General CBF

Health care is changing

The following post comes from Gary Skeen, president of the CBF Church Benefits Board.

gary skeenHealth care in the United States is being reformed. Because of the rapidly approaching enrollment period starting October 1, I think it’s time for all of us to stop arguing about whether the new Affordable Care Act is good or bad, and start getting to the business of making good stewardship choices for our church staffs and congregations.

I think the onus for us has shifted to the question: What does this mean for the majority of local Baptist Churches?

Baptist Churches are a good example, especially CBF-affiliated churches, because they are independently run without a structured denominational hierarchy. Each church is a local employer responsible for its own policies and procedures. This is both good and bad in the realm of finding health insurance coverage and the new reform rules.

Most press coverage and educational materials deal with large, for-profit companies, leaving the local church to try and figure this out on its own. Our role at Church Benefits Board is not to replace local church leadership, human resources, legal or healthcare consultants, but rather to come alongside and provide guidance for what is becoming a rapidly and dramatically changing health care environment.

For most local churches, leadership changes from year-to-year with folks rotating on and off personnel and finance committees. This means critical policy-making can vary almost every year. Will we offer coverage, or will we just encourage staff to search for the best policies at the Health Care Exchanges on their own?

Church employees are often, as a group, at a higher risk than the general population, and this means higher costs. College and seminary take time meaning ministers enter the workforce later in life. Ministers are always involved with the stress of other people’s lives, not to mention a steady diet of pot luck meals.

The good news is with health care reform, these factors will not impact your rates.  It will mean that many who didn’t have coverage before, especially those with chronic illness, young ministers, seminary students and part time staff, may be able to find affordable coverage at the exchange (marketplace) for the first time.

And this leads us to our first critical message to all of our churches regardless of size (above or below 50 employees): “Open Enrollment” begins October 1, with coverage beginning January 1, 2014. It’s time to start figuring this out within your church.

CBB has begun gathering information on the health insurance marketplace (health care exchange) on our website, on a brand new page called Health Insurance Marketplace. Here you will find information, documentation, videos and links that will help you navigate the new Marketplace.

The Marketplace is intended to help individuals and small employers find affordable health coverage and compare plans all in one place based upon level of coverage, quality and price.

This is the first of an ongoing series of blogs about health care reform. If you have any questions, or would like to be added to our subscriber list on health care updates, please email us at .

My job at Church Benefits Board is to keep you the church leader informed about what’s coming and help you to navigate the process.  Your benefits are our ministry. If I can ever be of assistance, I or a CBB staff member is ready to help. Call us at 1-800-352-8741.

6 thoughts on “Health care is changing

  1. Pingback: Affordable Care Act – Understanding the Individual Marketplace (Part 3) | Cooperative Baptist Fellowship Blog

  2. Pingback: CBB Update: SHOP Marketplace might enable small churches to obtain better health plans | Cooperative Baptist Fellowship Blog

  3. Pingback: How do churches evaluate their Health Insurance Options for 2014? | Cooperative Baptist Fellowship Blog

  4. Pingback: Healthcare Exchanges: They’re worth a peek, but you don’t have to commit | Cooperative Baptist Fellowship Blog

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