Conference to change insurance carriers in 2015

Eastern PA conference clergy and lay employees will get new medical and dental insurance carriers next year, a result of the conference’s efforts to limit expected increases in insurance premium rates.

The conference Board of Pension and Health Benefits approved a motion from its Group Insurance Committee on Oct. 30 to change carriers of its medical and dental plans for 2015. Independence Blue Cross will take over medical coverage from Aetna. United Concordia Dental (UCCI) will replace MetLife as the conference’s new dental insurance carrier.

Annual Conference delegates approved a resolution in May authorizing the benefits board to bid on new carriers or make changes in plan coverage if it received higher than a 10 percent increases in projected 2015 rates.

Aetna would not negotiate lower than a 12 percent increase; and MetLife would not offer lower than a 19 percent increase.

A Request for Proposals went out to four companies, reportedly, and three of the four responded, including Aetna.

“Independence Blue Cross provided a substantial difference (from Aetna) in our increased medical benefits cost: 3.3 percent if we also changed to UCCI for our dental coverage at 9 percent,” said benefits director Jo Fielding. “This change in carriers will allow us to increase the composite rate for 2015 to $17,500 rather than the $18,700 previously communicated.

“The plan design will remain the same, although our Health Savings Account will be held at a Bank of America rather than Chase,” explained Fielding.  “Members can and should choose to roll over those HSA’s to Bank of America.”

Information about these changes will be sent to active clergy and lay staff by Nov. 10 to coincide with Active Member Open Enrollment. Schedules for Open Enrollment meetings will be published at that time as well.

The mission of the board and its health benefits committee is to provide “a health care option that will support the appointment system and allow our clergy to thrive in any appointment, while maintaining a suitable coverage with a sustainable cost.”