In its February 2010 Final Report, the Medicare Supplement Plan Focus Group concluded its work by stating, “We further recommend that the Health Benefits Committee of the Board of Trustees revisit the need for future review as information becomes available that will allow for substantive conversation.”
The Health Benefits Committee determined at its November 2011 meeting that it was the appropriate time to conduct a new review of the UCC Medicare Supplement Plan. The Committee appointed a new Focus Group, some of whose members had served in the 2010 review, to reassess the current plan, research alternative plan designs presently available, and evaluate future possibilities for supporting the health benefit needs of retirees of the Church.
The Focus Group was staffed by 11 active and retired clergy, some of whom are serving or have served as Conference Ministers. The Focus Group met via regular conference calls over a five-month period and covered a broad range of information and in-depth analysis. A final face-to-face meeting was held in May in New York City. Below is a summary of the Group’s observations, key discussion elements and conclusions.
Currently, the UCC Medicare Supplement Plan is in a stable financial position with adequate reserves to cover unexpected high claims and contingencies. The Plan also continues to benefit from the purchasing power created by its group medical and pharmacy purchasing partnerships with the health benefit plans of other denominations. In addition, for the past seven years premium increases have been below national trends for similar plans, in part because the Pension Boards qualified for a retiree prescription drug subsidy from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).
The Focus Group identified the following key concerns as we look to the future of the Plan:
All proposals were reviewed and the Focus Group invited one vendor to make an in-person presentation. Following the presentation, the Focus Group engaged in lively discussion and careful reflection and is pleased to share the following conclusions:
Final Conclusion: The Focus Group is recommending to the Pension Boards’ Board of Trustees that the best course of action at the present time is to continue the existing UCC Medicare Supplement Plan, which will include the current medical benefits and a pharmacy program that will allow us to keep essentially the same benefits while providing a reduced premium to members.
The Rev. Carole Carlson
The Rev. Dr. Luther Holland
The Rev. Dr. Davida Foy Crabtree
The Rev. Alan McLarty
Penn West Conference
The Rev. Dr. Sheldon Culver
Illinois South Conference
The Rev. Dr. F. Russell Mitman
Pennsylvania Southeast Conference
The Rev. Dr. John R. Deckenback
Central Atlantic Conference
The Rev. David Moyer
The Rev. Dr. Ronald Eslinger
The Rev. Lynne Simcox
Pacific Northwest Conference
The Rev. Dr. Raymond W. Hargrove
Northeast Regional Conference Minister