Over the next month or so, during annual enrollment, many of you will be looking at your benefit coverages for the coming year. As you work through important considerations and make decisions, I want you to know that we are here for you if you have questions. Please call us at 800-PRESPLAN (800-773-7752) and talk to a member service representative. We’re ready to ask, “How may I serve you?”
There is one major new consideration if the other members of your family have access to coverage under another medical plan: Is that coverage better or more cost-effective than the coverage you have now? That question and the choice it presents are yours alone.
Church families have that choice today because of our new medical dues-sharing model, and I want to thank all of you who added your voice to the discussions that helped us build the model. Your input was critical, and I look forward to including you in future conversations as we continue working to ensure that our Benefits Plan provides choice and flexibility.
Annual enrollment at the Board (October 1 through November 14) is also the time to consider optional benefits that may be available to you or to change coverage you already have. This newsletter contains information on all the choices and options you have during this period.
For members who have medical coverage through Medicare, I’d like to remind you that Medicare’s open enrollment is October 15 through December 7. We are here to assist our retirees with questions as they decide whether to sign up for our Medicare Supplement Plan or, if already in the plan, whether to remain.
It’s a lot to think about, I know. But, again, please call us if you have questions. We have implemented a consultative service model for our Member Services organization to make your experience even better than it has been in the past. While we’re still focused on answering your questions, today we are also asking questions. That gives us the opportunity to educate our members and employing organizations on plans and programs.
We look forward to hearing from you!
Grace and peace,
Welcome to Board Connections, the newsletter for The Board of Pensions of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). This publication highlights recent Board news and important updates and information. We hope you find this newsletter useful, and we welcome your feedback at any time.
Enroll for Dental and Supplemental Death Coverage through November 14
Annual enrollment, now through November 14, is your chance to apply for or make changes to two optional benefits: dental and supplemental death coverage. Annual enrollment is the only time you can enroll for or make changes to these two coverages unless you experience certain qualifying life events during the year.
This annual enrollment period is also a great time to consider other optional benefits, including the Retirement Savings Plan of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and Long-Term Care Insurance.
To review your current benefits quickly and securely, log in to Benefits Connect, the Board’s site for personalized benefits information. You can also enroll for dental benefits and apply for supplemental death benefits through Benefits Connect.
Visit pensions.org/annualenrollment for additional details.
Call to Health Update: What You Can Expect after October 1
As we wrap up the first year of Call to Health and begin the second, here are some things you should know about the program and the ActiveHealth Management Call to Health website:
Look for more information about 2015 health actions soon. In the meantime, be healthy!
Medicare Annual Enrollment Period Is Coming
If you are Medicare-eligible, you have a chance each year during the Medicare annual enrollment period, October 15 through December 7, to review your Medicare supplement coverage and elect or change plans. In the coming weeks, you’ll receive information from Medicare, CMS (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services), private insurance companies, and other organizations encouraging you to consider their health plan offerings. You’ll also receive a mailing from the Board with information about the Medicare Supplement Plan and enrollment rates for 2015. As you read through this information, keep these important tips in mind:
Make sure your coverage fits your needs.
Have you changed the medications you take? Been diagnosed with a new medical condition? Your current Medicare supplement plan may no longer cover the services and prescriptions you need. Has the cost of your plan gone up or down? Were your prescriptions dropped from the list of drugs (the formulary) included in your plan? Have you moved? Some Medicare supplement plans change benefits or stop offering coverage in particular locations. Check your current Medicare supplement plan and, if necessary, switch to another one that fits you better.
Understand all your options.
If you currently participate in the Medicare Supplement Plan, to stay enrolled, simply continue to pay the monthly subscription; no action is required. If you are eligible but not participating, you may wish to review the Medicare Supplement Plan during this annual enrollment and consider if it meets your coverage needs. For information about this plan and what to consider when making decisions about retiree healthcare coverage, go to pensions.org under Available Resources > Booklets and Publications, and view these publications:
When Medicare annual enrollment begins, you’ll find updated editions of these publications on pensions.org. You can also find abbreviated information on these topics under Retirees > Healthcare on pensions.org.
For information about
Remember, any changes you make to your Medicare selections will go into effect on January 1, 2015.
