Retiree meetings shed light on proposed plan changes

More than 60 retired clergy and spouses attended a May 13 meeting to learn about proposed changes to retiree health insurance benefits to be considered at Annual Conference 2014. It was the first in a series of informational meetings held around the state, facilitated by Conference benefits officer Mona Williams and the Rev. Dennis Spence, chair of the Conference Board of Pension and Health Benefits. “I think you’ll find it to be true that this is good for the retirees, it’s good for the local churches and it’s good for the Annual Conference,” Spence said. “If it’s not, I don’t want it, either, because in four years I’m going to be joining this group.” Under the new proposal, retirees would receive a premium gift through a Healthcare Reimbursement Account set up by the Conference, then would choose their own Medicare supplement plans and dental coverage. As part of the meeting, health insurance agent R.D. Roulston presented information on the Plan F supplement to Medicare. Though retirees may use an agent of their choice, Roulston will be available at Annual Conference on Friday, June 20 for those wishing to discuss options. The Rev. Roger Glover says he is inclined to support the proposal. “It looks like that it actually is going to be better than the one we have, which is a surprise, because usually when we’re promised that, it never is,” he said. “I think it’s going to cost us less,” said clergy spouse Marie Jordan. Her husband, the Rev. Ben Jordan, agreed. “It’s going to cut the costs for the local church, which is very important,” he said, “but more than that it will provide an affordable insurance for all the retirees and all the actives, too.” Retirees may now choose new plan options, which would only go into effect if the proposal is approved. They may set a start date ranging from Aug. 1, 2014 to Jan. 1, 2015. Those with questions may contact Mona Williams at 501-324-8028. (Above: The Revs. Sam Teague, left, and Calvin Mitchell confer with Conference benefits officer Mona Williams after a May 13 meeting on proposed changes to retiree health benefits. AUM photo by Amy Forbus.)