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GCFA Board Approved Health Insurance Plans


Nashville, TN – The Board of Directors of the General Council on Finance and Administration (GCFA) met by conference call on August 28 and approved a revised health insurance plan for bishops and general church employees covered by the group health care plan. The changes take effect January 1, 2016. While there is an increased cost to the General Agencies, it is within the assumptions used in preparation of the 2017-2020 quadrennial budget.

Due to the rising costs of health claims for those covered under the plan, the Board heard recommendations on needed changes to the plan.  Based on claims history in 2014 and 2015, overall costs are slated to go up 15% in 2016.

GCFA Board Member Valarie Willis, who is the Chairperson for the Committee on Personnel, Policies and Practices said, “We strive to give our employees and retirees the ability to have access to quality health care at reasonable costs.  While we cannot control the rising cost of health care, we will put more emphasis on wellness, which is a place where our people have some control.  This is what we want for our employees and retirees – health and wellness.” 

The approved plan also takes into consideration the requirements mandated by the Affordable Care Act which became law in the United States in 2010.  The Affordable Care Act requires employers to offer medical benefit plans that meet defined requirements regarding eligibility, cost and benefits.  For 2016, church employees will have a choice among three medical plans, and all plans cover preventive care services as defined by the Act. 

Bishop Michael Coyner, president of the Board, said “The information provided to the board has been well researched.  As plan participants, it is our responsibility to do what we can to assure we live healthy lifestyles and help curtail costs where we can. Considerable information was provided for us to digest, and we are honored to have such a dedicated group of people committed to providing options for cost-efficient health care plans for those who serve our denomination.”  

The new provisions provide for some 1,650 participating active and retired bishops and employees, plus many of their dependents.  Employees will have the opportunity to make their selections during the open enrollment period, which is scheduled to occur October 26 – November 11, 2015. 

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The General Council on Finance and Administration coordinates and administers financial resources, safeguards the legal interests and rights of the Church, and provides administrative resources to enable the fulfillment of the mission of The United Methodist Church.