Did You Receive Your Medical Dues Guide Mailing?
Traditional Program members, employers, and mid councils should have recently received the Your Guide to Making Medical Coverage-Level Changes. This guide reviews the actions members and employers need to take during the annual enrollment period, October 1 through November 14, 2014, to make sure Traditional Program members have the 2015 medical coverage they want. Included in the mailing to employers was a report projecting individual and total medical dues for Traditional Program members for 2015.
If you did not receive this mailing or you have questions about the medical coverage-level change process, please contact the Board of Pensions at 800-773-7752 (800‑PRESPLAN).
Board University Releases Final Module in Medical Dues Web Series
Board University has released the final module in its Getting Ready e-learning series supporting the medical dues changes effective January 1, 2015. Getting Ready: A Tutorial for Making Medical Coverage-Level Changes is available at Board University on pensions.org.
The newest module explains how employers will submit medical coverage-level changes during annual enrollment this fall.
The Getting Ready series prepares mid councils, employing organizations, and members for the new approach to Traditional Program medical dues that takes effect on January 1, 2015. The series is available on pensions.org. We recommend viewing the modules in order to build your knowledge:
Launched Earlier This Year
Tax-Advantaged Plans Series
Remember, all Board University resources, including Web modules and face-to-face seminars, are offered free of charge to members. Continue the lifelong process of learning with a visit to Board University, your education partner for the plans and programs of the Board of Pensions, featuring “learning through the stages of your life.”
It’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month
October’s pink ribbons and races for a cure have helped make most people aware of breast cancer’s risks. Yet many women forget to take steps to detect the disease early, when treatment works best. According to the National Cancer Institute, the five‑year survival rate for women whose breast cancers were detected early (while localized) is 98.5 percent.
For inspiration, listen to a PC(USA) pastor describe her successful fight against breast cancer in the Health Videos section of pensions.org.
This October, wear your pink ribbon proudly, and don’t forget to check the date of your last mammogram. If it’s been too long, schedule a visit today!
*If you are enrolled in Anthem, Triple-S, Cigna Global Health Benefits, or the Medicare Supplement Plan, you also have a preventive care benefit, but coverage differs. Consult your plan’s provisions for details.
Look for a Roth Option in the RSP in 2015
Beginning January 1, there will be a new way to invest in the Retirement Savings Plan of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) (RSP) ― a Roth contribution option that allows you to save after-tax dollars through the RSP. Under certain circumstances after you retire, you may have opportunities to withdraw your Roth savings and earnings tax-free!
Keep an eye out for more information, coming in December, about this latest RSP enhancement and how it may create more savings flexibility for you.
Show Your Appreciation: Help Lift Up the Family of Faith
October 12 is Clergy Appreciation Sunday, a time to let your pastor know you appreciate his or her spiritual leadership. A great way to honor your pastor is to make a gift to the Assistance Program of the Board of Pensions, which provides financial grants to help PC(USA) pastors and other church workers in their time of need and also to develop church leaders.
Watch Lifting Up the Family of Faith: Cindy to see why these grants are so important to the future of our Church.
Make your gift today, won’t you? With your help, the Assistance Program can continue to lift up the family of faith!
Lifting Up the Family of Faith: Cindy
View Dollar-Cost Averaging, the third lesson in the recently launched Basic Investment Series. The module explains how saving a fixed dollar amount over time — regardless of how the markets are doing — can take the emotion out of investing.
Members Can Apply Online for Optional Dental and Supplemental Death Coverage!
Mark your calendars: October 1 through November 14 is the annual enrollment period for the optional Dental and Supplemental Death Benefits plans. Members who are eligible for the plans can apply online through Benefits Connect, the Board’s secure benefits website, during the annual enrollment period. To register for Benefits Connect, follow the simple steps outlined on the site.
Note to employers: When your members apply online, you will receive a letter from the Board of Pensions indicating which members applied for the programs. These letters are generated daily.
If you are not already taking advantage of Benefits Connect, register today!
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If you have comments or feedback on this newsletter, please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have questions, call the Board at 800-773-7752 (800-PRESPLAN) and speak with a member service representative.