The Episcopal Diocese of Long Island is proud and pleased to provide all clergy and lay employees, working a minimum of 1000 hours a year, with benefits offered to the diocese by the Episcopal Church Medical Trust. The following information is compiled to support employees of diocesan missions, parishes, schools, and institutions find information to help understand and utilize their benefits. 

These programs are overseen and directed by Nancy Signore, our Human Resource Manager. Please contact her with inquires regarding human resources and benefits. 

Benefits from the Episcopal Church Medical Trust 

The Episcopal Church Medical Trust, part of Church Pension Group, is the sponsor of health plans that have served the Episcopal Church since 1978. They are committed to providing church employees and retirees compassionate Christian health benefits and outstanding service, balanced with strong financial stewardship for the Episcopal Church. 

The Medical Trust is a Voluntary Employees’ Beneficiary Association (VEBA) under section 501(c)(9) of the Internal Revenue Code. As defined by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), the Medical Trust is a Church Plan and, as such, is exempt from ERISA. 

You can always contact the Medical Trust Client Engagement Call Center Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. at (800) 480-9967, or e-mail 

Benefits Include:

Medical and Dental Plans

Quick Links:

2024 Medical and Dental Plan Offerings 

All Cigna Dental Plans will no longer be offered for 2024.

For those currently enrolled in a Cigna Dental Plan, it is mandated that you must select a new dental plan for 2024 during this Annual Enrollment period.  If you do not select a new plan, you will not have dental coverage effective January 1, 2024.  

Information on the new dental plans for 2024 can be found above under Plan Offering Comparison.  The new vendor is Delta Dental and there are three (3) plans through Delta available.

Eligible employees that are currently enrolled in the Aetna Dental plan do not need to make a new selection for 2024.  This plan will remain available in 2024.  

All plan changes are outlined in the Plan Changes for 2024.  Additional information can be found in the 2024 Annual Enrollment correspondence.  Please be sure to read this important communication in full and pay special attention to the changes in dental plans offered for 2024.  A copy of the correspondence can be found in the Quick Links listed above.

Please be mindful that for 2023 the Diocese has determined that the Anthem BCBS BlueCard PPO 90 and Cigna OAP PPO 90 are considered adequate medical plans and the Aetna DMO/DPPO is considered adequate dental coverage.  Congregations are not required to contribute more than these rates.  It has become an acceptable practice that employees who select a higher plan will pay the difference in cost through a payroll deduction.  

Anthem BCBS PPO 90 (CDHP and 100), Cigna OAP PPO 90 (CDHP and 100) are offered to all participants.  All Medicare Secondary Plans (MSP), Anthem BCBS MSP PPO 90 (and 100) and CIGNA MSP PPO 90 (and 100), are less expensive because they are only available to active employees that are 65 years old and over and enrolled in Medicare Part A or has a dependent that meets this criterion. These plans do require pre-approval through Medicare and if interested you must contact Nancy Signore to begin the process.  During the year, you should contact Nancy Signore as early as three (3) months prior to your 65th birthday and/or when you receive your Medicare Part A card.  

Reminder that the Diocese highly recommends that all eligible employees that are providedmedical benefits through a previous employer or their spouse should be provided with the Employee Assistance Program (EAP), which continues to be available for only $4 per month per employee.  All eligible employees that are provided with a medical plan through the Medical Trust are already provided with this valuable benefit.  

Pharmacy Coverage

Express Scripts 

(This benefit is not available as a standalone) 

Your pharmacy benefit has not changed; Express Scripts will remain your prescription benefit administrator.  Information on benefits, prescription drugs and refills can be found at or via telephone at (800) 841-3361 or by using the Express Script mobile app.  

When you enroll in one of our medical plan options with CIGNA or Anthem BCBS, you will automatically have prescription drug coverage through the Express Scripts. Express Scripts' national network of retail pharmacies offer discounts when members present an Express Scripts ID card. Prescriptions may also be filled at any non-participating retail pharmacy, but at a higher cost to members. 

