Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Hey, GuideStone. Let's hear something from you.

Quickly now, what is GuideStone saying to SBC clergy concerning the rollout of Obamacare, specifically the insurance exchanges that are to be in place starting next year?

Don't know? Haven't heard?

I'm not hearing much out of GuideStone concerning ObamaCare - no advice, no heads-ups, not much of anything.

Sure, if you go to their site you can find information on health care reform. Did down and you can find info for individuals and families. I'm guessing that most SBCers who have GS insurance like to hear a real person, or read a real Baptist Press or other article.

New insurance rates will be coming out soon. It is one of my biggest expenses.

What should I expect?

Check this article from Religion News Service: Partisan fighting spells trouble for clergy insurance under Obamacare

Under Obama’s 2010 Affordable Care Act, more than 50 percent of UMC clergy would qualify for tax credits available to lower- and middle-class families to purchase insurance. But because of the way the law was written, those tax credits cannot be used toward insurance plans churches can offer through government-run exchanges.
Substantial numbers of SBC clergy will also qualify for subsidies, since the income levels for qualifying are about $62,000 for a family of two, $94,000 for a family of four, etc. The average SBC pastor income is under $60k. Many make much less. Many have only one working member of the family.

Looks like GuideStone's insurance rates may be heavily undercut by the government exchanges. Will thousands of SBC clergy take the government subsidy and ditch GuideStone for them?

I love dealing with GuideStone. They are always helpful with insurance and retirement matters but if my bill would go from well over $1k/mo to a much lower bill for same or better coverage, I'm wide open to a move.

Those lower paid clergy for whom the church pays their insurance as a part of their compensation have a difficult decision as well. If the exchanges substantially lower the bill, does the church rearrange compensation to allow the minister to buy his own and his straight income is increased? Will the church figure into that the fact that the minister will probably pay taxes on the increased income?

There are a lot of variables.

Does housing allowance count in comparing income to poverty level?

Will GuideStone be taking a lot of new ministers who were not accepted previously because of pre-existing conditions? How will this affect GS rates?

There are a lot of questions. I'm not seeing what I think I need to see from GuideStone.

Let's get with it, brethren.


Lee Saunders said...

I never had Guidestone insurance at any point when I worked for schools or churches affiliated with the SBC. When I taught in the charter school, the Association for the Advancement of Mexican Americans, who operated the school, provided a full coverage Aetna policy. When I went to work for an SBC church, I went over to my wife's policy, through Aetna again, because the premiums were much lower than Guidestone's would have been and Aetna took pre-existing conditions. Right now, we are with Health America, but in February, we will bid through an exchange, save almost $30,000 on a faculty and staff of about 32 people, and they must take pre-existing conditions.

I would guess that Guidestone, being a not-for-profit company, and having responsibility for a whole lot of Southern Baptist ministers, will continue to work for your best interests.

Daniel said...

Maybe we have just misunderstood them, but it was my understanding that Guidestone exists to "minister" to the minister. Ministry is giving to someone even when there is no profit for yourself.

I would imagine that the reason that we haven't heard from Guidestone about the healthcare changes is due to the fact that they stand to LOSE a great number of their consumers. I'm not charging them with inflating their premiums, but as the author aptly points out, a great many of their consumers will qualify for a much reduced health care plan. As an uninsured pastor I have looked for this information to be available somewhere, anywhere and it is not readily available.
One of the pastors for whom I previously worked went to a meeting in which the agenda implied that Guidestone would address the insurance issue. This individual reported to me that they simply talked about how terrible it would be for churches to pay for this program and provided no understanding of how the program would affect ministers personally - their "area of ministry" - or their reasoning behind it's overall effect on the church.

Anonymous said...

Just turn 65 and then you get Medicare and don't have to worry any more. Let the younger Baptists pay for you!

Anonymous said...

For information about the Healh Insurance Law and how it will impact churches go to: