FAQ

Frequently asked questions about retiree health insurance through the conference.

Do I have to enroll in the conference retiree health plan that is provided by the Board of Pensions?
No, you can find your own plan. Contact the Board of Pensions for more information.

Can I purchase dental insurance only?
Yes, during open enrollment you can purchase dental coverage. The cost is $480 for one person and $900 for two people.

I am 65 and still working , do I have to be retired to enroll in the conference group health care plan?
In most cases, yes. If you are eligible for group employer coverage (i.e the active plan), Medicare believes that you should participate in that plan since Medicare would not be the primary insurance. If your church has fewer than 20 employees, the Board of Pensions can apply for an exception; however, there is no guarantee that it will be approved. The employer (e.g. the local church or conference agency) could be fined for not providing group health coverage to an eligible employee. 

When should I apply for Medicare?
That depends on a few different factors. You can apply for Medicare Part A (hospital coverage) up to three months prior to turning 65. Medicare Part A is free. You should apply for Medicare Part B up to three months prior to your actual retirement. Part B has a premium, which is generally taken from social security checks. Failing to apply for Medicare Part B at the right time could lead to fines but that does not mean that you have to apply for Part B just because you are turning 65. As long as you are covered on group employer plan, you can apply later during a Special Election Period (SEP) without penalty. Go to medicare.gov or contact the Board of Pensions for more information.

What is an enrollment period for Medicare?

  • Initial Enrollment Period - Everyone should enroll in Part A within three months of their 65th birthday. Part B Must be chosen if you do not have access to a employer group health plan within three months before or after your 65th birthday. 
  • General Enrollment Period - If you miss your Initial Enrollment Period, you can enroll every year between January 1 - March 31.
  • Special Enrollment Period - If you are covered by your plan or your spouses employer group health plan, you can enroll once that coverage ends. This may require proof of coverage. 

Can I add my spouse to my retiree plan at a later date? 
During Open Enrollment or if there is a qualifying event such as loss of coverage, you can add your spouse BUT your spouse must be on your health insurance at the time of your retirement in order to be eligible for the subsidy. 

I am a surviving spouse but I never enrolled in the retiree plan, can I enroll now?
Unfortunately, surviving spouses must be enrolled prior to the death of the clergy member in order to be eligible for our plan.

Is there a Health Reimbursement Account (HRA) or Health Savings Account (HSA) that helps with cost of deductibles and/or co-pays? 
Individuals who select an individual plan will receive their subsidy through a Health Reimbursement Account

What is my primary insurance?
On all of the retiree health plans that the Board of Pensions offers, Medicare is the primary insurance and either Kaiser Permanente or United American serves as the secondary.  

Can I enroll in Kaiser Permanente if I live in a state other than California?
We are now able to contract with Kaiser Permanente organizations outside of California. You must live within 30 miles of a Kaiser Medical Center to be eligible. Kaiser has a presence in Hawaii, Oregon, Washington, Colorado, Georgia, Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, D.C. For more information, contact the Board of Pensions staff. 

My doctor's office told me that they do not accept United American.
If you selected United American, tell the doctor that your coverage is through Medicare. Once Medicare has paid their portion, they will forward the remaining amount to United American. The doctor's office does not have to separately bill United American.