May 5 Update from the Pension Boards

Dear Friends,

Greetings to you on behalf of the Pension Boards staff and Trustees. We pray that you and your loved ones remain well.

As we reported in last week’s update, although our staff team continues to work from home, the executive team has begun planning for a gradual re-entry into our offices at a date to be determined in accordance with state and local mandates. Our return to the office will be implemented carefully and thoughtfully to ensure the safety of our colleagues. Additional information will be shared with you once the plan is in place.

Those of you who are members of the Annuity Plan received an email last Friday with information concerning the Pension Boards’ Annual Meeting of Members on Thursday, May 14, at 8:30 a.m. (Eastern), which will be held virtually this year due to the pandemic. To participate:

  • Annuity Plan Members: You will need to log in to your member portal on the Pension Boards’ website. (NOTE: You will need your seven-digit member ID and password. If you have not set up a member login, please take a few minutes to do so prior to the Annual Meeting.)
  • Once you have logged in, you will see information about the Annual Meeting and a link to the video-conference. The link and information will be available on Tuesday, May 12.
  • Log in to your member portal on May 14 and click on the link to join the Annual Meeting.
  • Click here to vote online for your proxy representative to the Annual Meeting and for Pension Boards Trustees if you have not already done so. (NOTE: Have your seven-digit Pension Boards Member ID number available to use the online voting portal.) All voting will close at 5:00 p.m. (EDT) on Wednesday, May 13, 2020.

You may recall that last week, we reported on some of our efforts in enhancing online systems and communications. Enhancing our service to members and employers – through better understanding of member needs, improved customer service satisfaction and timeliness, and increased data security – is a key emphasis of our 2020 Strategic Plan. I am pleased to share that, even in this time of disruption, performance metrics through the end of April show that the Pension Boards has made significant progress toward better serving you. Be assured that these objectives remain front and center as we do our work not only at this time, but continually.

Be sure to visit the Pension Boards’ COVID-19 News and Information web page for the most up-to-date information on benefits and resources available to UCC employees and employers. You may also contact us at 1.800.642.6543 if you have any questions or need assistance.

Thank you for your faithful ministry.

Wishing you peace and good health,

Brian R. Bodager

New! Fireside Chat Series: Episode #5

Our investment team continues to work diligently on your behalf during this time of volatility. This week's Fireside Chat features a conversation with Minoti Dhanaraj, Senior Analyst/External Investments, and the Rev. Dr. James Moos, Executive Director of Faith and Finance Ministries, about the benefits of Target Annuitization Date (TAD) Funds for Annuity Plan members in the accumulation phase.

A Pastoral Reflection from the Rev. Dr. Jim Moos

Ubuntu is a Southern African term that is often translated as, “I am because we are.” It means that we cannot become the people we are created to be and fulfill our potential apart from one another. Ubuntu points to the truth that our lives, our destinies, our very humanity are formed in community.

Sometimes that mutuality joins us together in grief, as it has during the COVID-19 pandemic, which is taking a growing number of lives and has driven us into economic recession. Not only has every state in the union borne these impacts, so has every nation on earth. The good news is that the same interconnectedness that joins us in grief and loss also binds us together in hope and action.

Read more here >>

Emergency Grants from the Christmas Fund

If you are experiencing a critical situation and need financial assistance, you may be eligible for an Emergency Grant from the Christmas Fund if you are:

  • a currently Authorized Minister in the United Church of Christ;
  • a lay employee of a UCC congregation, Association, Conference, or National Setting with a minimum of 10 years of service;
  • a surviving spouse/partner of the above; or a
  • a Member in Discernment for at least a year.

If you meet the eligibility criteria described above, please contact your Conference staff, who will then reach out to Rev. Krista Betz, the Director of Ministerial Assistance, to begin the process. UCBMA can respond to the increasing requests for assistance because of the generosity of individuals and congregations to the Christmas Fund.

