You Could Save $1000’s A Year With This Health Insurance Alternative! Is It For You?
Buying health insurance can be one of the most important things a person can do to protect themselves financially. There are so many differences between plans, what procedures your insurance covers, where you can go, and deductibles. Not always is it best to choose the most affordable plan because if something happens (god forbid) it could end up costing you a ton of money in the long run! It’s important to understand all aspects of the plan you choose and what it could cost you if you if something happens.
Changes in the past years in regards to Heath Insurance have made the premiums and the deductibles become unaffordable! The only people that it may be somewhat affordable are the portion of the population that receives the monthly government subsidies to help offset some of the cost. Health insurance is now mandatory in the United States and needs to be held by all US citizens to fall within the guidelines of the Affordable Care Act. While all health insurance is not the same, the plan you choose has guidelines to follow to be approved by the Affordable Care Act. If it’s not an approved plan you will still have to pay penalties.
I started looking to see if there were affordable options for individuals, like myself, that were not eligible for the government subsidies. I found healthcare sharing as an approved alternative. This option is managed by non-profit organizations and offers lower premiums with lower deductibles which are completely different than their for-profit large counterparts. Healthcare sharing makes healthcare more manageable for millions of people!
How Does Healthcare Sharing Work?
There are a variety of healthcare sharing companies out there that help individuals save money on government mandated healthcare. Healthcare sharing works by pooling members’ premiums together to pay the medical bills of their members. Well isn’t that the way normal insurance works? Yes it is but don’t forget normal insurance is a for profit business. They are there to make money where healthcare sharing is a non-profit which means it isn’t stock piling money for their own good. They make what they need to pay their bills, no more, no less. For many of the companies, this is also how they come up with premium charges. Any money made over their forecasted amount is not counted as income and will be used as a deduction from the members’ premiums the following year. Isn’t this how all insurance companies should work?
Even though they meet Affordable Care Act Guidelines doesn’t mean they follow all of the Affordable Care Act rules like they do not have to accept applicants with pre-existing conditions. These healthcare sharing companies have membership requirements and don’t have to accept all applicants. They can also add fees for any pre existing conditions they do accept. Healthcare sharing is available for everyone no matter what your religious belief. The only requirement is that the members are required to have the same beliefs. Below is a comparison of the six approved Affordable Care Act healthcare sharing companies that I have found with coverage’s available for both individuals and families.
The health share companies listed below in the chart are the major companies but here are all the health share companies I have found with links to their websites to check them out further.
(This chart is from www.calhealth.net and the information may be bias. This chart is here for comparison. Its recommended that you do your research, pricing, and comparison when picking the best health share company for you.)
Below I have listed each of the health sharing companies that I have found with small explanation of the benefits for that company.
Christian Healthcare Ministries: http://www.chministries.org
- 3 plan options
- $500, $1000, $5000 shared contribution
- Additional coverage up to an unlimited amount offered for an additional cost
- $125,000 per illness
Liberty HealthShare: https://www.libertyhealthshare.org/
- 3 plan options
- $1,000,000 per incident
- $500 individual, $1000 couple, $1500 family shared contribution amount
- Have a program to help members achieve health goals and live a healthy lifestyle.
- Up to 20% discount for being healthy (low blood pressure, BMI, and measurements)
- Pick your shared contribution amount ($1250-$10,000)
- Must be a Christian
- Expandable maximum coverage
- 2 plans to choose from
- Discounted RX and labs
- $250,000 per incident
Solidarity HealthShare: https://www.solidarityhealthshare.org/
- $500 Individual, $1000 Couple, and $1500 Family Annual Unshared Amount (Deductable)
- 3 Plans to choose from
- Up to $1,000,000 per incident
Christ Medicus Foundation (CMF CURO): https://cmfcuro.com/
- Part of the Samaritan Ministries Organization
- 2 Plans to choose from
- Shareable contribution goes against original bill. Discounts given by the provider are removed from your shared cost.
- Must be a Christian
- $250,000 per incident
Altrua HealthShare: https://altruahealthshare.org/
- 3 plans with 2 tiers each to choose from
- Optional $35 copay to medical doctors
- Discount program for an additional charge
- $1,000,000 Lifetime limit
Medical Cost Sharing, Inc.: http://www.medicalcostsharing.com
- Return of contributions- The member is able to withdraw any unused portion of their contribution after a 10 year time period. If you used more than the money you paid then you won’t receive a refund but you also won’t owe a thing!
