From the Worldwide Faith News archives www.wfn.org
BOARD OF PENSIONS ANNOUNCES NO DUES INCREASE FOR 1996
05 May 1996 12:56:56
95101 BOARD OF PENSIONS ANNOUNCES NO DUES INCREASE FOR 1996
by Jerry L. Van Marter
WILMINGTON, Del.--Continuing its dramatic recovery from near financial ruin
in 1989-90, the Board of Pensions (BOP) announced last week that dues for
major medical coverage will remain at 16 percent of effective salary in
This marks the fourth year in a row that major medical dues have
With pension dues remaining at 12 percent, churches and other
employing agencies will continue to pay 28 percent of their covered
employees' salaries for medical and pension coverage.
In 1989, the Board faced a $16.4 million accumulated deficit in its
major medical fund. Several rounds of benefits cuts and dues increases
began to reverse the trend and at the Board's March 23-25 meeting Beverly
Dodson, chair of the Healthcare Committee said, "We bring you good news":
reserves in the major medical fund reached $29 million by the end of 1994.
"We have no specific target figure for adequate reserves," BOP
president John Detterick told the Presbyterian News Service, "but they are
probably getting to a good point now."
BOP chair D. Eugene Sibery told the Board, "I commend the staff for
their leadership and hard work -- we've come a long way since 1989."
1994 budget, investments and HMO pilot project also positive
There was more good financial news. Vice-president and Comptroller
Frank Maloney reported that the Board's 1994 operating budget came in 13
percent below projected costs.
And, due to a solid performance by its investment portfolio, the Board
will ask the 1995 General Assembly to approve a 3 percent experience
apportionment. If approved, the apportionment will mean a 3 percent
increase in retirement, disability and survivor benefits effective August
1, 1995, and in accrued pension credits for active members of the Board's
The Board was also told that enrollment has begun in four presbyteries
for pilot health maintenance organization (HMO) programs that are scheduled
to begin April 1. Overall enrollment in the four presbyteries -- Greater
Atlanta (including Columbia Theological Seminary), Chicago, San Francisco
and San Jose -- has reached 31 percent.
"That is an excellent response," Detterick said. "Various people
around here estimated anywhere from 20 to 30 percent." He added that "now
we have to monitor the effect of this experiment on our claims experience"
to determine the feasibility of expanding the HMO option.
New vice-president appointed, officers elected
Board members were introduced to Joan A. Walker, who has been named
vice-president for the pension division. She was formerly benefits manager
for Villanova University and has been in the health and retirement benefits
field for more than 20 years.
The Board reelected Sibery, of Cape Coral, Fla., to another term as
chair and Stanley W. Anderson of Arvada, Colo., as first vice-chair. The
Rev. Heidi Peterson, Overland Park, Kan., was reelected second vice-chair.
The Board also honored the Rev. Richard H. Campbell, longtime Central
Regional representative, on the occasion of his retirement.
Decision on "Relief of Conscience" deferred
Action on a proposal to make what Detterick called "a bookkeeping
adjustment" in the Board's "relief of conscience" provision for persons and
churches opposed to abortion was deferred until the Board's August meeting.
The 1992 General Assembly approved a "capture of dues" policy in which
the dues of anti-abortion churches and members are diverted to portions of
the major medical fund where they would clearly not be spent to pay for
Representatives of the BOP met in January with several groups who are
dissatisfied with the "capture of dues" policy and then suggested an
alternative that establishes an account within the major medical fund to
cover abortion costs.
"It's virtually unchanged from our previous policy -- a minor
variation," Detterick said.
Several reproductive rights groups expressed concern, however, that
the proposed change isolates abortion funding from other parts of the major
medical plan and therefore makes it more vulnerable to attack by
anti-abortion forces in the church. Those groups also complained that the
change was proposed without sufficient conversation between the Board and
all groups concerned about the issue.
Detterick said a plan is being developed for the Board to consult with
any and all interested parties before the proposed change is reintroduced
to the Board at its August 3-5 meeting.
# # #
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 PCUSA.NEWS@pcusa.org Web page: http://www.pcusa.org
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