Category Archives: EPC Benefits

EPC Benefits Open Enrollment set for November 1-30

 

2020OpenEnrollmentFBO.jpgNovember is Open Enrollment month for EPC Benefit Resources, Inc., (BRI), which presents an opportunity for churches to enroll or make changes to benefit plan coverages provided to eligible employees. In addition, the Open Enrollment period introduces the EPC’s 2020 Benefit Plan offerings, plan changes, and premium rates. All changes made during Open Enrollment will be effective January 1, 2020.

  • Eligible individuals can be enrolled in the EPC Benefit Plans for the first time.
  • Changes can be made to an eligible individuals benefit selections for 2020.
  • Churches can enroll in EPC Benefit Plans for the first time.
  • Churches can change their Plan offerings for 2020.

New for 2020 are enhancements to the current Disability and Life Insurance offerings, as well as a new provider for the Dental Plan.

  • Short-Term Disability. Long-Term Disability (LTD) insurance can be augmented with Short-Term Disability insurance, which will pay a percentage of an employee’s salary for up to 90 days (beginning as soon as the 8th day after the date of a disability), after which LTD payments take effect.
  • Supplemental Life Insurance. Participants covered under the EPC’s existing Life Insurance benefit can purchase additional coverage up to $150,000 (in increments of $10,000), and also can purchase coverage for their spouse and dependents. Adding additional Life Insurance coverage will not require a physical exam or medical screening questions if existing participants add the coverage during Open Enrollment.

“These two options are voluntary,” said Bart Francescone, BRI Executive Director. “Churches can choose to offer them to their staff and have the premiums paid by the church, or by the employee through payroll deductions.”

Delta Dental is the new plan administrator for the EPC’s Dental Plan, replacing Principal. Current dental benefit participants will be automatically transferred to Delta with coverage effective January 1, 2020. Francescone said Delta offers “a much larger network of dentists, additional coverages, and lower out-of-pocket expenses to the participant.”

He also noted that the EPC benefit plans are available to all full-time (30 hours or more per week) employees of EPC churches, as well as Chaplains, ministers serving out-of-bounds, and various other categories.

“Anyone new to the EPC—or interested in enrolling in one of our benefit programs for the first time—should reach out to whoever handles benefits at their church regarding their interests,” he said.

Francescone explained that Open Enrollment is a “passive process” for current participants, meaning those already enrolled in the EPC benefit plans will automatically retain their 2019 benefit elections unless they choose a new plan or decline an existing coverage for 2020.

For more information about 2020 benefit offerings, see www.epc.org/benefits/2020openenrollment, or contact the EPC Benefits Administration Office at 877-578-8707 or EPC@cdsadmin.com.

BRI Board of Directors examines benefit and retirement plans outlook

 

BRIBoardMeeting201909At its fall meeting, the Board of Directors of EPC Benefit Resources, Inc. (BRI) examined a variety of topics, including the financial performance and growth of the Retirement Plan, enhancements to the Wellness and Care Management programs for 2020, claims and trends in the 2019 Medical Plan. The group also discussed several cost mitigation strategies.

The Board met September 12 at the Office of the General Assembly in Orlando.

Actions taken by the Board included a 33 percent reduction in the fees charged by Fidelity to participants in the EPC 403(b)(9) Retirement Plan, and holding an increase in the Medical/Prescription Drug Plan rate increase to an average of six percent for 2020.

“Over the past year, we have been aggressive about cutting costs while maintaining high-quality service levels to church administrators and plan participants,” said Bart Francescone, BRI Executive Director. “That effort is paying off through reductions in fees charged to retirement plan participants, and a medical plan rate increase for 2020 that will average only six percent. That is actually below national healthcare cost increases, and is our lowest increase in many years.”

Francescone also said that “aggressive negotiations” with providers for the EPC dental, vision, life, and disability insurances has resulted in premiums for 2020 remaining unchanged from 2019 rates.

The Board also received a report from Merrill Lynch—the EPC’s medical reserve fund investment advisor—on U.S. and international economic and investment performance outlooks, as well as recommendations for fund investment asset allocations. In addition, the independent actuarial firm Milliman presented a report with recommendations for premium rate actions and reserve fund asset levels.

