Palm Springs IV

     The UUA took the plan over from the UUMA in 1986 and bent a series of efforts to stabilize and strengthen the plan, but despite Herculean efforts by the Council on Church Staff Finances and the Administration, the situation got worse and worse.  An independent insurance consulting firm advised us that the plan was not viable unless we were to make it mandatory for all clergy, church staff and UUA staff.  Even then, the initial years would be difficult.

     The consultants were asked to estimate how much of a lump sum payment might be required to salvage the plan.  They said they could not be certain but not even $10 million would guarantee continuity.  Those ministers and church staff who are members of the Plan are being left in great uncertainty, we are all aware.  Most will be able to secure other, possibly cheaper coverage, but too many will find themselves uninsurable, or limited in options and coverage by preexisting conditions of their own or members of their families.  In order to avoid gaps in coverage because of waiting periods, many will face he necessity of paying for some kind of double coverage for a period of time.

     Ministers and congregations will also face problems because most regionally based coverage which will be available will not have portability, and the transferability of our clergy may be limited.  This is altogether a most unhappy situation.  Many people worked long and hard to avert it, but there is no basis for putting off the inevitable any longer.  Everything that can reasonably be done to ease the transition will be done.  Until we know how each individual situation shakes out, we will not know the totality of the problem facing us and what it might be feasible to do about it.

     Your Moderator and I met with the Executive Committee of the UUMA and with the Association body itself on Wednesday to explain the action taken and what we would have to suffer with until we know enough to attempt to deal in some constructive way with the fallout from our decision.  Both the UUMA Executive Committee and the ministers as a group were most understanding - and anxious to offer positive assistance to ministers and to the Council on Church Staff Finances as we try to work through the next seven months to the effective termination date.

     Without the measure of the problem it would be impossible to make any commitments as to  how much financial help the UUMA or the UUA can provide.  We are all most sensitive to the wrenching ethical questions posed here:  namely how much of a commitment can the UUA make, given its own limited resources, to those plan participants who will we left at serious financial risk as a result of this action. 

     The Administration and the Board are going to try to do as much as is feasible.  Give us a chance to get the measure of the problem and to study the alternatives.  It was not, and is not, the intention of the Board to wash its hands of the participants, but only to recognize at last, that the plan we had cannot be made to work.

     For those inerested in considering this further - discussing the problems - there will be a hearing this evening at 10:00 pm in the Mohawk Learning center in the Wyndham Hotel.

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