Smart Benefits: Faith-Based Healthcare Sharing: an Option to Insurance?
Monday, September 10, 2018
Health Care Sharing Ministry Defined
A health care sharing ministry is an organization whose members share a common set of ethical or religious beliefs and have shared medical expenses in accordance with those beliefs. Participants pay a monthly membership fee (akin to a premium) and the equivalent of a deductible, then when they have a medical need, they submit a claim to the group. If approved, the payment is covered.
While the ministries allow participants to share health care costs, they can deny membership to those with pre-existing conditions. They may also reject certain claims that traditional insurers can’t and don’t necessarily cover all of the same care, such as preventative treatment, so you may not know what expenses you’ll be responsible for. But despite offering less certainty than insurance, what makes the ministries appeal to some is the cost.
A Cost Comparison
According to Consumer Reports, these religion-based cost sharing programs generally cost less than traditional health insurance so may be attractive to those who lack employer-sponsored coverage. But be aware that solvency isn’t required so there’s no safety net if the organization runs into financial trouble.
Sound interesting? The health care sharing ministries aren’t for everyone. Be sure to read the fine print before deciding if one is right for you.
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