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105821eTORRINGTON, CONN (SZS) The year 2015 marks the first year that every eligible synod, seminary, and churchwide ministry has earned the 2% discount on health contributions, collectively saving health plan participants in the ELCA more than $2.5 million in health care costs. Congregations and organizations earn the 2% discount when at least 65% of the sponsored ELCA-Primary plan members and dependents in their synod complete the Mayo Clinic health assessment between Jan. 1 and Apr. 30. The Slovak Zion Synod has maintained its record of both meeting and surpassing its 65% participation goal for Portico Benefit Services plan member participation in the 2015 Health Assessment.

This year, our synod surpassed last year’s record and achieved 84.62 % participation, ranking us in the top 5 synods eligible and participating. Taking the Health Assessment results in $150 in wellness dollars for each eligible plan member, with an additional $350 for those who complete additional activities. What does this mean for us? Since our entire Synod has earned the 2% discount, it reduces our health contributions for all of 2015 and frees up money, that would have been paid for health premiums, for other ministries.

In early January, Portico calculated the number of eligible plan members and spouses receiving ELCA-Primary health coverage for each synod, seminary, and churchwide ministry. At the end of January, February, and March, the percentage of eligible plan members and spouses for each organization which had taken the health assessment was calculated. Early in the following month, results were posted on the Portico website’s “2% Health Contribution Discount” tab. Following April 30, the final results for the year were calculated and those synods, seminaries, and churchwide ministries receiving at least 65% participation received the 2% premium discount for the entire organization and for the entire year, retroactive to January 1. This year, 100% of eligible synods, churchwide ministries, and seminaries earned the 2% discount for 2015, collectively saving $2.5 million.

This year’s unprecedented achievement comes on the heels of a 25% increase in synods meeting the 65% threshold in 2014. This year, even higher levels of participation were recorded in 49 of the 73 eligible synods, seminaries, and churchwide ministries. “It is truly exciting to see this level of participation in the health assessment,” Kristin Steffen, Portico’s Vice President of Member Engagement, said. “I continue to be inspired by the wellness voices of our members who have made a commitment to healthier habits and seen life-changing results. Over time, we are making a difference in the health of our community, one person at a time.”

The Slovak Zion Synod has not only reached the 65% health assessment participation goal, but it has once again surpassed this goal for another consecutive year, and become a leader in this endeavor. Such an achievement sets an enormous precedent in regard to how our synod encourages wellness in our leaders. Thank you to all who participated and contributed to this achievement!