Case Study: Church Saves Money on Health Insurance While Increasing Benefits
How Abundant Life Church saved over 34% on their annual premiums and improve benefits for all employees.
The traditional small group health insurance system is broken
Abundant Life Church is a thriving church in Fishers, a Suburb of Indianapolis, IN. They have an average weekly attendance of 250 members, a growing child care facility and a staff of 30. Like most churches, Abundant Life must stretch limited funds between spending on programs that support their ministry and taking care of the staff who run the ministry programs.
They were frustrated with their traditional group health insurance plan which was not meeting their needs. They were paying $9,221 per month for 16 participating employees on the plan. The rates went up by 10-20% every year and they had to either switch plans, raise deductibles, raise employee contributions or a combination of all three to keep their premiums affordable for their budget. The constant change in health plans diminished the quality of the care they could provide for their employees.
GuideCare, a unique approach for church group health insurance that saved $23,621 in annual premiums AND improved their benefits
GuideCare is the #1 producing agency for Remodel Health. They are an employee benefits agency that specializes in helping churches with a unique approach to health insurance. The founder is a CPA with expert knowledge about tax strategies specific to churches. They have saved churches over $1 million in annual premiums over the past 2 years.
GuideCare provided a solution to Abundant Life that saved them $23,621 in annual premiums, each employee & family ended up with lower out of pocket exposure. One employee lowered their out of pocket healthcare expenses by $17,000 per year. Not only did they save a substantial amount of money, they also improved benefits for all employees.
Analytical software tools that help educate Churches on all their health insurance options
GuideCare utilizes a one of a kind software solution provided by Remodel Health. This software helps health insurance advisors run a proposal analysis that provides employers of both churches and businesses alike a comparison of their current traditional group health plan to all the plans available in the individual market.
This menu of individual health products includes not only all the ACA on exchange and off exchange plans but also includes Healthcare Sharing Plans that are often 50% less expensive. The analysis determines which employees are best served with ACA plans + tax credits, which should choose ACA plans off exchange to find their specific doctor or prescription medication and which employees are best served with Healthcare Sharing Plans.
Comparison of Pre-tax HRA options vs. Post-tax option that enable more ACA tax credits
Remodel Health’s software also runs an analysis to determine if the employer should set up a Health Reimbursement Account under the new QSEHRA law that passed in 2016. In many cases, churches are better served by using a post-tax wage increase approach so that lower income employees can take full advantage of their ACA tax credits.
Remodel Health software tools make this decision clear for each employer to decide on pre-tax HRA options or a post-tax wage increase approach.
Church employees with little to no pre-existing conditions can save up to 50% with Healthcare Sharing Plans
Some employees with Abundant Life Church chose to purchase a national leading Healthcare Sharing Plan. This program has over 300,000 members and includes a large national PPO network. This option is ideal for employees with few pre-existing conditions because the cost is typically 50% lower than a comparable out of pocket for an ACA plan.
The downside is that these programs do not have eligibility for sharing on pre-existing conditions for 3 years. However, as Abundant Life discovered, there are still options for employees with pre-existing conditions.
Employees with pre-existing conditions can find quality coverage with ACA plan options
Several employees with Abundant Life Church had significant pre-existing conditions. GuideCare collected data from each employee on their specific health conditions, specific doctors, and specific prescription medication needed. Using Remodel Health’s analytical tools, they made sure that each employee received coverage that included their doctors and prescription medications.
In some employee situations where the costs were high GuideCare redirected some of the savings into HSA accounts to help with the additional expenses. Each employee improved their situation with lower out of pocket expenses. Some of their most “in need” families were able to see their deductibles cut in half at no extra cost.
Employees with low income can leverage ACA tax credits to achieve better plans with lower costs
Quite a few employees with Abundant Life Church earned income low enough to qualify for some level of ACA tax credits. One employee reduced their deductible to $2,750 because of cost sharing plans from the ACA market. Another employee reduced their total annual out of pocket costs by $17,000.
GuideCare’s concierge enrollment services and ongoing support
GuideCare went onsite and worked alongside each employee with one on one consulting to help them carefully choose the plan that fit their specific needs; budget, doctors, prescription medications, etc. Each year at Open Enrollment Period GuideCare revisits each employee to make sure they are in the right plan based on the changes that may have occurred in that year in terms of tax credits, rate increases, new medical conditions, etc.
Switch anytime of the year to both improve your employee benefits and save money
By terminating your group health plan, which is considered a Qualifying Life Event, you have 60 days (Special Enrollment Period) to get a plan with guaranteed acceptance, regardless of your pre-existing conditions from any of the plans on the ACA market.
Healthcare Sharing Plans do not have any requirements for open enrollment and therefore you can enroll anytime you like. Abundant Life Church enrolled in March and GuideCare offered assistance for those who had already met part or all their deductible. This was just another way that the Church saved money and made sure all employees got the coverage they needed at a price they could afford.
One employer bill and payroll deduct set up for each employee
By using Remodel Health’s software services, GuideCare gave the employer one bill each month for their 16 different health plans. Remodel Health also helped the employer to set up a payroll deduction process so that the employer contributed a portion (like the previous year) and the employees contributed a portion. The employees portion is deducted from their payroll just like their traditional group plan.
Freedom from health insurance headaches while improving each employee’s situation
Best of all the employer is now free from the headaches of traditional health insurance. No more compliance burdens and red tape. No more 10-20% annual rate increase. No more annual review of switching plans, raising deductibles and raising the employee cost share.
They have empowered their employees with a defined budget and employees are responsible for their own plans. Utilizing Remodel Health analytical software tools the employer could confidently ensure that each employee was better off by making the switch.
Summary of the key wins for Abundant Life Church
- Annual savings of $23,621 for the church
- Each employee’s situation was improved with lower total cost
- Each employee received free unlimited use of Teladoc
- One employee lowered her total out of pocket costs by $17,000
- Another employee lowered $3,720 from Rx and Doctor visits
- Several employees improved by saving $1,000-$3,000 annually
- GuideCare offered assistance for those who had already met part or all their deductible