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Who Is Covered

Employers determine the benefits available to their employees in a church or other employing organization, following the provisions of the plans and the guidelines provided by the Board of Pensions.

Menu Options

Employers may offer any combination of benefits, including medical benefits, to any teaching elders who are not in an installed relationship with a church and other employees. The teaching elders and other employees then elect their benefits from what is offered.

  • Weekly working-hour minimum requirements for medical coverage vary, as follows:
    • No minimum is required for teaching elders to be eligible for medical benefits.
    • Other employees must meet a 20-hour minimum to be eligible for medical coverage.
  • Medical coverage options are the PPO and the EPO, both administered by Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield. An employer may offer one or both options to employees.
  • Enrollment is by coverage level:
    • Member-only
    • Member + Spouse
    • Member + Children
    • Member + Family
  • Employers pay at least 50 percent of the cost of member-only medical coverage in the lowest cost option they provide; the employee pays the rest. Employees who include eligible family members in their coverage can be asked to pay up to 100 percent of the cost of that coverage. Employee costs for medical coverage under menu options are based on whether they are in the PPO or EPO and the coverage level they elect.

Pastor’s Participation

Employers must provide, on a non-contributory basis, installed pastors with Pastor’s Participation, regardless of the number of hours worked (Book of Order [G-2.0804]). Pastor’s Participation includes PPO (preferred provider organization) medical benefits, among others. Employers may choose to provide Pastor’s Participation to other teaching elders. If the employer chooses Pastor’s Participation for other teaching elders, it must apply to all teaching elders who are scheduled to work 20 or more hours per week.

  • Employers pay 100 percent of Pastor’s Participation dues (24.5 percent of effective salary), regardless of the number of family members.
  • The eligible family members of installed pastors and other teaching elders enrolled in Pastor’s Participation are automatically covered.

Seminary Students

When enrolled for full-time study, seminary students under the care of a presbytery may enroll for medical coverage on a self-pay basis. For information, visit the Attending Seminary page in the Life Events section of pensions.org.