Can You Spare Your Stimulus Check?

For many, government-issued stimulus checks are a welcome and essential boost at a precarious financial moment. Others, though, are blessed to have resources to survive without it. If you are able, would you consider donating your stimulus check, or a portion of it, so that money can reach those United Church of Christ pastors and lay workers who are struggling? The Christmas Fund for Veterans of the Cross and the Emergency Fund exists to provide direct financial assistance to those who need it most. You can choose to give online, or make checks payable to UCBMA, earmarked for The Christmas Fund, then mail to: Pension Boards-United Church of Christ, Christmas Fund, 75 Remittance Drive, Suite 1637, Chicago, IL 60675.

Employer Online Payment Portal

Employers have the option to pay invoices online. Among the benefits of using online bill payment are avoiding postage costs and postal delays; receiving immediate confirmation of payment; and real-time posting of the payment to your account.

If you have not already set up an employer account on our website, click here to register for online bill payment. Select Sign In, then click on the New User link to register. You will need to have a valid email address on file with the Pension Boards. If we do not have a valid email address, please contact our Member Services team at 1.800.642.6543. If a valid email address is on file, follow the steps to set up your account and create a password. Once registered, follow the steps below to pay your invoice:

  • Select Billing.
  • Select View/Pay Bill to review your list of employees and invoice amounts.
  • If you agree with the total amount displayed, select Pay Now to pay your invoice.
  • Follow the prompts on the screen to set up your payments.

If you have any questions, please contact Member Services at the number listed above.

Health Plans

All UCC coverage (health, pharmacy, dental, and vision benefits) remains in place, with no discontinuation or interruption in service.

  • NEW: COVID-19 antibody testing is available at no cost to participants in the UCC Non Medicare and Medicare Supplement Plans. Watch for more information on the Pension Boards website in the days ahead.
  • COVID-19 testing, which is available currently at no cost to participants in the UCC Non-Medicare and Medicare Supplement Plan with Rx, will now include other tests (e.g., flu tests, blood tests, etc.) that are deemed medically appropriate to determine the need for the COVID-19 diagnostic test. Please contact Highmark Member Service at 1.866.763.9471 with any questions.
  • Through May 31, all in-network deductibles, co-insurance and co-payments are waived for participants in the UCC Non-Medicare and Medicare Supplement with Rx Health Plans who require hospitalization following a positive test for COVID-19.
  • The normal copay for telemedicine services through Teladoc is also waived at this time.

If you have any questions, or experience any problems with your health coverage, please contact us at 1.800.642.6543.

Mental and Emotional Wellness in a Time of Crisis

The coronavirus pandemic has affected our lives in every way – ministry, family life and relationships, caregiving, finances, increased stress and anxiety, and more. Your UCC Health Plan has a number of mental health resources to assist participants and their covered dependents in coping with the impact of COVID in healthier ways.

  • Mental health and substance abuse services are available through the Non-Medicare Health Plan and Medicare Supplement w/Rx Plan, at the same coverage levels, copayments, and coinsurance levels as physical care. Please check the Plan Highlights booklet for your plan for more information about your coverage.
  • For Non-Medicare Health Plan participants, the Member Assistance Program through Health Advocate provides resources and guidance to help members cope in these unprecedented conditions. Health Advocate also offers short-term counseling. Visit their website or call 1.877.240.6863.
  • Teladoc, the Plan’s telemedicine partner, also provides behavioral health services. Visit the Teladoc website or call 1.800.TELADOC (1.800.835.2362). The normal $10 copay for telemedicine services is waived through June 13.

Member Services

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Our full Member Services staff team is available as before to take your calls and answer any questions you may have. They may be reached at 1.800.642.6543 as well as on the online chat function on our website.

During this time, please remember that you can fax or email documents and forms to us at 212.729.2701 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., respectively, avoiding delays that may occur with postal mail.

Stay informed. Visit the Pension Boards’ website, and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.