Members may fill longer-term maintenance medications at a retail pharmacy up to three times (one original and two refills). 

Home delivery is required for most maintenance medications after three retail fills. Members may order up to 90 days of medication at one time, usually at a significant cost savings. 

Saving with Generic Drugs 

In addition to saving with home delivery and Express Scripts retail discounts, members can manage costs by using generic drugs from the preferred formulary list. 

While members and their doctors decide whether or not to use generics, if a member purchases a brand name medication when a generic equivalent is available, the plan will cover only up to the cost of the generic drug. 

To file a claim for reimbursement use the Prescription Drug Reimbursement Form 

Eye Care

Med Vision Care 

The Episcopal Church Medical Trust has selected EyeMed as your vision wellness program. This plan allows you to improve your health through a routine eye exam, while saving you money on your eye care purchases. The plan is available through thousands of provider locations participating in the EyeMed ACCESS network. 

To print an ID card, go to website, create a login and click on “Help and Resources” and then “Print ID Card”.  

EyeMed Vision Care Overview  

Out-Of-Network Claim Form  

Explanation of Benefits 

EyeMed’ s Explanation of Benefits (EOB) forms will automatically be provided to members in electronic format via the EyeMed member website. Previously, members received paper EOBs through the mail unless they specifically opted to receive them electronically. 

Members who still wish to receive paper EOBs may do so by logging on to the EyeMed website and selecting the paper option. 

There are two documents that you may distribute to your employees and retirees: 

Finding a Provider: 

1. Go to  
2. Click Locate a Provider 
3. Enter zip code 
4. Click submit 


To ensure that members have a high-quality, comprehensive health benefit plan and in response to member feedback, effective January 1, 2021, the Medical Trust is enhancing hearing benefits. 

Employees and dependents enrolled in a Medical Trust health plan are eligible for a hearing benefit allowance of up to $1,500 per ear every three years for the purchase of hearing aid devices. 

Contact the health plan carrier (Anthem or Cigna) for information about their hearing aid provider network, eligible expenses, exclusions, and discounts. 

Employee Assistance Program

24/7 help with behavioral health, family, and personal issues 

EAP benefits will be provided through the same network that your medical benefits are provided, unless you have the EAP stand-alone which is provided through CIGNA. For further information or to get started give either Anthem a call at (844) 812-9207 Or Cigna a call at (866) 395-7794. 

The Employee Assistance Program is included with all active medical plan enrollments or can be purchased for $4 per month for any eligible employee not currently covered by a medical plan through the Medical Trust. It is highly recommended that all eligible employees (lay and clergy) be provided with this employer-paid benefit.  This benefit can be used by the eligible employee and all their dependents and/or people residing in their household.  

The Employee Assistance Program, covers an array of services, and assists our members and their covered dependents with information, educational materials, resources, referrals, and ongoing support. 

EAP services are free, confidential, and available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, through the CBH web site or by phone. 

The plan covers unlimited telephonic consultations and up to 10 face-to-face counseling sessions per issue with no copay. CIGNA's EAP licensed clinicians can assist with problems including coping with stress, elder care, legal, financial, substance abuse, and emotional and physical health. EAP services also include immediate help during a crisis, local resources in your community on a wide range of topics, and tips and guidance to help balance work with family life. 

Talkspace – a digital space for private and confidential mental health support, right from the privacy of your own home.  Access and more details can be found in the brochure below or by contacting Cigna at (877) 622-4327 or

Health Advocate Services

A personal service to help you with health care and insurance issues  

A phone call is all it takes to receive the professional services of Health Advocate (HA), an important and valuable part of your benefits package with the Medical Trust. As soon as you contact HA, you’ll have a Personal Health Advocate, typically a registered nurse, who will see you through the resolution of your problem. Health Advocate’s staff understands the intricacies of the healthcare system and how to navigate through it.  

