May 30, 2008

Uninsured Pastors

According to a survey by the National Association of Evangelicals, the majority of responses to the question “How do pastors and other church employees in your church, denomination or organization secure health insurance?” indicated they have little or no help from their national denominations. Two common solutions for pastors are to seek health insurance benefits though a spouse’s employer or to go without coverage.

The head of a large evangelical denomination explained that “We had a denominational plan. But it went belly up because the younger ministers and mega-churches could get cheaper insurance elsewhere. Now churches find insurance as best they can.”

Many pastors take second jobs to get insurance. “Well over 80% of our pastors get health insurance outside the life of the church,” reported one denominational CEO. He went on to say that about 10% of the pastors in his denomination receive coverage from Medicare or Medicaid. “Only a few of our churches are adequately addressing this problem. This is also a major barrier to attracting young pastors to our churches.”

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