Like household costs across the board, healthcare expenses have continued to skyrocket — putting added economic pressure and stress on American families who are already maxing out their budgets. Once heralded as the solution to healthcare’s challenges, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has put healthcare out of reach for many Americans who simply can’t afford the high premiums and large deductibles, and who don’t qualify for subsidies. 

In the search for lower-cost alternatives to the ACA, a growing number of Americans are turning to Christian health sharing and saving hundreds of dollars each month in the process. To understand where those savings come from, let’s take a closer look at how faith-based health sharing programs work. 

In Christian health sharing, a group of individuals who share similar values and beliefs come together to help each other pay for medical expenses, including unexpected ones. Although they are not health insurance in the traditional sense, Christian health share programs ask their members to pay a monthly fee similar to (but often much lower than) a healthcare premium.  

Christian health sharing members pay these monthly fees with the understanding that their medical expenses will be covered once they’ve meet something called an annual “unshared amount” — in other words, the amount you are personally responsible for paying out-of-pocket each year. The group then shares the costs of whatever medical expenses aren’t covered. 

For most Christian health share programs, the monthly fees and annual unshared amount tend to be lower than traditional health plan premiums and deductibles. In fact, members of faith-based health share programs have reported saving over $500 per month compared to ACA plans, and they have considerably lower out-of-pocket costs. 

What’s more, Christian health sharing programs can often negotiate discounts with primary care physicians and hospitals to help keep the cost of care down further. And because health care sharing programs are exempt from ACA mandates that require the purchase of health insurance, members aren’t subjected to financial penalties — resulting in even more savings.  

The best faith-based health share programs will also offer their members discounts on prescription medications and other medical services, as well as rewards that can be used toward medical expenses. This can lower out-of-pocket costs even more. 

Most Christian health share programs will ask their members to agree to a Statement of Beliefs indicating their commitment to follow Biblical principals in daily life. That includes adhering to a healthy lifestyle such as abstaining from harmful behaviors like substance and alcohol use as well as smoking, and making healthy choices. Healthier people tend to have lower healthcare-related costs. 

If you’re searching for ways to reduce your healthcare care costs, don’t qualify for ACA subsidies, or don’t have employer-sponsored health insurance, Christian health sharing may be worth looking into. Learn more about how faith-based health share programs are saving Americans hundreds of dollars each month, and see if health sharing is right for you.