Returning home to the Board of Pensions family

Previously a partner with the Board of Pensions, Florida Presbyterian Homes recently “returned home” to the Board’s Benefits Plan and experienced cost savings and enhanced service and benefits offerings.

Photo courtesy of Florida Presbyterian Homes

Florida Presbyterian Homes (FPH) is a Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)-affiliated continuing care retirement community located along the picturesque shores of Lake Hunter in a historic neighborhood in Lakeland, Florida. Founded by Westminster Presbyterian Church in Lakeland and incorporated as a not-for-profit organization in 1966, FPH considers its residents’ spiritual well-being an important part of its mission and continually provides opportunities for them to nurture it.

Once a partner with the Board of Pensions of the PC(USA), FPH had left the Board’s Benefits Plan several years ago to pursue cost savings with another provider. However, the two organizations, strongly connected by shared Presbyterian values, never entirely lost touch, and around 2017, FPH started to hear a buzz about the Board. Exciting changes were happening — a redesigned plan that gives employers more choices and greater flexibility; new benefits offerings; an online wellness program, Call to Health; and a new benefits portal called Benefits Connect that automates and streamlines administrative tasks.

The buzz about the Board was enough to pique FPH’s interest again. “We started having conversations with the Board and putting some feelers out about the new plan,” said Kim Roberts, human resources manager for FPH. “We were happy to see quite a few positive changes, not only with the benefits products but with the administrative resources as well.”

Decreased costs, expanded coverage

When FPH’s medical coverage provider increased rates by 25 percent for the following year, the need to make a change became imperative, and in 2019, FPH “returned home” to the Board of Pensions. The organization now offers both the PPO and EPO medical options to its employees, with 63 enrolled in the EPO and 59 in the PPO.

Instead of a 25 percent increase in costs, FPH experienced a 10 to 15 percent cost savings when the organization moved to the Board’s medical coverage. “The financial impact was significant,” said Roberts, not only for FPH but also for its employees.

“It brought the cost down significantly for our employees, especially for family coverage,” Roberts continued. Employees who could not afford FPH’s previous plan, and had to purchase medical coverage on the Health Insurance Marketplace, now could afford the coverage through the Board of Pensions.

The ‘whole’ package

In addition to the cost savings, FPH and its employees have embraced several features that are included with all three of the Board’s medical options (the PPO, EPO, and HDHP). For example, FPH’s employee participation rate in Call to Health, the Board’s online well-being program, is an impressive almost 70 percent.

“We have a wellness director on staff, and she is a huge supporter of Call to Health and promotes it to our employees,” said Roberts, who appreciates Call to Health’s focus on the four dimensions of wholeness: spiritual, health, financial, and vocational.

“The emphasis on wholeness is added value for us,” she said.

FPH also has been able to use Call to Health as a recruitment tool. Of FPH’s approximately 180 employees, about 80 are healthcare providers, which Roberts said is the “toughest market to recruit.” To attract these candidates, “you have to have the whole package, including affordable benefits and fringe benefits like Call to Health,” she explained.

Embracing value-added features

When FPH decided to move toward a smoke- and vape-free campus — meaning all designated smoking areas would be removed and employees would not be able to smoke or vape on campus — it knew some of its employees would need guidance and support as they prepared for this change. The organization’s renewed partnership with the Board of Pensions proved to be timely. FPH, and its employees enrolled for medical coverage through the Board, have been able to utilize several of the features included with the coverage as they work toward smoke-free living.

Call to Health has been one of those resources. Through Call to Health, members and their spouses can take advantage of Breathe Easy, a smoking cessation program that provides techniques and support strategies that help lead to success.

Another important resource has been the Employee Assistance Program. Through the EAP, which the Board provides in partnership with Cigna, members have access to a variety of services, including face-to-face counseling, telephone consultation and support, legal assistance, and more.

FPH was able to refer employees to the EAP for support with smoking cessation. Additionally, Cigna provided on-site training and seminars for FPH employees.

With the help of these resources and more, FPH anticipates that it will be entirely smoke-free by the fall. “The Board of Pensions has been a great partner in this endeavor,” said Roberts, “and we’ve utilized all of the resources they provide to us.”

A mission to serve

Another draw that helped bring FPH back to the Board’s Benefits Plan was the organizations’ shared Presbyterian values and how those values are woven into the plan. Roberts cited as an example the deductibles in the PPO, which are based on salaries so that those with the greatest resources may help those with the least.

“Our staff is drawn here as a call, not just a place to work,” said Roberts. “Like the Board of Pensions, we also have a mission to serve, and that reinforces us being together as partners.”