Direct Billing:
On the Agenda for Annual Conference 2003


During Pre-Conference Briefing Sessions offered in each district this month, church leaders are receiving information about direct billing. What is it, and when will direct billing commence in the Holston Conference?

The Board of Pensions is working with a task force to study the concept of direct billing all pensions and health plan costs to the local church and pastor. Direct billing removes all ministerial pension and health benefit expenses from the conference budget and reallocates them to the local church and individual participants. The local church would be billed for 100 percent of the Ministerial Pension Plan and the Comprehensive Protection Plan expense plus the 25 percent of health insurance currently paid by Holston Conference.

This shifts responsibility from the conference Fair Share Apportionment (FSA) budget to the local church. Congregations would realize increased expense for pastorÕs pension and insurance, which would be offset for most by decreases in their conference FSA. Most congregations would realize a net savings while a few will see an increase in total cost. Direct billing enables every congregation to see its total personnel expense at the local level.

The Board of Pensions has two task forces in place researching the Pensions and Health Benefits package and the direct billing concept. Both expect to have recommendations for the 2003 session of Holston Annual Conference. If approved, the current assumption is that changes would be effective Jan. 1, 2004.

The Rev. Matthews is Holston Conference treasurer.

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