Health Insurance for Churches: Health Insurance Options and Resources For Pastors
Churches come in all shapes and sizes and are vital to the communities they serve by providing a place for worship and fellowship. As churches grow, the need for employees grows with it.
While offering affordable health insurance for pastors is critical, providing health benefits to each organization’s employees is vital. While most people think of health insurance as something only businesses or individuals need, churches are also responsible for providing this essential medical coverage to their employees.
Our church insurance agents are here to help find cost-effective health insurance plans for churches and religious organizations.
What Are The Different Church Health Insurance Options?
1. Buy Group Health Insurance Through an Obamacare Exchange
Churches can obtain health insurance through an Obamacare exchange by purchasing a group health insurance policy through a church health insurance broker. Eligibility is based on specific participation rates and the number of employees a church has.
2. Offer a Traditional Group Health Insurance Plan
A traditional group health insurance plan purchased through a licensed health insurance agency is a standard option for churches to offer health insurance to their employees. The church has the option to cover part or full payment of the premiums and provide its employees with a selection of choices for insurance carriers and levels of coverage. This offering can resemble a cafeteria-style arrangement.
However, group plans can be expensive, and small church insurance plans may not be within the church’s budget to offer them.
Each health insurance company has different underwriting guidelines for eligibility requirements. A
3. Enroll in a Medical Cost-Sharing Ministry
Joining a medical cost-sharing ministry can be a viable option for church health insurance. These ministries provide a community of like-minded people who rely on each other to pay their medical bills, and they satisfy the ACA requirements for coverage.
Some well-known medical sharing ministries include Medishare, Samaritan Ministries, and Christian Healthcare Ministries. Family coverage costs range from $45 to $1,039 per month, depending on the plan chosen.
These ministries offer an affordable, biblical, and compassionate healthcare cost solution for Christians in all 50 states and worldwide. Members can share to pay each other’s medical bills and coordinate and connect to care for the real need with prayer, encouragement, and financial support.
How To Find The Best Healthcare Coverage For Your Church Budget?
Step 1: Establish a monthly budget for health insurance
When establishing a monthly budget for health insurance for your church, it is crucial to consider several factors. The size of your church and the number of employees you have will play a significant role in determining the cost of your health insurance plan.
Additionally, your employees’ age will also impact the cost. As a general rule of thumb, it is recommended that churches allocate between 5-10% of their budget toward health insurance. However, this can vary depending on the needs of your church.
Step 2: Research church health plan options
The best way to research church health plan options is by utilizing a church insurance broker licensed in property and casualty and holds a life and health insurance license. The health insurance agent will typically have access to over 200 plans depending on the state and location of the church.
It is best to establish the following before contacting an agent:
- Establish a monthly budget for a group health insurance plan
- Decide if an HMO or PPO works best for your church organization
- Will your church need broad access to doctors within the plan
Group benefits include up to 4 different plans that appear identical outside the cost. This is due to the limiting and broadening of the medical provider network.
Step 3: Determine the minimum amount your church needs to cover
To determine the minimum amount of health insurance coverage your church needs, consider the following factors:
- Number of employees: Churches with less than 50 full-time equivalent employees for the previous calendar year are not required to provide health insurance.
- Age and health status of employees: Older employees and those with pre-existing conditions may require more comprehensive coverage.
- Types of medical services covered: Consider whether the plan covers preventive care, prescription drugs, mental health services, and hospitalizations.
- Budget: Determine how much your church can spend on health insurance premiums.
When selecting a health insurance plan, carefully evaluating your church’s specific needs is essential. Please consult with one of our qualified insurance professionals to ensure your plan meets all legal requirements and adequately covers your employees’ healthcare needs.
Step 4: Work with a church insurance broker to shop for all available coverage options
When working with a church insurance broker to shop for all available healthcare coverage options, finding a broker with access to all group health insurance companies and alternative programs designed for people of faith is vital. A broker can help tailor a group health insurance program that meets your church’s needs and budget.
When discussing coverage options, ask about the following benefits:
- Group health insurance
- Group dental
- Group vision
- Group life insurance
- Group short-term and long-term disability.
