The Jesus-Backed Pension Plans Are Failing

You may have heard about Christian health insurance exchanges, where a group of Christians put some amount of money each month into a giant pot to take care of the group. If anyone gets sick, they get the money they need (along with prayers). The exchanges don’t cover things like abortions or drug rehab and there’s also a cap on what you can receive… so the insurance works, until it doesn’t. Even if it makes no sense to us, it’s easy to understand why some Christians would want to join up.

I didn’t realize that this sort of anti-government “we’ll do everything ourselves” mindset applied to pensions, too. That’s what some Catholic hospitals are doing, and the people who unwittingly put their future in the hands of their Catholic overlords are only now discovering that they’re royally screwed:

“Presently, the retirement plan’s trust is severely underfunded,” the CEO [of St. Mary's Hospital] wrote to employees in early 2011, blaming investment losses and the hospital’s decision not to put any money into one of its pension plans for more than a decade. “As a federally recognized church plan,” he continued, St. Mary’s had the right to do that — and there was no government pension insurance to fall back on.

The worst part is that, if the hospitals had agreed to follow federal law (and pay for insurance to cover their asses), the pensions would have been safeguarded. By taking advantage of a legal exemption and taking matters into their own hands, and not paying the insurance, administrators are putting their employees at risk, as they’re finding out now, when it’s too late to do much about it:

When we finally figured out that the pension was gone, I got the sense that I was violated, that somebody stole from me,” [respiratory therapist Lori-Ann] Ligon said. “It was almost like a Ponzi scheme. You get these statements saying you’re doing OK. And then it’s like it’s all a big joke.”

As if we needed another reason to despise Catholic hospitals. In addition to their inability to fully care for patients, they’re now showing off their irresponsible management, too — all in the name of Jesus.

(Image via Shutterstock — Thanks to Jon for the link!)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.