Proposed Church Health Plan Act of 2013
For over 100 years, church-affiliated organizations such as the Church Pension Group have provided retirement and health benefits to clergy and lay employees. Nationwide, over one million individuals receive healthcare coverage through national church organizations. However, in the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Congress overlooked clergy and lay employees of churches. As a result, the ACA does not extend the same premium tax credits available to the general public to the clergy and lay employees covered in church health plans.
Beginning in 2014, the ACA will offer premium tax credits to certain low- and modest-income families to reduce the cost of commercial health insurance plans offered through a health exchange (health insurance marketplace). Unfortunately, federal law does not extend the same premium tax credits to low- and modest-income clergy or lay employees of churches receiving coverage through a church health plan.
Church Health Plan Act Introduced
On June 13th, Senator Mark Pryor, a Democrat from Arkansas, and Senator Chris Coons, a Democrat from Delaware, introduced legislation called the Church Health Plan Act of 2013 (S. 1164) that would correct this shortcoming by allowing eligible clergy and lay employees enrolled in church health plans to receive the same premium tax credits as other individuals.
The introduction of this legislation is an important step towards addressing this shortcoming of the ACA, but it is critical to have broader bipartisan support of S. 1164 in order to fix this problem now and extend these same premium tax credits to our clergy and lay employees.
Reach Out To Your Senators
We are asking you to write to your senators and urge them to co-sponsor this bill. Click here for short draft letter that you may want to use as a model for your own letter.
You can access the names, addresses and emails of your senators at the U.S. Senate's website.
Thank you for your support of this important legislation.
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