Seminarian healthcare coverage

If you are a seminary student preparing for a vocation with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), you may be eligible to purchase comprehensive healthcare coverage through the Board of Pensions at a significant cost savings. 

The Medical Plan, administered by Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield, offers the choice of three coverage options:

  • The preferred provider organization (PPO) provides the highest level of coverage and offers the most flexibility.
  • The exclusive provider organization (EPO) offers comprehensive coverage for care from network providers, at a lower monthly cost than the PPO.
  • The qualified high deductible health plan (HDHP)* covers care received from network providers, and is the lowest-cost option available.

*Those who enroll in the HDHP option may be eligible to set up and contribute to a tax-advantaged, individual health savings account (HSA) to pay for qualified healthcare expenses.

Eligibility

You may elect medical coverage through the Board of Pensions if you are

  • enrolled full time in a theological seminary, graduate school of religion, divinity school, or school of Christian education, as defined by the school;
  • classified as an inquirer or candidate under the care of a presbytery, preparing for a church vocation in the PC(USA); and
  • not already employed in eligible service.

How to apply

The enrollment period for seminary student healthcare coverage begins August 1 and ends September 15 each year. The effective date of coverage is September 1. 

Complete the Seminary Student Benefits Plan Membership Application within the enrollment period (coverage cannot be retroactive) and enclose the following:

  1. written verification from your presbytery that you are an inquirer or a candidate for ordination under their care 
  2. written confirmation from your school of your status as a full-time student 
  3. a check for the cost of coverage for the first month (or set up an account with BoardLink, the Board's online payment system, to pay monthly invoices). Your application cannot be processed without the first month's payment.

Seminary graduates

Your medical coverage through the Board of Pensions ends August 31 following your graduation. At that time, you become eligible for medical coverage through transitional participation for up to 24 months, with verification from your presbytery that you are actively seeking church service (longer periods are available if you are enrolled for full-time, church-related studies). If you elected the EPO or HDHP option as seminary student, you will have PPO coverage in transitional participation.

When you enter the Benefits Plan as an ordained minister