Step 5: Compare coverage and cost benefits
Consider the following factors when reviewing the health insurance coverage to include the following.
- Plan choices
- Provider networks (HMO and PPO plans)
- Eligibility waiting periods
- Tax credits,
- Premium Assistance
- Conformity to biblical values
Step 6: Ask for recommendations from other pastors or church leaders
When searching for the best healthcare coverage for your church budget, seeking recommendations from other pastors or church leaders is essential. Ask them about their experiences with different insurance providers and plans, and inquire about any potential pitfalls to avoid.
Step 7: Look into HRA, QSEHRA, and solo employer HRAs available to your church
Two types of Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs) are available to churches: Qualified Small Employer HRAs (QSEHRAs) and solo employer HRAs.
QSEHRAs are a cost-effective way for churches to provide group health insurance to their employees. This type of HRA allows the church to reimburse employees for their health insurance premiums and eligible medical expenses.
A solo employer HRAs are for churches with only one employee. This type of HRA allows the church to reimburse employees for their health insurance premiums and eligible medical expenses.
Learn The Pros And Cons Of Christian Healthcare Sharing Ministries
1. What Are Health Sharing Ministries?
Health-sharing ministries allow members to share the cost of medical expenses. Instead of paying premiums to an insurance company, members contribute directly to a pool of funds to cover other members’ medical bills.
These ministries are not traditional health insurance and do not operate for profit. Members are typically Christians who voluntarily join together to share each other’s medical costs according to biblical principles.
Health-sharing ministries typically cover costs for medical procedures, hospitalization, and other medical expenses that are eligible according to their specific guidelines. Costs for joining a health-sharing ministry vary depending on the ministry and the program is chosen, but they are typically lower than traditional health insurance premiums.
Members of health-sharing ministries also benefit from connecting with other Christians for prayer, encouragement, and emotional support during medical needs.
2. What Are The Benefits And Drawbacks Of Health Sharing Ministries?
Health-sharing ministries are a non-insurance alternative to traditional health insurance that satisfies the ACA requirements for coverage. Members of these ministries pay a monthly fee and share each other’s medical costs.
The benefits of health-sharing ministries include lower costs, flexible plans, and a sense of community among members. Additionally, some ministries offer faith-based support and prayer for members.
However, there are also drawbacks to consider. Health-sharing ministries clearly state they do not guarantee to cover your medical bills. These programs typically have pre-existing conditions and health expense maximums unless you pay more for unlimited sharing of covered items.
Additionally, state insurance departments do not regulate health-sharing ministries and have limited legal protections. There are sharing ministries that have found themselves in trouble.
It is critical to research if your church is leaning towards health-sharing ministries.
3. What Kind Of Health Conditions Are Shared With A Health Sharing Ministry?
Health Sharing Ministries is not insurance, and there are no guarantees. They are allowed to include or exclude a medical procedure, so reviewing the program guideline before signing up is essential.
Typical health conditions available for sharing include:
- Hospital expenses
- Doctors office bills
- Specialist visits
Your costs typically include a “share amount” that members must pay before the health-sharing ministry steps in. The share amount is commonly referred to as a deductible under traditional insurance.
4. Who Is Eligible For A Health Sharing Ministry?
To be eligible for a Health Sharing Ministry, you typically need to be a Christian who agrees to live by biblical principles and is willing to share other members’ medical costs. While these ministries can offer a more affordable alternative to traditional health insurance, they may not cover all medical expenses. They may have limitations on the treatments and procedures they will cover.
5. How Much Does It Cost To Join A Health Sharing Ministry?
Joining a health-sharing ministry typically involves a monthly contribution that varies depending on the program chosen and the size of the participant’s family. Call our licensed church insurance agents to find out the cost.
6. What Are The Tax Implications Of A Health Sharing Ministry for Nonprofit Organizations?
While nonprofit organizations are tax-exempt, their participation in health-sharing ministries may not be tax-deductible. Nonprofit organizations may be unable to reimburse their employees for their health-sharing ministry fees without incurring taxes.
Talk with your tax professional to weigh the pros and cons of sharing ministries.
