Ministerial Wellness: Understanding and Choosing Health Insurance

As a minister, it can be tempting to focus purely on those you serve, and not place your needs as high on your priority list as you should. But, what happens if you get sick? Can your ministry be sustained long term if your health care needs are not being met?

While there are a variety of options for health care, peace of mind can come from knowing that good, quality healthcare providers are accessible when you need them. The question is: How can you determine what kind of coverage you or your family needs? (Tip: A low-cost plan may not equal good coverage.)

Count the Costs

In terms of health plans, there are some options available that at first glance could seem sufficient. One question you should consider is, how much can I afford to pay out of my own pocket when I need to use my healthcare benefits? To determine your out-of-pocket costs, you should explore basic expenses associated with the plan such as:

  1. How much is the deductible?
    (the amount of money an insured person pays out-of-pocket before their insurance company will begin paying for covered expenses)
  2. What is the coinsurance payment?
    (the percentage of a covered health care service's cost that a patient pays after meeting their deductible)
  3. What are the copays for the services I will need?
    (a fixed amount that a policyholder must pay against the medical expenses)Teladoc remains committed to continuing to improve your experience and, provided you have our Highmark medical coverage, you have this great benefit available to you for a $0 copay!

These basic plan costs will let you know how much you will pay out of your own pocket when the need for health care arises. We will all need healthcare and ideally, you want your insurance coverage to help make sure using these services will not cause a financial burden to you.

Seek Large Network Providers

Another critical consideration for determining if a health plan is right for you would be the network of providers. Most healthcare providers are selective about which insurance companies they choose to contract with to provide medical services. They want to connect with highly regarded insurance companies that they know take good care of their members. When deciding on which coverage might be best, you want to choose a large network of providers so you can have choices in selecting the best providers for you. The more substantial the network is, the better off you will be.

Look for a Wide Range of Health Services

Perhaps the most important aspect in contemplating your health insurance plan is the variety of services that are accessible to you. Look for a wide range of preventative care services such as annual wellness exams, immunizations, and diagnostic services that are available at little or no cost to you. These services keep you healthy and on track to catch any potential health concerns early.

There are other questions to determine what services may be important to you.

  • Can you go to your doctor without it costing you a lot each time you go?
  • If you are considering having a family, is the maternity coverage good and cost effective?
  • Are mental health services available to you during times of emotional stress or burnout?

In addition, you may prefer to reach out to a healthcare provider from the convenience of your home. Is telemedicine available and easy to use? Determining what is important to you in your healthcare coverage makes it easier to decide if the services you need will be available to you.

Choosing a health plan can seem overwhelming. But, if you break it down into components such as out-of- pocket costs, the network of providers, and the available services, you can focus on what will be most important for you and your family.

Taking care of your physical and mental health is crucial to ensuring your ministry is sustained. It can be tempting to choose a plan that seems less expensive initially. Are higher out-of-pocket costs, a smaller network and less services is really what will serve you best? Make a decision that will allow you to comfortably navigate your call without the added stresses of less-than-ideal health coverage. You made it this far and deserve what will allow you to serve your call with the peace of mind that a quality health care plan can provide.

Marie Myers, MEd, is Manager of Health Plan Operations at the Penson Boards, responsible for assisting members and employers with health plan questions and concerns. Prior to joining Pension Boards, Marie worked as a Manager of Member Services for United Healthcare. She has over 20 years of experience in health insurance, education, and management and cares deeply about ensuring people have a good understanding of their healthcare coverage and services available.