Delegates to annual event will consider health insurance changes

e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service

Delegates to annual event will consider health insurance changes

April 13, 2005    News media contact:  Tita Parham*     
800-282-8011     Orlando  {0276}

NOTE:  2005 Florida Annual Conference Event logos are available in various sizes and formats at

An e-Review Feature
By J.A. Buchholz**

LAKELAND — Florida Conference staff and committee members are working hard to keep health insurance costs from rising, which may mean changing plan administrators.

Boyd Acklin, the conference's assistant treasurer of administration and human resources and the person who oversees the daily management of the conference health insurance program, said the conference is seeking bids from companies to administer the conference health insurance program in 2006.

Currently, the General Board of Pension and Health Benefits administers the program for an estimated 1,100 clergy and lay employees working at the conference or local churches. The Conference Board of Pension and Health Benefits (CBPHB) routinely evaluates the conference's program as part of its mission. Acklin said the bidding process began as a direct result of the CBPHB measuring current health care costs and benefits against what is available in the marketplace.

"The General Board of Pension and Health Benefits may not be our next administrator," Acklin said, noting this is the first time in approximately 10 years the conference has sought bids for an administrator.

The General Board will continue administering the conference pension program, according to Acklin.

The CBPHB is obtaining the bids to help maintain costs at an affordable level. Acklin said the CBPHB will select two or three vendors to make presentations to the CBPHB board May 4, then present the best package during the "One Body One Spirit" 2005 Florida Annual Conference Event.

"The lowest price may not give you everything you ask for," Acklin said. "We want to get the best price and everything we're asking for, as well. So, we want the best quality, cost considered, recognizing that cost is extremely important to us."

The cost of clergy health care was a significant topic of discussion at the 2004 Florida Annual Conference Event. Members passed a new health insurance cost-sharing plan, amending a proposal presented by the CBPHB. Beginning this year, clergy and churches began sharing the total cost of health insurance. All clergy pay 16 percent of the total, and all churches pay 84 percent. Those percentages will shift by one percent each year until 2009 when clergy will pay 20 percent and churches 80 percent.

"We haven't looked outside of the current administrator at different vendors in a long time," Acklin said. "Maybe it will cause the incumbent to sharpen its pencil. That has value in itself. We are testing the market."

Despite the eventual cost that will be presented, Acklin said the conference still provides a great benefit to its participants.

"We're holding our own when it comes to price," he said.


This article relates to the 2005 Florida Annual Conference Event.

*Parham is managing editor of e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service.
**Buchholz is a staff writer for e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service.

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