January 2020 marks the second full year GuideStone® participants can select Secure Health® 3000 as their health plan. The plan, introduced in 2018, offers true medical coverage with access to the nationwide Blue Cross Blue Shield network, protecting participants from the full effects of catastrophic claims.
The plan is meant to provide true medical coverage as an alternative for pastors and other church staff who might otherwise consider a Christian medical sharing plan.
“We know churches and pastors have varying needs,” GuideStone President O.S. Hawkins said. “While we work to contain costs on all of our health plans, we heard for many years that many of our people who were generally healthy, but needed protection from catastrophic claims, needed coverage that fit their values and their families’ situations. We believe Secure Health, with its unique design, could fill the need for many of our participants.”
Secure Health was created to answer the need for a cost-effective, alternative to medical sharing plans that offered true medical coverage. While growing in popularity, medical sharing plans come with drawbacks, including employers not being able to offer them as a pretax benefit like traditional plans. Medical sharing plans typically require members to pay their medical bills up front and then request payment from the plan, which could take three to six months. Unlike traditional coverage, there are no discounted networks of providers — available in standard PPO plans, meaning members must negotiate for their own discounts.
“We heard from many churches about their desire to offer something similar to medical sharing plans in terms of unique plan design and lower costs while providing certain coverage and eliminating the risks and uncertainties of medical sharing plans,” said Scott Charbonneau, managing director of insurance solutions at GuideStone.
Secure Health may be best for people who primarily see their doctor for preventive care, families looking for protection from the full cost of catastrophic claims and individuals who need a lower-cost option but don’t want to take the risk of a medical sharing plan arrangement. For example, a hypothetical 30-year-old church staff member in Texas could obtain coverage for as little as $150 per month. For specific quotes, visit Insurance.GuideStone.org.
In its first full year of operation, more than 1,000 participants have enrolled in the plan and initial feedback has been positive, Charbonneau said.
“Secure Health is just one of a variety of plan types designed to match churches’ budgets with their staffs’ health care needs,” he said. “From comprehensive plans — the most commonly utilized, which offer a full range of benefits, to consumer-driven plans, which are HSA-qualified High Deductible Health Plans tied to a Health Savings Account, to the Secure Health protection plan, GuideStone has worked diligently to create options for Southern Baptist and other evangelical pastors and church and ministry staff.”
Churches and ministries interested in learning more about Secure Health and all of GuideStone’s medical plans can visit Insurance.GuideStone.org or call 1-844-467-4843.
Roy Hayhurst is director of denominational and public relations services for GuideStone Financial Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention®.