As we begin a new month, my prayers continue for the health and safety of each of you, your loved ones, and the people you serve.
We are now midway through our 29th week since we first closed our offices due to the COVID-19 pandemic. What many initially thought would be an interruption of a few weeks has now impacted the way we conduct business for more than half the year. While a few colleagues are safely working in the office, the majority of our staff will continue to work from home for the remainder of 2020. We will keep you apprised of any changes.
In recent weeks, we have addressed in these messages some of the issues that you, our readers, have indicated as important to you in your responses to our brief survey. (Please see the link below.)
The upcoming transition to the new UCC Medicare Advantage Plan w/ Rx, administered by Humana, is of interest not only to survey respondents but to an increasing number of members who have reached out to us by phone, web, and email. The new plan will replace the existing UCC Medicare Supplement Plan w/ Rx on January 1, 2021. The UCC Medicare Advantage Plan offers significant cost-savings over the UCC Medicare Supplement Plan, with no reduction in benefits and with new features that Medicare participants have been requesting.
Look for more information about these new resources later this year in this weekly message and on our website. I invite you to read Chief Investment Officer Dave Klassen’s September 2020 Market Update.
In recent weeks, you have read about the Pension Boards’ transition to online payment as the new standard for both employers and members who pay for their own benefits. The number of individual members and employers who have made the change to online bill payment has increased. Thank you! As we move toward the launch of our new NetSuite accounting platform in early 2021, our goal is that at least 90% of invoice payments be transacted online. We need your help. We continue to encourage you to set up an online payment account if you have not already done so. Please scroll down to the article, Online Payment Portal for Members and Employers: Getting Started, to learn how. If you need assistance, please contact us at 1.800.642.6543.
Also, I want to take this opportunity to remind you that the Ministers’ Financial Vitality Initiative (MFVI) will expand from 30 to 60 participants in the next Program One class, and that thanks to the Lilly Endowment’s generosity, we are now able to open the program to all authorized UCC ministers who are currently serving in a recognized ministry setting. To encourage more clergy to consider this program, we will continue to receive applications until November 15. Click here for more information.
Please also remember that the Target Annuitization Date 2020 Fund (TAD 2020) will close on December 31. Annuity Plan members with allocations to the TAD 2020 must take action prior to the November 30. Read the article, Target Annuitization Date (TAD) Fund 2020 Closing December 31, for more information.
Stay well, and be safe.
Brian R. Bodager
READER SURVEY: WHAT TOPICS DO YOU WANT TO SEE?
Online payment is the New Standard for the Pension Boards. Please transition your monthly payment to our online portals today! If you are not already using the portals, it’s quick and easy to get started and transactions are secure.Register here. Your account, including any outstanding balances, and employee salary information, must be up-to-date before you use online bill payment for the first time.
PLEASE NOTE: The bill payment portals are back online. Please log in to pay your November invoice.
The Target Annuitization Date (TAD) Fund 2020 will close in December of this year. In anticipation of the closing of the TAD Fund 2020, you will need to select one of the two options below.
If you have any questions, or need help, please reach out to our Member Services team at 1.800.642.6543.
Humana Benefit Kit packets to current participants in the current UCC Medicare Plan have been sent out, and you may have already received yours in the mail. You may also view the Humana Benefit Kit here.
As we prepare for the transition to the new Plan, Humana Group Medicare Customer Care is available to help. You may call Humana at 1.866.733.1872, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m.-9:00 p.m. (Eastern Time) with questions you may have about your coverage. When calling, please indicate that you are with the Pension Boards-UCC.
Look for more information from the Pension Boards and Humana by email and mail later this month.
The Pension Boards and the Missouri Mid-South Conference of the United Church of Christ will host Splash in the Healing Waters of Sanctuary, a clergy wellness retreat October 18-20, 2020, via Zoom. The retreat begins with prayer and community building on the evening of October 18. UCC Authorized Ministers and Ministers in Discernment in the Missouri Mid-South Conference, and their spouses/partners, are invited to attend. Please register before 6:00 p.m. (CST) on October 15. Register here.
Generations Financial Resources, Inc., is a lending corporation designed to help alleviate the crushing burden of clergy indebtedness in the UCC.
Working in coordination with the Minister’s Financial Vitality Initiative it combines personal finance education, needs-based grants to reduce debt levels, and most significantly, low-interest rate refinancing to substantially reduce the rates our clergy are paying on their educational debt.
As the Pension Boards transitions to a paperless environment and adapts to working remotely, we are converting to an online process for UCC churches and employers to update their employees’ salaries and pension contribution amounts. We will no longer send out the annual Salary Report to employers by mail in October.
Now, you may sign into your account on the Employer Portal and once logged in, select Salary Report/Update from the left-hand side of the page to make changes as soon as they occur. This will ensure that changes are timely, and that your monthly invoices will reflect the updated information as changes occur.
If you need a paper form, you may download and print a Salary Report Form from the Pension Boards website.
Should you have any questions, please reach out to our Member Services team at 1.800.642.6543 for assistance.
Beginning January 1, 2021, the Pension Boards' policy will be to accept only current or future dates on all benefit forms submitted to effect any benefit enrollment or change for our members. Retroactive effective dates will no longer be accepted. Look for additional communications regarding this change in coming weeks.
Our full Member Services staff team is available as before to take your calls and answer any questions you may have. They may be reached at 1.800.642.6543 as well as on the online chat function on our website, www.pbucc.org.