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Considerations for Congregational Leaders About the UUA Health Plan
In addition to the decisions that individuals have to make about the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) Health Plan, congregational leaders must make some decisions.
Congregational Leader Responsibilities
- Leaders must make sure that all eligible staff (receive a W-2 and working at least 750 hours per year) know about the plan and are offered a chance to participate.
Leaders must discuss with your Board how your congregation will approach funding health insurance.
- We encourage congregations to contribute at least 80% of the cost of the UUA Health Plan for employees and at least 50% of the cost for additional family members.
- We understand that for some that will be a goal, not an immediate reality. We encourage you to be creative—if this will be your first year in the plan, think about how the January startup might impact only half your fiscal year; think about prorating your contributions based on hours worked. After the each year there are many congregations that begin studying benefit funding options during their budget discussions. Your District Compensation Consultants and the UUA Health Plan Office are available to help you work through this planning.
Leader's next steps depend on whether or not your church has a contract for a group insurance plan.
- If not, if your congregation simply allows staff to choose whether and how they buy health insurance, nothing more is required.
If your church does purchase some form of group coverage, here are some other things to consider:
- Cancelling current coverage. Group plans have contractual provisions for cancelling coverage. Typically, 30 days' notice is required, or you will be responsible for another month's premium. Make sure you read the policy provisions to be sure. Remember that the effective date for new coverage under the open enrollment will be January 1, 2016, which may or may not match the anniversary date of your group insurance policy.
- Offering more than one plan to your employees. It may be possible to continue offering your current plan, with the UUA plan as an additional option, but it is likely to be difficult under the participation rules used by most insurance companies and HMOs (but not our plan). Most require that at least 80% of the employees eligible to participate actually join their plan, and there are some that will not agree to be offered alongside any other plan. It's best to read your contract, and if you still have a question, contact your insurance company and ask them.