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Considerations for Selecting Benefits

​As you review and select benefits to submit your Employer Agreement for the next year, consider who will be eligible and when, what benefits to offer, and how much you and employees will contribute to the cost of coverage.

Who: Use criteria such as hours worked, length of service, or job types to determine eligibility in benefit groups.

When: Benefits may be effective when employees are first hired or after a waiting period (up to 90 days for medical coverage as required by the Affordable Care Act), as long as your determination complies with any applicable laws.

What: Except for Pastor’s Participation (required for installed pastors), you may select the benefits for each benefit group (based on Benefits Plan provisions).

Menu options is available for employees other than installed pastors:

  • defined benefit Pension Plan
  • Retirement Savings Plan of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) (RSP), a 403(b)(9) plan
  • Death and Disability Plan (and supplemental coverage, if eligible)
  • medical coverage in the PPO and/or EPO, including prescription drug, vision, and Employee Assistance Program
  • dental coverage

Pastor’s Participation includes

  • defined benefit Pension Plan participation;
  • death and disability benefits coverage;
  • medical coverage in the PPO (full family); and
  • the opportunity to participate in the RSP, elect dental, and/or apply for supplemental death and disability (if eligible) coverage.

Other ministers of the Word and Sacrament (those other than installed pastors) who work 20 hours or more each week may be enrolled in Pastor’s Participation, or they may be enrolled in menu options; it is the employer’s choice. The Board urges those who employ ministers who are not installed pastors but who work at least 20 hours per week to provide benefits to this group through Pastor’s Participation. If you choose Pastor’s Participation for these ministers, it should apply to all other ministers working 20 or more hours per week.

Note: Ministers who work less than 20 hours per week may be enrolled in menu options and are eligible for medical and dental coverage and RSP participation.

Cost of Coverage

Menu Options

If offered, dues for the Pension Plan and death and disability coverage are 100 percent employer-paid (11 percent of effective salary for the Pension Plan, plus 1 percent of effective salary for death and disability coverage; these dues have not changed since 1987). Death and disability coverage offered without Pension Plan enrollment is employer-paid, at 2.5 percent of effective salary. Employers pay at least 50 percent of Member-only coverage in the lower-cost medical option they offer, and decide how much, if any, to contribute toward the additional cost of covering eligible family members.

  • Under menu options, medical coverage costs are based on claims experience adjusted for regional and demographic factors. The PPO generally costs 15 percent more than the EPO.
  • Employers who have transitional pricing support for Member + Spouse and Member + Family PPO medical coverage in menu options may notice a greater increase in the cost for these coverage levels than in the prior year because of the gradual decline of transitional pricing support through 2019. Beginning with the 2020 plan year, PPO costs in menu options will better reflect actual marketplace costs.

You are encouraged to offer retirement benefits under menu options. You may

  • offer Pension Plan participation and/or the RSP;
  • grandfather Pension Plan participation for employees currently in the plan while offering only the RSP to new employees; or
  • add a discretionary employer contribution or matching contribution* to the RSP as partial income replacement for employees no longer participating in the Pension Plan.

Pastor’s Participation

Employers pay the entire cost for the following:

  • defined benefit Pension Plan participation: 11 percent of effective salary
  • death and disability benefits coverage: 1 percent of effective salary
  • medical coverage in the PPO (full family): 25 percent of effective salary (or the minimum dues rate, whichever is greater)

Employers may, but are not required to, contribute to the cost of dental, supplemental death, and/or supplemental disability coverage (if eligible). Employers may contribute to the RSP on a member’s behalf as a fixed and/or matching* contribution.

*An employer matching contribution to the RSP is not considered part of effective salary, so the employer cost for dues-based benefits (such as medical coverage in Pastor’s Participation or Pension Plan participation) is not affected. (A fixed employer contribution to the RSP, as a percentage of pay or dollar amount, is considered part of effective salary and included in the calculation of dues).