Remember back in the good ole’ days, circa 2002 and former years, when health insurance was actually affordable? We didn’t have to search for affordable healthcare options. Some of you young’ns aka millennials may have never experienced affordable healthcare that you had to pay for yourself. When I was a young Mom I actually overpaid my OB/GYN and received a refund for over $1000 after my daughter was born. Talk about a blessing in disguise! Like it or not, until President Trump and Republicans repeal Obamacare, we are stuck with it. Or are we? I want to share with you affordable healthcare options…options in which you don’t have to pay a $5000 deductible before obtaining coverage of 80% or worse.
Health Care Sharing Ministries
A health care sharing ministry is an organization that facilitates sharing of health care costs among individual members, in the United States, who have common ethical or religious beliefs. A health care sharing ministry does not use actuaries, does not accept risk or make guarantees, and does not purchase reinsurance polices on behalf of its members. Members of health care sharing ministries are exempt from the individual responsibility requirements of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, often referred to as Obamacare. This means members of health care sharing ministries are not required to have insurance as outlined in the individual mandate.
▪ They offer protection from large medical expenses that are generally comparable to conventional health insurance
▪ The cost of membership is typically much less than conventional health insurance
▪ Members know that they aren’t supporting what they might consider immoral or reckless lifestyles or paying for objectionable services like abortion
▪ Members of health care sharing ministries are exempt from having to pay Obamacare’s tax on being uninsured, even though ministries are not insurance
Christian Healthcare Ministries, Samaritan Ministries, and Christian Care Ministry (which more people probably know as Medishare) are three of the medical health care sharing companies available to Christians. Part of the application process requires that you list your Church affiliation, and some of the above may require a letter from a pastor or minister proving such membership. We are members of Christian Healthcare Ministries, and we did not have to obtain a letter from our pastor. We simply filled out the application with our Church information and quickly became members.
Christian healthcare ministries: How It Works (from CHM website)
BIBLICAL BASISChristian Healthcare Ministries (CHM) is a nonprofit health cost sharing ministry through which Christians voluntarily share each other’s medical bills. It is not an insurance company. CHM is based on Galatians 6:2 (“Carry each other’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ”) and on the actions of the New Testament church found in Acts 2 and 4. More about CHM
QUALIFICATIONS FOR JOININGTo be CHM members, participating adults must be Christians living by biblical principles, including abstaining from the use of tobacco and the illegal use of drugs (1 Corinthians 6:19-20), following biblical teaching on the use of alcohol, and attending group worship regularly if health permits (Hebrews 10:25). There are no restrictions based on age, weight, geographic location or health history. More information
PROGRAMS, COSTS, AND UNITSCHM has three main programs from which you can choose: Gold, Silver, and Bronze. Membership also is based on units. One unit is one qualifying individual; two units are two qualifying individuals; and three units are three or more qualifying individuals. Gold membership is $150 per unit, per month; Silver is $85 per unit, per month; Bronze is $45 per unit, per month. Learn more about units or see how CHM costs compare with health insurance.
HOW TO JOINYou can apply for membership in CHM and Brother’s Keeper by using our secure online application or paper application (click here to receive an application by mail). You can choose either the date you submit your application or a future date as your starting date (CHM has no waiting period. Click here to learn about our pre-existing conditions policy).
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER JOININGYou’ll receive your welcome packet and CHM membership card(s) within two weeks of submitting your application. Most of the information in the welcome packet is for your reference; however, one form—the Checklist of Understanding—must be filled out and returned to CHM before any of your medical bills can be shared. You also will receive the CHM monthly newsletter around the 1st of each month and the Member Gift Form (billing statement) around the 15th of each month.
The total cost for my family of five to have membership through Christian Healthcare Ministries is $135.00 per month. When we visit the doctor, we tell them we are cash pay patients, and they mail us the bill. If the bill exceeds our $1000 responsibility per incident, we submit the medical bills to CHM for payment. Thankfully, we haven’t had to submit any medical expenses, and we’ve had coverage for over a year. If we would have chosen health insurance through my husband’s employer, we would be paying insurance premiums exceeding $800 per month for our family. That leaves us about $8000 per year saved in premiums to pay towards debt and/or save for an emergency fund should a medical emergency arise.
Liberty HealthShare is unlike the three ministries above in that LibertyHealthshare does not require members to be practicing Christians. In fact, they don’t even require that members have any religious affiliation or faith at all, only that that subscribe to an ethical commitment to religious liberty. Needless to say this opened up the doors to a much larger number of people who might be looking for alternative affordable healthcare options under Obamacare.
I hope this sheds some light on some other options available instead of health insurance. In my opinion, if you are generally healthy and don’t have a history of major illnesses, any one of these affordable healthcare options may be just the answer to your prayers! Had you heard of these options before? Are you a member of a medical cost sharing program? Share with us in the comments below!