Why is an adoption agreement necessary? What is the purpose?
The adoption agreement will help churches and extension ministries understand the rules of eligibility and participation requirements for lay employees. In addition, it will identify for the Florida Conference the churches and extension ministries that have elected to participate in the conference health benefits plans for the following year. This adoption agreement is similar to the General Board of Pension and Health Benefits’ adoption agreement used for Healthflex or UMPIP participation.
How often will an adoption agreement need to be signed?
The adoption agreement must be renewed annually. This will provide churches and extension ministries the opportunity to choose to participate in the conference plans or opt out of participation for the coming year.
If our church or extension ministry does not want to participate in the conference plans, are we required to sign and return the adoption agreement?
Yes. Churches or extension ministries that choose not to participate will need to complete the portion of the agreement waiving participation in the plans for the following year.
We do not have any lay employees who are eligible to participate in the conference plans. Are we still required to sign and return the adoption agreement? Yes. Churches or extension ministries with no eligible employees must also complete the option to waive participation and submit the agreement.
Important Note: Supply Pastors are considered lay employees for benefit eligibility purposes. Subsequently, the same eligibility rules for lay employees apply to Supply Pastors.
If our church waives participation in the health benefits, does that also waive benefits for our church’s pastor(s)?
No. Churches are still required to provide health insurance benefits through the conference plan for any pastors appointed full time and whose salaries meet the three-quarter-time eligibility requirement stated in the adoption agreement.
Are retired clergy required to sign and return the adoption agreement?
No. Only churches and extension ministries are required to sign and return it.
If our church or extension ministry decides not to participate in the conference plans when we sign the agreement, is it possible to participate at another time?
If you anticipate changes within your employee population that would affect eligibility for benefits – you should consider executing the adoption agreement now. You only have one opportunity each year to adopt the Conference benefit plans. Once the adoption agreement is in place, you can determine the Effective Date (the date you want your church to begin participating) at a later time. Having the agreement in place allows you the flexibility to beginning offering benefits anytime during the calendar year should you decide to do so.
If you choose to waive participation for the 2012 benefit year, Churches and extension ministries may elect to participate in the conference plans during the next annual open enrollment period, which will take place in the fall of 2012. Church’s cannot enter the benefit plans during mid-year.
Can our church or extension ministry choose to participate in some of the plans, but not others?
Yes. Your church or extension ministry may elect to participate in only one of the plans or any combination of them. (The plans include health insurance, life insurance, dental insurance and flexible spending account).
Q. Will there be an increase in benefit premiums for 2012?
After three consecutive years without a rate increase, The Florida Conference active clergy, local church lay employees, and Conference employees will be asked to pay an additional 10 percent for health insurance premiums in 2012. The reasons for the premium increase are related to increased utilization of services under our plan. We were able to avoid a rate increase for the past three years, we are unable to sustain that going into 2012.
The Conference Board of Pension and Health Benefits took a number of steps to mitigate a projected 17 percent increase down to 10 percent. The reduction to 10 percent was only achieved after making some plan changes.
The rate billed to local churches for clergy enrolled in the plan (also known as the "blended rate") has been $839 per month, and is increasing in 2012 to $924 per month. The following are new monthly clergy payroll contribution rates for 2012.
Clergy Cost Share 2012 Rates
Clergy Cost Share 2012 Rates
Clergy + other dependents
The benefit plan continues to provide a comprehensive, quality medical insurance plan for participants and their families. There will be no disruption of network providers, however, there will be an increase in co-pays for doctor’s visits and out of pocket maximums.