Affordable Health Coverage

Looking for affordable healthcare but not willing to go the traditional insurance route? Read this to find out about an attractive and affordable alternative.
 
Family with affordable health coverage
Many Americans are struggling with the increasing cost of health care and insurance premiums to cover necessary medical expenses. For those looking for a cost-effective and flexible alternative, health share programs may be just what the doctor ordered.
 
Affordable Health Coverage icon

26%
Health insurance takes up the largest portion of non-wage compensation at 26%

8.1%
Healthcare is one of the biggest categories of consumer spending at 8.1% of consumer expenditures.

Affordable Health Coverage icon
Affordable Health Coverage icon

17.7%
Healthcare made up 17.7% of the US economy; it was only 5% 60 years ago.

34%
34% of Americans received healthcare from government insurance or public provision in 2018.

Affordable Health Coverage icon
Affordable Health Coverage icon

$5,000
The average American household spent nearly $5,000 per person on healthcare in 2019.

$1,242
People who depend on employer-based insurance benefits pay an average of $1,242 in out-of-pocket healthcare expenses.

Affordable Health Coverage icon

$2,500
The US spends about $2,500 per person on healthcare administrative costs. About 34% of total healthcare expenditures in the US consists of administrative costs, which is twice the amount that Canada spends. These costs have spiked over the past 20 years, mainly because of the increased overhead among private insurers.

Where People Look for Help with Healthcare Costs

Many Americans look to insurance policies to help them cover healthcare costs. Yet in many cases, policyholders may end up paying more in insurance deductible and premiums than they would if they chose to self-pay and cover the costs in cash. That said, there are a variety of ways that Americans seek out healthcare coverage:

  • 21.8 million – Individual health insurance market
  • 6.4 million – Other public health insurance markets
  • 43.3 million – Medicare
  • 62.4 million – Medicaid
  • 156 million – Employer-based
  • 29 million – Uninsured
  • 1 million – Health sharing ministries
 

Membership in health sharing ministries has increased significantly over the years, largely because they are exempt from the insurance mandate of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Monthly contributions to health sharing programs are also much lower than the cost of insurance premiums. In fact, health sharing ministry members can save as much as 50 percent of the cost of traditional health insurance plans.

Need help choosing the right healthcare program?

Download our free PDF guide to learn about your options.

Health Insurance vs. Health Share Programs

While there may be certain similarities between health insurance policies and health share programs, they are not the same. Both may offer some assistance in covering the cost of medical care, but they have significant differences of which Americans seeking health coverage should be aware. The following chart outlines some of the key differences between health insurance plans and health sharing ministries.

Think about These Things When You Look for Affordable Health Coverage

There are a variety of ways to address the rising costs of healthcare, but the route you take will determine the overall amount that you end up paying for medical care for you and your family. While comprehensive care is certainly important, so is affordability.

When seeking cost-effective healthcare, there are certain factors that should be taken into consideration, including the following:

icon for premium insurance plans
Premiums: Insurance plans require that a premium be paid out on a monthly basis, regardless of whether you seek medical care. Based on the information provided above in terms of deductibles, premiums tend to be higher if your deductible amount is lower, or lower if your deductible amount is higher. While many might want to go with a lower premium to save money, it’s important to keep in mind the higher deductible costs, as well as the potential for more limited medical care that may be available as a result.
 
icon for out of pocket expenses
Out-of-pocket expenses: Many health insurance plans come with out-of-pocket costs. In addition to deductibles, certain medical visits, treatments, and preventive care services may not be covered and therefore must be paid by you. The ACA exempts certain procedures from coverage, such as certain vaccinations, cancer screenings, and procedures.

The types of medical professionals that you are able to see may also be restricted based on your policy. If you have specific specialists that you want to see that are not covered under your policy, you’ll be on the hook for paying for them.

 

icon of a medical card
Deductibles: If you take out an average health insurance plan, you’ll be required to pay a deductible before the plan takes over payments. These deductible amounts can vary, but generally, higher deductibles mean lower premiums and vice versa. So, if you have a $4,000 deductible, that means you’ll have to cover $4,000 worth of medical care out of your own pocket before your insurance provider will start kicking in payment coverage.
 
icon of coverage
Coverage percentage: After you’ve paid your deductible for the year, your insurance provider will start covering medical care expenses. But at what percentage? Different insurance companies and policies will cover varying amounts of medical costs. For instance, some may cover 80 percent of the cost, while others might cover 90 percent or more.
 
medical share freelance
Prescription medication coverage: While your insurance plan may have prescription drug coverage, you’ll also want to know what specific medications will be covered. Insurers typically have a list of medications that they will cover and not cover. It’s important to understand what will be covered based on your specific needs before you opt for a specific healthcare plan. Otherwise, you could be facing additional expenses on top of your deductible and premiums.

