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2007 health-care rates to increase nearly 7 percent

As organizations struggle to find resources for health-plan contribution rates, trustees of the ELCA Board of Pensions approved an overall rate increase of nearly 7 percent for 2007.

At its Aug. 5 meeting in Minneapolis, trustees approved the contribution rates for 2007 with a 7 percent average contribution rate increase for the ELCA health plan and a 0.5 percent decrease in the contribution rate charged for the ELCA disability plan.

Recommendations for the coming year continue a comprehensive design including annual deductibles, co-insurance and annual out-of-pocket maximums, but update the dollar amounts. The preventive health benefit also increased.

David G. Adams, the board’s vice president of products and services, said the plan continues to support broad health-plan objectives:

• Providing adequate benefits for members at a cost that is affordable to congregations.

• Sharing the cost between members and sponsoring employers.

• Promoting member wellness and engagement in the process of purchasing health-care services.

Since the church is interdependent, the intent is that congregations with means assist those of lesser means. The six-class rate structure is based on defined geographical differences in health-care costs and salaries. Health-plan contributions are based on individual compensation.

“Our objectives support and enhance our ‘faithful to your well-being’ value promised to members and sponsoring organizations,” said John Kapanke, board president. “We continue to make strides in advancing our value promise as evidenced in the most recent value perception survey results. We strive to fulfill our mission and achieve our vision to help ‘those we serve lead healthy lives and achieve financial security.’ ”

For 2008, the health-plan design is aimed at more individual responsibility. There will be an emphasis on wellness, encouraging members to make good decisions in daily life to keep health-care costs down. A greater amount of resources will be pooled into education campaigns and counseling.


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