2020 WELS VEBA Health Plan Open Enrollment

WELS VEBA provides health benefits for workers at WELS and ELS calling bodies across the country.  The above video provides information on the important advantages of WELS VEBA.  A flyer highlighting the main points discussed in the video is available for download here.  We encourage you to share this video and flyer with fellow workers and leaders at your organization as you make future health coverage decisions.

The WELS VEBA Commission is pleased to offer an open enrollment for the WELS VEBA Group Health Care Plan for the 2020 plan year.  The open enrollment is available to eligible workers at all WELS and ELS sponsoring organizations, including sponsoring organizations that do not currently participate in WELS VEBA.  Enrollment will open on Friday, November 1, 2019 and run through Monday, December 2, 2019.

If you would like to enroll in WELS VEBA or make a change to your current WELS VEBA coverage, you can do so via the WELS Benefits Service Center website at www.wels.bswift.com or by calling 1-800-487-8322 (option 1) beginning November 1, 2019.  Please carefully consider this opportunity to enroll in WELS VEBA, as the VEBA Commission does not hold an open enrollment every year.

Information regarding the 2020 open enrollment and WELS VEBA benefits is available in the 2020 WELS VEBA Benefits Guide.

Please consult with your calling body or employer as you make changes in benefit coverage to discuss the impact on its financial resources and any additional financial obligation which you may incur.  WELS VEBA health plan rates for 2020 are available here on the Benefit Plans website.

2020 WELS Pension Plan Contribution Rates

The 2020 contribution rates for the WELS Pension Plan are now available on this page.

The 6% increase was approved by the WELS Retirement Program Commission to continue its efforts to improve the Plan’s funded status and recover from the 2008-09 market downturn.

 

2020 WELS VEBA Health Plan Rates

The 2020 premium rates for the WELS VEBA Group Health Care Plan will increase by 2% for all plan options over the current 2019 rates.  This will mark the second consecutive year in which the WELS VEBA health plan rates have increased by 2%.  The WELS VEBA health plan has experienced better-than-expected claims costs and investment returns over the past 18 months, which has allowed the WELS VEBA Commission to limit the 2020 rate increase to 2% while maintaining adequate reserves.

The deductibles for WELS VEBA Plan 3 will increase to $2,800/individual and $5,600/family per IRS regulations to remain qualified for use with a Health Savings Account.  No other changes to cost-sharing amounts (e.g. deductibles) or covered services are expected for the 2020 plan year.

In addition, the WELS VEBA Commission has approved a full open enrollment that will run from November 1, 2019 through December 2, 2019 for coverage effective January 1, 2020.  All eligible workers will have the opportunity to enroll for new coverage or make changes to their existing WELS VEBA coverage.  Open enrollment materials will be mailed to eligible workers in late-October.

Please carefully consider this opportunity to enroll in WELS VEBA, as a full open enrollment is not guaranteed to be offered every year.

2018 WELS Benefit Plans Annual Report

Through the WELS Benefit Plans, our church body walks together to take care of the health and financial wellbeing of the families of workers at WELS ministries.  The sole purpose of the WELS Benefit Plans is to support WELS ministry efforts by providing Benefit Plans that are comprehensive for workers, cost-effective for ministries, and consistent with God’s Word.

We invite you to read our 2018 annual report, which includes a summary of the benefits we provide and highlights of 2018 financial results.

 

2019 WELS Benefit Plans Summary

The following provides a summary of the WELS Benefit Plans for 2019 and information to help newly-hired workers begin participating in the plans.

WELS VEBA

To participate in WELS VEBA, a new worker must enroll within 60 days of his/her employment start date.  To enroll, login to the WELS Benefits Service Center website at wels.bswift.com or call 1-800-487-8322 (option 1).

WELS Pension Plan

Participation in the WELS Pension Plan is automatic for called workers upon acceptance of a formal call issued by WELS.  Called workers do not need to complete an enrollment form to participate in the WELS Pension Plan.

WELS Shepherd Plan

Contact the calling body to which you have been assigned to determine if they have adopted the Shepherd Plan and to obtain enrollment instructions.

