December 20, 2013
In the midst of the current uncertainties related to the various implementations of the Affordable Care Act and the effect it is already having on millions of Americans, and in an effort to preserve our Personal Plans medical plans for the long term, we have made the difficult decision to TEMPORARILY limit participation in the Personal Plans medical plans to our current participants going into 2014. This means the Personal Plans will continue to cover those who are enrolled as of December 31, 2013, but will not be able to accept NEW ENROLLEES into the medical plans, except as required by law due to marriage, birth, adoption or similar qualifying event. This measure will apply to both our expanded ministries we serve as well as our Southern Baptist audience. This change does not affect the availability of our Personal Plans dental, term life, accident or disability plans.
The Personal Plan, which is a health plan for small employers, is unique in structure and design, and also has been afforded special treatment under federal law prior to the Affordable Care Act. This special treatment has been subjected to uncertainty because of the Affordable Care Act, so this TEMPORARY freezing measure is being implemented to best position the Personal Plan medical plans for the longer term. The Personal Plan has different dynamics than the Group Plan and thus the TEMPORARY freeze relates only to the Personal Plans medical plans. We believe it is important to maintain the stability of the plans — which continue to be strong and sound — for the 70,000 pastors and their families currently enrolled in the plans.
We count it a privilege to serve churches and ministry organizations and will certainly be glad to serve as a resource for information and assistance to all those who contact us about health coverage. We fully anticipate the continued enrollment of NEW PARTICIPANTS in our Personal Plans once we determine the final results of our legislative, administrative and judicial initiatives. We will communicate as to when this temporary suspension of NEW PARTICIPANTS will end.