Members of the BRI Board of Directors are Ron Horgan (Chairman), Teaching Elder from the Presbytery of the Mid-Atlantic; Michael Busch, Ruling Elder from the Presbytery of the Alleghenies; Robert Draughon, Ruling Elder from the Presbytery of the Central South; Jim Lewien from the Presbytery of the West; Michael Moore from Presbytery of the Central South; Erik Ohman, Teaching Elder from the Presbytery of the West; Bill Reisenweaver, Teaching Elder from the Presbytery of Florida and the Caribbean; Randy Shaneyfelt from the Presbytery of the Great Plains; and Sandy Siegfried from the Presbytery of the Great Plains.

EPC BRI Board reviews financial position, plans for 2020 and beyond

 
BRIDirectorsMeeting201902

The EPC Benefit Resources, Inc., Board of Directors met at the Office of the General Assembly on February 27. Members of the Board are (from left) Erik Ohman, Michael Moore, Robert Draughon, Bill Reisenweaver, Kim Ray, Bart Francescone (BRI Executive Director), Randy Shaneyfelt, and William Barnes. Also attending but not pictured were Michael Busch and Ron Horgan (Board Chair).

Meeting in Orlando February 27, the EPC Benefit Resources, Inc. (BRI) Board of Directors addressed a variety of topics related to its oversight of the EPC’s retirement plans, group medical plans, and other benefits offerings.

Among other items on its agenda, the Board reviewed BRI’s 2018 and 2019 financial status, discussed current and possible future ways to improve participants’ physical and financial health, and began deliberating on 2020 benefit plan offerings.

The board also heard presentations from representatives from Merrill Lynch, and the Orlando-based CPA firm, Batts Morrison Wales & Lee.

Members of the BRI Board of Directors are Ron Horgan (Chair), TE from the Presbytery of the Midwest; Will Barnes, RE from the Presbytery of the Rivers and Lakes; Mike Busch, RE from the Presbytery of the Alleghenies; Robert Draughon, RE from the Presbytery of the Central South; Michael Moore from the Presbytery of the Central South; Erik Ohman, TE from the Presbytery of the Midwest; Kim Ray, RE from the Presbytery of the Pacific Southwest; Bill Reisenweaver, TE from the Presbytery of Florida and the Caribbean; and Randy Shaneyfelt from the Presbytery of the Great Plains.

BRI is staffed by Bart Francescone, Executive Director; Rebeca Santana, Benefits Administrator; and Caroline Swanson, Benefits Assistant. For more information on BRI, see www.epc.org/benefits.

November 1-30 is EPC Benefits Open Enrollment

 

BRIlogo-96dpiRGBNovember is Open Enrollment month for EPC Benefit Resources, Inc. and the time of year when the 2019 benefit offerings, plan changes, and rates are introduced. All changes made during open enrollment will be effective January 1, 2019. Open enrollment is the annual enrollment period when churches and eligible individuals can enroll in the EPC’s Benefit Plans:

  • Eligible individuals can enroll in the EPC Benefits for the first time.
  • Eligible individuals can make changes to their benefit selections for 2019.
  • Churches can enroll in EPC Benefits for the first time.
  • Churches can change their employee offerings for 2019.

Bart Francescone, BRI Executive Director, said changes have been made to certain Medical and Prescription Drug Plans so participants should review the 2019 Plans before making selections for next year.

“Open Enrollment is a ‘passive’ process, meaning you will automatically retain your 2018 benefit elections unless you actively chose a new plan or decline an existing coverage,” he said. “Make sure you have completed all that is required by the submission deadline of November 30 so your coverage will continue uninterrupted as of January 1, 2019.”

Individuals currently enrolled in the EPC Benefit plans may contact their church administrator, Clerk of Session, and/or those overseeing the implementation of terms of call for information on the benefits offered by their church.

For more information, see www.epc.org/benefits/2019openenrollment or contact the EPC Benefits Admin Office at 877-578-8707 or EPC@cdsadmin.com.

Bart Francescone named Executive Director of EPC Benefit Resources, Inc.

 
BartFrancescone

Bart Francescone

Following a nationwide search, Bart Francescone of Cream Ridge, N.J., has been named Executive Director of EPC Benefit Resources, Inc. (BRI). He fills a vacancy created when the BRI Board of Directors elected to relocate operations to the EPC Office of the General Assembly in Orlando, Fla. Current Director of Benefits Don Voyles declined an offer to move to Orlando, and completes his work with the EPC on October 31.

“Don has served the EPC with distinction for almost four years,” said Phil VanValkenburg, EPC Chief Operating Officer. “Largely through his efforts and expertise, EPC Benefits is in a much better place than it was in 2013. We look forward to Bart building on the great foundation Don has set for us.”

