Health Insurance Guidelines

Arkansas Churches served by full-time Elders in full Connection, Associate, Provisional Members, and Local Pastors of the Conference under regular Arkansas appointment are mandated to provide 100% of the Conference Employer Health Insurance Plan premium for the clergy until December 31, 2015, the exceptions are; clergy with military health insurance, seminary students and clergy receiving their first appointment on July 1, 2015. All full-time employees of the Conference Office shall participate in the Health Benefits Program of the Arkansas Conference. Spouses and dependents who have access to employer provided health insurance, or are Medicare eligible may make written request to opt out of conference insurance.

The Program is open for full-time lay staff (working at least 30 hrs. per week), Probationers, Student Local Pastors, Full Deacons, Diaconal Ministers, Full Members serving less than full-time appointment or employment and eligible dependents. Participation is optional. It is their responsibility to make necessary arrangements to enroll and will be responsible for the total premium.

Effective January 1, 2016 ALL Clergy are responsible for enrolling and paying for family healthcare coverage. The Board of Pension and Health Benefits recommends that effective January 1, 2016 charges with full-time appointments increase the compensation of the clergy positions by a minimum of $12,000. The adjustment should ease any financial burden on the church and clergy.

Because clergy will have their own healthcare in place effective January 1, 2016, clergy who request Medical Leave and apply for CPP Disability benefits will continue to be responsible for healthcare costs. When eligible for Medicare, you must enroll in Medicare Parts A & B at your own cost. The Arkansas Board of Pension and Health Benefits will provide a healthcare premium stipend based on qualified years of service when you become eligible for Medicare.

Arkansas Health Insurance Marketplace Information – Important dates for enrollment:

  • November 1: Open Enrollment starts — first day you can enroll in an ACA Marketplace plan for the upcoming year. Attached please find a check-list of items you will need in order to enroll in healthcare plans
  • December 31: The Conference Group Healthcare Plan will end at mid-night. You must have new coverage in place for January 1
  • January 1: First date ACA coverage can start
  • January 31: ACA Open Enrollment ends

If you don’t enroll in a plan by January 31 you can’t enroll in a health insurance plan for the year unless you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period. Don’t assume that you will pay a high health insurance plan premium. You may qualify for lower costs based on household modified adjusted gross income and number of people in your household. The income totals used are national so they are higher than what you may think. A single person making up to $46,680 may qualify for lower costs on health insurance coverage, and family of 4 with a household modified adjusted gross income of $95,400 may qualify for the tax credits, lower out of pocket costs or low cost health coverage through Medicaid. To learn if you qualify for lower costs on health insurance coverage, find your estimated 2015 household income and household size on the chart below. Click below to learn how to calculate income. Learn how to estimate your income for the Marketplace. Here is the link for a quick check: Do I qualify to save on health insurance coverage? The column on the left tells you if you may qualify for premium tax credits, lower out-of-pocket costs, or low-cost health care through Medicaid.

Note: If you have Medicare or are eligible due to age (65 & up) or disability you must enroll & pay for Medicare B & purchase a Medicare Supplement, Advantage Plan and Part D Rx Plan. You are not eligible for coverage on the Marketplace. Download the “Apply For or Renew Your Health Insurance Marketplace Coverage” checklist to help you make the best healthcare choice for you and/or your family.