Why are people making the switch from traditional insurance to healthshare plans? One word: money. Money fuels the world, unfortunately. Currently, under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), one must have insurance or pay a penalty tax.

In 2017, the tax for not carrying health insurance was $2,085 or 2.5% of your income, whichever is higher. More than 6 million people chose to pay the tax in 2016, and of those, nearly 80% earned less than $50,000. One might argue that this is a tax on the poor and that the poor and working class feels the main impact of the mandate.

The mandate has been repealed under the Trump administration, but this does not go into effect until 2019, a year away. In the meantime, many Americans are struggling to pay these high premiums. Healthshare programs might be the solution many have been searching for.

Healthshare Members Are Exempt From The Individual Mandate

Members of qualifying healthshare plans are exempt from paying the individual mandate tax because healthshare programs are not insurance and do not offer the same coverage. To qualify, a healthshare program must have been in existence and sharing expenses—continuously—since December 30, 1999. Examples of exempt healthshares include Aliera, Altrua, Christian Care Ministries (also known as Medishare), and Sedera.

And now, on to the real question.

What Is A Healthshare Program?

A healthshare program is an association of like-minded people who come together to share medical expenses. Instead of paying premiums like traditional insurance, members pay a monthly fee, and that money is used to pay for members’ qualifying medical expenses.

The concept behind these healthsharing ministries—also called cost-sharing ministries, healthcare cost-sharing ministries, and healthcare cost-sharing arrangements, among others—is coming together as a community, and many have religious aspects, though there are non-secular ones.

Healthshares Aren’t Just A Way Around The Tax

While monetary benefits are always nice, there are other aspects that highly appeal to the everyday American.

First, since many do have religious components, members tend to share similar beliefs, and these programs typically do not cover things some Christians might be morally opposed to—such as birth control.

Two, members are not boxed into a specific network or provider like traditional insurance. This gives members greater freedom when choosing their healthcare providers, and greater options always result in the better healthcare. Everyone has a right to what they feel is the best healthcare, no matter how rich or poor.

Check If This Is the Best Option for You

As with anything in life, there are negative to healthshare plans. Many pre-existing conditions are not covered with most healthshare programs. Some have a cap on lifetime spending. Some do not cover maintenance treatments. You’ll need to evaluate your own situation toto decide if the pros outweigh the cons.

Educate yourself. Healthshares are a great alternative and could be exactly what you’re looking for if traditional insurance just is not working for you.

Remember, we’re here to make it easy for you. You can check out our Frequently Asked Questions page or watch the healthshare video to get more information. You may also call our 800 number to talk to one of our Personal Benefits Consultant.