Clergy Benefits Overview

The information regarding clergy benefits provided here is a compilation of information found on other pages in this section of the website.

Health coverage 

  • HealthFlex Exchange (under age 65 health plan)

  • United HealthCare Group Medicare Advantage PPO Plan and Guardian Dental (Medicare Eligible and age 65 and over plan)

New England Conference Health Coverage Policy — Mandates all charges receiving full-time or three-quarter time appointment of a pastor(s) be assessed the blended rate of Health Insurance.

The blended rate is a set charge for health insurance billed to the church approved by the annual conference regardless of contract type. Every church pays the same blended rate of health insurance premium. The blended rate assists the local church in budgeting and financial planning. The premium may be split between churches served by the three-quarter time or full-time pastor.

Active Pastors with health insurance coverage may have a personal contribution for their health insurance plan, known as the pastor’s co-pay. The insurance premium co-payment for the Pastor will be determined by the health, dental and vision plans the Pastor elects during the annual election period in the fall of every year. The Pastor health insurance premium co-payment is a pre-tax payroll deduction. Other Accounts that have a pre-tax payroll deduction will include Flexible Spending Account: Health Care and or Dependent Care Accounts and Health Savings Account.

More information can be found below and on the HealthFlex Exchange webpage.

HealthFlex Exchange

www.neumc.org/Exchange 

HealthFlex Exchange is a group health plan designed for United Methodist clergy and affiliated lay employees and their families. This approach to health coverage gives participants choice, flexibility, and control over how they pay for health care while helping the church facilitate the best health coverage for clergy and lay workers. (Eligibility rules apply)

The New England Conference offers six plans from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois (BCBSIL) through the HealthFlex Exchange:

  • Three of the plan options include Health Savings Accounts (HSA).
  • Two options include Health Reimbursement Accounts (HRA).
  • One is a traditional preferred provider organization (PPO) plan, B1000 plan, which does not include either type of account.

Dental coverage

 Three Dental Plan – HealthFlex uses Cigna Dental to provide dental coverage.
  • Passive PPO 2000
  • Dental PPO
  • Dental DHMO (DHMO is not available to residents of Maine, New Hampshire or Vermont)

Once enrolled log into www.cigna.com to print your ID card, search network providers, cost estimates and manage benefits.

Vision coverage 

Three vision plans are offered through the provider VSP Vision Care
  • Premier
  • Full Service
  • Exam Core - $0 cost, basic vision.

Once enrolled log into www.vsp.com to print your ID card, search network providers, cost estimates and manage benefits.

Prescriptions 

 OptumRX (Pharmacy) Plan
  • Co-pay: Based on a 4-tier plan-Generic, Preferred brand name, non-preferred brand name and Specialty drugs
  • Maintenance medications can be filled at Walgreens or Optum Rx Home delivery (mail-order) service.

Health Accounts – tax advantage accounts

Tax-advantaged accounts can help you save money for health and dependent care and get reimbursed for certain out-of-pocket costs. These are:

  • Health savings account (HSA)*—included with HSA plans.
  • Health reimbursement account (HRA)—included with HRA plans.
  • Flexible spending accounts (FSAs)* for dependent care and health care

*HSA contribution requires enrollment in an HSA plan and an attestation that you are eligible for IRS guidelines.

*FSA Health Care when used with HSA plans become limited in use. Limited to dental and vision expenses only until the participant notifies HealthEquity/WageWorks that the IRS-defined deductible has been met, then for all eligible health care expenses (2021 IRS-defined deductible: $1,400 individual coverage/$2,800 family coverage)

Behavioral Health

United Behavior Health (UBH) through BCBSIL
Wespath Incentive Programs

Available to HealthFlex Exchange Participants only

  • Health Check 2021 (formerly Health Quotient): The Primary participant and covered spouse must both take the Health Check by August 31 to avoid a higher medical plan deductible. By completing the Annual wellness assessment questionnaire online at www.virginpulse.com/login you will avoid an additional $250 Individual or $500 Family.
    • Households with family coverage in the H3000 plan in 2022 who did not complete Health Check in 2021 will have their individual out of pocket maximum increased by $500 (to $6500), to accommodate the higher family deductible. This only applies to the H3000 family coverage.
  • Quest Diagnostics' Blueprint for Wellness - Biometric Screening : Annual biometric screening provided by HealthFlex at zero out of pocket cost to you. Participants receive Pulse Cash when enrolled in Virgin Pulse.

