From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Board of Pensions Approves Changes in

Date 04 May 1996 20:53:39


95406         Board of Pensions Approves Changes in 
              Health-care Benefits/ Pension Options 
                         by Julian Shipp 
PHILADELPHIA--Starting  Jan. 1, 1996, members of the benefits plan 
administered by the Board of Pensions (BOP) of the Presbyterian Church 
(U.S.A.) can expect several significant changes --particularly in the areas 
of health care and pensions. 
     The Board of Pensions met here Oct. 26-28 to discuss these changes and 
their impact on approximately 60,000 plan members and dependents. 
     In the health-care area, changes include modifications to the 
Prescription Drug Program administered by Diversified Pharmaceutical 
Services (DPS). The new benefits design will 
       retain the $50 deductible 
       change to a $5 generic/$12 brand copayment from the current 20 
percent copayment 
       pay nonparticipating pharmacy claims at the participating pharmacy 
       change from voluntary to mandatory use of generic drugs 
       change from an open to a closed formulary  (list of prescription 
drugs available under the benefit) 
       change the quantity limits from the greater of 34 days or 100 units 
to the lesser of 34 days or 100 units for prescriptions filled at retail 
stores. The greater of 90 days or 100 units for Walgreen's Pharmacy mail 
order customers remains. The copayment for Walgreen's mail orders will be 
$10 generic/$20 brand name. 
     Beach B. Hall, vice chair of the BOP Healthcare Committee from Rogers 
City, Mich., said  
 the new changes will maintain the quality features of  the DPS program 
while slowing down the rate of growth of subscription costs, especially for 
those enrolled in Medicare Supplement coverage. 
     The Board voted to increase the Medicare Supplement rate in 1996 from 
$55 per month to $64 per month. However, based on DPS projections, the 
above changes to the Prescription Drug Program will allow Medicare 
Supplement participants to avoid an additional premium increase of 
approximately $8 per member per month. 
     Also approved were changes to the Board's Optional Dental Program. 
Participants will have the option to join the new Prudential Dental 
Organization (PDO).  
     According to Gwen Holmes, project manager of the BOP Healthcare Team 
from Philadelphia, the PDO will benefit dental plan members since 
Prudential has negotiated set fees in the 21 states where the PDO is 
currently available. 
     Holmes said PDO members also have the option to choose a dentist 
currently in Prudential's network or to ask their non-PDO dentist to enter 
into contract talks with Prudential to become part of the network. 
     "As part of a benefits enhancement, we're also offering an open 
enrollment to non-participating members during December of 1995 and January 
of 1996," Holmes said. "Unrestricted coverage will become effective on the 
first of the month after member enrollment." 
     The Board announced Prudential expects to have PDO service available 
in all states by the end of 1996, and there will be no rate increase for 
optional dental coverage for 1996. 
     In the pension area, the Board approved the addition of two investment 
options that will become available to participants in the BOP's Retirement 
Savings Plan effective Jan. 1, 1996. 
     According to Julie L. Bloss, BOP Pension Committee chair from Dallas, 
the Retirement Savings Plan currently has five investment options, but 
results of an August survey indicated participants in the plan wanted small 
company and international equity investment options. 
     As a result, Bloss said, the Board's Investment Committee recommended 
the addition of the Vanguard Index Trust-Extended Market Portfolio and the 
Vanguard International Growth Portfolio as available options.     
     Bloss said another change is a proposed amendment to the Benefits Plan 
concerning the provision of free continuation of death and disability 
benefits upon termination of eligible service for up to 90 days, depending 
on the length of the member's service. 
     Under the proposed amendment, free coverage would be provided only for 
the balance of the month of employment termination. However, enrollment for 
death and disability benefits would still continue on a member-paid basis 
for up to two years. 
     Bloss said the change stemmed from a similar free-coverage provision 
in medical benefits that was approved in August. Board members said they 
wanted the Benefits Plan amended similarly so that both services end on the 
same date. Both amendments will be sent to the 208th General Assembly 
(1996) in Albuquerque, N.M., and, if approved, would be implemented Jan. 1, 

For more information contact Presbyterian News Service
  Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Louisville, KY 40202
  phone 502-569-5504            fax 502-569-8073  
  E-mail   Web page: 


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