Georgia Baptists eliminate retiree benefits, citing budget c

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Georgia Baptists eliminate retiree benefits, citing budget c

Postby Joseph Patrick » Mon Nov 01, 2021 3:22 pm

For those who are more aware of this move, is this a coming nationwide trend?
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Re: Georgia Baptists eliminate retiree benefits, citing budg

Postby Tim Bonney » Tue Nov 02, 2021 9:56 pm

What does this mean? Future retirement benefits? Doesn't the SBC have a pension board?

One of the reasons I'm not a Baptist any longer is that congregational autonomy is good for lay people but not really good for clergy. Those who give their lives to God's call get treated like expendable hired hands.
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Re: Georgia Baptists eliminate retiree benefits, citing budg

Postby Neil Heath » Thu Nov 04, 2021 12:12 pm

To answer your question Timothy, when I retired from the GBC (now the GBMB), they promised to provide medical and dental insurance for me and my spouse for the rest of our lives. That was the one thing they provided for us after retirement, with their gcoverage becoming secondary to Medicare when we reached that point. As the article points out, many retirees made their plans for the future based on that benefit. It was a tremendous help to us as healthcare costs continued to rise. There were still copays for doctors and drugs, but that was all we had to pay. Then when we joined Medicare most of the copays also went away. It was a real blessing for many aging ministers and their spouses.

Then we were told a year ago that our dental plan would end on Dec. 31, 2020. Medical coverage was provided through a Medicare Advantage Plan provided by Aetna, but as the article explains, they have informed us that it also ends on Dec. 31,2021. So we will need to get our own insurance for Jan. and beyond. To their credit, which the article doesn't mention, they plan to give us a check in Dec. to help with purchasing our own coverage, but I doubt that it will fully replace what we had. I'm gathering information on our options. Any helpful input is welcomed.

I suspect this is not a Ga. Baptist problem only, but one other states will have to face in the near future. They have already greatly reduced their staff in several waves of buyouts and job eliminations, but still have money issues. I suspect it illustrates graphically the continued decline of church-related institutions and the local churches that support them, with Ga. being the first of many forced to face that reality. The article does a great job of collecting and reporting where we are.

I'd be interested in hearing how things are going in your states / denominations as well.
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Re: Georgia Baptists eliminate retiree benefits, citing budg

Postby William Thornton » Thu Nov 04, 2021 4:58 pm

I join Neal in his comments.

The article was very thorough. It was written that the GBMB has 200 retirees and the expense is $600k-$1m annually. Years of financial mismanagement underlies this decision. CP is struggling. I don’t know any pastor who has this kind of lifetime benefit and if I understood it, surviving spouses keep the lifetime benefit. Decades of rising retirement obligations for the convention. Unsustainable.

There are a couple of things questionable going on. Nobody ever talks in public around here. I’d expect the matter to be raised at the GBMB annual meeting this month.
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Re: Georgia Baptists eliminate retiree benefits, citing budg

Postby Dave Roberts » Sat Nov 06, 2021 1:15 pm

In most businesses, pensioner promises are set aside when those people retire to finance that for the average life-expectancy of that person. It sounds like the GBMB just assumed that income would always keep pace with the demands and it has not. The poor management has come back to void the word of the convention.
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Re: Georgia Baptists eliminate retiree benefits, citing budg

Postby William Thornton » Mon Nov 08, 2021 5:27 pm

They have worked it out to pay the retirees 2022 bills. Not sure if it a permanent solution. The GBMB will not foot the bill.
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Re: Georgia Baptists eliminate retiree benefits, citing budg

Postby Neil Heath » Wed Nov 10, 2021 5:15 pm

The latest public report is that they are getting funding for at least another year from the Baptist Healthcare folks, but the devil may be in the details. Here's a link to the latest article. Not sure I can find the earlier one.
https://christianindex.org/stories/retirees-of-the-georgia-baptist-mission-board-will-continue-to-receive-insurance-stipends,7840

We're still waiting for some official word on how to proceed. I don't know if they are going to fund our existing coverage for at least one more year, or if we need to sign up for our own coverage and get funds from them to help pay for it. Also don't know if their help will cover the full cost or just a part. We need a definite word very soon. Time is growing short to make our plans. Some of the retirees have already made other arrangements, and are hoping they aren't caught in the resulting choices made after they were told they should find their own.
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Re: Georgia Baptists eliminate retiree benefits, citing budg

Postby Dave Roberts » Sun Nov 14, 2021 6:36 am

It sounds like the communication has been extremely poor. I am sorry that you cannot count on knowing exactly what they will do because they do not seem to have a clear picture.
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Re: Georgia Baptists eliminate retiree benefits, citing budg

Postby Tim Bonney » Tue Nov 16, 2021 5:42 pm

I am sorry GA Baptist are going through this!

In the Iowa Conference UMC I believe that retirees already have to pay for their own insurance. Active clergy insurance is payed through a group plan with funds coming from the local churches. In that plan the clergy person has to pay the difference of the cost to add family/spouse coverage.
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