9 percent, Smith says most congregations will see a slightly lower increase for 2015 than that, so the plan’s increase is below the national trend for another year. Rate increases will vary by congregation, depending on location and demographic changes.
“We recognize that any increase can be difficult for congregations,” he acknowledges, noting that vision and dental plan premiums will remain the same. Congregations that have received subsidies will be asked to pay slightly more in 2015.
The wellness incentive continues to be an important part of the plan, Smith says. Pastors and spouses can receive up to $300 each for participating. Nov. 30 is the deadline for applying for the wellness incentive for 2014.
Congregations wishing to join TCP can enroll between Nov. 15, 2014 and Feb. 15, 2015. (This open enrollment period mirrors that of the Affordable Care Act.)
The Corinthian Plan is owned by Mennonite Church USA and its participating congregations. It provides benefits to employees of the Executive Board Staff, Mennonite Mission Network, Everence and Associated Mennonite Schools and Camps. Everence—the denomination’s stewardship agency—administers the plan, and claims are paid by Blue Cross Blue Shield.
—Mennonite Church USA staff
For more information, contact:
Director, The Corinthian Plan
(866) 866-2872 ext. 34255