Francescone comes to the EPC from Heartland Fidelity Insurance Co. of Washington, D.C., where he served as Chief Operating Officer. He previously was Executive Vice President for Benecard Services (Clifton N.J.; Orlando, Fla.; and Mechanicsburg, Va.). Earlier in his career he managed an entrepreneurial program at Princeton University; worked in business development and venture management; and was a staff accountant with a CPA firm.

“I very much look forward to serving the EPC,” Francescone said. “I hope to put everyone at ease regarding their healthcare needs and retirement plans, and enable all to more fully focus on their ministerial callings.”

He has more than 20 years of experience with companies that provide health benefit plan administration services, benefit consulting, and insurance protection to employer and union health plans. He holds insurance producer licenses in health, life, property, and casualty in 45 states. He is a graduate of the University of Delaware.

Francescone is an active member of Allentown Presbyterian Church in Allentown, N.J., where he has served as an adult education teacher, confirmation instructor, small group leader, youth leader, prayer leader, and church treasurer. He also has served as a substitute teacher and member of the Finance Committee at Notre Dame High School in Lawrenceville, N.J. He has served as a Young Life volunteer leader and committee member, and volunteers in local youth and recovery programs as well as in food, shelter, and medical care organizations.

He and his wife, Lisa, have been married 29 years and have three adult children: Alex, Liz, and Holly. Lisa has served as a special education teacher in the Upper Freehold (N.J.) Regional School District for 10 years.

Open Enrollment for EPC Benefits begins November 1

 

BRIlogo-96dpiRGBOpen Enrollment for EPC Benefits is November 1 through November 22. Coverages and changes are effective January 1, 2018. Benefits participants have three options during Open Enrollment:

  • Individuals enrolling in EPC benefits for the first time must complete the Benefits Enrollment Form and have a church officer sign and submit the form to the contact information on the form.
  • Current participants in EPC benefits who do not need (or want) to make changes to their benefits selections for 2018 do not need do anything, except pay the January 2018 invoice.
  • Participants who need or want to make changes to their benefit selections for 2018 must complete a new Benefits Enrollment Form with all requested information, including the desired changes. This form must be signed by a church officer and submitted to the contact information on the form.

Changes for 2018 include new premium rates for the Medical, Prescription Drug, and Life and Long-Term Disability (LTD) bundled premiums rates. Other changes include a new hearing aid program and a revised delivery method for maintenance drugs.

For more information, see the Benefits 2018 Open Enrollment page at www.epc.org/benefits/2018openenrollment or contact Diane Pray in the EPC Benefits office at 734-838-6942 or benefits@epc.org. Participants in the EPC Benefits plans may contact their church administrator and/or pastor for information on specific benefit plans offered by their church.

EPC Benefits Open Enrollment begins October 17

 

epcbenefitslogoThis year’s Open Enrollment for EPC Benefits is October 17 through November 11. Participants in the EPC Benefits plans who want to make changes to their plans must complete and submit an Enrollment/Change Form during the Open Enrollment period. Participants who want to keep their coverages exactly the same do not need to complete any forms.

Changes for 2017 include new premium rates for the Medical, Prescription Drug, and other insured Benefit Plans, as well new providers for the Dental and Vision plans.

For more information and to download the Enrollment/Change Form in fillable pdf format, see the Benefits Open Enrollment page at wwww.epc.org/benefits/2017openenrollment. Participants in the EPC Benefits plans also can contact their church administrator and/or pastor for information on specific benefit plans offered by their church.

Though the rest of the Office of the General Assembly functions are now in Orlando, EPC Benefits will remain in Michigan and can be reached at don.voyles@epc.org or diane.pray@epc.org; by mail at EPC Benefits, P.O. Box 6412, Plymouth, MI 48170; by phone at 734-838-6942; or by fax at 734-742-2034.

EPC Benefits offers new tools for church administrators

 

BenefitsHandbookCoverIf you help administrate EPC Benefits for your church staff members, you will want to be aware of some new tools to assist you with the administrative duties related to EPC Benefits. There have been many changes in recent years regarding benefits, not only from the EPC but also from the United States government, and these resources are designed to keep you and your staff current on these changes and the administrative work we require from you.

  • Administrator Benefits Video
  • Administrative Quick Reference Guide
  • EPC Benefits Handbook

Each of these can be accessed from the Benefits section of www.epc.org under a new tab called Church Administrator Resources.

