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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Health rates to increase 5 percent

Trustees of the Board of Pensions approved a 5 percent increase in contribution rates to the ELCA health plan for 2008 while keeping the rate charged for the disability plan unchanged.

Meeting in Minneapolis Aug. 2-4, the board also received an update on changes in the health insurance plan next year. It will become a “wellness” model, board staff said, that encourages participants to take more responsibility for their health through risk assessments and resulting recommendations for lifestyle and other changes.

Health insurance premiums are divided into a six-class rate structure based on geographic differences in health-care costs and salaries. Contributions paid by congregations, synods and the churchwide organization for pastors and employees are then based on individual compensation.

The plan also keeps the church/member cost-sharing ratio of 80 percent/20 percent for combined medical, pharmacy and behavioral health benefits.

The health risk assessments will be conducted by the Mayo Clinic. To offset increases in deductibles during 2008, those taking the assessments will receive $100 in health savings accounts, and up to $200 more if they follow recommendations based on the assessments.

Annual deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums for individuals will increase from $350 to $600 and $2,500 to $3,000, respectively.

In other business, trustees elected Emried D. Cole Jr., vice president for seminary advancement at the Lutheran Seminary at Gettysburg (Pa.), to succeed outgoing member Mary S. Ranum as board chair in November.


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