Benefits Information

Welcome to your complete source for clergy benefits!

Updated 08/2017

WesPath Benefits and Investments maintains the medical insurance coverage and wellness programs, more commonly known as  HealthFlex, for the benefit of clergy and lay employees (and their dependents) of The United Methodist Church.

HealthFlex

HealthFlex is a mandatory health insurance plan for all clergy who are appointed to serve in three-quarter or full-time positions. Since our health benefits plan covers all full-time and three-quarter time clergy, our connectional responsibility requires that every church served by a full-time or three-quarter time pastor pay the uniform rate. The uniform rate is NOT an insurance premium for the individual currently serving as the church’s pastor. It is each church’s equal share of the total annual conference premium that provides health benefits for active clergy, conference staff and their families throughout our diverse conference.

Clergy who are eligible for HealthFlex will be automatically enrolled in HealthFlex PPO 1000 plan. The Conference also allows active clergy to voluntarily choose the HealthFlex HDHP 1500 (High Deductible Health Plan), allowing clergy to establish a Health Savings Account (HSA). Although there is a higher annual plan deductible, the HDHP plan allows the pastor to maintain and contribute to a Health Savings Account, which will be owned by the pastor and can be used to offset medical costs in active and retired service. Pastors choosing to opt into the HDHP will pay a lower monthly amount as their contribution to the Uniform Rate, in the hopes that they will contribute additional personal funds to their HSA.

NYAC Benefits Policies & Costs - 2017

NYAC Benefits Policies & Costs - 2018

  - Pension / CPP Calculation Worksheet for 2018

2017 PPO Summary Plan

2017 HDHP Summary Plan

Accessing your HealthFlex benefits

Life Status Events

It is very important that you inform your Benefits Office of any Life Status Event within 31 days of the event. If you fail to inform the Benefits Office of such an event in a timely manner, it may jeopardize your ability to make election changes and it can have adverse tax consequences or cause you to lose coverage.  You may change your Benefit Option elections only under the following circumstances:

  • During the Annual Election Period; or
  • If you experience a Life Status Event (as described below)

Life Status Events

If you experience certain changes in your family’s status, you may be permitted to make limited changes to your HealthFlex elections. These Life Status Events include:

  • marital status changes (e.g., marriage or divorce);
  • changes in the number of dependents (e.g., an increase through birth or adoption or a decrease through death);
  • a dependent becoming ineligible or regaining eligibility (e.g., reaching a limiting age, enrolling in their own employer’s group plan, enlisting in the military);
  • a change in employment status of you or your dependent that affects eligibility for the Plan (e.g., changing from full-time to part-time employment, commencement of or return from an unpaid leave of absence).

Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA)

If you are a participant who is actively at work, you can choose to contribute a portion of your compensation to a Flexible Spending Account on a pre-tax basis through a cafeteria plan. The flexible spending account for health care expenses is called the Medical Reimbursement Account (MRA), and the flexible spending account for dependent care expenses is called the Dependent Care Account (DCA). Clergy who enroll in the HDHP insurance plan, may also contribute to a Health Savings Account (HSA.)  Each has a maximum annual election contribution amount. 

You can elect to reduce your salary for a Plan Year (or the remainder of the Plan Year if you are a newly hired eligible employee), through a salary-reduction agreement. Your employer will deduct the contribution amounts pro-rata each month or payroll period from your compensation.  Churches and their pastors should annually adopt or update their Section 125 agreements in compliance with federal law.

Section 125 Plans

To participate in a FSA or HSA, you must be enrolled in the Plan and covered by HealthFlex. For each year in which you want to have FSAs, you must elect to contribute a portion of your salary during annual open enrollment. If you do not elect an amount for the FSAs in any Plan Year, you are presumed to have made no election for that plan year.

