Christian health care sharing and insurance plans.
People of the Christian faith can receive access to very affordable health as well as dental care from a ministry that shares the expenses among its members. There are several national as well as regional faith based groups that offer this insurance type plan. But each one of the Christian health sharing policies comes with its own terms and conditions.
Note that these programs are not the typical health insurance that someone may be used. While it operates using a similar concept to some insurance plans, the ministries that offer the services are not regulated by state or federal government regulations. So anyone that is interested in applying to one of these low cost sharing networks should proceed cautiously before they apply.
How does a Christian health sharing ministry work?
Note that there are several companies that operate in this industry. They include, but are not limited too, Liberty Health Share, Samaritan Ministries, Altrua HealthShare, Medical Cost Sharing, and Christian Health Care Ministries. In total they cover several hundred thousand people, but that number increases each and every month. It may also accelerate when considering the escalating prices of Obamacare and the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
Since there are multiple sharing networks that are currently available, all potential customers need to understand that each one will operate a little differently. Some cover all of the patient's medical needs, such as prescription drugs, dental cleanings, and more. Others focus on only certain needs or clients. But in general, a Christian health care sharing ministry will operate as follows.
- They will only allow individuals of the Christian faith or a similar church to enroll.
- Generally the applicant needs to abide by all of the correct religious principals. So they can't smoke or do drugs, they need to limit alcohol, and require the patient to adhere to certain standards.
- Some of the ministries will assist individuals that already have Medicare or Medicaid, while others only help the uninsured.
- The plans are usually open to people of any income range.
- People of all ages can enroll, and in fact some companies focus on the elderly or children to ensure they have both medical and dental care.
The list above are just some of the examples of conditions that may be required. Note those are only some of the rules and regulations that may be put into place by a Christian medical bill sharing network. It is recommended to read any policy very closely before enrolling.
Monthly costs and medical bills paid by Christian insurance
When it comes to payments and premiums, these two will vary. Some of the providers, including Christian Health Care Ministries, offer bronze, silver, gold, and platinum packages. Others have policies that go by different names. But in general, the company will collect monthly “dues” from each member of the program. All of these funds are then pooled together by the ministry and the money is used to pay some qualified medical costs.
The total cost will vary. Some Christian sharing health insurance plans may only cost a few couple hundred dollars per month for coverage, while others may be slightly higher. The bottom line is that the total out of pocket cost for the customer will be maybe 20-30% of a private health insurance policy. So the savings in contacting a ministry or a local church can be substantial. The monthly costs will generally be higher if the family has kids.
The member of the Christian health insurance plan is responsible for a certain, minimum dollar amount each and every year. This can be thought of as an “out-of-pocket” maximum. The amount will vary based on the company and plan the family enrolls into. One company (Medical Cost Sharing) will have maximum amount due of around $5000, but this will vary and can change each year. The amount may also be lower or higher based on the plan selected.
The member of the Christian health sharing plan than gets the standard medical and/or dental care they need throughout the year. Provided that the expenditure is covered by the plan selected, the amount of that bill is added to the “out-of-pocket” maximum. The coverage only pays for certain bills that any person abiding by Christian values may be faced with. For example, the networks won't pay for alcohol related accident costs, bills due to smoking, some illegal pregnancy expenses, etc.
The sharing networks as well as churches, including Samaritan Ministries and Medical Cost Sharing, also arrange for extra services. This is done to drive down medical costs, to provide information to the patient, and to limit any future increases in the monthly insurance. Depending on the company, the Christian Health insurance companies may offer the following care. Note some of this may be free as well.
- Discounts to Christian approved health and fitness clubs.
- Wellness check ups for children.
- Tele-medicine, which is 24 access to a doctor.
- Ministries have discount cards for prescription medications.
- Help in negotiating hospital bill payment plans.
- Access to emergency rooms at church and/or religious affiliated hospitals or urgent clinics.
Then if the patients total dental or medical needs exceed the maximum out of pocket allowed for that year, this is where the sharing concept comes into play. At that threshold the patient will be able to receive a one-time check from the company to pay their other medical or hospital bills. Or it can cover any needed medications.
The leading Christian Sharing Health Insurance companies are listed below. They all cover tens of thousands of families, many of whom just can't afford private care. The application process as well as terms and conditions can be obtained from each provider. Call for information on all of the affordable cost hearing plans from these companies.
- Medical Cost sharing – 800-860-9913
- Christian Health Care Ministries (800) 791-6225
- Samaritan Ministries - 1 (877) 764-2426
- Altrua HealthShare, phone 1-888-244-3839
- Liberty Health Share, (855) 855-585-4237