Transitional participation coverage

At termination of eligible service, ministers in Pastor’s Participation and graduated seminary students may be eligible for transitional participation coverage, which allows for continuation of most Benefits Plan coverage on a self-pay basis for a limited time.

Once eligible service terminates, Pastor's Participation provides for 30 days of medical coverage at no cost to you or your employer, and 90 days of no-cost death benefits coverage. Transitional participation begins after any no-cost coverage period and is generally available for up to 24 months. Longer periods are available if you are enrolled for full-time church-related studies or subject to a disciplinary process.

Eligibility

Ministers in Pastor's Participation may enroll in transitional participation coverage if their Benefits Plan membership terminates because they are

  • actively seeking church service;
  • enrolled for full-time church-related studies; or
  • subject to a disciplinary process that leads to a temporary leave or unemployment.

Transitional participation is also available to graduated seminary students who are actively seeking church service or enrolled in full-time, church-related studies.

Costs

You choose whether to pay for transitional participation coverage based on the congregational ministers' median salary or your most recent effective salary (subject to dues minimums and maximums). Severance payments are included in effective salary.

If your effective salary is greater than the median, you should carefully consider which figure to be billed on. If you pay based on the median, the cost of medical coverage and death and disability coverage may be lower. However, pension credit accruals and disability benefits would be based on the median as well (not on the greater, effective salary).

If you are scheduled to start a new, eligible service before no-cost medical coverage expires and want to continue Pension Plan enrollment, death and disability coverage, and, if applicable, dental, and/or supplemental death coverage, you must continue to self-pay for those coverages until the new service starts.

Seminary graduates are billed for transitional participation based on the current congregational ministers’ median.

See dues schedule for current congregational ministers’ median salary.

Enrollment

Under transitional participation, you may continue only those benefits in effect on the date your employer-paid benefits end. You may not continue Retirement Savings Plan contributions and/or supplemental disability coverage.

You must enroll for transitional participation coverage within 60 days of your benefits termination date. Carefully review the letter you receive from the Board of Pensions to ensure the benefits termination date quoted is correct; it may be different from your last day worked. Severance packages that include a continuation of employer-paid benefits extend the benefits termination date.

To complete the enrollment process:

  • You must complete the Transitional Participation Coverage Enrollment form, included in the termination materials you receive.
  • Your presbytery must provide written verification that you are unemployed and include the reason (e.g., you are seeking church-related service, you are a full-time student, or you are currently under discipline).
  • If enrolled in full-time postgraduate studies, you must also provide written verification from the school confirming your full-time student status in an advanced-degree program.

If you do not want to continue coverage for yourself or eligible family members, you do not need to do anything. Keep in mind, however, that if you do not continue medical and/or death benefits coverage, you may lose eligibility to enroll later for medical continuation or Medicare Supplement coverage through the Board of Pensions, and/or eligibility for retiree death benefits. Call the Board at 800-773-7752 (800-PRESPLAN) for details.

Once coverage through transitional participation is exhausted, you may enroll for medical continuation coverage or, if eligible, the Medicare Supplement Plan.

Member couples

If you are part of a member couple, you may continue the member couple enhanced medical benefit by electing to continue medical coverage under transitional participation. Or, you may elect to be covered under your spouse’s medical coverage along with any eligible children, which would end member couple status. You would then self-pay to continue Pension Plan participation and/or death and disability coverage under transitional participation.

Other considerations

Termination of employment is considered a qualifying life event, so you may want to consider other appropriate coverage changes (such as dental coverage and supplemental death coverage) for yourself and eligible family members. Any changes must be made within 60 days of the event.

As a terminated member, you would be able to continue the level of supplemental death coverage you were enrolled for as an active member.