 FSAs can help you save significantly on the cost of health care and dependent care by allowing you to pay for qualified expenses on a tax-advantaged basis. However, the funds you contribute are subject to certain restrictions in their use. Reimbursement accounts are subject to strict rules and requirements of the Internal Revenue Code. FSAs can only reimburse you for eligible health care expenses or dependent day care expenses. When you elect to contribute to the MRA or DCA, you are choosing to contribute that amount over the applicable Plan Year, which is a calendar year, not a Conference or appointment year or season. If you enroll in the Plan mid-year and elect to contribute to an MRA or DCA, your election will apply to the remaining portion of the calendar year.

Understanding FSAs

Understanding HDHP and HSAs

Over the past few years, the Conference Board of Pension and Health Benefits has contributed to a Health Reimbursement Account (HRA) for our HealthFlex enrollees to assist with increasing out of pocket costs. An HRA is funded only by the employer and rolls over from year to year until spent.

Understanding HRAs

Our partner for all flexible spending accounts is WageWorks.  They provide a FSA, HRA, or HSA debit card for your use to pay healthcare providers for eligible expenses. Please register on their website:  www.wageworks.com so you can view your recent healthcare spending and track your account balance.

Wage Works FAQ

The WesPath Center for Health focuses on promoting vitality in the mission and ministry by improving the health and well-being of clergy and lay employees of The United Methodist Church.

Programs include:   

  • VirginPulse 
  • Blueprint for Wellness 
  • Health Quotient Health Risk Assessment 
  • Employee Assistance Program                   
  • WebMD coaching
  • Workshops, Webinars & Education

Visit http://www.wespath.org/ for detailed information

Pensions, Retirement Planning and Other Services

Clergy Retirement Security Program (CRSP) provides both a defined benefit and a defined contribution plan to the clergy of the UMC who are serving in appointments 75% or greater.  Churches will be billed by the conference for their pastor’s CRSP pension on a monthly basis. This is an employer paid benefit.

Comprehensive Protection Plan (CPP) provides death, long-term disability and other welfare benefits for eligible clergy. Clergy who serve at 100% are automatically enrolled in CPP.  Churches will be billed 3% of the total compensation for CPP.   This is an employer paid benefit.

United Methodist Personal Investment Plan (UMPIP) is a retirement plan administered by WesPath Benefits & investments.  UMPIP is designed to provide one piece of your overall retirement portfolio.  It is a voluntary plan and both the clergy and church may contribute.  Each church must become a UMPIP Plan Sponsor.  Churches will remit all UMPIP contributions directly to WesPath on a monthly basis. The pastor must complete a contribution election form with each new appointment - contributions are not transferrable to a new church.   Even though part-time clergy (those serving less than 75%) are not eligible to participate in CRSP, their church is still required to budget for clergy pension and contribute to the pastor’s UMPIP account.

Socially Responsible Investing & Funds  WesPath offers investment funds representing varying levels of risk and return to eligible participants through benefit plans and programs of The United Methodist Church and its affiliated organizations. All WesPath investments are screened according to policies adopted by their board of directors in accordance with the Social Principles of The United Methodist Church.

UMLife Options offer long-term disability (LTD) and life insurance coverage for eligible United Methodist clergy and lay employees. By offering UMLife Options plans, United Methodist Church (UMC) provide an extra layer of financial protection for their clergy and employees. http://www.wespath.org/center-for-health/plans/umlifeoptions/

Ernst & Young Financial Planning Services  WesPath has arranged to offer EY Financial Planning Services at no charge to active participants with an account balance, surviving spouses with an account balance, terminated and retired participants 

EY’s financial planners can provide confidential, objective guidance on:

  • making investment decisions,
  • saving for retirement,
  • managing debt,
  • understanding tax issues,
  • evaluating insurance needs and options, or
  • buying a home.

To take advantage of this valuable resource, just call EY directly at 1-800-360-2539 between 9:00am and 8:00pm, Eastern Time, Monday through Friday. http://www.wespath.org/retirement/services/ey/