As health care costs continue to rise, many churches are looking for ways to provide affordable coverage for their members. One option that has become popular in recent years is healthcare-sharing ministries.
These ministries are based on the principle of members sharing the cost of medical expenses. They typically have lower monthly premiums than traditional health insurance.
Several health-sharing ministries are available, and each has its own rules and guidelines. Some require that members be part of a particular church, while others are open to anyone who meets the membership criteria.
Before deciding if a health-sharing ministry is suitable for your church, it’s essential to understand how they work and what benefits and drawbacks they might have.
A healthcare sharing ministry is a nonprofit organization that offers discounted health-related services to members. These ministries are not insurance companies and do not use actuarial tables or other calculations of risk like conventional health insurance companies.
Health care sharing ministries are organizations that help members share medical costs. The term “ministry” describes these organizations because they focus on shared religious beliefs.
There are many benefits to joining a healthcare sharing ministry. The most obvious benefit is saving money on health care costs.
Healthcare-sharing ministries offer consumers better prices, but at the expense of missing certain protections. For example, they do not meet the minimum essential coverage standards outlined by the Affordable Care Act.
Another significant benefit is that state laws do not regulate these programs. This means they’re entirely uninsured for pre-existing conditions and have maximum coverage caps.
However, healthcare sharing ministries are exempted from fines for not having health insurance, which most people must pay under the Affordable Care Act.
While there may be some drawbacks to joining a healthcare-sharing ministry, such as not being covered for pre-existing conditions, the exemption from fines/taxes is a significant perk. If you don’t mind sacrificing those protections, healthcare-sharing ministries can be a great way to save money on your healthcare costs.
Healthcare sharing ministries are a viable alternative to traditional health insurance. These organizations pool members’ money together to pay for healthcare bills.
The individual who submits the request is responsible for determining whether or not it will be approved based on the membership guidelines. Additionally, members of a healthcare sharing ministry receive pre-negotiated rates when they use providers within the network.
However, if they use non-PPO physicians or facilities, they may have to pay out-of-network prices.
Lastly, these ministries are religious organizations, and members need to respect the imposed rules established by the organization to maintain their coverage and care.
Some lifestyle requirements include wearing a seatbelt, no drinking and driving, and not having sex outside of marriage.
Healthcare sharing ministries are not regulated, so there are few restrictions on who can join them. In most cases, you don’t have to be in good health to participate, and you don’t have to have an existing relationship with the church.
You also don’t have to live in a particular state or meet other qualifications. However, a few states do not allow healthcare share ministries.
The most significant restriction is that healthcare sharing ministries usually do not cover pre-existing conditions. So if you’re already sick when you join one of these programs, your expenses won’t be fully covered. Some more prominent sharing ministries will include coverage for pre-existing conditions once you are with the organization for 3 to 5 years.
Most faith-based sharing ministries will require their members to attest to believing in God before joining.
Another thing to remember is that these ministries are exempt from state health insurance laws and regulations. This means that they’re not subject to the same rules as regular health insurance plans–for example, they may not be required to offer coverage for mental health services or prescription drugs.
The cost of joining a healthcare sharing ministry varies depending on your household size and other factors, like marital status and where you live. However, the price is typically less than traditional health insurance.
Monthly shares are typically cheaper than Marketplace plans with government subsidies. However, healthcare sharing ministries are not eligible for the same tax credits and subsidies as marketplace plans.
Healthcare sharing ministry plans have lower premiums but limit your out-of-pocket expenses before coverage kicks in. Some companies include a maximum dollar limit on how much health-sharing ministries will cover for care in a year.
Your costs may increase when you reach that dollar limit depending on the care you need.
We recommend a healthcare sharing ministry that does not cap their maximum allowable amounts for covered treatment. To obtain a quote for yourself and your family, click here.
There are a lot of different healthcare sharing programs out there, and each one has its own rules about pre-existing conditions.
Some programs might not cover you at all if you have a pre-existing condition, while others might only cover you after a certain period of being enrolled in the program.
It depends on the program, so you’ll need to check with your specific program to determine its rules.
Our Insurance Agency can assist you in obtaining quotes and provide you with the needed guidelines.
One of the most important things to consider when choosing a health care sharing plan is whether or not your doctors and hospitals will accept it.
Healthcare Ministries is not a health insurance plan, so they cannot guarantee that providers will work with them.
However, the three largest Ministries have an extensive PHCS PPO Network–the largest independent network in the country. This means that there’s a good chance your doctor or hospital is already in the network and will accept your membership.
As there is a learning curve, you may need to explain how the program works to your doctors.
Just like with any other medical procedure, knowing what’s covered by your health care sharing plan is essential before signing up.
Healthcare sharing ministries can be a great option when you’re looking for an alternative to traditional health insurance. However, there are some risks associated with joining one of these organizations.
Firstly, healthcare-sharing ministries are often associated with Christian, Jewish, and Catholic groups, and members share religious beliefs. If you’re not comfortable with this type of association or don’t share the same religious beliefs as the other members, it may not be the right choice for you.
Secondly, healthcare sharing ministries are only available in states where they can legally operate. So if you live in a state that doesn’t have healthcare-sharing ministry options, you won’t be able to join one.
Thirdly, healthcare sharing ministries are not insurance policies. This means that when you join a health care sharing ministry, you’re not protected by state or federal laws like those that regulate standard health insurance plans.
This also means that your health care expenses may not be fully covered by the ministry and could be more expensive than if you had chosen traditional health insurance coverage.
Fourthly, cost-sharing is used by hundreds of thousands of families across the United States as a way to share medical expenses to reduce costs for everyone involved. However, when you join a health care sharing ministry, you’re not just sharing the costs with your fellow members–you’re also sharing the risks.
If you become seriously ill or injured, you may need more medical assistance than the ministry can cover. This could leave you with large medical bills you would have to pay out of pocket.
The risks of joining a healthcare sharing ministry may not be worth it compared to standard healthcare options. However, if you research and weigh all of your options carefully, a health care sharing ministry could be a great choice.
Integrity Now Insurance Brokers recommends that the healthcare sharing ministry has over 400,000 members and has always paid the covered medical bills over its 25-plus-year history.
If you’re interested in learning more about healthcare-sharing ministries for your church or family, Integrity Now Insurance Brokers is here to help.
If you believe a sharing ministry would be an excellent option for your church pastor, staff, or family, we recommend giving us a call so we can discuss your situation.
We are a full-service independent church insurance agency that helps churches with their insurance needs. This includes church property insurance, liability insurance, workers’ compensation, business auto insurance, group health insurance, and more.
Our team of church insurance agents is here to help save your nonprofit organization money on their insurance.
Each out to us today or complete our online quote form.