How Healthcare Cost-Sharing Works
Whether you’re in perfect health or you manage a chronic condition, you probably recognize the importance of having healthcare. After all, injuries, accidents, and illnesses can strike anyone at any age. If you don’t have access to health benefits through an employer, your first choice might be to enroll in an individual plan on the health insurance marketplace.The problem is that health insurance costs continue to rise at an alarming rate, even as benefits fall.
As a result, many people long for an alternative to traditional health insurance. One such option is called healthcare cost-sharing. Learn more about how this program works to help you decide if it’s right for you.
What Is Healthcare Cost-Sharing
The most important aspect of healthcare cost-sharing is that it isn’t federally regulated health insurance. Rather, it is a faith-based program that facilitates voluntary sharing between members, who give and receive monetary assistance for healthcare needs. This is not unlike the risk-pooling nature of health insurance, but cost-sharing plans are designed to bring together people with similar beliefs who want to encourage and support one another. These programs are exempt from the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and can replace your regular insurance.
How Much Does Healthcare Cost-Sharing Cost?
Individuals can often enroll in a healthcare ministry for less than $300 per month. The average cost for a family is less than $600 per month. Compare this to the typical unsubsidized cost of health insurance for a family at over $1,500 per month, and it’s easy to see just how much you can save if you lack employer coverage or government premium assistance.
One reason why healthcare cost-sharing is so affordable is that you—and every other member of the program—only pay for the coverage you need as a faithful Christian. This means services and procedures such as birth control, abortions, STD treatment, teen pregnancies, and injuries caused by substance abuse are often excluded. As a result, the personal financial responsibility of each member is lower.
How Does Billing Work?
In some cases, members are essentially cash payers,as far as their doctors are concerned. They receive bills and interact directly with the medical provider to pay the bill on time. Then, the healthcare ministry “shares” the costs and reimburses the member for qualified services.
Other healthcare ministries send out member ID cards so medical providers can submit each bill directly. The next steps are to determine the bill’s eligibility, negotiate discounts, and process the bill for sharing.
What If There Isn’t Enough Money to Go Around?
To date, healthcare ministries have shared billions of dollars of eligible medical expenses. However, it’s important to understand that these programs don’t carry reserves the way traditional insurance companies do. Monthly contributions—which aren’t truly pooled, but merely “shared”—are set at levels that have historically met members’ needs, making them vulnerable to occasional under-or over-sharing.
To combat this, some ministries accrue money in lower-need months so it’s available in higher-need months. Others wait until there have been a few months of shortfall, and then they hold a mandatory vote to raise the monthly share amount.
How Do I Enroll in Healthcare Cost-Sharing?
If you want to stop overpaying for healthcare, simplify the billing process, and be part of a group willing to “bear one another’s burdens,” consider joining a healthcare cost-sharing ministry. Christian Health Quotes can answer your remaining questions and help you make the right decision for your budget and healthcare needs.
Contact us today to learn more about healthcare cost-sharing or to request a free quote!