Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Hey, GuideStone, can you talk to us a little more?

GuideStone announced, rather abruptly and suddenly on December 20th last year, that they were "temporarily" no longer writing any new individual policies

In the midst of the current uncertainties related to the various implementations of the Affordable Care Act and the effect it is already having on millions of Americans, and in an effort to preserve our Personal Plans medical plans for the long term, we have made the difficult decision to TEMPORARILY limit participation in the Personal Plans medical plans to our current participants going into 2014. This means the Personal Plans will continue to cover those who are enrolled as of December 31, 2013, but will not be able to accept NEW ENROLLEES into the medical plans, except as required by law due to marriage, birth, adoption or similar qualifying event. This measure will apply to both our expanded ministries we serve as well as our Southern Baptist audience. This change does not affect the availability of our Personal Plans dental, term life, accident or disability plans.
 If you call GuideStone they will tell you quickly, "Nope, we have temporarily stopped writing new seminarian, church staff, or other individual policies."

If you go to GuideStone's website you will search for awhile before you find the same announcement. Why GuideStone makes it difficult to find this I am not sure.

So, seminarians and other individuals are thrust into Obamacare for insurance. One seminarian found insurance through the troubled Obamacare website that was far superior to what GuideStone was offering to seminarians and with the government subsidies was much, much cheaper. How about insurance for $25/mo or so sound? Pretty good if it works.

One can see GuideStone's problem. As long as lower income people (that would include most all seminarians) have their insurance subsidized, GuideStone will be completely unable to compete in this market.

But I wonder about pastors and church staff. In some areas where there is little competition among providers or for those staff with higher salaries, and the subsequent loss of subsidies, will GuideStone be able to compete in this market at all? And does the Affordable Care Act count the housing allowance as income in qualifying or not for the subsidies. Don't know but would be interested in what the experiences are for the brethren.

Who knows where this is going or what it means for GuideStone. I just wish GuideStone would do a better job of talking to us than they have thus far.

Here's a little feedback, O.S. How about picking up the pace on this? I hear you on your court challenges. What I would like to hear is something relative to where most Southern Baptists are. Thanks. 


Unknown said...

As to whether the ministerial housing allowance counts as income in determining potential subsidies under the ACA, the answer is No. I had the same question before I enrolled via the Obamacare Marketplace (Texas, where I live, did not create its own state marketplace), and I researched that matter pretty extensively before proceeding. Every resource I was able to find indicated that the marketplace uses W-2 wages plus Schedule C (for misc. ministerial income), as reported on Form 1040,as the basis for determining eligibility for subsidies.

My enrollment experience was (pretty)smooth, and as of 1/1/2014 my wife and I are enrolled in a Blue Cross plan through the healthcare dot gov site.

Anonymous said...

And you are just now figuring out that Guidestone is no friend of Baptists? Why did it take you so long?

Anonymous said...

I am concerned that a company who strongly opposed "Obamacare" is now forcing churches to send their new staff members to the same system that Guidestone fought against.