Caring for Those Who Care: Health Benefits for Ministry Staff (2024)

As your employees continually put others’ needs above their own, your ministry has the opportunity to care for them by offering benefits that prioritize their health and wellbeing. Health benefits for employees can offset the potential financial repercussions of costly healthcare expenses and help your people continue to live out their calling in your ministry. Offering health benefits can also improve employee retention — which is especially important when you have a team that adds value to your mission and cares for your community.

Why are health benefits important for ministries?

According to research from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), 56% of U.S. adults with employer-sponsored health benefits said that whether or not they like their health coverage is a key factor in deciding to stay at their current job.1 Additionally, another report found that 59% of employees would leave their current job for one with better health benefits.2

One aspect of ensuring your ministry’s success is providing for your team so they can continue to do their best work. But health benefits solutions can be confusing, complicated, and overwhelming. Understanding the options available to your ministry, along with common terminology and steps to take, can help you find solutions that ease difficult pain points for your employees.

Budgeting for Benefits: One Step at a Time

Employer-sponsored health plans can be expensive, especially when there are so many factors within a ministry to consider. Common questions to ask include:

  • How many employees do you have?
  • Do any of your staff members qualify for tax credits in the Health Insurance Marketplace®?
  • Is anyone eligible for Medicare?
  • What options can you afford to offer your employees?

It might not be feasible for your ministry to pay for 100% of employees’ health benefits, but it may be possible to budget for something else. Consider offering a solution that balances what your people need with what your ministry can afford. Many ministries that can’t offer full health coverage can offer things like:

  • Stipends for employees to put toward an individual plan
  • Employer-sponsored health savings account (HSA)
  • Coverage for a percentage of health benefits
  • Ancillary benefits such as vision, dental, or life insurance

Understanding Health Benefits: Common Terms

Employee health benefits can be confusing for leaders who are trying to care for their staff — especially when you don’t have a framework for the common terms and acronyms related to health insurance. You might see or hear the following words and phrases as you search for employee health benefits that fit your ministry.

  • PPO
  • HMO
  • Premium
  • Deductible
  • Co-insurance
  • Out-of-pocket Maximum
  • Embedded Deductible vs. Aggregate Deductible

Health Benefits Plans: Finding Your Fit

When your ministry is in a position to provide health benefits for your employees, there are several directions you can take based on your staff and their needs. Plan options vary, but the ones most applicable to ministries are listed below.

Group Plans
When people think of employee health benefits, group plans are probably what come to mind. They’re the most common option for employers, in which employees visit in-network providers for the best pricing. Plan costs are based on several factors, including age of workforce and pre-existing conditions.

Managed Individual Plans
Similar to individual plans, where people purchase plans for themselves and their family on their own, managed individual plans provide a more personalized experience for employees — but with the collective feeling of a group plan for the ministry. Compared to traditional group plans, managed individual plans can offer cost savings and multiple plan options for employees, including dental and vision.

Healthcare Sharing
Some ministries choose a health sharing plan as an alternative to offering a traditional group plan or having employees find their own individual plans. Health sharing plans work through a reimbursem*nt model, requiring their members to pay upfront for healthcare services and get reimbursed for those services through the shared network. Preventative care is not covered in these plans and needs to be paid out of pocket.

International Plans
Traditional health benefits typically don’t extend beyond the United States. If your ministry has employees who live abroad, it’s important to have fully vetted providers in your network that can offer quality, trustworthy care.

Answering all the necessary questions and finding a plan that suits your ministry and your staff members’ needs takes a lot of time — and it might be time you don’t have. Brotherhood Mutual can help you navigate the finer points of health benefits and come up with several affordable options that will work, and all it takes from you is a short phone call. Fill out this form to reach out to us about navigating employee health benefits.


Brotherhood Mutual Insurance Company and its subsidiary, Brotherhood Mutual Insurance Services, LLC ("BMIS") have formed strategic alliances with health benefits advisors to help Christian ministries in the search for affordable health benefits. All insurance coverages are underwritten by various health insurance carriers and sold through BMIS.

Caring for Those Who Care: Health Benefits for Ministry Staff (2024)
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