What are Health Sharing Plans?

Are you sick of seeing your insurance premiums skyrocketing?  Ever wonder why you have to pay so much money for health insurance you feel like you never use?  Ever wonder if there’s an alternative way to bypass this financially binding ACA requirement?  Well, now you are in luck.  At Ark Family Health, we have flipped healthcare upside down and have found ways to save you money, not only with your primary care needs, but specialty care, labs, imaging, procedures and NOW even health insurance!

Insurance AlternativesAs Primary Care Doctors, we think insurance is absolutely necessary.  We are confident we can take care of 80% of your health care needs, but we may not be able to cover 100%.  We can’t fix your broken hip, your heart attack (although we do our best to PREVENT them), your unfortunate cancer, your car accident injury or your strokes, which is exactly why health insurance is needed.  Insurance is needed to “INSURE” against risk.  Primary Care needs are NOT risk, they are routine.  The analogy to your car insurance/homeowner’s insurance/life insurance continues to hold true.  You wouldn’t insure your car to get an oil change, to get gas, to wash your windows, so why would you insure your health care for a low-cost stuffy nose, cough, congestion, uncomplicated infections and chronic disease management?

However, there is a time where insurance is necessary.  We want to bring to your attention alternative plans to the current ACA system that we feel is financially restrictive for most people in the working middle class (and upper class and lower class and all classes for that matter).  ENTER Health Sharing Plans.  Health Sharing Plans are alternatives to mainstream insurance plans that offer ‘per event’ coverage for medical complications that occur outside the scope of Primary Care.

Who provides Health Sharing Plans?

This is a breakdown of the major players in Health Sharing Plans (**Ark Family Health doesn’t receive any financial incentive for sharing this information other than a built in network/referral base.  AFH is listed on a preferred provider list with Samaritan and Christian Health Ministries, but no monetary exchange takes place**)

1)      Samaritan Ministries                                             http://samaritanministries.org/

2)      Christian Healthcare Ministries                             https://www.chministries.org/

3)      MediShare                                                             https://mychristiancare.org/medi-share/

4)      Liberty Direct Health Sharing                               http://www.libertydirect.org/

These are health sharing plans that are NOT insurance, but ARE ACA exempt.

Will a Health Sharing Plan save me money?

Each of these non-profit companies has their own unique plans, but the overall premise is a low premium (Usually about $300-$500/mo) with deductibles ranging from $500-$3000.They function on a ‘per event’ basis.  For example, if you have a medical need that is less than $300, it would be your responsibility.  If that need exceeds $500-$3000, you would submit that information to the health sharing plans for reimbursement that is shared among other members.  The monthly premium is shared to those that have need.

The mindset that you are a healthy family and sharing the cost burden of those chronically ill around you makes it challenging to continue paying >$1,000/month premiums for health insurance that you don’t use.  The majority of Americans will not hit a $3,000 deductible during the year and even less will meet a $5,000 deductible.

What about pregnancies?  Lots of families (mine included) are growing and have questions about pregnancy.  Each respective Health Sharing Plan has built in it a maternity portion, but uniformly, they will NOT cover it if you sign up AFTER you become pregnant.  This is what happened in my family situation and there’s more information to come with regards to what to do when that happens (take home message is Cash Pay Babies are actually more affordable than you may think).

What about the ACA compliance issue?  I need health insurance to avoid a fine, right?  Again, the above Health Sharing Plans are ACA Exempt.  Your tax accountant can show you the forms to fill out to state your exemption.

These options are great ways for uninsured people to maintain ACA exemption, while having catastrophic coverage opportunities.  They are great for small businesses to offer added incentives for fractions of the price of traditional health insurance.  These work perfectly in our system of health care where we take care of your primary needs for a low monthly membership fee and anything requiring specialty care, you can utilize these resources.  These work great for large, self insured companies on a similar vein.  We have found that these alternatives to health care really opened our eyes to finding affordable health care and we are happy to work alongside these organizations in offering you the best, most affordable health care possible.