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The open enrollment period for 2018 health insurance benefits for clergy and employees of the South Carolina Conference of The United Methodist Church runs through Thursday, Nov. 16.

Wespath Benefits is offering a new health insurance plan for 2018 that will give employees and clergy more control, while helping the church continue to provide affordable health benefits.

With HealthFlex Exchange, employees/clergy will choose their own plan from among numerous options. By offering more choices, HealthFlex Exchange gives employees/clergy more flexibility to select a plan that best fits their family size, health needs, budget and ability to handle unplanned medical expenses.

Six HealthFlex plan options – instead of one or two plans offered in past years – will be available. Some of the plans (“silver’” or “bronze”) have lower monthly premiums but higher out-of-pocket costs for health services, while other plans (“gold”) carry lower out-of-pocket costs for services used but higher monthly premiums.

Wespath also will offer two optional plans in 2018: an expanded vision care plan and a dental care plan.

Retired clergy 65 and older do not need to participate in Annual Election. Simply follow the directions you should have received from AmWins. All retired clergy who need to make an election have been notified individually.

The HealthFlex Exchange plans for 2018 will include:

  • A traditional preferred provider organization (PPO) plan with co-payments for office visits
  • Two consumer-driven health plans (CDHPs) that allow employees/clergy to use or save funds from a health reimbursement account (HRA)
  • Three qualified high-deductible health plans (HDHPs), which give employees/clergy the option to also contribute to a Health Savings Account (HSA).

Employees/clergy will be able to select a plan through

A new way to pay

The new year also will bring a new approach to paying for health plans.

The S.C. Annual Conference or the local church will set aside a defined contribution (DC) – a fixed dollar amount to use toward monthly premiums for employees/clergy health coverage. The DC will appear as a credit toward purchase when employees/clergy select a plan during Annual Election and will be applied to the HealthFlex premium each month.

  • If the plan costs more per month than the DC amount, the additional prorated monthly amount will be deducted from employees/clergy paychecks.
  • If the plan costs less per month than the DC amount, the leftover amount will be prorated monthly and credited to an HRA or HSA (depending on which medical plan selected) that can be used to pay for eligible out-of-pocket expenses.

All the help you need

Wespath also will offer tools to help employees/clergy choose the best plan for their needs:

  • The Coverage Advisor tool is available through WebMD.
  • The MyChoice tool is available during Annual Election to provide guidance in making choices.
  • Employees/clergy also will be able to speak with a representative by phone to discuss health and financial needs. Call the Healhtflex BusinessSolver line at 844-688-1375 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday-Friday.

By providing as much or as little detail about expected use of health services and ability to cover unplanned expenses, employees/clergy will receive guidance on selecting a HealthFlex plan.

If you’ve exhausted all of this help and you still need a hand, the Rev. David Anderson, the conference benefits officer, will be available for consultation – by phone (803-602-0710) or in person – Thursday, Nov. 16, at the United Methodist Conference Center, 4908 Colonial Drive, Columbia.

Want to know more?

Click below to learn more about the new options coming to UMC-SC health insurance coverage in 2018:

Watch a HealthFlex Exchange workshop conducted by
the S.C. Conference of the UMC:


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