A New Paradigm in HealthcareBrenda and I are breaking with our usual format and bring information to you via this newsletter about a medical cost-sharing program. We have come across several of our clients who use this type of plan and so Brenda and I have looked into learning a bit more.
As a member of a recognized medical cost-sharing program that is registered as a religious-based non-profit (501(c)3), you will be exempt from the requirements of the Affordable Care Act to purchase health insurance and there are no taxes or penalties.
You can compare medical cost-sharing and health insurance like you would compare a bank and a credit union. A bank has share-holders and works for profit, while a credit union is a non-profit organization and works like a co-op.
Here is a list of the medical cost-sharing companies we have found:
- Liberty HealthShare
- Christian Healthcare Ministries
These companies are Christian-based organizations and each have their own core values and shared beliefs. Some of the basic tenants of this type of cost-sharing are excerpted from Liberty HealthShare website:
- We believe that our personal rights and liberties originate from God and are bestowed on us by God, and are not concessions granted to us by governments or men.
- We believe it is our biblical and ethical obligation to assist our fellow man when they are in need according to our available resources and opportunity.
- We believe it is our spiritual duty to God and our ethical duty to others to maintain a healthy lifestyle and avoid foods, behaviors or habits that produce sickness or disease.
- We believe it is our fundamental right of conscience to direct our own healthcare, in consultation with physicians, family or other valued advisors, free from government dictates, restraints and oversight.
Obviously medical cost sharing is not for everyone. You qualify to join our community if you:
- Don't use tobacco in any form
- Don't abuse alcohol, illegal drugs or prescription drugs
- Are healthy and lead a healthy lifestyle
- And agree with our shared beliefs (above)
So what’s the catch??"The Catch"
The catch is that health care cost sharing IS NOT insurance. We do not make an insurance guarantee or insure that you will receive benefits. However, medical cost sharing members do actually pay for their memberships medical costs. For example, since its inception in 1988, Liberty HealthShare's membership has not failed to pay for any shared expenses that were eligible for sharing under its guidelines. The members commit to pay for each other’s medical costs by paying a fixed monthly "share amount" to pay for each other’s expenses.
Please remember this:Medical cost sharing is not insurance. Many people are concerned that our membership group is not going to be there for them in a crisis. We want you to remember that if you're preparing for crisis then you're exactly the type of person we want involved in our membership. We're committed to helping each other. We are morally and ethically linked and that is an incredibly strong commitment.
Again, this information is specific to Liberty HealthShare, so please do your research to learn more about each company that offers this type of medical cost-sharing.
And on a personal note:Brenda, an insulin-dependent Type 1 diabetic compared the costs related to LibertyHealth Share and the current premiums in the Obamacare plan. In her analysis, the monthly cost for LibertyHealth Share (including monthly prescriptions and use of current Durable Medical Equipment) compared to the monthly cost of Obamacare came out to a $27 difference. Some of the advantages of LibertyHealth Share that led to Brenda leaving the Obamacare Exchange are:
- Keeps her current health practitioner and endocrinologist
- All doctor visits are covered 100% once the annual unshared amount is met
- She would be covered up to $1,000,000 for any catastrophic event (hospitalization, surgery, etc.)
- Discounted rate for ongoing prescriptions through SavNet (one-time prescriptions are fully covered)
- Nutritional supplements are covered when prescribed by an in-network physician who has undergone Functional Medicine Certification and Training
- She is among other like-minded individuals who value health and wellness