Members ‘share’ the medical cost in health care sharing plans that organizations provide. Health sharing ministries are comprised of families and individuals who voluntarily share the medical expenses of each other. Whenever a medical need occurs, a request can be made to the health sharing ministry to facilitate cost-sharing. They offer a means for people to get the appropriate medical attention while sharing their expenses with others with the same belief system. All the members contribute a monthly amount to help the other members with medical needs.
How is a Health Share Plan Different From Health Insurance?
Health share plans are not insurance plans; insurance is a guarantee of compensation in exchange for paying a premium. Under a health share plan, there is no such guarantee. Health insurance must comply with the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Some ways in which health care sharing plans differ from insurance are-
- Health share plans have the flexibility of deciding their process of distributing money to the members who pay claims.
- Some health share plans even allow the members to give money to pay medical bills directly.
- Some plans do not cover preventive or wellness visits, so the members have to pay for them.
- Some plans do not include dental or vision, while some might.
- Health share plans have the freedom to make their own rules and decide what they cover. No legal mandate has to be followed in this regard, unlike health insurance plans that have to abide by the Affordable Care Act.
- In health share plans, the members are expected to share some common beliefs.
Difference of Affordability
Health insurance plans have been increasing in price over the years and are very expensive. As per the statistics of 2019, the annual premium for a household with four people would cost around 20,500 dollars, excluding the extra expenses that are not covered in the insurance plans. On the other hand, members of health-sharing plans do not have to worry about such high expenses. They save about 50% money compared to health insurance plans. They are a more cost-effective and affordable option for many people. If you are looking for an affordable option, then you should contact for medical health share plans. Health sharing plans also take monthly contributions, but the amount is way less than the traditional insurance plans. Health care sharing can be a great option if you are generally in good health, lack access to insurance from an employer, only need catastrophic coverage, or can’t afford the insurance premiums.
Difference in The Organizational Aim
Health insurance companies aim to make a profit by charging high monthly premiums. These premiums ensure profit to their business. On the other hand, health share plans are run by non-profit ministries. The contributions that members make are used by those who require medical care. Health share plans are run by not-for-profit faith based organizations. They pool the money of the members to share the medical expenses. The members aim to help and support each other when the need arises.
Difference in The Eligibility of Membership
As per the Affordable Care Act, it is mandatory for health insurance companies to include all the individuals, whether poor or with pre-existing conditions. They cannot discriminate or be selective in their membership. Whereas Health sharing plans are not restricted by any such legal mandate, they can choose to share the cost of medical expenses with like-minded people only. Health care sharing ministries require the members to follow a specific lifestyle such as not to consume tobacco and limited alcohol intake, and they might even prohibit you from some high risk activities. All this will ultimately be in your favor only as it would protect you from any potential harm.
Difference of Available Medical Professionals
Health insurance tends to restrict the choice of professionals and hospitals that the policy covers to keep the costs down. They place limits on the variety of medications that are available to the policyholders. As the aim of health insurance companies is to make profit, they try to ensure that treatment does not cost much. Health share ministries do not place any such restriction on the members with regard to the type of specialist or hospitals that they can visit. Members are free to choose where they would like to be consulted as per their own wishes. They aim to make the best care available without burdening the member with high costs of treatment.
With the increasing costs of medical insurance plans, it is a better option to go for health sharing plans as they ensure protection as well as help you save money.