 

New Website for Sponsoring Organizations

The Benefit Plans Office is pleased to introduce a new website with content dedicated for use primarily by sponsoring organization representatives, such as treasurers, business managers, and other organizational leaders. Visit the website at: https://resources.welsbpo.net.

Initial content includes information for organizations to prepare for the upcoming 2019 WELS VEBA limited open enrollment period, general information about the WELS Benefit Plans, and resources to assist organizational representatives in their year-round administrative activities. We encourage sponsoring organization representatives to use this new website as a primary resource and refer to it frequently.

2018 Benefits Guide

If you are a new worker at a WELS ministry organization or would simply like to learn more about the benefits available through the WELS Benefit Plans, we encourage you to read the 2018 WELS Benefit Plans Guide at the link below.  The Guide provides a brief overview of the WELS VEBA Group Health Care Plan, the WELS Pension Plan and the WELS Shepherd Plan.

If you have questions or would like additional information, please feel free to contact the WELS Benefit Plans Office by email to bpo@wels.net or by calling 1-800-487-8322.

 

 

Important Advantages of WELS VEBA

WELS VEBA provides health benefits for workers at WELS and ELS calling bodies across the country.  The above video provides information on the important advantages of WELS VEBA.  A flyer highlighting the main points discussed in the video is available for download here.  We encourage you to share this video and flyer with fellow workers and leaders at your organization as you make future health coverage decisions.

The business of health coverage is now more confusing than ever, especially given the uncertainties brought about by health care reform.  As our church’s health plan and trusted resource for health benefits, you can rest assured that WELS VEBA will analyze the complex regulations to ensure compliance with all applicable laws and offer the best coverage at a reasonable price for WELS/ELS pastors, teachers, staff ministers, and lay workers.

By providing WELS VEBA to our workers and their families, calling bodies ensure stable, high-quality health coverage for the duration of our workers’ WELS/ELS ministries, regardless of where the Lord calls them to serve.

WELS Benefit Plans Office, on behalf of the WELS VEBA Commission

Anthem LiveHealth Online

Easy, fast doctor visits. All from the comfort of your own computer or mobile device 365 days a year.

LiveHealth Online is a new communications tool provided by Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield that allows you to talk to doctors online by two-way video on a computer. Doctors can answer questions, make a diagnosis, and may prescribe basic medications (as legally permitted in certain states).

Highlights
  • It’s accessible. You can use LiveHealth Online at work, at home or anywhere you have computer access. You never need an appointment.
  • It’s fast. You can log in and talk to a doctor within a few minutes.
  • It’s flexible to meet your schedule. Doctors are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
  • It’s private, secure, and you can typically select between several available board-certified physicians.
  • It’s affordable. The cost of a visit is $49, and will be applied to your WELS VEBA deductible and coinsurance amounts. If your deductible is met, you only pay the applicable in-network coinsurance.
  • It’s available to your entire family. Family and friends who are not covered under WELS VEBA can also use the service; they simply pay the full $49 for the visit.
  • It’s convenient. LiveHealth Online accepts payments via MasterCard, Visa, and Discover.
Common Symptoms That Can Be Treated Via LiveHealth Online
  • Cold & flu symptoms, such as a cough, fever and headache
  • Allergies
  • Bronchitis
  • Diarrhea
  • Family health questions
  • Headache/migraine
  • Hypertension
  • Pinkeye and other eye infections
  • Rashes
  • Sinus infections
  • Smoking cessation
  • Sprains and strains
  • Urinary tract infections

Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield Cyber Attack

As widely reported, Anthem, Inc. was the target of a sophisticated external cyber attack that occurred in December 2014 and January 2015. Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield is the claims administrator for the WELS VEBA Group Health Care Plan. Anthem has informed us that WELS VEBA members since 2004 may be at risk of unauthorized access to their confidential data.

Current and former WELS VEBA members are encouraged to visit Anthem’s cyber attack website at www.anthemfacts.com or call Anthem’s hotline at 877-263-7995 for up-to-date information on the attack and its impact on members, as well as instructions on how to utilize free credit monitoring and identify theft repair services.

The pages below provide updates sent to WELS VEBA members and calling bodies based on information provided by Anthem: