Why Mutual Aid Matters

The need for health care is an issue for each of us. Finding as many ways as possible to have affordable access to health care has been a central question over recent time. For Christians sharing is a part of our understanding of what it means to be a believer and follower of Jesus. The name, The Corinthian Plan, reflects Scriptures from II Corinthians 8: 1 -15; 9: 6-15.

The goal of The Corinthian Plan from the vision stages and its inception in 2010 has been to provide:

  • Health coverage
  • Ensuring that everyone is guaranteed coverage
  • Helping congregations that can’t afford coverage

In practical terms there are two main components to the mutual aid of The Corinthian Plan.

1)    No exclusions for health conditions. The goal was to put together coverage which would cover everyone who desired to enroll. That is, The Corinthian Plan’s pool of persons would not exclude anyone for any health reason. There would be no underwriting for congregations which joined The Corinthian Plan from the beginning or during open enrollment periods. This was before the Affordable Care Act was implemented, when health insurers could exclude people from coverage.

Why this is important is perhaps obvious: how could we, as a denomination, justify putting together a new health coverage program where some would be excluded.

However, how we get there is a little more challenging. When premium rates are put together and everyone is included, no matter the health care needs, premium rates are higher than if those with higher health expenses are excluded. Congregations with multiple staff/several family and individual premiums are sometimes challenged with cost, but also are aware their premiums help support others.

What has helped to hold together The Corinthian Plan has been this understanding of sharing, which has allowed for more to benefit by working together.

2)    Congregational Subsidies. Each congregation participating in The Corinthian Plan pays $10 annually, multiplied by their average attendance. This contribution goes into the Fair Balance Fund which in turn helps congregations that can’t afford to pay their health coverage premiums. In addition, congregations who want to participate in The Corinthian Plan (but whose pastor has other health coverage, such as a spouse’s plan or Medicare) pay a set amount toward ensuring that everyone is guaranteed coverage. This also ensures the congregation’s access to The Corinthian Plan in the event their pastor’s needs would change.

 

Why this is important is probably also obvious. What sense would it be to have a health coverage plan which some congregations could not afford? This plan virtually ensures that congregations which sign up for The Corinthian Plan can also afford their premiums through the support and mutual aid of others.

Why does mutual aid matter? It matters because of who we are called to be as disciples of Jesus Christ. It matters because what we are called to is more than words, but actions that have specific impact on others. It matters because Mennonite Church USA is a community.

If your congregation needs help The Corinthian Plan will provide it. All congregations concerned about the cost will be able to apply for assistance from the Fair Balance Fund. Contact The Corinthian Plan Director at DuncanS@MennoniteUSA.org for more information.

See the plan overview for more details.