New IRS rules will affect many pastors’ health insurance

Lisa Misner —  April 16, 2015

Starting July 1, the IRS will implement a $100-per-day per employ excise tax on some churches, depending on the number of full-time employees they have, and how they cover health care premiums (IRS Notice 2015-17).

Churches with one full-time employee, and churches with two or more full-time employees in a qualifying group plan will still be allowed to provide pre-tax reimbursement for health care benefits. But churches with two or more full-time employees who have individual policies (or where one or more employees are on their spouse’s insurance plan), will not be allowed to provide pre-tax reimbursement. Those churches may be penalized.

Most pastors who have health insurance through GuideStone will not be penalized, because GuideStone coverage is considered a group plan.

For those who have individual policies and serve churches with two or more full-time employees that would be penalized, IBSA is exploring the option of providing an IBSA Group Associational Plan through GuideStone, which would meet the group policy requirement and protect the church from the excise tax. Pastors interested in this plan should contact IBSA by April 30, as IBSA will only pursue this option is there is sufficient interest.

Additional information is available at

Contact or call (217) 391-3133.

Lisa Misner


Lisa is IBSA Social Media/Public Policy Manager. A Missouri native, she earned a Master of Arts in Communications from the University of Illinois. Her writing has received awards from the Baptist Communicators Association and the Evangelical Press Association.