How to Access Your Benefits

  • Benefits Access —Wespath’s Benefits Access is the home for your health and well-being information. It is the one place for all benefits offered by Wespath: retirement, health, well-being, and life and disability. Benefits Access only displays the benefits you have through Wespath. Benefits Access features links to our benefit partner websites such as Blue Cross Blue Shield, United Healthcare and Optum Rx, many without requiring an additional password to log in. You also can submit claims for your FSA, HSA or HRA accounts through HealthEquity®.
  • Virgin Pulse®—An intuitive, easy-to-use website and app for all your well-being programs. Benefits Accessworks in tandem with Virgin Pulse, the home for HealthFlex’s award-winning well-being programs. Virgin Pulse also provides covered spouses with information about their HealthFlex benefits and well-being programs. Spouses are not able to sign up for Benefits Access.

New England Conference HealthFlex Wellness Incentive: Annual wellness exam verification form available to HealthFlex Participants and enrolled Spouses. Receive $100 each year for annual wellness exam. Form located on www.neumc.org New England Conference website.

Retirement and Welfare Plans

Retirement plans are administered through Wespath Benefits and Investments. Wespath empowers you to secure your future by participating in the retirement plan(s) offered by your employer. Learn more about retirement plans and eligibility for clergy, lay participants and missionaries serving The United Methodist Church at Wespath Retirement and Investments

Retirement and Welfare Plan Enrollment Form - To provide Wespath with specific information to enroll clergy in the Wespath-administered retirement and welfare plans for which they are eligible.

IMPORTANT: New participants need only complete this one form to be enrolled in all Wespath-administered retirement and welfare plans for which they are eligible. Once participants receive an enrollment welcome confirmation letter from Wespath, they should register for online access to their retirement accounts at my.benefitsaccess.org and designate their beneficiary(ies)

  1. Complete parts 1-4 on the Enrollment Form for CRSP, UMPIP, CPP, UMLifeOptions
  • UMPIP Parts 2a-2c. complete each section.
  • The pastor chooses the amount of contribution to their personal UMPIP account.
  • The UMPIP personal contribution may be “Before-tax or After-Tax or Roth” Before-tax contributions reduce the pastor’s current taxable salary reported in Box 1 of the W2.
  • After-Tax and Roth contributions are included in the pastor’s salary on the W-2 and the pastor pays taxes on those contributions.
  • All contributions are withheld from the pastor’s paycheck and then paid by the church to Wespath Benefits & Investments on a monthly basis.
  • Part 3, choose how to have your investment managed.
  • Part 4, signature
  1. Parts 5, 5a and 6; Your church is your Plan Sponsor and should complete parts 5, 5a and 6, copy for church records and send the completed form to Wespath or the Conference Office for forwarding to Wespath.

Clergy Retirement Security Program (CRSP) 

CRSP is a 403(b)-retirement plan for eligible clergy of The United Methodist Church. CRSP is designed to provide you financial security with lifetime retirement income and flexibility through an account balance. CRSP was adopted by the 2004 General Conference, introduced in 2007 and modified by the 2012 General Conference Legislation, and is mandatory for all active and credentialed clergy appointed ½ time or more, to local churches or positions for which the annual conference has pension responsibility. CRSP is a combined Defined Benefit (DB) and Defined Contribution (DC) program.

The Defined Benefit is 1.25% x Denominational Average Compensation (DAC) at the time of retirement x Years of Service in CRSP before 2014 and 1% after January 1, 2014.

Every pay period, your annual conference contributes 2% of your plan compensation to your defined contribution retirement account. Your annual conference also matches any personal contributions to the United Methodist Personal Investment Plan (UMPIP) up to 1% of your plan compensation. CRSP does not accept participant contributions, but you can potentially grow your personal savings by making contributions to UMPIP. The Defined Contribution is 2% x Pension Plan Compensation (base compensation + housing) plus a match of the pastor's personal contributions to the United Methodist Personal Investment Plan (UMPIP) up to 1% of the plan compensation.

The church is billed directly from the Conference for the pension cost of the pastor(s) assigned to their church based on the time of appointment, the compensation, and the DB. 2021 pension calculation example.

Important: Waiving CRSP participation. Only clergy serving 75% or less can waive CRSP participation. If you wish to waive CRSP participation at this time, you must return a notarized Waiver of Participation to this office within 30 days. Please contact your District Superintendent for a waiver form.

United Methodist Personal Investment Plan (UMPIP) 

The UMPIP is a 403(b)-retirement plan administered by Wespath Benefits and Investments (Wespath) and is arranged between the local church and Wespath. Participation in the UMPIP is optional but strongly recommended. You can make personal contributions as a percentage of your compensation through payroll deduction or in flat dollar amounts up to Internal Revenue Code limits.