- Vanishing Personal Responsibility- This company lowers your individual responsibility by $100 each year you are a member. EXAMPLE- you have a $1000 responsibility and are a member for 3 years, your responsibility is now $700!
- 24 hour doctor hotline allows you to have direct contact to a doctor 24 hours a day and 7 days a week without a copay to ask any medical questions!
- Immunizations are covered.
- Preventative/wellness care is covered and goes towards your personal responsibility.
- Hospital rating to let you know which hospital is better rated for any procedures and care.
- Health and fitness club membership discounts
- 4 plans to choose from
- Annual maximum coverage $200,000
(All the information posted was correct at the time this article was written.)
Pro’s and Con’s of Healthcare Sharing
What Are The Con’s Of Healthcare Sharing?
Health: Healthcare sharing companies usually require members to be in good health and will normally have stipulations for pre-existing conditions.
Copays: Most don’t have copays. You must cover your shared amount (similar to deductable) before the company shares the cost of a visit.
Belief: Certain health care sharing companies require a statement of Christian faith including belief in the God and divinity of Jesus but others accept members with a wide variety of religious and ethical beliefs. All such ministries require that members subscribe to the principles of individual responsibility for their own health and of helping others in need.
Restrictions: Some healthcare sharing companies have restrictions such as abstaining from extramarital sex, excessive drinking, and use of tobacco or illegal drugs.
Premiums are not tax deductable: Monthly share payments are not deductible from US federal income tax as either a medical expense (because it is not a payment for insurance) or a charitable deduction (because it is a payment for goods and services). Member payments in excess of their required monthly minimum, however, may be deductible as a charitable contribution.
Coverage limits: Insurance companies no longer have coverage limits where most healthcare sharing does have limits.
All Services might NOT Be Covered: Since most health share companies are Christian based they will not consider all forms of healthcare necessary or Godly, meaning some services won’t be covered. While it depends on the plan and sharing ministry you choose, this typically means you won’t get coverage for certain types of birth control or any services the group decides are unethical.
Cannot use a health savings accounts (HSA): Members are not able to pair health savings accounts to a Healthcare sharing plan like you can to the Affordable Care Act plan to receive a tax savings.
Uncovered expenses: Many states do not consider healthcare sharing companies an insurance company. This means consumers have little or no legal protection if a claim is not paid, coverage is denied, or the healthcare sharing company goes bankrupt.
Membership: Most require an up front membership fee and a discounted yearly fee every year thereafter.
The Pro’s About Healthcare Sharing
Premiums: Members enjoy many of the same perks of traditional health insurance – perks like discounts on healthcare, limited out-of-pocket limits, and predictable monthly payments. The biggest benefit, however, is the way the monthly sharing amounts are priced. A healthy person could save thousands a year!
Deductible: Typically much lower than any Affordable Car Act Plans.
No Affordable Care Act Penalty Fee: Theses plans all meet the minimum limits of the Affordable Care Act and will not have to pay any penalties.
No Provider Networks: Some of the companies offer an open network meaning the members can go to any provider of their choosing providing that accepts this type of coverage. There are no “in-network” and “out of network” providers. Some do still use a PPO networks, verify to make sure which companies do and don’t.
Tiered plans: Most companies have different plans like health insurance. This allows you to pick from coverage’s and price plans to save even more.
Dental and Vision: Some of the providers do offer dental and vision if you require this insurance.
Group Plans: Some providers do offer group plans for anyone with a business wants to supply healthcare sharing for their employees.
Enrollment: Enrollment for healthcare sharing companies is year round, not just one time a year the Affordable Care Act Companies.
This is just a comparison between health insurance and health share insurance, not the specific companies. I have touched on the pros and cons of the different insurances but I advise anyone looking to change providers to do their own research on the companies to see what company is a best fit for you. This does not go into to depth with every option related to the companies.
I want to thank you for reading my post and if you enjoyed this post, please feel free to share it with your friends! I also hope all information was helpful, informative, and made your decision easier. If you have decided to switch to health sharing, you are on your way to saving thousands of dollars a year! As always, Stay Frugal My Friends!