The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Pension trustees discuss health-care changes

Meeting Nov. 2-4 in Minneapolis, the ELCA Board of Pensions trustees discussed preparations for a strategic plan for 2009-11. The current plan runs through 2008.

John G. Kapanke, board president, told trustees the ELCA health benefits plan has begun its switch to a wellness plan—away from the typical U.S. plan that pays members when they’re ill rather than paying to keep them well—beginning with a health-risk assessment through the Mayo Clinic. ELCA health plan members are encouraged to take the online assessment anytime through September 2008 and earn dollars for a personal wellness account to help offset some of their 2008 expenses.

To prepare for upcoming strategic planning sessions, Kapanke laid out a number of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to which trustees responded. One of the strengths, for example, is the ability to balance being a unit of a denomination with managing a major business in financial services and health care. One weakness he cited is that, even with a large menu of products and services, the pension unit isn’t as well-positioned to offer new products to possible new markets. That weakness leads to an opportunity: reaching new and growing customer bases. And one threat Kapanke mentioned is other financial service companies aggressively competing for plan members’ business.

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