No Increase to Bethany Insurance Premiums

CHICAGO, IL  (August 19, 2013) — Bethany Benefit Service medical/dental premiums next year will be frozen at 2013 rates.

The health insurance and prescription drug co-pays and deductibles remain unchanged. Rates for life insurance and long-term disability likewise remain the same. They have not changed for several years.

The graph shows that over the last 10 years, Bethany’s rates have increased cumulatively about 45.1 percent, while marketplace rates have more than doubled (increased 142.4 percent) over the same 10-year period. In 2005 and 2014, Bethany Benefit Service had rate freezes.

In addition, Bethany has given a June premium holiday for two of the last 10 years, which resulted in more than $2 million in premium savings for Bethany customers.

A letter is being sent to all plan participants explaining the program for 2014 in greater detail.

Rates are based on the independent work of a health insurance actuary, an outside consultant, and staff members. Rate projections are then reviewed by the Health Insurance Committee and approved by the Covenant Board of Pensions and Benefits.

“We are able to keep our medical rates at 2013 rate levels as a result of better-than-expected claim results, low operating costs, and a strong financial position for the plan,” notes Elliott Johnson, controller for the Evangelical Covenant Church and assistant director of pensions.

The Bethany plan includes medical insurance, dental insurance (including orthodontia), a prescription drug benefit, life insurance, long-term disability insurance, and a vision benefit. “Many other plans do not incorporate such a comprehensive array of benefits,” Johnson notes.

“For Covenant pastors enrolled with Bethany, our long-term disability coverage pays premiums into the Covenant Pension Plan until normal Social Security retirement age as long as the pastor continues to be disabled, and pays for medical/dental coverage for the first 24 months of a disability that qualifies for long-term disability benefits,” Johnson points out.

The Bethany program provides coverage for pastors, employees of local Covenant churches and regional conferences, conference centers and camps, Covenant pastors who work for voluntary employers of the Covenant Pension Plan, and denominational offices. Medical/dental coverage is only available for employees who work a minimum of 20 hours a week.

The program is administered by Bethany Benefit Service on behalf of the Evangelical Covenant Church.

Churches or individuals interested in learning more about participation in the Bethany program may call Bethany personnel at (800) 313-8955. Information also is available by visiting Bethany Benefit Service online.

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