Counseling Funds Policy

The West Michigan Conference Board of Pension and Health Care and the Board of Ordained Ministry provide funds for clergy counseling which is not covered by your health insurance plan (either the Conference Health Care Insurance Program or another plan that you may be a participant in).  After meeting your deductible and co-pay, your health insurance plan will pay the applicable percentage of the approved amount for visits to a Certified Psychologist or Psychiatrist.  There is no (insurance) reimbursement for visits to Pastoral Counselors under this Policy.  The Board of Ordained Ministry has a separate policy for Spiritual Direction Counseling.  It is to the Conference’s financial benefit if we use certified doctors under the Conference Heath Care Insurance Program.

Annual Conference Board of Pension and Health Care Board Funds bring the amount reimbursed up to 80% of the approved amount, but not to more than $48.00 total per visit to a counselor.  This supplement is limited to 50 visits in a calendar year.

The Board of Ordained Ministry will supplement these payments at 100% of the unpaid balance of the approved amount (less deductible) for the first 3 visits and at 50% for the next 17 visits.  This reimbursement of 20 individual visits can be reinstated after there is a break of 6 months following the first 20 sessions.

When a number of persons in one family are going for counseling, the maximum of 20 visits a year are accumulated per individual. If a husband and wife are visiting the same counselor concurrently, each accumulates a visit as each is being benefited by the same session.

The records and information of the individual or family in counseling are confidential. The Board of Ordained Ministry representative is named by the Board, but this person has no access to the counseling agenda or content.  The Conference Treasurer’s Office keeps track of the number of visits and the balance of payments between the insurance company, the Conference, and the Board of Ordained Ministry, as well the balance to be paid by the individual.

Any changes in the provisions of the Conference Health Care Insurance Program that affect this Policy will be communicated to participants of the program by the provider or the Conference Office.

PROCEDURES:  It is important to note that this policy is an employee benefit and should be administered in a nondiscriminatory manner and with due regard for privacy by observing the following steps:

  1. Conference Lay Employees or Clergy who needs counseling, contacts the BOM Liaison ([email protected]) to request participation in the program.
  2. The BOM Liaison informs the applicant of the policy including information that the transaction is between the therapist and the applicant and to make payment arrangement if the therapist is not a participating provider in the applicant’s health insurance program.
  3. The BOM Liaison informs the Conference Treasurer of the new application for the purpose of verifying eligibility.
  4. The applicant submits the therapy bill to the Conference Treasurer for payment or reimbursement.
  5. Conference Treasurer issues the check to the applicant.

revised November 2017