GuideStone Financial Resources has announced new enrollment guidelines in which churches and ministries eligible to offer GuideStone’s medical Personal Plans will be able to add new employees and their families within 60 days of employment, effective July 1.
For the first half of 2014, due to the uncertainties in the health care market as a result of the Affordable Care Act, GuideStone imposed temporary guidelines that limited enrollment to participants experiencing federally-defined HIPAA special enrollment events such as marriage, birth, adoption or loss of coverage.
Under the new guidelines, new employees of an eligible Personal Plan church or ministry can enter the health plan within 60 days of employment or HIPAA special enrollment event. Also, church employees who began their employment between Jan. 1 and July 1, 2014, may enroll themselves and eligible family members through Aug. 1.
“The Affordable Care Act has created unprecedented changes and challenges for all health plans, including church health plans,” GuideStone President O.S. Hawkins said. “GuideStone has been diligently seeking legislative, regulatory and judicial recognition of the unique nature and needs of church plans, with the continued goal of keeping the plan strong and stable. At the same time, GuideStone continues to explore ways of providing coverage to new enrollees in a manner consistent with that goal. GuideStone has determined that this change will enable us to balance ministry objectives with good stewardship.”
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Roy Hayhurst is department head of denominational and public relations services at GuideStone Financial Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention.)