Eligible members, their spouses, dependent children, parents, and parents-in-law are covered by this service. There is no fee for Health Advocate’s services, they are included as part of your Medical Trust plan. 

Personal Health Advocates can help you: 

  • Understand test results, treatment, and medications prescribed by your doctor 

  • Research the newest treatments for a medical condition 

  • Facilitate the transfer of medical records, x-rays and lab results 

  • Coordinate care for complicated medical issues 

  • Resolve claim or billing issues 

  • Find doctors and hospitals 

  • Get a second opinion 

  • Negotiate fees with non-network providers to lower your out-of-pocket costs 

  • Locate senior care facilities or adult care programs 

  • Find qualified wellness programs and services 

  • Estimate your healthcare costs with its Health Cost Estimator. This decision support tool can help you identify lower-cost network providers, or project the costs of going out-of-network for care. 

Contact (866) 695-8622 or visit 

Accessing Your Benefit: 

1. Go to
2. Select the MEMBERS icon. 
3. Enter “Episcopal” in the log-in box and click SUBMIT to view your benefits. 

Mental Health and Substance Abuse

Since January 2022, Mental Health benefits are provided through the insurance company with whom you have medical benefits. For example, if you are covered for medical by Cigna PPO, then your mental health needs are also covered through Cigna. If you are covered for medical by Anthem BCBS, then your mental health needs are also covered by Anthem BCBS. The following links will give you an overview of each medical plan, which includes information on mental health benefits as well.

Link to Anthem Benefits

Link to Cigna Benefits

Behavioral Health

Your coverage includes behavioral health benefits for individual and family needs, both inpatient and outpatient. You have access to an integrated behavioral health program that includes behavioral health, substance use disorder, and employee assistance program benefits. This plan also offers coverage for colleague support groups.

All our plans offer access to the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) through Cigna, a free, confidential service that offers immediate help, referrals, and online resources for a range of behavioral, family and care-giving, financial, health, and other life issues. All members receive their EAP benefits through Cigna, whether enrolled in an Anthem BCBS, Cigna, or Kaiser health plan.

To access EAP services, call (866) 395-7794, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, or sign in to (employer ID: episcopal).

The Cigna EAP includes access to Talkspace virtual behavioral health.

  • Connect with a licensed therapist or psychiatrist online, by video, or by text using Talkspace, available for Cigna EAP members, ages 13 and up.
  • Visit to access Talkspace virtual behavioral health.

Claim Forms

  • For Cigna Behavioral Health out-of-network provider claims, use this form.
  • For Anthem Behavioral Health network and out-of-network provider claims, use this form.

For all questions and concerns regarding mental health needs please call the Client Engagement line at Church Pension Group at (855) 215-5990.

Travel Protection

Frontier MEDEX - 24/7 emergency medical and travel assistance services  

The Medical Trust offers access through your health benefits to the services provided by FrontierMEDEX. When you are traveling 100 miles or more away from home and have a medical emergency, you will have access to their 24/7 multilingual Emergency Response Center, which will assist you in finding a provider. 

Please note: MEDEX is not responsible for medical costs while you are traveling.  

How to use FrontierMEDEX for help with medical, travel, and security problems when 100+ miles away from home: 

  1. Call the Emergency Response Center: (800) 527-0218 (from U.S., Canada, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands, Bermuda); (410) 453-6330 (from all other locations, call collect) 

  1. Identify yourself as a member of the Episcopal Church Medical Trust. 

  1. Your FrontierMEDEX ID #: 365914. 

  1. Your FrontierMEDEX Group #: 7230 

24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 

Disability Insurance

Employer Paid Disability 

There are three (3) types of Disability coverage available to be provided by employers to employees of churches and institutions in the Diocese of Long Island. Some are mandatory, and others are optional. 

Mandatory disability is the New York State Statutory Disability and the New York State Paid Family Leave (NEW in 2018). Most of the time both these benefits are provided through Guardian LifeInsurance Company of America. 

