Are Christian Health Sharing Plans For You?
Are you struggling to pay your current healthcare premiums? You might consider switching to a medical insurance alternative with significantly lower monthly costs. While Christian health sharing plans are not technically “insurance,” they are very similar. You share your bills with fellow members & are exempt from any tax penalties.
What are Christian Health Sharing Plans?
Christian Health Sharing Plans can be a very affordable Obamacare alternative. As marketplaces close & premiums for many people continue to increase each year, these plans have gained in popularity.
For basic coverage, you can pay as little as $45 per month per person. Not including any tax credits, that’s a large cost savings from the current $300 or $500 a month you might be paying for an insurance policy with a $10,000 deductible.
Although they aren’t traditional medical insurance, Christian health sharing plans help cover many of the same medical procedures like surgery, maternity care, hospitalization, etc.
They also accept applicants with pre-existing conditions and provide catastrophic illness coverage.
They don’t cover certain medical expenses, namely abortion, birth control, and IVF treatments.
How Are Christian Health Sharing Plans Different Than Traditional Insurance?
Christian health sharing plans differ from traditional health insurance in several ways.
Some Expenses Aren’t Covered
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You might remember the high-profile Hobby Lobby court case where the company refused to provide contraceptive benefits to their employees. This is an expense covered by traditional health insurance.
Christian health sharing ministries don’t share costs related with certain expenses that are considered “controversial” within the church like contraception, abortion, IVF, etc.
Members Prepay Medical Expenses
One reason, Christian health sharing plans are cheaper is that a portion of the monthly premium (share) isn’t put into a risk pool to cover designated expenses that insurance companies pay. As a member, you submit your bills and they are paid as money is available for the month. In most instances, at least 80% of the eligible expenses will be paid.
Billing costs are cheaper because members are asked to prepay or negotiate a discount with the hospital or medical provider because the payments are made in cash. If you have noticed the doctor offer a lower price to cash-only patients instead of submitting the bill to insurance, this is why. Insurance claims tend to raise the cost of treatment.
More Selective Membership Requirements
You do have to meet several membership requirements to qualify for membership.
Although each sharing ministry might have slightly different guidelines, these are pretty standard:
- Be a Christian that commits to regularly attending worship services, health permitting
- Don’t use tobacco or illegal drugs
- Only use alcohol or prescription drugs in moderation
- Pursue a healthy lifestyle
If you meet these above prerequisites you should get approved no problem!
Coverage Plan Terminology Is Different
One final key difference is the terminology used by Christian Health Sharing Plans.
A “monthly insurance premium” is called a monthly share.
Your “personal deductible” is called a personal responsibility limit.
Basically, health sharing plans are cheaper because members self pay and the realized cost savings means there is more money to share among all the members. The new terminology helps emphasize the larger personal responsibility for making wise financial decisions with healthcare when possible (i.e. going to an urgent care clinic instead of the hospital emergency room).
Of course, if you need immediate medical care, all the plans will tell you to get immediate care & not worry about the cost at that time.
Choosing a Christian Health Sharing Plan
There are several Christian health sharing plans to choose from. These a four of the largest ones.
Each Christian health sharing ministry has slightly different coverage and pricing options, so you should look at them all to decide the best option for your medical needs. Some also provide dental, vision, and chiropractic benefits.
No matter which Christian health sharing plan you choose, you will be able to save money on healthcare & not pay the “Obamacare tax” in the process. And, you get to help others with their medical bills in the process.
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