Health Sharing Vs Health Insurance, Which Is Better for You
October 31, 2023
Understanding Health Insurance
Health insurance provides coverage for medical expenses in return for monthly premiums. It offers financial protection against unforeseen medical costs and ensures you get the health care you need.
How health insurance works: Insurers pool the premiums of many enrollees, using those funds to pay the healthcare expenses of members. The exact coverage, deductible, and benefits can vary based on the health plan selected. Decent builds health insurance plans around direct primary care to offer coverage outside of the primary care office.
Disadvantages and challenges associated with health insurance: High monthly premiums, restrictive coverage areas, and the complexity of the insurance term can make traditional insurance less appealing to some.
Understanding Health Sharing
Health sharing companies, also known as Christian health ministries (CHM) or healthcare sharing ministries (HCSM), are organizations where members share medical expenses. They operate on a voluntary participation basis and are usually rooted in common religious or ethical beliefs. Popular options include MediShare, Liberty HealthShare, Sedera, Zion, and OneShare.
How health sharing works: Unlike traditional insurance, health sharing doesn’t guarantee coverage. Members pay a monthly "share" into a collective pool. When a member has a medical expense, they can request funds from this pool. Members typically request cash pay rates from providers and pay for their care themselves before seeking reimbursement from the pool. Health shares can be paired with direct primary care to offer coverage outside of the primary care office.
Potential drawbacks and hurdles with health share plans: Not all potential members may be eligible to enroll and not all medical expenses might be "shareable". Pre existing conditions, for instance, might not be covered initially. There’s also a potential limit to coverage and reliance on all members to pay their monthly shares promptly, as member health care expenses incurred each month can typically only be covered by that month's member shares to the pool. Catastrophic or expensive claims may not be paid in full.
Similarities and Differences between Health Insurance and Health Sharing
Comparison of coverage: While insurance provides guaranteed coverage based on the policy, health sharing relies on the voluntary commitment of its members. Some health shares might not cover preventive care, while others may.
Comparison of costs: Insurance premiums are typically more stable and predictable than health share contributions, which can vary based on the ministry and the number of medical expenses submitted by members that month.
Flexibility, individual freedom, and responsibilities: Health sharing offers more flexibility and is exempt from certain state insurance mandates as well as federal mandates under the ACA (Affordable Care Act), commonly known as Obamacare. However, membership often requires adherence to certain lifestyle or religious guidelines.
Which One Is Right For You?
Factors to consider: Your individual health needs, personal beliefs, and financial situation play a pivotal role. For example, if you require essential health services or maternity coverage, traditional health insurance might be more suitable.
Case scenarios: Someone seeking a PPO with comprehensive preventive care and doesn't mind paying a higher monthly premium might prefer traditional insurance. Conversely, a healthy Christian individual who can afford to pay for care up front in cash and aligns with the beliefs of a healthcare sharing ministry might find health sharing a more fitting choice.
Key differences: Health insurance offers guaranteed coverage for a set premium, while health sharing is a cooperative approach based on voluntary participation and the membership's shared religious or ethical beliefs.
Decision factors: Individual needs, beliefs, and financial situations are paramount. It's essential to thoroughly investigate both options, considering factors like enrollment periods, potential subsidies, and the range of covered services.
Whether you opt for a health share program, such as Liberty HealthShare, Sedera, Samaritan, or Zion, or a traditional / Obamacare insurance plan from Covered California or a state insurance provider, ensure that your choice aligns with your healthcare needs and personal values. And remember, always stay informed about changes in the healthcare landscape.
Addressing the Questions:
What is shared in healthcare? A "share" refers to the monthly contribution members make in health-sharing plans.
What is the downside of health sharing? One potential downside is that it doesn't guarantee coverage, and certain expenses might be "unshared". Also, members might need to adhere to Christian principles to remain eligible.
Are health share plans a good idea? It depends on individual needs. They can be more affordable than traditional insurance but come with their own set of risks.
Are Medi-Share plans good? MediShare, like other health-sharing programs, has its pros and cons. Some find its Christian-centered approach and lower costs appealing, while others may prefer guaranteed coverage from traditional insurance.
Is medical sharing a good idea? Medical sharing can be beneficial for those aligned with the ministry's values and looking for a more community-centered approach to healthcare expenses.
What is Medi-Share and how does it work? MediShare is a Christian healthcare-sharing ministry where members share medical expenses. Members pay a monthly share, and when they incur medical expenses, they can request funds from the collective pool.
Is HealthShare a good option? HealthShare, like other HCSMs, can be a good option for those seeking an alternative to traditional insurance, especially if they align with the ministry's values.
Who owns impact health sharing? It would be best to research the latest details about the company's ownership for up-to-date information.
How does the employee share scheme work? This refers to a program where employees can purchase shares of their employer's company, often at a discounted rate.
Which health-sharing ministry is best? The best ministry varies based on individual needs and beliefs. It's essential to research and compare options like MediShare, Zion, Samaritan Ministry, Liberty HealthShare, and Sedera before making a decision.