Faith-based health sharing programs a viable alternative to insurance

While eternal truths remain constant, virtually everything else is subject to change. And that includes the English language! Besides new words, new phrases like “OMG” regularly make their way into our conversations.

Surprisingly, the saying “Nothing for something” has not yet appeared! While most are familiar with the expression “something for nothing” to describe obtaining a benefit without offering anything in return, “nothing for something” is the act of paying without receiving any benefit. From airfare to excise taxes, we bear all kinds of costs without offering anything in return.

For example, medicare stands out. With astronomical premiums and deductibles, many have to pay through the nose for a gain that never comes. Fortunately, faith-based health-sharing programs can be a viable way to get around this “nothing for nothing” situation:

What are health sharing programs? : Health cost sharing is where a group of people agree to cover the medical expenses of all of its members. By setting a monthly “share amount” for participants, the program establishes a reserve that should cover everyone’s costs. However, since it explicitly avoids being classified as insurance, standard rules and conditions (like deductible and premium) do not apply. For example, there are no network requirements that limit your choice of doctors. Also, even if you submit a membership card when the doctor’s office requests insurance, it may not be treated the same.

How they work: Similar to an insurance deductible, participants are responsible for covering an “annual personal liability” or “unrequited amount”. Once this total is reached, the remaining medical costs are covered by the share of the sums collected. Depending on the group you join, you may need to manage the legwork for submitting the request.

Blanket: Since health sharing groups are denominational, some procedures are not covered due to religious objections. For example, births outside marriage, abortions and drug addiction treatment are not reimbursed. However, where faith is not an issue, coverage is comprehensive and often generous.

Registration: Again, because health sharing groups are denominational, there are entry requirements that must be met. For example, depending on the organization, you may need to be a member of a church of a particular denomination. In addition, there are usually lifestyle conditions such as abstaining from smoking and heavy drinking. Additionally, although the vast majority of applicants are ultimately accepted, pre-existing health or lifestyle conditions may require withdrawal measures to be taken.

Disadvantages: In addition to the potentially more important exclusions and approaches that were described in a previous section, healthcare sharing organizations are not subject to insurance industry regulations. In other words, any potential member must exercise due diligence as there is no absolute guarantee that a member’s claims will be honored.

Advantages: For those with incomes above federal poverty guidelines and without employer-provided health care, the benefits boil down to cost. While a family plan on health care swap can start at almost $ 1,000 / month, a similar offer through health share can cost as little as $ 312 / month. In addition, “annual personal liability” is significantly lower than the deductibles of comparable insurance plans. In other words, you have a chance to benefit from a sharing health ministry! In contrast (and in my opinion), the Medicare stock market essentially offers the middle class “Nothing for something”.

Suppliers: If you meet the requirements, reputable organizations / sources to consider include Samaritan Ministries (samaritanministries.org/), Christian Health Ministries (www.chministries.org/default.aspx), Christian Medi-Share (www.medishareplans .faith /), Liberty HealthShare (www.libertyhealthshare.org/), Solidarity (www.solidarityhealthshare.org/) and CURO (cmfcuro.com/). As a reminder, you must make a declaration of faith by committing to be a practicing Christian. For some groups, you may need your pastor to vouch for you.

Ultimately, health-sharing programs are a great way to keep medical costs down. Best of all, you can feel good knowing that the money you spend in monthly “share amounts” pays for the healthcare of those hard hit. As a way to re-establish a balance between value paid and value received, that sounds pretty nifty! If you don’t have health insurance, you will hopefully be able to take advantage of this alternative.

Of course, there are plenty of ways to save on drugs and the Savvy Shopping community would love to hear your ideas. Please visit and “like” our Facebook site (Click www.facebook.com/LubbockSavvyShopper or log into Facebook and enter “Lubbock Savvy Shopper” in the search tool) or email us at [email protected] and Send us your feedback .

We have a large group to be a part of. Do not miss!

SEAN FIELDS is AJ’s wise buyer. Read his columns on Sundays and Wednesdays. Email him at [email protected], like his Facebook page at Facebook.com/LubbockSavvyShopper, or check out previous columns and offers at lubbockonline.com/savvy-shopper.

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