What to Know About Employee Benefits

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Your ministry only happens because of the people behind it – and establishing a solid Employee Benefits program is a powerful way to thank your team and show you care about their well-being. By working with a ministry specialist, you can get the best coverage for your staff while also respecting the budget expectations of your donors. In this article, we’ll walk you through basic types of employee benefits, and a few options specific to ministry.

Health Insurance 

Health insurance is the foundation of an effective employee benefits package. This coverage can provide your ministry team with access to necessary medical care, preventative screenings, and wellness programs. Providing health insurance to your team can greatly reduce their stress and allow them to focus more of their time and energy on ministry and serving your community. 

There are several different types of health insurance plans that your church can offer, including:

Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) plans: These plans typically have lower out-of-pocket costs but restrict your staff to a network of doctors and hospitals.

Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) plans: These plans provide more flexibility in terms of choosing doctors and hospitals, but may come with higher out-of-pocket costs.

Point of Service (POS) plans: These plans are a hybrid of HMO and PPO plans, allowing for some out-of-network care while still providing access to a network of preferred providers.

High Deductible Health Plans (HDHPs) with Health Savings Accounts (HSAs): These plans have lower premiums but higher deductibles, and can be paired with a Health Savings Account (HSA) to allow employees to save pre-tax dollars for out-of-pocket expenses. 

When choosing a health insurance plan, it’s important to consider the needs of your ministry team and find a plan that offers the right balance of coverage and affordability. Additionally, a specialist in ministry benefits can help navigate the different options available and find a plan that fits your specific needs and budget.

Short and Long Term Disability

Short and Long-Term Disability insurance is another important component of an employee benefits package. This type of insurance provides financial protection to employees who are unable to work due to an illness or injury.

Short-Term Disability: This insurance typically provides benefits for a limited period, such as six months, while an employee is unable to work due to an illness or injury. 

Long-Term Disability: This insurance provides benefits for an extended period, such as several years or until retirement age, if an employee is unable to work due to a long-term illness or injury. 

An important note here for California churches. In California, churches are exempt from State Disability Insurance (SDI). However, if you choose to not participate in SDI, it is even more important to consider providing private disability insurance. Disability is a critical coverage, and choosing to not offer any of this type of insurance places a stressful burden on your employees.

Health Sharing Ministries

A Health Sharing Ministry is a faith-based healthcare program in which members share healthcare expenses. Members of the ministry pool their money to pay for each other’s medical expenses, similar to a cooperative or a mutual aid society. The concept is based on the principle of bearing one another’s burdens, as taught in Galatians:

‘Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.’ Galatians 6:2 NIV

There are a few reasons someone would consider enrolling in a Health Sharing Ministry. The main reason is usually cost, HSM’s are often more affordable than traditional health insurance plans. You may also decide to enroll in an HSM if you feel the core values of the organization reflect your own, as these groups are often founded on biblical principles. 

Key Person Insurance

Key Person Policies are life insurance policies that can provide financial protection to your ministry in the event of the death of a key employee. For ministries, this often may be a senior pastor, director, or other critical member of the staff. If the key person passes away, the policy payout can be used to fund the search for a replacement or provide financial support to the organization during the transition period.

It’s important to note that Key Person Policies can be incredibly valuable to churches, especially when considering the impact a lead pastor may have on the long term survivability of the ministry. This policies are often much more affordable than ministries expect, and your board should seriously consider the role this insurance could play in an unexpected leadership transition.

Insurance for Missionaries

There are two types of medical coverage your ministry should seriously consider when sponsoring mission work:

International Travel Insurance: This type of insurance can provide medical coverage for your mission team when they are temporarily traveling abroad. This insurance can cover accidents and illnesses, as well emergency medical evacuation services. 

Missionary Respite Medical Insurance: It’s less complicated than it sounds. This is temporary medical insurance your ministry can offer to foreign missionaries staying in the United States when they return stateside for brief rest and recuperation (also known as respite). 

Together, these coverages can provide comprehensive protection for your mission workers, regardless of where they are traveling to and from. 

Next Steps

Ministry is hard work, and it shouldn’t be made harder by not having the right coverage. By providing Employee Benefits to your staff, you can give them peace of mind and the ability to focus on serving their families, community and God. 

Worried about the cost? Your local Ministry Benefits specialist can help your church or ministry navigate the different options available and find a plan that fits your specific needs and budget.

Click the “Get a Quote” button at the top of this screen to contact your local advisor, or explore our other coverage pages to learn more about guarding your ministry’s finances and reputation.