By Melissa Lauber
In a move to support clergy couples in addressing the rising costs of health care, Annual Conference members voted to create a policy that ensures a specific policy and an annually-called meeting that will address the needs of these couples and their families.
Since 2014, clergy couples with children have been able to consolidate their coverage under a single Healthflex account. Despite that, not everyone took advantage of this option.
The Revs. Melissa and John Rudolph, and Katie and Chris Bishop, spoke passionately about the financial implications and difficulties facing families in which the parents are both clergy, and Melissa Rudolph proposed a motion to address their struggles.
Since existing measures could be used to help alleviate some of their financial burden, the Rev. Deborah Scott made a substitute motion that was subsequently perfected by the body.
The final motion, which passed 653 to 9, read: “The Baltimore-Washington Conference Council on Finance and Administration and health representatives will host a meeting before Sept. 1, 2016, and annually thereafter, to address clergy couples’ concerns surrounding health care and make sure all are properly enrolled in one health care plan. It shall remain the policy of the annual conference for clergy couples to have the option to remain in one policy.”
The conference will also ensure its database is able to identify and track clergy couples. Current reports indicate the BWC has five clergy couples with children.