Church Administrator Benefits Training Video
This video was created to answer questions for your administrative staff, whether they are new to your church or not, and takes approximately 45 minutes to complete. Administrative individuals can receive an EPC certificate of completion by watching the video in its entirety and answering the questions at the end. Once completed, the video can be reviewed anytime as a refresher.

Administrative Quick Reference Guide
We encourage you and your administrative professional(s) to print this at-a-glance guide of who to call when you need assistance in a particular area.

EPC Benefits Handbook
This document is a valuable resource concerning the administrative duties related to EPC Benefits policies and practices.

If you need more information or have any questions, contact the EPC Benefits Office at 734-838-6942, 734-838-6948, or diane.pray@epc.org.

Benefit Briefs May 2014

 

Wellness

WELLNESS REWARDS for 2014 is under way.  All Participants in the EPC Medical Plan and their covered spouses are eligible for the reward. What is the reward? A $50 Premier Choice Reward redeemable at over 200 selected retailers. What do you have to do? Simply complete the wellness profile on the Highmark website. Complete a brief questionnaire to learn more about your health and receive a confidential, immediate personal plan. The profile is presented by WebMD and provides you with report identifying health risks and containing suggestions to mitigate those risks. The program runs until November 30, 2014.

Standard Life

The EPC Billing Administration Office is still collecting the Participating Employer Agreements (PEA’s) that our Life Insurance carrier Standard Life is requiring from all of our churches. Even if your church is not providing Life and LTD insurance through the EPC, we still need the front page of the form completed declining coverage. The forms can be faxed to Fax: (412) 201-2250, or by Email: epc@cdsadmin.com. Download Participating Employer Application form.

Fidelity

Did you know? That there are over 180 Fidelity Investor Centers around the country and that they are open and available to the participants in our 403(b) plan. They have specialized investment planning capabilities for those seeking a more comprehensive approach to retirement planning.

Benefit Briefs April 2014

 

Who remembers the old saying “The job is not finished until the paperwork is complete (done?)”. This is very true especially when it comes to working with our Life and LTD Insurance carrier, The Standard Life. Earlier this year the Benefits Office distributed Participating Employer Agreements (PEA) from the Standard Life to all EPC Churches. Since then the Benefits Office has been trying to reach our goal of getting the paperwork from every church. We are close, but we still have some applications outstanding. It is important that we have an accurate record of who is being covered for Life and LTD at each and every church. If a church is not covering anyone, we need to have that confirmed by completing the paperwork declining the coverage.

Our benefits administrator, cds, continues to learn more about EPC and our needs and requirements. They are very helpful for any issues concerning  enrollment; changes in status, address, or contact info; qualifying events; termination; continuing coverage; billing & payment; Medicare & Small Employer Exception; general information and questions about benefit coverage.  They can be contacted by phone : (877) 578-8707, M-F 8am-5pm EST/EDT or Fax: (412) 201-2250, or by Email: epc@cdsadmin.com

Highmark continues to manage our medical claims and, new this year, our prescription drug coverage. We do still have some ties through Highmark with Express Scripts. Express Scripts is the mail order provider for Highmark. Any questions regarding prescription coverage should be directed to Highmark’s customer service. (866) 472-0928

The Benefits Office conducted a survey of all of the churches in order to gather some data to provide direction for the benefit program.  The results are in and we will be sharing those results at this year’s General Assembly Benefits Q&A lunch network session.

Benefits Survey of EPC Churches

 

The Board of Benefits is currently conducting a survey of all EPC churches to develop a better understanding how to best serve them.  Some topics: level of satisfaction with current offerings, communication and what additional benefits might be offered. Each church should have received a link to take the online survey.  If your church did not receive one please contact our Benefits Manager at don.voyles@epc.org. The surveys are due this Friday March 7th.

Medical Plan ID Cards and Prescription Benefit Information

 

Happy New Year to everyone! For 2014, there is a change to the EPC pharmacy provider, and some people may not have received their ID Cards.

There were some last minute changes to group numbers and that caused a delay in getting the ID Cards sent out.  It was desirable to get the new cards to people before January 1st, despite the efforts not everyone received them. Some of our participants have already received their ID Cards, others have not.

