Are retirees being dropped from health plan coverage with the Louisiana Conference?

No.  The Board of Pensions and Health Benefits, at the recommendation of the Healthcare Task Force, is proposing a new retiree health benefit plan designed to be effective January 1, 2020.


If a retiree elected not to continue with medical coverage after retirement, can they opt back in to the proposed plan?

Yes, eligible retirees can choose to be a participant in the proposed plan.  The eligibility rule of having participated in the Louisiana Conference Active Clergy Health Plan for a minimum of two years immediately prior to retirement date will be applicable.


Will there be a vote for the proposed plan?  If so, when?

Yes, there will be a vote by clergy and lay delegates at the 2019 Annual Conference in June in Shreveport when the CBOPHB presents their report.


Why is there a proposed change to the retiree health benefit at this time?

In order to honor the commitment of providing access to health care benefits to retirees, options had to be looked at for providing a lifetime benefit and selecting the best offering.  Reports indicated that the money allocated to retiree health benefits would run out in 5-7 years if nothing were done.


Is the Woolworth money still earmarked for retiree health benefits?

Yes, the Woolworth funds are designated by CBOPHB for retiree health benefits. But unfortunately, there are not enough funds to cover the long term liability for this long term benefit.


Will a spouse, covered as dependent on current lay plan, be able to remain as a participant on the lay plan?

Yes, there will be no changes at this time to the Conference active and lay plan, and covered participants and dependents will remain on this plan, but not as a dependent on the proposed retiree plan.


Will proposed plan coverage benefits be the same as current and include dental and vision?

You will be able to select the plan (a Medicare supplement or Medicare Advantage plan) that best fits you, whether it be similar benefits or something different; and you will be able to select a dental and vision plan, along with your medical benefits. 


Will a retiree have to elect the proposed subsidy arrangement using Via Benefits or can they received a subsidy and purchase a plan of their choice?

Retirees will be required to enroll with Via Benefits in order to receive the Health Reimbursement Arrangement and be eligible for the Catastrophic Prescription Drug plan, if needed.


Why can’t we raise the premiums and continue with the current plan?

The CBOPHB has increased the retiree health premiums annually by the maximum allowed of 5%, but the increase still isn’t enough to cover the claim expenses incurred.


Will there be detailed information available for review prior to the vote at Annual Conference?

Yes.  There will be many forms of communication:  emails, letters, brochures, district meetings, the Louisiana Conference Website at www.la-umc.org/healthcare2020, and an information table at Annual Conference.


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