FAQ Brochure (136k Adobe PDF) Contact Form and Info Our “Statement on the
   Holy Ministry”
Our Constitution and Bylaws
General Information Brochure
   (160k Adobe PDF)
Bimonthly Newsletter TAM “Statement on the
   Holy Ministry”
Online Membership
Printable Membership
Insurance Options for Pastors Information for calling a pastor (Applies to LCMS only; 104k Adobe PDF)
Upcoming Conference Info Reading Lists Registration Form Lodging and Directions Daily Schedule Past Conferences

The Augustana Ministerium: A pastoral association formed to preserve and promote Lutheran pastors and a<br>distinctively Lutheran Ministry of Word and Sacrament to Lutheran congregations.

Insurance for Pastors and Their Families

One of the frightening things about being removed from or forced out of a parish is the thought that the pastor’s family may end up as one of the millions of American families without health insurance. This is especially true for those who have pre-existing health conditions—health conditions that were covered by a group health insurance plan through their church body, but that prevent purchasing individual insurance. Many who have such pre-existing conditions find themselves ‘forced’ to remain in church bodies whose teaching and practice have departed from Scripture…and this concern has caused men to compromise their own integrity by bowing to unscriptural demands within a congregation, simply so that their family will not have to suffer.

Most people seem unaware of the fact that the majority of states actually have insurance programs (run for them by major insurance carriers) set up to take care of those whom the insurance companies usually consider ‘uninsurable’ (diabetics, for example). These are termed “Comprehensive Health Insurance Pools,” and they involve high-deductible insurance, usually in connection with a tax-sheltered Health Savings Account. These vary widely from state to state. The Augustana Ministerium is by no means endorsing any insurance plan by the inclusion of this page on its website, but seeks to put you in touch with options that you may not have known that you have. The information found here is from the website of The National Association of State Comprehensive Health Insurance Plans, as it appeared on 31 August 2009. While we will keep this page updated whenever we become aware of a change, it is recommended that you visit the NASCHIP site for up to the minute information.

First, a statement from NASCHIP as to what their member ‘pools’ do, and then the web addresses and phone numbers for the thirty-five states currently with at least some insurance of this type. Please note that when the NASCHIP article mentions a waiting period for pre-existing conditions, usually if you are coming out of another group insurance program (making you ‘federally HSA-Qualified’), there is no waiting period. Nonetheless, check with your state pool to be sure.


What is a Risk Pool?

Health insurance risk pools are special programs created by state legislatures to provide a safety net for the "medically uninsurable" population. These are people who have been denied health insurance coverage because of a pre-existing health condition, or who can only access private coverage that is restricted or has extremely high rates.

Each of the state risk pool-type programs is different. Generally, the programs operate as a state-created nonprofit Association overseen by a board of directors made up of industry, consumer and state insurance department representatives. The board contracts with an established insurance company to collect premiums and pay claims and administer the program on a day-to-day basis. Insurance benefits vary, but risk pools typically offer benefits that are comparable to basic private market plans -- 80/20 major medical and outpatient coverage, a choice of deductible and co-payments. Maximum lifetime benefits vary by state from as low as $350,000 to $2 million.
Generally, there are no exclusions. However, risk pools do have waiting periods for coverage of pre-existing conditions to make sure individuals pay for continual coverage and the program can operate financially sound. Without waiting periods, the concern is that too many people could forego paying for insurance until they had a high cost claim, and the programs could not function financially. However, under the federal portability legislation, people who have had continuous coverage in the group market, not broken by more than 63 days, can access coverage in risk pools without any waiting periods.
Risk pool insurance generally costs more than regular individual insurance, but the premiums are capped by law in each state to protect the individual from exorbitant costs. The caps range from as low as 125 percent of the average for comparable private coverage in some states, up to 200 percent of the average or more in other states. Most states offer coverage at less than 150 percent of the average.
All state risk pools inherently lose money and need to be subsidized. While the individuals in risk pools pay somewhat higher premiums, roughly 50 percent of overall operating costs need to be subsidized. Subsidy mechanisms also vary from state to state -- some states assess all insurance carriers, HMO's and other insurance providers; others provide an appropriation from state general tax revenue; some states share funding of loss subsidies with the insurance industry using an assessment of insurance carriers and providing them a tax credit for the assessment, or other states have a special funding source, such as a tobacco tax, or a hospital or health care provider surcharge.
It is important to note that risk pools are not created expressly to serve the indigent or poor who cannot afford health insurance. Risk pools are designed to serve people who would not otherwise have the right to purchase health insurance protection. The indigent can access coverage through state medical assistance, Medicaid or similar programs. However, some state risk pools do have a subsidy for lower income, medically uninsurable people.
For information about your state, see "States That Have Risk Pools" contact your state insurance department.