7. Are There Exclusions or Limitations
Health-sharing ministries, such as Medi-Share, are not insurance plans but rather a way for individuals to share medical expenses with others with similar beliefs. While they can be a viable option for some, it’s essential to understand their limitations and exclusions.
Here are some things to keep in mind:
- Pre-existing conditions may not be covered or be subject to waiting periods before coverage kicks in.
- Some lifestyle choices, such as smoking or excessive alcohol consumption, may disqualify individuals from coverage.
- Certain medical expenses, such as those related to mental health or alternative therapies, may not be covered.
- There may be restrictions on coverage for out-of-network providers or certain types of treatments.
What Are Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRA Plans)?
A Health Reimbursement Arrangement, or HRA plan, is an employer-sponsored benefit plan reimburses employees for qualified medical expenses. Under an HRA plan, employers contribute funds to an account that employees can use to pay for out-of-pocket health care costs, such as deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance.
HRA plans are tax-advantaged and designed to reduce healthcare costs for employees and employers. An HRA plan can be offered alongside or instead of traditional health insurance plans. The funds contributed to the account are employer-funded and do not come from the employee’s paycheck.
HRA plans can also come with certain restrictions on the types of expenses eligible for reimbursement. HRA plans are becoming increasingly popular among employers and employees to provide more flexible and cost-effective healthcare options.
What is faith-based health insurance?
Faith-based insurance shares medical expenses among organization members, unlike traditional health insurance plans. Members pay a monthly amount into a pool, which is then used to cover the medical expenses of those who require it.
This program may be a good option for those seeking a more affordable alternative to traditional health insurance plans. However, it’s important to note that state insurance departments do not regulate faith-based health ministries and may not cover pre-existing conditions or have payment caps.
What are the most affordable options for health insurance for churches?
Churches with tight budgets have several options for offering health insurance to their staff. Traditional group health insurance plans are a common route, but they can be expensive and may require a certain number of employees to participate.
When factoring in upfront cost, a bronze or silver plan may be a good option for places of worship. However, the cost of using these health plans may make them unattractive.
What resources are available to churches for health insurance?
Churches have several resources available to provide health insurance to their staff, including:
- Traditional group health insurance plans offered by some large independent churches and denominations
- Health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs) that integrate with premium tax credits
- Taxable stipends
- Joining with other groups, such as Christian organizations, to obtain group insurance coverage
Churches should check with their denomination to see if group insurance is available. If not, other options can be explored to provide health coverage for church staff.
How do I calculate the premium for church health insurance?
Insurance carriers will charge the church accordingly based on the employee’s age, the location of the nonprofit, and the number of family members to be included in the health plan. If the employees are young and healthy, the premiums will be lower, while older employees will result in higher premiums as they use their health benefits more frequently.
What is the difference between traditional group health insurance and health care sharing ministries?
Traditional health insurance involves paying premiums to an insurance company that covers your medical expenses. On the other hand, health care sharing ministry involves members paying their “share” directly to another member experiencing a significant medical expense.
Both options satisfy the ACA requirements for coverage, and exempt members from the affordable care act penalty. Health care sharing ministries are not insurance but a community of like-minded people who rely on each other to pay their medical bills.
Work With A Church Insurance Agency To Shop Group Health Insurance Plans For Religious Organizations
A church insurance agency can assist in finding affordable group health insurance plans for religious organizations by offering tailored options that meet their needs and budget. The agency can explore various options, including group health coverage, dental, vision, life insurance, and disability.
A full-service church insurance agency will also help with your church property insurance, liability insurance for churches, workers’ compensation insurance, and business auto insurance. Integrity Now Insurance Brokers is licensed throughout the US and is your one-stop shop for your churches insurance needs.
If a traditional group plan is not feasible, our insurance agency can suggest alternative programs like faith-based sharing groups. Integrity Now has the expertise and access to all group health insurance companies, making them a one-stop shop for all church insurance needs.
By representing the church’s best interest, the agency can help the board of directors make an informed decision.
If your pastor needs an individual health insurance plan or you would like to offer group health insurance for all employees, contact us today for a church insurance quote.