Thursday, March 4, 2010

Intentional Renewal: Focus 4

(4) Reorganize how we provide health insurance

In the preview post last week, I explained how health insurance is a huge cost to the church.  For instance, yesterday I shared how it cost my local church, the annual conference, and myself a total of $17,940 in premiums alone (that doesn't include the cost of co-pays, medication, etc. coming out of my pocket).

Now we had a child last year and if we wouldn't have had insurance our out of pocket for medical and prescriptions would have been $10,000 less.  Now we know that insurance is there in the case of major medical procedures which can't be predicted and we know that we join insurance groups so that healthy people can cover for those who have major issues that come up.  But what would happen if looked at things differently?

This is from the FAQs section of The Simple Way (new monastic community Shane Claiborne is a part of):
What do you all do about health care?We are challenged by our vision and Gospel mandate to “love our neighbors as ourselves”, especially when millions of people in the US don’t have adequate healthcare (48 million to be exact), one of them was a five-year-old on our block that died of asthma a few years back. And while we are grateful for the tireless labor of folks working toward health care for all, we are not willing to wait for the government to do what the Church is meant to BE. We are excited by the creative initiatives to create structures of mutual care, ways of bearing each others burdens like the early Church…. One of those is called Christian Healthcare Ministries. Each month folks contribute money to a common fund of which over 90% goes directly to meet needs. Members receive newsletters that tell who is in the hospital and how to be praying for one another. CHM now has over 20,000 members who have collectively paid over 400 million dollars in medical bills over the past 20 years. Check them out: And this is not an ad for CHM, but more for the idea of CHM and so many others… see it as an invitation to join a Christian medical collective that is already out there, or to start one… 48 million folks are waiting.
What they use is just one example, but what if we as United Methodists created a collective that extended not just to "clergy" but to laity also?  Part of the "benefits" of our clergy could be reduced monthly cost compared to the larger collective participant.

For instance in Christian Healthcare Ministries the Gold package is $150 per participant (family would only have to pay for 3 participants max), Silver package is $85 per, and Bronze is $45 per.  So say clergy get 50% off the level they would select.  That's it.

I know this would be very complicated to set up (more complicated then I want to delve into), but doesn't this seem like something that could be extremely valuable for a focus of one of our General Boards as a possibility?

Agree? Disagree? Other ideas on health insurance?


  1. What is the argument for giving the clergy a discount on the level they select, as opposed to asking them to pay what other members currently pay?

  2. As you commented on the compensation post, this would be a part of the compensation since they are working for just benefits (essentially).