Health Care Sharing
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    Posting Addict GloriaInTX's Avatar
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    Default Health Care Sharing

    Do you think this is a good alternative to Obamacare and a way to bypass the expensive insurance companies who just want to get their cut?

    With just weeks left to sign up for insurance on HealthCare.gov, a growing number of people are opting to enroll in a Christian alternative to traditional health insurance.

    Nationwide networks of fellow believers help share each other's major medical bills through what's known as health care sharing ministries.

    "It works just like insurance. I have an insurance card. I show it just like anyone else would. I have a deductible. I have a monthly premium that I pay," explained Eileen Wade, who joined the health care sharing ministry, Medi-Share, in 2011.

    The nation's three largest ministries boast more than 242,000 members, spanning all 50 states, who agree to live so-called biblical lifestyles -- meaning regular church attendance; no drugs, tobacco, or sex outside of marriage; and limited alcohol consumption.

    This kind of healthier lifestyle helps keep monthly premiums lower than that of other health insurers for most members.

    "There's definitely an economic benefit, a windfall if you would, by living healthier lives," said Medi-Share's CEO, Tony Meggs.

    Each of the ministries varies a bit in what they will and won't cover, but all are exempt from the Affordable Care Act's fines on those without health insurance.

    Under the plans, families or individuals generally are responsible for regular medical costs -- like annual check-ups. And bills for unexpected illnesses or accidents are eligible for "sharing" by the group.

    Critics, though, say because the ministries aren't technically insurance providers, they're not legally obligated to pay any of the medical bills that are submitted.

    They also don't come with the same kind of protections and promises that come with traditional health insurance, according to Ron Pollack, who is the executive director of Families USA, a health care consumer advocacy group.

    "If you know you're not going to get sick, if you know you're not going to have an accident, this could work out very well. The problem is none of us can guarantee that, and we want insurance that really insures," Pollack said.

    Each of the ministries is very upfront that there are no guarantees of payment for medical bills, but Meggs said those concerns are exaggerated, and that in 21 years Medi-Share has only had a handful of complaints related to coverage.

    The programs are only getting more popular.

    Since the launch of HealthCare.gov on Oct. 1, membership at each of the ministries has exploded, with nearly 30,000 new enrollees -- more than the number of people who selected a plan through ObamaCare in 24 states.

    In addition to the exemption from ObamaCare, Meggs said a big draw for members is the ministries' health plans don't cover many of the more controversial procedures that are covered under the Affordable Care Act, such as abortion.

    "Some of the qualifying plans in the Affordable Care Act are going to violate their conscience with some of the services that are mandated that the insurance plans cover. I think they're going to be looking at health care sharing ministries as an alternative," Meggs told FoxNews.com.
    Christian alternative to ObamaCare growing fast as deadline nears | Fox News

    Alliance of Health Care Sharing Ministries
    Christian Care Ministry - Home Page
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    I do know several people that do this without any problems. I think if you can get regular insurance through your work or individually that is going to be best, but if you can't it is much better than nothing. My BIL is self employed and had individual insurance before Obamacare. His insurance was dropped. He tried to get on Obamacare. They would accept him and his wife but not his children. It also would not have covered any of the hospitals in their area. For them, it was the only way that all of his family could have some kind of coverage. They would have prefered to keep the insurance they had before, but because that was not an option, this was better than nothing.

    ~Bonita~

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    Posting Addict Spacers's Avatar
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    No. We need to get closer to having everyone on ACA programs or under employer coverage, not give them excuses to stay away. But I will agree with eliminating for-profit insurance companies.
    The number of U.S. states in which a person can marry the person they love regardless of gender: 30 and counting!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Spacers View Post
    No. We need to get closer to having everyone on ACA programs or under employer coverage, not give them excuses to stay away. But I will agree with eliminating for-profit insurance companies.
    I recently read that ACA had made things worse for 1/3of Americans. Those people need options right now, not years from now when all of the many kinks and problems are worked out of Obamacare.

    ~Bonita~

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    Posting Addict Spacers's Avatar
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    So we just let everyone slide until we work out the kinks? How about get everyone on board *while* we work out the kinks? An integral part of any health care system is that you have young healthy people helping to support the others. Right now, we seem to letting all the young healthy people off the hook because they want whatever they can get cheapest, never mind what is best for society. These people don't need "options," they need to get *real* healthcare coverage becasue it's only a matter of time until they need it just like everyone else does.
    The number of U.S. states in which a person can marry the person they love regardless of gender: 30 and counting!

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    I have seen this working in our community. We have several of our local churches that have combined to make this happen. It has worked really well for them, even in cases of major illnesses
    Lisa
    Molly, Morgan, Mia and Carson

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    Quote Originally Posted by mom3girls View Post
    I have seen this working in our community. We have several of our local churches that have combined to make this happen. It has worked really well for them, even in cases of major illnesses
    It does seem to work very well. I know of people that have been on it for years with no problems even when life happens.
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    There are so many potential problems with this set up.

    1. Medical bills can add up quickly. I doubt they have the negotiation set up that major insurers do to reduce payments and are probably paying total cost. Do they have a specific margin of savings in case it becomes a super bad year for its members?

    2. Since they are not in the traditional health insurance arena they are hurting the whole set up of affordable cost. You complain that things are expensive but the ONLY way for that to come down is for EVERYONE to be on board from the day they are born.

    Why would anyone be comfortable to pay into a plan that cannot guarantee to pay your medical bills? That's insanity!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jessica80 View Post
    There are so many potential problems with this set up.

    1. Medical bills can add up quickly. I doubt they have the negotiation set up that major insurers do to reduce payments and are probably paying total cost. Do they have a specific margin of savings in case it becomes a super bad year for its members?

    2. Since they are not in the traditional health insurance arena they are hurting the whole set up of affordable cost. You complain that things are expensive but the ONLY way for that to come down is for EVERYONE to be on board from the day they are born.

    Why would anyone be comfortable to pay into a plan that cannot guarantee to pay your medical bills? That's insanity!
    I do believe that discounts are offered for large groups like medi share. With 62,000 people enrolled, the cost of each persons medical problems are spread out over the total group. How Does Medi-Share Work? - eDrugSearch Blog

    While not perfect, it is the best option for some people. They have something in place preventing them from finding themselves in a position where they are in need of medical care and have to go to the ER because they don't have insurance and thus are a burden on the tax payer. The affordable care act is NOT affordable to everyone.

    ~Bonita~

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    How is it the best option? They are basically saying that if they have a lot of expensive claims they may not have to pay yours. Might as well go to a casino at this point.

    62000? How is that going to bring the best discounts?

    You do realize how you describe this plan is exactly the way traditional insurance works? Costs spread out amongst all customers? Except that private insurers have to make sure they PAY for your services that are covered not say....HEY we might run out of money.
    Mom to Elizabeth (6) and Corinne (4)

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