  • Convenient before-tax, Roth and/or after-tax contributions is a flat dollar amount or percentage of your eligible compensation.
  • Church is billed directly from Wespath.
  • Clergy can earn an additional 1% matching contribution to their CRSP DC (Defined Contribution) account by contributing at least 1% of their total plan compensation to their United Methodist Personal Investment Plan (UMPIP).
  • A "UMPIP Adoption Agreement" must be sent to Wespath Benefits and be on file at the local church. A UMPIP Enrollment form or Contribution Election form must be sent by the local church treasurer to Wespath. Contributions must be sent on a salary-paying unit check. UMPIP Forms and Information can be found at www.wespath.org

2021 UMPIP Contribution Election Form: Use this form to enroll in UMPIP only, make changes to UMPIP contributions and to continue your UMPIP if changing appointments.

LifeStage – Investment Program: Automate the investment of your account based on your risk tolerance and other key personal information. Offered by Wespath at no cost to participants. For more information go to wespath.org

EY Financial Planning Services: Wespath partners with EY Financial Planning Services, a leading global financial services firm, to offer confidential, objective financial counseling at no additional cost* to eligible participants.

Clergy Housing Allowance

Clergy Housing Allowance | Wespath Benefits Investments: Wespath Benefits and Investments recognizes the unique and often complex nature of clergy taxes. The information provided (click link) is designed to help clear some of the gray when thinking about a housing allowance. It pertains to active clergy living in an owned or rented home, active clergy living in a parsonage and retired clergy. Clergy Housing Allowance Resources also includes a FAQ on the right side of the screen.

Moving: Reporting moving expense payments for clergy

It is important and necessary for local churches to report any moving expense payments made to, or on behalf of, active clergy to the Conference for benefit calculation purposes. If local churches fail to report moving expense payments, clergy may receive fewer benefits than they are entitled to.

What to report:

Clergy Death and Disability Plans

Comprehensive Protection Plan (CPP): Provides death benefits, long-term disability income replacement and certain other survivor benefits for eligible clergy of the United Methodist Church (UMC) and their families.

Clergy Appointed Full-Time (100%) and 3/4-Time (75%) -who are Full and Provisional Members (Elders and Deacons), Associate Members and clergy of other Methodist denominations earning at least 25% of denominational average compensation (DAC) and Full Time (100%) Local Pastors.

UMLife Options: Plans offer long-term disability (LTD) and life insurance coverage for eligible United Methodist clergy that are not eligible for the CPP plans.

Clergy: Appointed ½ time (50%), Full and Provisional Members (Elders and Deacons), Associate Members, and Clergy of Other Methodist Denomination, who are not eligible for CPP plan.

Clergy Supplemental Life Insurance Plan Highlights UMLifeOptions : The voluntary Optional Life Insurance Plan gives eligible clergy the option to purchase additional life insurance coverage. Clergy must be enrolled in Comprehensive Protection Plan (CPP) to add additional supplemental life insurance coverage. This plan offers various types and amounts of life insurance benefits, on a guaranteed issue basis (and will not be refused for medical reasons during certain enrollment and coverage periods).

Designate A Beneficiary

Do you have a beneficiary named for your Wespath-administered plan benefits? A beneficiary receives your plan account balances after you die or if you cannot be located when a benefit is payable. Naming a beneficiary helps ensure a smooth transfer of your plan benefits to the person (or people), organization, trust or other legal entity you choose.

It is important to review and update your beneficiaries over time, especially if you experience a life event or a change in circumstances (e.g., marriage, death of a relative, birth or adoption of a child, etc.). The beneficiary rules of Wespath-administered plans are binding and supersede provisions of your will, your divorce order or other wishes.

Wespath Benefits and Investments: Wespath provides administrative and investment services to benefit plans for plan sponsors controlled by or affiliated with The United Methodist Church (the "Church") and provides certain administrative and investment services to institutional investors organized and operated exclusively for religious, benevolent, or charitable purposes which are related to the Church. Information on all Benefit Plans can be found on Wespath’s website at www.wespath.org under Health and Welfare Plans or Pension Plans. You can also reach Wespath Benefits and Investments by calling 800-851-2201

Automatic Clearing House (ACH) Authorization Agreement (for Church use): ACH transactions are electronic payments created when the church gives the Conference authorization to debit directly from the churches checking or savings account for the purpose of bill payment Additionally, utilizing the ACH option for pastor pension and/or health insurance payments provides a discount premium. Authorization forms are to be completed annually for each bill. The forms are available in Form Finder here: www.neumc.org/forms 

Benefits Department Contacts

Debbie Gagnon, HR & Benefits Manager
978-682-8055 ext. 121
 
Thelma Phelan, Benefits Assistant 
978-682-8055 ext. 122