Health care sharing ministries are organizations that facilitate the sharing of medical expenses among members. Instead of a premium, members pay a monthly fee, and that collective money is used to pay for qualifying medical expenses. More than a million people belong to a healthshare program—a staggering number. Since the passing of the Affordable Care Act, membership has grown more than 600%. According to Fox Business, annual bills shared among members is expected to top $1 billion sometime this year (2018).
Health care sharing ministries have been around for decades. Why are they so popular now?
The average monthly cost of a health care sharing plan is $402. This, of course, varies depending on number of household members and ministry. Costs of health care sharing ministries are significantly lower than that of traditional insurance for several reasons.
One, members are encouraged to live healthy lifestyles. For example, some ministries prohibit smoking. Most encourage good diet and exercise. These lifestyle choices lead to fewer medical expenses shared among members.
Two, members are more cognizant of prices and are encouraged to negotiate on their own behalf. Members pay in cash and are reimbursed afterward once the expense is approved. Paying in cash often lowers the price, as does cutting the middleman out (traditional insurance).
Unlike traditional insurance, health care sharing ministries don’t box members into specific networks and providers simply because they are no networks. Members have their choice of providers, even outside the US if they chose. Members have more autonomy in their decision making, allowing them to take control of their own health.
Some Doctors Prefer Patients with Health Care Sharing Ministries
Dr. Eric Potter of Sanctuary Functional Medicine in Franklin, Tennessee says, “There are three reasons I take patients with health care sharing ministries: It’s predictable; it’s prompt; and it’s transparent.” Nearly 15% of his patients are health care sharing members.
Dr. Robert L. Masson, a board-certified neurological surgeon, runs the Masson Spine Institute. He says, “Our biggest office expense, in terms of staff and infrastructure, is managing insurance authorizations and denials,” meaning without the needless complications of insurance, costs are lower and everything runs much smoother.
Results are In
Both patients and doctors are confident in and happy with what health care sharing ministries have to offer. Still not convinced? Call our customer service at 800-913-0172 and talk with your trusted Personal Benefits Manager (PBM) for more information or how to apply.