Imagine it’s 1934. You face an enormous, unexpected hospital bill and there’s no health fund to rely on. You’re unable to pay the bill, so you have to present your case to a committee and hope the decision-makers see fit to give you some money towards your bill.
In May 1934, the Executive Committee of the Australian Union Conference gave five men the task of working out a scheme whereby all church employees could make “weekly payments to prepare for adequate care during times of sickness”. Those men were: Brethren TW Hammond, RE Hare, GT Chapman, RH Adair and GS Fisher.
Four months later, their recommendations were adopted and the Seventh-Day Adventist Church in Australia started its own private health fund for employees, called the Union Conference Medical Policy Fund.
Married workers contributed 6d (sixpence) each week, and single workers 3d (threepenny). If you wanted health cover to include your parents or siblings, you had to pay 6d whether married or single. If you needed hospital treatment, the fund covered 50% of medical bills – up to the value of £20 (pounds) annually.
You couldn’t send a claim to the health fund unless the bill was more than £2.2s (two pounds, two shillings). Surprisingly – compared with today’s generous fund – back then you were not allowed to claim for obstetrics, dentistry, tubercular-related illness, mental illness or chronic illness.
The health fund existed only for workers in conferences, intuitions, mission fields and student workers. The organisation employing the worker was asked to subsidise the fund to an amount equal to what the worker contributed to the fund.
In August 1971, ACA Health Benefits Fund (ACAHBF) was formalised. For 10 years, from 1976-1986, ACA wasn’t registered with the Australian Government as there appeared no advantage in doing so. However, a decision was made in April 1986 to re-register – in part to provide a ‘continuation of entitlement’ when employees transferred to other health funds when they left church employment.
A lot has changed since those early days. Today ACA Health Benefits Fund provides private health cover of exceptional value and great choice for current and past employees of the Adventist church, and their families.
“The SDA church has long been committed to the health and wellbeing of its employees,” says Jody Burgoyne, Manager ACA Health Benefits Fund. “Establishing a health fund was part of its ‘people ministry’. It helps the people who work for the church, to help the church fulfil its mission. We value our employees and their families, and that’s why ACA recently expanded its offering to provide private health cover for extended family members as well – not just immediate family.”
Today, ACA Health continues to live up to its motto ‘Because we care…’ by introducing the new Bare Essentials Hospital Cover and changing the product pricing structure in response to feedback form members. ACA Health’s commitment and dedication to its members will continue on as it has since it all started back in 1934.
Because we care…