There are a few cases where churches are using another insurance company, such as New York Life Insurance, to provide these benefits. Guidelines for these benefits will be the same no matter what company you use as an administrator, but the claim forms provided in this section are specific to Guardian. If you do not use Guardian, please call your provider to obtain the appropriate forms. 

Additional information regarding these benefits can be obtained by calling Guardian directly at (888) 278-4542. All churches insured through Guardian have the same six (6) digit policy number of 920630 followed by a four (4) digit suffix specific to each entity. 

Voluntary disability coverage for lay employees is Long- and Short-Term Disability provided through Church Life Insurance Company and billed monthly through the Medical Trust along with the medical, dental and life insurance benefits you provide your employees. These benefits are administered through Zurich Insurance. Information on enrolling and processing claims for these benefits can be obtained by calling the Medical Trust directly at (855) 215-5990. Zurich can be reached directly at (800) 206-8826.  

Clergy are provided two similar disability plans free of charge through the Church Pension Fund if they are currently participating in a pension plan. 

New York State Paid Leave

Current Information pending and coming soon. 

New York State Statutory Disability 

Standard Mileage Rate

The standard mileage rates, as determined by the Internal Revenue Service, for the use of a car (also vans, pickups or panel trucks) is: 
• 65.5 cents per mile for business miles driven, increased 3 cents 
• 22 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes, remained unchanged. 
• 14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations remained unchanged 
The standard mileage rate for business is based on an annual study of the fixed and variable costs of operating an automobile. The rate for medical and moving purposes is based on the variable costs. 
Taxpayers always have the option of calculating the actual costs of using their vehicle rather than using the standard mileage rates. 
A taxpayer may not use the business standard mileage rate for a vehicle after using any depreciation method under the Modified Accelerated Cost Recovery System (MACRS) or after claiming a Section 179 deduction for that vehicle. In addition, the business standard mileage rate cannot be used for more than four vehicles used simultaneously. 
These and other requirements are described in Notice IR-2022-234, posted December 29, 2022 on It contains the standard mileage rates, the amount a taxpayer must use in calculating reductions to basis for depreciation taken under the business standard mileage rate, and the maximum standard automobile cost that a taxpayer may use in computing the allowance under a fixed and variable rate plan. 

2023 C.O.L.A. for Parish Employees

2023 C.O.L.A. is 8% 

The C.O.L.A. is determined by the change in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers, as published by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics for the New York-Northern NJ-Long Island Region. 

As stated in the Clergy Compensation Guidelines for the Diocese of Long Island, the COLA shall be the basis for annual compensation conversation with all continuing clergy that have served at least one full in year in the same cure.   

Any questions or concerns regarding the annual COLA can be directed to Nancy Signore, Human Resource Manager at 516/316-4297 or

2024 Housing Allowance Resolution

Reminder for all clergy wishing to change their housing allowance for 2024: 

Housing resolutions for the calendar year 2024 should be adopted at the next meeting of the various diocesan entities and corporations or vestries. Please ensure that the adopted resolutions are reflected in the minutes of the respective meeting. Your current resolution should include the language “shall apply to all future years unless otherwise provided”, which eliminates the necessity to submit a resolution in years when change is not desired and still preserves your tax benefit. 

Below is a housing allowance worksheet for clergy provided housing and another for those living in housing they rent or own. There are also fillable sample housing resolutions for both scenarios. If making a change or submitting a resolution for the first time this fillable form must be presented to the governing body; either an employer, vestry, or Bishop’s Committee. Then a reference to the resolution must appear in the minutes of the meeting in which it was approved, and a copy provided to me, Nancy Signore. 

Please discuss with your tax advisor what action is appropriate for you. The Church Pension Fund has provided the services of a tax specialist, who is available to answer any questions you may have. Please feel free to contact Maryann Hanson (877/305-1415). 

Remember, the amount designated IS subject to the self-employment tax as is the value of church-owned housing where provided.