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September 29, 2017

Dear Friends,

In June 2017, the concept of Healthcare Zones was conceived by Pension Fund, essentially taking us back to the regional plans of the 60's and 70's. Our hope was that there would be enough interest from clergy to create region-based zones, where local health insurance networks could be offered by insurers to members at a reasonable price.

During General Assembly, we shared the concept and what was needed to move forward. In an effort to see that these costs would not be passed on to potential insureds, the Healthcare Trust committed the required funds to launch the investigative portion of the process.

By August 15, more than 600 people had expressed interest.  By August 31, that number increased to more than 700. However, by September 15, only 340 people completed the underwriting process. Approximately 75 people abandoned the process part way through -- objecting to the amount of information that was required, objecting to sharing private health information, or for other reasons.

On September 26, our staff received the underwriting reports from the insurance broker. Unfortunately, the information confirmed our worst fear and we will not be able to move forward. The rationale for our decision is based on two main points:

  1. we did not have enough people complete the process to create zones, meaning we would be required to use the one national network option, which is more expensive, and
  2. based on the medical information obtained during the underwriting process, the premiums would be three times the standard rates. This means if an average person's rate is $1,000, the carrier would charge $3,000 per month.

Unless we move to mandatory participation for every pastor, we cannot foresee ever building enough critical mass to make this work. Because we did not have enough people to create the critical mass needed for reasonable rates and the majority of those who did participate are in the high-risk pool, our members would be better served by community-rated plans.

While this is not what we hoped for, we encourage those seeking health insurance to reach out to Gravie, the company which handled the investigative process, and explore the private and ACA markets available to you. You can visit them online at www.Gravie.com, or call them at (800) 501-2920. We also encourage you to continue contacting your elected representatives to oppose legislation that will remove protections for persons with pre-existing conditions. Pension Fund will continue to work with the Church Alliance to lobby on your behalf with the goal of affordable health insurance for all.

I wish I had better news; please know we will keep searching for a solution.

On behalf of the Healthcare Trust,

Todd A. Adams

President 

September 25, 2017

As part of our mission to provide the very best service to our members, Pension Fund would like to inform you of the following information:

As a result of Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is allowing retirement plan sponsors to extend relief to taxpayers adversely affected by these hurricanes.

The IRS is allowing access to retirement plan assets to alleviate hardships caused by Hurricane Irma and Harvey by easing verification procedures for retirement plan hardship distributions and expanding allowable distributions to any hardship, not just those described in the United States Department of The Treasury regulations.

As a Pension Fund member, you may take a tax-free hardship distribution from your Individual Retirement Account (IRA) or Tax-Deferred Retirement Account (TDRA) between now and January 31, 2018, if you meet one or more of the following conditions:

For those affected by Hurricane Harvey:

  1. your principal residence on August 23, 2017, was in one of the counties identified for individual assistance by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA),
  2. your place of employment on August 23, 2017, was in one of the counties identified by FEMA, or
  3. you or your grandparents, parents, children, grandchildren, dependents, or spouse had a principal place of residence or place of employment in one of these counties on August 23, 2017.

For those affected by Hurricane Irma:

  1. your principal residence on September 4, 2017, was in one of the counties identified for individual assistance by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA),
  2. your place of employment on September 4, 2017, was in one of the counties identified by FEMA, or
  3. you or your grandparents, parents, children, grandchildren, dependents, or spouse had a principal place of residence or place of employment in one of these counties on September 4, 2017.

Before contacting Pension Fund to initiate a hardship withdrawal, we encourage you to seek professional tax advice. Once you have made an informed decision about initiating a hardship withdrawal, please call Pension Fund at (866) 495-7322 or e-mail pfcc1@pensionfund.org.

Sincerely,

Todd A. Adams

August 30, 2017

In observance of Labor Day, Pension Fund will have the following hours:

Friday, September 1st:  Closing at 3:00 PM EST. Distribution requests must be received by 12:00 PM EST.

Monday, September 4th: Office Closed

filed under Pension Fund     tags Memorial Day Hours
August 10, 2017

For those looking for additional health care options for 2018, read more about Gravie and what steps to take by downloading their informational sheet here.

 

August 7, 2017

Beginning Thursday, Aug. 17 at 7:00 p.m. EST and continuing through Monday morning, Aug. 21 at 8:30 a.m. EST, Pension Fund will be performing a system upgrade. This will have the following member impacts:

  • The member portal, MyPensionFund, will not be available during the days and times listed above.
  • Pension Fund will have the following abbreviated operation hours:
Thursday, Aug. 17 Withdrawal requests must be received by 11:30 a.m. EST. Any requests received after this time will be held until Monday, Aug. 21.
Friday, Aug. 18 Our Member Services Center will be closed on Friday, Aug. 18 and all transactions and account updates will be deferred until Monday, Aug. 21.

As with any system upgrade, we will be testing the upgrade and keeping you up to date should any delays occur.  Thank you for your patience as we upgrade our system to better serve our members.  We will return to normal operations as quickly as possible.

If you have any questions or concerns, please email pfcc1@pensionfund.org or call us at 866.495.7322.  We apologize for any inconvenience.

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