If you need your ID Card you can obtain it online, here’s how:  

  1. You can print or view your ID card on the member website. If you have not yet registered, go to the member website at http://www.highmarkbcbs.com/.  Select the Register link and follow the instructions to get a username and password. After you have logged in, click on the ID icon at the top of the home page.
  2. You can cut and paste this link for additional instructions on how to obtain a copy of your ID Card http://www.brainshark.com/hmk/IDCard_EPC

Prescription Drug Benefits

Effective January 1, 2014, Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield will manage Evangelical Presbyterian Church prescription drug benefits. Highmark offers you a broad range of services, including a large network of pharmacies, mail order services through Express Scripts® Home Delivery, and the convenience of one identification card for both your medical and prescription benefits. Be sure to register to use the member website at www.highmarkbcbs.com to take advantage of tools and resources that will help you get the most value from your benefits.

How do I get my prescriptions filled?

Starting January 1, 2014, take your prescription and new member ID card to a network retail pharmacy. If you have refills remaining on a current prescription at a network pharmacy, simply present your Highmark member ID card.

If you go to the pharmacy without your ID card, the pharmacist will need the following information to process your prescription:

Rx Group Number: BCWP001

Member SSN, Social Security Number or UMI, Unique member identifier

BIN: 610014 (this is the unique identifier for the PBM or claims processor)

PCN: The processor control number. For commercial claims, this is typically used by the pharmacy to identify a PBM or claims processor.  For commercial claims, ESI accepts any value except zeroes.

Pharmacy Help Desk phone number: 800-922-1557.

A Fresh Look at the EPC Medical Plan

 

Fourth Presbyterian Church in Bethesda, Maryland is one of a growing number of EPC churches taking “another look” at the EPC Medical Plan in light of the implementation of the Contraceptive Mandate in the Affordable Care Act (aka “Obamacare”). The Contraceptive Mandate requires that all medical plans provide contraceptives and abortifacient drugs, such as the “morning after” pill. As a self-funded church plan, the EPC Medical Plan is exempt from implementing this mandate. For churches that want the medical coverage of their staff to align with our strong biblical position on abortion, the EPC Medical Plan is now very attractive.

A-Fresh-Look-at-the-EPC-Medical-PlanIn December 2012, the Session of Fourth Presbyterian Church launched a review of its current medical plan for church staff and the potential impact of the Contraceptive Mandate. It reviewed Fourth’s 1994 position on abortion as well as the EPC’s Position Paper on Abortion. Senior Pastor Rob Norris (photo right) said, “The Session made a moral decision that we would not support abortions. We were looking for a moral alternative that did not hurt our employees.” Fourth’s leadership also contacted other evangelical and Reformed churches in the Washington, DC area. They found that some churches had renewed their medical plans for 2014 without being aware of the impact of the Contraceptive Mandate. Others had not yet begun to focus on this issue. Fourth’s conclusion was that it was ahead of most churches in grappling this issue.

Fourth’s Session reviewed a whole series of options, including the EPC plan. At its September 9, 2013 meeting, it decided to move all church staff into the EPC Plan. Rob said, “Fourth is deeply grateful the EPC medical plan is a viable alternative that affirms our moral position and provides great value to our employees.” He added “We are astounded that there is no interruption to the network of providers our staff previously enjoyed.” Following is the action Fourth took on September 9: “In order to eliminate the possibility of including any believed-to-be abortifacients in the health insurance plan provided to Fourth Presbyterian Church staff, while still offering benefits comparable to the existing CareFirst Plan, the Ad Hoc Health Committee recommends to Session that the Personnel Committee select the EPC Medical Plan for 2014. Fourth Church leaders should make every effort to: (1) minimize any negative impact on staff with respect to out-of-pocket expenditures; and (2) ensure access to substantially the same network of providers.”

More information about the EPC Medical Plan can be found on the benefits documents page or by calling an EPC benefits administrator at (877) 578-8707 for general topics or the EPC claims administrator at (866) 472-0928 for detailed questions.

Medical Plan Open Enrollment November 1-20

 

It’s time to act! From November 1-20, it’s Open Enrollment season for EPC Medical Plan coverage effective January 1, 2014. Information included in the benefits documents aims to meet most needs. For more facts, contact the EPC Benefits Administration office about enrollment, call 877-578-8707 or email epc@cdsadmin.com.

The big picture: We, as a nation, face persistent uncertainty about medical benefits including how full implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will unfold. By contrast, the EPC Medical Plan offers certainty in 2014 and beyond. We reliably help EPC churches accomplish good stewardship of church finances and employee welfare. We provide affordable access to excellent & portable coverage, conveniently serviced by medical benefits professionals. Also, we offer moral shelter from objectionable contraceptives that ACA mandates for others and even churches’ private insurance premiums cannot completely avoid funding.