Health Care Sharing Ministries: An Alternative to the Healthcare Marketplace

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has people and health care insurance companies worried that their healthcare costs will go up. Historically, health insurance companies have been able to screen out those with pre-existing conditions or drop others who are costing them too much. With the ACA in place, they will not be able to do that, so those paying for health insurance may pay much more to cover sicker people who are now covered. prof bernie haylen

This kind of mindset about sharing health-related costs grates against some but is wholeheartedly accepted by others. An substitute to purchasing individual medical insurance, if you aren’t already covered through work, Medicare health insurance, the Indian Health Services or several other federal government programs, may be a “health care sharing ministry”. These are not medical insurance plans. They operate a lot more like co-ops and are structured on the Christian viewpoint that we should worry for the other person rather than depending on a large, faceless corporation. True health insurance covers guaranteed medical services and charges payments based on the actuarial risk of men and women getting ill. Medi-Share states online, “Medi-Share is NOT insurance. Is actually a New Testament thought process about healthcare, built on the principles of Christian believers bearing each other’s troubles. inches¬†

In order to be exempt from the ACA the group must have experienced existence since at least 1999 and must submit to an external financial audit each year. The groups are generally not regulated and have no obligation to pay for medical services. Three major health care sharing ministries: Samaritan Ministries; Christian Health care Ministries’ Medi-Share, and Religious Health Care Ministries. They will have been providing medical coverage for their associates because the 1990s.

Members pay a “share” each month which can then be directed to the members who require the money for medical services. In this way, the members share the price tag on medical services among the complete group. One member says “We care and hope for the other person as people, not as customers”. Users usually know who is acquiring money each month and members are motivated to pray for these members.

There are some important caveats to programs like these. Members must be Christian and must commit to living a Christian lifestyle which usually includes no smoking, maltreatment of drugs or alcoholic beverages, extramarital sex or use of against the law drugs and may require attending house of worship services. Teenagers must accept the requirements to be covered.

The benefit to the members is that they can trust that their fellow members are certainly not putting themselves at risk for diseases due to behaviors which the associates feel are immoral. Since members decide what medical services will be protected, services that the group does indeed not agree with, such as abortion, are not covered. Medical care needs caused by smoking, ingesting alcohol, drug use or promiscuous behaviors are generally not usually covered. Many preventive services and medical tests for all adults aren’t covered and people pay for those out of pocket, although preventative take care of young children is usually included.

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