Health Share Program Differences

Health sharing ministries do not come with such restrictions that are typical of the average health insurance plan. Instead, these ministries are much more flexible when it comes to the type of care you receive.

Further, health sharing ministries can be a great way for families to save a lot of money that otherwise would be paid into insurance deductibles and premiums. They’re also ideal for those who do not have employer-backed health insurance plans or who are not eligible for government subsidies to buy insurance.

Families that are looking for a more affordable way to receive healthcare benefits may find health sharing programs a much more cost-effective option. At the same time, members can be a part of an organization with other like-minded families while helping out others.

Why Health Share Programs Are a Good Pick for Affordable Healthcare

Health share programs may be a good pick because they:

health share checkmark
Are Affordable: Members of Christian health sharing programs can save as much as 50 percent off the cost of healthcare compared to having to pay via traditional insurance plans.
 
health share checkmark
Offer Flexible Costs: Monthly costs are voluntary and members have the freedom to choose their program and associated contribution to fit their particular budgets and needs.
 
health share checkmark
Offer Freedom to Choose: While insurance policies may restrict the type of doctor, treatment, or prescription medication a person can use, health sharing ministries don’t have such limitations. Instead, members have the freedom to choose which type of specialist or treatment they want or need from a large network of contracted providers, subject to their program benefits.
 
health share checkmark
Are a Way to Help Fellow Americans: Members of health sharing programs have the chance to help others while helping themselves.

To learn more about how much you can save with a health share program, contact US HealthShare today.

Frequently Asked Questions about Healthcare Affordability

For those looking for a cost-effective and flexible alternative, health share plans may be a good alternative.

Health sharing ministries do not come with restrictions that are typical of the average health insurance plan. Instead, these ministries are much more flexible when it comes to the type of care you receive.

Further, health sharing ministries can be a great way for families to save a lot of money that otherwise would be paid into insurance deductibles and premiums. They’re also ideal for those who do not have employer-backed health insurance plans or who are not eligible for government subsidies to buy insurance.

Families that are looking for a more affordable way to receive healthcare benefits may find health sharing plans a much more cost-effective option. At the same time, members can be a part of an organization with other like-minded families while helping out others.

Although Christian health sharing is not insurance, it is recognized by the HHS as “coverage” and is a legitimate alternative to health insurance for many individuals and families. Members who choose health sharing are clearly advised that these programs are not health insurance.

While health sharing programs help with healthcare costs, health sharing programs are not insurance plans. Health sharing entities are non-profit, charitable organizations that are designed to help members pay for medical expenses by utilizing funds from other members.

Health insurance plans must comply with the Affordable Care Act. This means that insurance health plans must accept all sorts of people with all sorts of medical issues. This can drive up the total cost of insurance plans and put comprehensive plans out of financial reach for many Americans.

Health share programs, on the other hand, are not bound by ACA requirements and therefore can be more selective in their approval of members, which can ultimately result in cost savings for the entire membership.

Each health sharing program is a bit different and benefits provided by each will vary based on the program and level chosen. Some common benefits include:
  • Annual wellness visits and preventive care
  • Visits to your primary care physician or specialists
  • Diagnostic imaging and lab services
  • Urgent care and emergency department visits
  • Hospitalization
  • Physical, occupational, and speech therapy
  • Outpatient hospitalization services
  • Durable medical equipment
  • Pharmacy services – many times high-quality prescription benefits that align with different tiers of drugs

Not all Christian healthcare programs offer benefits for these medical and pharmacy services, so it is important to carefully review and understand what your specific program covers.

Although health sharing is not insurance, it is recognized by the HHS as “coverage” and is a legitimate alternative to health insurance for many individuals and families. Members who choose health sharing are clearly advised that these programs are not health insurance.

Health share plans are relatively simple in the way they work. People apply to be a member of the healthcare share program and meet certain eligibility requirements. Once accepted, members choose the share program level that best meets their medical and financial needs. Members then make a monthly contribution to the program based on the program chosen. When receiving medical services, Members present their member information to the In-network provider and pay any per-visit consult fee. When a member receives services for an eligible medical need, benefits are applied and a share request is submitted to the membership. Eligible medical needs are paid by the program in accordance with specific program guidelines.

Health share plans or Christian healthcare ministries are relatively straightforward in the way they work. People apply to be a member of the health share program and often need to meet certain eligibility requirements. Once accepted, members choose the share program that best meets their medical and financial needs. Members then make a monthly contribution to the program based on the program chosen. When receiving medical services, Members present their member ID to the in-network provider and then pay any per-visit consult fees. When a member receives services for an eligible medical need, benefits are applied and a share request is submitted to the membership. Eligible medical needs are handled by the program in accordance with specific program guidelines. Health care sharing is not insurance, but the plans can count as insurance under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  Health share plans offer healthcare with a range of benefits that are typically more affordable and more flexible.

 

There are many health share providers each with varying plan options and benefits. Compare health share reviews and plans here.