States That Have Risk Pools:  

Alabama  (for portability only)
Alabama Health Insurance Plan
Phone 1-800-513-1384 or (334) 242-4301

Alaska Comprehensive Health Insurance Association
Phone 1-800-467-8725 or (907) 269-7900

Arkansas Comprehensive Health Insurance Pool

California Major Risk Medical Insurance Program
Phone 1-800-289-6574 or (916) 324-4695

Phone (303) 863-1960

Connecticut Health Reinsurance Association

Phone 1-800-842-0004

Florida  (not open for new enrollees)
Phone (850) 309-1200

Idaho Individual High Risk Reinsurance Pool

Illinois Comprehensive Health Insurance Plan
Phone 1-800-367-6410 or (217) 782-6333

Indiana Comprehensive Health Association
Phone 1-800-552-7921 or (317) 614-2000

Iowa Comprehensive Health Association
(877) 793-6880

Kansas Health Insurance Association
Phone 1-800-362-9290 or (316) 792-1779

Kentucky Access
Phone (
502) 573-1026

Louisiana Health Insurance Association
Phone 1-800-736-0947 or (
225) 926-6245  

Maryland Health Insurance Plan
Phone (888) 444-9016

Minnesota Comprehensive Health Association
Phone (
866) 894-8053

Mississippi Comprehensive Health Insurance Risk Pool
Phone (601) 899-9967 or (888) 820-9400


Missouri Health Insurance Pool

Phone 1-800-843-6447 (All but NW Missouri)
Phone 1-800-645-8346 (NW Missouri)

Montana Comprehensive Health Insurance Association
Phone (406) 444-8200

Nebraska Comprehensive Health Association
Phone (402) 343-3574 or (877) 348-4304

New Hampshire
New Hampshire Health Plan
Phone (603) 225-6633 or (877) 888-6447

New Mexico
New Mexico Medical Insurance Pool

Phone (866) 622-4711

North Carolina
North Carolina Health Insurance Risk Pool

Phone (866) 665-2117

North Dakota
Comprehensive Health Association Of North Dakota
Phone 1-800-737-0016 or (701) 282-1235

Oklahoma Health Insurance High Risk Pool
Phone 1-800-255-6065 or (
405) 741-8434

Medical Insurance Pool
Phone 1-800-848-7280

South Carolina
South Carolina
Health Insurance Pool
Phone 1-800-868-2500, ext. 42757, or 1-803-788-0500,
ext. 42757

South Dakota
South Dakota Risk Pool

Phone (605) 773-3148

CoverTennessee  (AccessTN)
Contact Tennessee area county medical assistance offices, or
Phone (
866) 636-0080

Texas Health Insurance Risk Pool
Phone 1-888-398-3927 

Utah Comprehensive Health Insurance Pool
Phone 1-800-538-5038 or (801) 442-5038

Washington State
Health Insurance Pool
Phone 1-800-877-5187

West Virginia

Phone 1-866-445-8491

Wisconsin Health Insurance Risk Sharing Plan
1-800-828-4777 or (608) 441-5777

Wyoming Health Insurance Pool

Phone (307) 634-1393
Only in Wyoming 1-800-438-5768

Rev. Eric J. Stefanski, Dean of Communications
The Augustana Ministerium

FAQ Brochure (136k Adobe PDF) Contact Form and Info Our “Statement on the
   Holy Ministry”
Our Constitution and Bylaws
General Information Brochure
   (160k Adobe PDF)
Bimonthly Newsletter TAM “Statement on the
   Holy Ministry”
Online Membership
Printable Membership
Insurance Options for Pastors Information for calling a pastor (Applies to LCMS only; 104k Adobe PDF)
Upcoming Conference Info Reading Lists Registration Form Lodging and Directions Daily Schedule Past Conferences