With the passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010, the vast majority of Americans now have access to healthcare. This positive news, however, is offset by higher premiums, prescription prices, deductibles, and copays. As health-care costs continue to climb, churches are left with difficult choices to make regarding the health insurance benefits they offer to pastors and staff.
Lynn Carr, church administrator for Southview Community Church in northern Virginia, called the increase on their group health plan "crippling."
Southview, with four members on staff, had used a health reimbursement arrangement (HRA) plan that was self-administered. But cost increases and regulations led to some changes.
"When the church's group health plan expired midyear 2015, we did not renew," Carr said, "and we dissolved the accompanying HRA plan."
To reduce any negative effects of the rising costs, "the church increased salaries in 2016 to allow staff members and their families to purchase their own health insurance," said Carr. The move has proved effective.