CHICAGO, IL (October 16, 2015) – Bethany Benefit Service health insurance rates for 2016 will increase by 2 percent, and there will be no changes in rates for UNUM life or long-term disability insurance, it was announced today.
“Last year our rate increase was 3.9 percent, but after an announced premium holiday in June 2015, total billed premiums actually fell by more than 4 percent for the year,” said Elliott Johnson, assistant director of pensions. “We continue to believe that we offer outstanding coverage and have been able to manage premium increases that remain far below national trends.”
Bethany was able to keep rates low due to better than expected claim results, low operating costs, and the plan’s strong financial position, Johnson said.
The low rate increase continues a trend of more than a decade in which rates were either held flat or remained modest compared to other insurance providers. There was no increase in premiums in 2005 and in 2014.
The Bethany program provides coverage for pastors, employees of local Covenant churches and regional conferences, conference centers and camps, Covenant pastors who work for voluntary employers of the Covenant Pension Plan, and denominational offices. Medical/dental coverage is available to employees who work a minimum of 20 hours a week.
Rates are based on the independent work of a health insurance actuary, an outside consultant, and staff members. Rate projections are then reviewed by the Health Insurance Committee and approved by the Covenant Board of Pensions and Benefits.
Churches or individuals interested in learning more about participation in the Bethany program may call Bethany personnel at (800) 313-8955 or visit Bethany Benefit Service online. Resources also may be downloaded.
For Covenant pastors enrolled with Bethany, long-term disability insurance coverage pays into the Covenant Pension Plan until normal Social Security retirement age as long as the pastor continues to be disabled and pays Bethany the medical/dental coverage cost for the first 24 months of a disability that qualifies for long-term disability benefits.