Medical Share Programs

medical share program concept image
 
If the cost of medical care and traditional health insurance premiums shock and dismay you, you are not alone. Many Americans are looking for a better alternative, and medical share programs are increasingly attractive to millions of people across the country.

Here are some quick statistics to give you a picture of the current healthcare environment:

Medical Share Programs icon

2 Million
The increase in the number of Americans without insurance in 2018, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

 

8.5%
Share of the US population who went without medical insurance in 2018, a 7.9% increase from the year before.

Affordable Health Coverage icon
Medical Share Programs icon

One-fifth
Share of the economy that the total US health spending that is forecasted to increase to by 2025.

$ 3.6 Trillion
Amount that spending on health care in the US has increased to in 2018, an increase of 4.6% from the year before, fueled by an increase in the cost of private health insurance plans.

Medical Share Programs icon

1 Million +
Number of Americans participating in medical sharing programs.

Medical Sharing 101: What You Need to Know

When you’re contemplating choosing a medical share program, there are some basics you should know. The following questions and answers should help you make a wise choice.

  • What are medical share programs?
  • Is a medical share program right for your unique circumstances?
  • Are medical share programs a form of insurance?
  • What are the benefits of choosing a medical share program?
  • What types of medical expenses can you pay with medical share programs?

 

We have the answers.

1. What Are Medical Share Programs?

Medical share programs offer members a unique way to both obtain financial help to pay for health care expenses and help their fellow neighbors obtain the same assistance. These ministries are made up of like-minded people who share health care costs amongst themselves, helping to minimize the financial burden that often comes with receiving medical services.

The members of medical share ministries share a common belief system and agree to be a part of an organization that is meant to help members facilitate sharing of costs.

Is A Medical Share Program Right for Your Unique Circumstances?

Medical share programs can work for a variety of people in many different circumstances. However, generally speaking, here are some of the common requirements for eligibility in a medical share program:

 

medical share insurance
No chronic pre-existing health conditions: Most medical sharing programs require that members do not have any pre-existing medical conditions. Those who are in good overall health are better suited for medical sharing programs.
 
medical share healthy food
A healthy lifestyle: Those who avoid potentially hazardous practices, such as tobacco use or immoderate consumption of alcohol, may be eligible for participation in a medical sharing program.
 
medical share united
Sharing the same faith and beliefs as other members of the medical sharing organization: Medical sharing programs are designed to serve those who share the same religious beliefs, providing members with the opportunity to be part of a group of other like-minded individuals.
 
medical share savings insurance
Looking for a more affordable alternative to traditional insurance plans: ACA-mandated insurance plans tend to be quite expensive, leaving many Americans unable to afford these policies. Medical sharing programs offer a much more cost-effective option to health care, allowing members to save as much as half – or more – of what a typical insurance policy would cost.
 
medical share freelance
Approaching retirement and ineligible for employers’ health care benefits: Those who are between the ages of 55 and 64 years of age and are nearing retirement before becoming eligible for Medicare may find medical sharing programs useful in bridging the gap between the coverage received through employment and Medicare.
 
medical share business
Self-employed individuals, freelancers, consultants and contractors: Those who do not have insurable employment will not be able to take advantage of employer insurance plans. These individuals may choose medical sharing programs as an affordable alternative.
 
medical share suggestion
Small business owners who need to provide healthcare coverage to staff: Businesses with a handful of employees may offer a medical sharing program to employees as an alternative to a health insurance plan.
 
medical share thinking
Individuals who are ineligible for subsidies with ACA-backed plans: Those with incomes that exceed the federal poverty level will not be eligible for subsidies, even though they may not be able to afford traditional health insurance plans. In these situations, a medical sharing program may be a more accessible and affordable option.
 

Are Medical Share Programs A Form of Insurance?

No, medical share programs are not insurance. They differ in a number of important ways. Here’s a chart that highlights some of these ways:

Telehealth vs. In-Person Visits:
What's Best for You?

Download our free PDF guide to learn about your options.

What Are The Benefits of Choosing A Medical Share Program?

Health sharing ministries are not necessarily for everyone, but there are specific demographics that are better suited for participating in health share programs.

These may include people who meet the following criteria:

medical share checkmark
Are in good overall health. To keep costs down for the entire membership, most health sharing programs limit eligibility to people without complicated pre-existing medical conditions. For those with chronic health issues and pre-existing conditions, there may be better options elsewhere.
 
medical share checkmark
Budget-friendly. Members of medical sharing programs can choose the program that fits their needs and budget.
 
medical share checkmark
Contracted Rates. Members benefit from pre-negotiated fees with network providers for services like doctor visits and diagnostics, along with affordable rates for generic and formulary prescriptions.
 
medical share checkmark
Medical sharing programs can be customized. There are several different program levels available to medical sharing program members that are designed to meet their needs.
 
medical share checkmark
Flexibility in choosing medical professionals. Flexibility in choosing medical professionals. Members of medical sharing programs have the freedom to select the specific type of physician or specialist that they want to see, typically within a specific network.
 
medical share checkmark
Chance to help out other believers. Bible-following members are given the opportunity to be a part of something that helps others who share the same faith, just as the Bible commands.
 
a family chose sharing medical

What Types of Medical Expenses Can You Pay With Medical Share Programs?

Medical share programs offer a wide range of medical services and features for eligible members, including:

  • Annual wellness visit and checkup
  • Telehealth servicesh
  • Doctor visits for both general practitioners and specialists
  • Urgent care
  • Emergency and hospitalization
  • Diagnostic lab work
  • Speech and occupational therapy
  • Pharmacy and prescriptions

Please note that not all medical share programs offer all these features. Check with the program you choose for specific details about what services are eligible for sharing with the medical share program.

USHealthShare Can Help!

Need help finding the right health share program for your family? We’re here. Contact us today to discuss your unique needs with a qualified specialist who can help you navigate the world of healthcare options.
 
 

Frequently Asked Questions

Medical sharing or Christian healthcare ministries are relatively straightforward in the way they work. People of faith apply to be a member of the Christian healthcare share program and 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 and receive a member ID card that reflects per-visit consult amounts and prescription costs from providers within the contracted networks. Before receiving medical services, Members present their member ID to the In-network provider and then 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 handled by the program in accordance with specific program guidelines.

Health sharing, or Medical sharing and Christian healthcare ministries, have been around since the 1980s. When the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was enacted many of these medical sharing programs were NOT subject to the individual mandate tax penalty, as they qualified as health coverage. With the 2019 reversal of the Obamacare tax penalty to $0, these health share programs, including emerging ministries, are exploding in popularity.

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 medical health sharing programs help with healthcare costs, medical health sharing programs are not insurance plans. Medical 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.

Medical 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.

Medical 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. Before 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). 

Medical health share plans are relatively simple in the way they work. People apply to be a member of the medical 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.

Medical 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 medical health share providers each with varying programs options and benefits. Compare health share reviews and programs here.