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Re: New bishop for Eparchy of Phoenix? [Re: Anna] #418467 08/15/18 04:18 AM
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So, my eparchy (guided by my bishop?) is suing my metropolitan as a co-defendant, and is claiming that its sister eparchies essentially stole money from it, and is asserting that our Maronite and Melkite brothers and sisters have different religious beliefs than we do. So a Latin bishop is being named to run my eparchy indefinitely.

Can’t figure out if I’m more upset at Met. William for letting something like this spiral out of control to such a degree or my own eparchy for alienating Melkites and Maronites that way.

The worst part of being an Eastern Catholic is not being unwilling to stand on our own feat within the Catholic communion, it is being unable to.

Re: New bishop for Eparchy of Phoenix? [Re: akemner] #418468 08/15/18 05:55 PM
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On April 26, the Phoenix eparchy filed a suit claiming that an employee benefits company had wrongly started a self-insured health plan with funds from the eparchy, which believed it was paying premiums to secure insurance products for its employees, Danielle Smith reported at Law360.

“The Byzantine Catholic Eparchy of Phoenix said in its complaint that Aetna-owned Meritain Health Inc. and Ohio-based Employee Benefits Services Inc., or EBS, flouted their fiduciary duty under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act by using assets meant to pay insurance premiums for the eparchy's roughly 21 employees to pay for expenses and fees, among other things, instead,” Smith wrote.


Forgive me, an outsider, for some observations.

It seems from these two paragraphs that there is a misunderstanding about the nature of the benefit program that the eparchy entered. Rather than a program of commercial insurance, it appears to be a self-insured program that involves a number of Eastern Catholic eparchies. Self-insurance programs are not uncommon in business. Sometimes self-insuring can be less expensive in the long run, given the risk assessments made, than commercial insurance where other entities are added to the pool of participants--some of whom may have members with much greater risks than a given business entity and similar businesses.

Somehow the benefits manager may not have understood what was being purchased and therein may be the root of the problem.

The theory of insurance is that members are in a "pool" where we share risks. This year I may need to tap the pool and others may not. They share my burden. Likewise next year someone else may need help and I do not but share his/her burden. The same assumption is made whether the insurance is commercial or a self-insured pool.

In no way is an insurance premium, whether in a commercial policy or in a self-insured program, a savings account that accumulates for the benefit of the person or entity that has paid the premium. The premium is a gamble, if you will, for a given period. I bet that I will need lots of benefits and the company or the self-insured pool bets I won't. At the end of a given period, a new premium is needed. Seldom is there an accounting of what was paid out and what was retained. There is always some part built in for the person(s) who administer the plan, whether commercial or self-insured program.

I'm taking a wild guess--my own--that the trouble comes because the eparchy feels that it was defrauded in some way. Either it did not understand that the plan was not commercial or it somehow feels that being self-insured means that it is putting money away for itself alone. If the insurance company didn't tell it what kind of program this is, that may arise to fraud: the lawyers will sort that out. If it was suddenly switched form commercial to a self-insured pool without a transparent explanation--again something the lawyers must sort out.

However, if the eparchy received the coverage that they were expecting for its employees, it will be hard to find a claim for some sort of refund just because they felt that others benefited from their pooled premiums.

Bob

Last edited by theophan; 08/15/18 05:58 PM.
Re: New bishop for Eparchy of Phoenix? [Re: theophan] #418469 08/16/18 12:07 AM
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I had the exact same impression that you did, Bob. The Law360 article goes into a bit more detail:

Quote
"The complaint said that EBS convinced the Eparchy of Phoenix in 2012 to switch to a plan called the Eastern Catholic Benefit Plan, which the benefits company represented to be a fully insured health plan that was a more economical choice.

"However, EBS hid the fact that it actually was creating a new self-insured health plan and not brokering an already existing plan to the eparchy, the complaint said.

"The Eparchy of Phoenix said that it entered into a joint account with EBS, which Reimann and Dicks were signers on, at the company's request, with the understanding that the deposited funds were being held in trust and would only be used to pay insurance premiums for medical, dental and drug insurance benefits to its employees."

To me it's significant that Met. William was named as a co-defendant. I am not certain about the timing of his appointment vs when this plan was entered into by the eparchy, beyond the fact that they happened in the same year and he is apparently part of the "administration committee" of the plan in question.

If it was under his guidance that the plan was entered into by the eparchy, clearly there has since developed a breakdown of leadership and communication of significant scope to have led to these events.

Very sad.

Last edited by jjp; 08/16/18 12:08 AM.
Re: New bishop for Eparchy of Phoenix? [Re: akemner] #418471 08/16/18 01:49 PM
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Thank you, Bishop Olmsted, for telling us what is happening in our own Church. Unfortunately, our bishops do not have this much respect for us. They chase people away with their actions and then condemn them for leaving.

Re: New bishop for Eparchy of Phoenix? [Re: jjp] #418472 08/16/18 01:56 PM
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creating a new self-insured health plan and not brokering an already existing plan


This may amount to fraud, but, again, the lawyers will sort this out. Full disclosure is always the best way to go.

What I find disturbing is the idea that the money would be "held in trust." That is puzzling because that is not how insurance works.

The other thing that I find disturbing is why anyone would agree to a "joint checking account." I wouldn't have a joint account with anyone other than my spouse because of a number of legal issues that go along with a joint account. Seen too many people cleaned out of joint accounts by their own children in my work, so that's where I come from.

An "understanding"? What's not on paper and signed andor notarized means nothing.

We have a saying in my family--Never Trust; Verify.

Bob

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