For St. Andrews University, a Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)-affiliated college in Laurinburg, North Carolina, staying on top of healthcare coverage and trends has long been a priority. To ensure the organization was offering their employees the best coverage, “we would look at insurance about every three years and re-evalute,” said President Paul Baldasare. “That was our process. We were not afraid to change.”
The need to re-evaluate became more urgent after the university adopted a self-funded insurance plan for medical coverage for its employees. The unpredictability of cash flow from year to year — depending on the amount and types of claims that were submitted — became burdensome, especially for a small organization like St. Andrews, Baldasare explained. “It was a constant up and down,” he said. “And I didn’t like to have to think about the health of individual faculty and staff members in terms of cost.”
Once St. Andrews began to explore other options, the Board of Pensions Medical Plan stood out from the competition. Baldasare explained that it was a combination of features — including pricing, the quality of the benefits, excellent customer service, and a shared connection to the PC(USA) — that led the university to choose medical coverage for its employees through the Board.
“It was the total package,” he said.
Pricing was one feature of the Medical Plan that particularly stood out. “When we looked at other options, the Board of Pensions was very competitive,” said Baldasare. “The pricing made sense to us.”
The university had been wary of some insurance companies that initially bid low to attract new business, then drastically raised premiums after the first year, according to Baldasare. The Board of Pensions offered a more stable pricing structure.
In fact, now in their fourth year of offering medical coverage through the Board of Pensions, “our pricing went down this year,” said Baldasare.
“The Board of Pensions is a nonprofit,” he continued. “They’re not beholden to stockholders, so their interests aren’t divided. That appealed to us.”
While the bottom line was important, the high quality of medical coverage also distinguished the Board of Pensions from the competition, noted Baldasare. St. Andrews chose to offer its employees the PPO option of the Medical Plan, which includes access to the following:
All of these features promote wholeness and well-being and help the plan deliver outstanding value for the price.
As a PC(USA)-affiliated university, St. Andrews also was drawn to the Board of Pensions as an agency of the Church and the shared Presbyterian history and values of the two organizations. “We liked the Board’s connection to our Church,” said Baldasare.
A reflection of its service to the PC(USA), the Board’s Benefits Plan, which includes the Medical Plan, is rooted in the scripturally based A Theology of Benefits. This theology describes the Church’s values — community nature, compassion, justice, and fair compensation — and guides the Board as it administers the Benefits Plan.
The shared PC(USA) connection between the Board of Pensions and St. Andrews has also proven to be an asset in recruiting new employees. “Most [potential] employees come to St. Andrews knowing that we’re affiliated with the PC(USA), and when we describe that our benefits plan is also through the Church, they’re pleased,” said Baldasare. “So offering a benefits plan with a PC(USA) affiliation is a positive.”
Since the university began offering medical coverage through the Board of Pensions more than three years ago, St. Andrews’ employees likely have benefited the most from the partnership. In addition to the value of the benefits, they have experienced outstanding customer service.
The Board of Pensions serves St. Andrews, as it does all its employers and their employees, with a call center staffed by skilled service representatives who provide compassionate, consultative, and knowledge-based service, as well as with convenient online tools and resources, including its website pensions.org and benefits portal Benefits Connect.
“Our employees feel like they’re well served and that they can go to the Board of Pensions to get the information that they need,” said Baldasare. “Our employees are very pleased.” And the Board of Pensions is pleased to serve St. Andrews.