Insurance committee adopts walking program


By The Advocate

Participants in the Mississippi Conference health insurance program will have added incentive to exercise beginning in January.

In addition, the conference Board of Medical Benefits is proposing two changes to the program, one relating to wellness benefits and the other to costs for surviving spouses.

The committee voted April 12 to adopt a program that mixes Bible study and walking. The program, run by Healthbux, a wellness group, encourages participates to measure the number of steps they take each day toward a set goal. Each goal is tied to a journey in the Bible.

The program was piloted by the conference office during Lent.

Those taking part will be provided a pedometer, devotionals, challenges and a reward system for reaching pre-set goals.

The program will be free for insurance program participants. Non-participants will be able to participate for a fee.

Proposed changes
Currently, the conference medical benefit plan covers in-network wellness services at 100 percent up to $200 for persons under age 50 and up to $250 for persons age 50 and over.

The Board of Medical Benefits is proposing that adult wellness continues as a $200/$250 benefit and that amounts exceeding the dollar limits be applied to the deductible and out-of-pocket amounts. The wellness services (as recommended by the American Cancer Society) will be subject to the following limitations and are not covered for non-network providers:

  • Mammograms — Ages 35-40, one to establish a baseline; ages 40 and older, one per calendar year
  • Prostate Exams — One per calendar year
  • Pap Test — One per calendar year
  • Colonoscopy — One every 10 years
  • Fecal Occult Blood Test — One per calendar year
  • Flexible Sigmoidoscopy — One every five years
  • Double-Contrasted Barium enema — One every five years
  • Skin Exam (for people at high risk) — Over age 20, every three years; over age 40, one per year

The committee is also recommending that costs exceeding the well-baby care benefit be applied to the deductible and out-of-pocket costs.

The board’s second proposal is that surviving spouses who were on the plan at the death of the clergy member pay for their continued coverage. The cost will be the lesser of the clergy cost, with credit for the years served, or the spousal cost. It will be determined annually in the same manner.

All surviving spouses receiving health insurance coverage at no cost as of Dec. 31 would continue to receive the coverage at no cost. 

The walking program will begin after Annual Conference. Other changes, if adopted, would take effect Jan. 1.