BBT Explores Feasibility of Offering Group Medical Insurance for Church Employees

Brethren Benefit Trust (BBT) is carrying out a feasibility study on the question: Has the time come for Brethren Benefit Trust to offer group medical insurance to employees of Church of the Brethren congregations, districts, and camps? The agency has posted an online survey to help with the study. Employees of Church of the Brethren congregations, districts, and camps are encouraged to take the survey at .

A letter about the study from BBT, which is an agency of the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference, was sent to some 1,900 people and also was provided to the districts, which were asked to circulate the letter and survey as well.

Segments of the letter follow:

“A new BBT medical plan could offer the following advantages–
— Simplified access: The Affordable Care Act has made securing medical insurance complicated even as it has made it more readily available. A new BBT plan would simplify the process for you.
— Superior design: A new plan for pastors and for lay employees of congregations, districts, and camps could offer a superior design, compared with individual and exchange markets.
— Use of pre-tax dollars: In such a plan, premiums would be paid in pre-tax dollars, saving you money, and preserving a key tax advantage that was lost to many pastors in 2014.
— Competitive pricing: The pricing would allow the plan to compete favorably with other plans.
— Portability: The plan would be portable, meaning a pastor or church/district/camp staff member could stay in the plan as he or she moves from job to job within the denomination.

“In 2007, Annual Conference voted to discontinue the Brethren Medical Plan for staff of churches, districts, and camps, but asked BBT to continue looking for creative ways to find insurance for these folks. Much has changed since then.

“For example, the old requirement of 75 percent participation at the district level has been removed. With the recent changes to the ACA, we would now like to proceed with a better plan, better positioned to endure and prosper.

“You can help by taking this survey. Please complete the survey if you are a full-time or part-time employee of a church, camp or district.

“If you are a volunteer leader in your Church of the Brethren congregation, please pass the survey along to your full-time or part-time employee(s).

“Why is this feasibility study important? It will show us the size of the pool of possible plan members. The larger the pool, the greater the possibility that BBT can offer a top-grade plan that is competitively priced and rich in features…. The results will simply help us decide whether or not to offer a new plan. This is why your honest answers to the questions are important to us.”

Take the survey at . The deadline to complete the survey is March 23. For questions, please call 800-746-1505.

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