March 16, 2020
Our thoughts have been with you, our members, as we live into the changing daily realities arising from the COVID-19 pandemic. Whether it has been the suspension of worship services in your congregation, school closings affecting your children, or social distancing from others, all of us are being impacted in some way by this public health crisis.
Because you rely on the plans and programs provided by the Pension Boards, we want to update you on significant steps we have taken in response to the pandemic, including implementing business continuity plans to ensure uninterrupted service to members and employers. In the days and weeks ahead, we will continue to adapt as needed in response to your needs.
Serving you remains our main priority. We will be providing regular updates to you in the coming weeks to keep you informed. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at 1.800.642.6543.
Our prayers are with you as we face these challenges together.
Wishing you peace and good health,
Brian R. Bodager
Please be assured that although our physical offices are closed, all normal business operations will continue. Staff will work from home for the duration and be available to serve members and employers and respond to inquiries by phone and email. The Pension Boards’ executive management team has implemented procedures for telecommuting to make sure that all employees are equipped with the essential tools and technologies to perform their duties remotely. We will keep you apprised of further developments.
We want to reassure you that even though the Pension Boards’ offices are temporarily closed, our Member Services staff is still here to support you, our members. Our call center team is available to take your calls, and answer any questions you may have, and can be reached at 1.800.642.6543.
Should you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at 1.800.642.6543.
As the international coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak rapidly evolves, measures to not only contain the virus emerge, but initiatives to address the cost of containing it also are at the forefront. UCC Health Plan coverage includes:
All UCC Medical Benefits Plan participants (both Non-Medicare and Medicare Supplement) and their covered dependents have 24/7 access to virtual office consultations with U.S.-licensed physicians through Teladoc. Virtual office visits allow Plan participants to receive general medical care from the comfort of their homes, reducing the risk of exposure to germs and viruses. We encourage any Plan participant with flu-like symptoms to contact Teladoc to discuss symptoms, travel history, and recent contact with anyone who may be infected with the coronavirus.
All UCC Medical Plan participants (Non-Medicare and Medicare Supplement) are also covered for coronavirus testing at 100% when recommended by a medical professional. This means copays, deductibles, and coinsurance do not apply for this testing. Please call the Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield Member Service number on the back of your ID card (1.866.763.9471) for more information.
Online Information and Resources from Health Plan Vendor Partners
• Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield: Preparing for the Coronavirus (FAQs)
• Express Scripts: Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resource Center
• Health Advocate Member Assistance Program: Tips to Keep Emotions in Check in Response to Coronavirus (video)
We are committed to the faithful stewardship of the retirement assets you have entrusted to our care. Our business continuity plan’s three-pronged approach protects our people and productivity, ensures we have the technology and tools to support members’ needs, and enables improved collaboration and communications to support decision-making – including the oversight of your Annuity Plan account.
If you are an annuitant who is receiving retirement income from the Annuity Plan, please be assured that you will continue to receive your monthly benefit without interruption. Please read an important message about annuity payments here.
If you are an actively-contributing member (either with contributions made by your employer on your behalf or through personal contributions), please know that payments will continue to be applied to your account upon receipt.
You may contact our Member Services’ call center at 1.800.642.6543 if you need assistance or have any questions concerning your account.
The COVID-19 pandemic has been a major factor in the volatility of global financial markets in recent weeks. Our investment team is carefully monitoring this situation, and is providing regular updates to members.
Please read the March 15 analysis and commentary by Chief Investment Officer Dave Klassen and Deputy Chief Investment Officer Lan Cai: Financial Markets: What Has Happened in the Last Three Weeks?
Unforeseen circumstances such as the one we are now experiencing can result in emergency financial needs. The United Church Board for Ministerial Assistance (UCBMA), the philanthropic arm of the Pension Boards, offers Emergency Grants to:
Emergency grants are typically used to pay living or medical expenses arising from unforeseen circumstances that have created financial demands, and may not be used to offset personal loans, taxes, or non-medical related debt. The Grants are funded by the generosity of individuals and congregations to the Christmas Fund for the Veterans of the Cross and the Emergency Fund.
How to apply