Although the mainstream media have turned its attention away from the wreckage of Obamacare, don’t think for a second that all is well.
As the politicos in D.C. focus their attention on the midterm elections in November, now is a great time to study, prepare, and seek out the most affordable, accessible, and highest quality options for you and your family.
As far as health care cost is concerned, the only group that will be paying less under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), i.e., Obamacare, are low-income individuals who will receive subsidized care through state and federal exchanges.
The Heartlander Magazine points to a recent study by from Gov. Bobby Jindal that shows that “Americans have faced a cumulative $6,388 higher premium costs per individual and $18,610 per family under Obama’s policies.”
Due to the onerous, one-size-fits-all mandates under the ACA you’re certain to see significant price increases in insurance premiums, deductibles, and co-pays.
Multiple national media sources, like The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Times, and The New York Times just to name a few, have coined the term “insurance premium and deductible rate shock,” as a consequence of Obamacare?
CBS MoneyWatch reported: “The Affordable Care Act is turning out to be less affordable for some consumers, which it attributed to plans that carry huge deductibles, creating financial problems for middle-class consumers.”
This is stating it mildly since “some bronze-level plans, the lowest level of coverage, carry deductibles as high as $12,700 per year for a family of four.”
This means that if you or one of your family members fall and break a leg under an ACA exchange plan, you would immediately be set back almost $13,000, before your insurance even begins to kicks in.
This is a fact that Americans need to understand and prepare for. Sadly this is not the case. According to HealthDay, a recent survey found that “over 40% of respondents did not know what an insurance deductible was.”
If you have been following my reporting in the Laissez Faire Letter, you know that I have been recommending readers to opt out of Obamacare in any way possible. Unfortunately the options for opting out are slim since the law mandates that you carry insurance that is approved by the government or pay a penalty or tax to the IRS.
Fortunately for the tens of thousands of individuals, such an option does exist and it is quickly gaining popularity under the Obamacare mandate.
Referred to as Christian Health Sharing Ministry,the idea is quite simple. Essentially, Christian-based groups band together to share the expense of medical care among their members. Much like health insurance, members pay a monthly premium which is set by the ministry group, and pay for the medical expenses that are incurred by another participating member.
There are currently four Sharing Ministries in the U.S., which includes Samaritan Ministries, Christian Healthcare Ministries, Christian Care Ministry (Medi-Share), and Liberty HealthShare.
Combined, these entities serve over 240,000 people across 50 states to the tune of approximately 180 million per year on medical treatment expenses, according to the Health Sharing Ministry Alliance.
The benefits of participating in a Christian Sharing Ministry are quite appealing. For starters, members of these four sharing ministries are completely exempt from the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate. You will not be assessed any fines or penalties for not signing up for the one-size-fits-all insurance products under the ACA.
Another great benefit is the affordability. The premiums and deductibles are much lower than all other health insurance products on the market. The monthly premiums, or amounts that participating members agree to share ranges between approximately $200-400, the lower end covering individuals and the higher for families.
Add to the fact that there is much more freedom of choice is choosing your care provider and you can quickly see the benefits of belonging to a health sharing ministry.
This being said, Christian Sharing Ministries are not for everyone. In order to be accepted as a sharing member, one must live a “biblical” lifestyle. This means that participating members must pledge their Christian faith, limit alcohol intake, abstain from all recreational and illegal drugs, and no sexual relations outside traditional marriages.
It’s also worth noting that there are potential pitfalls of joining a Christian Sharing Ministry. Most importantly these sharing ministries are not-for-profit organizations and are not regulated by state and/or federal insurance agencies.
Although these sharing ministries function just like typical health insurance programs, they are not insurance and are by no means bound to pay your medical bill should they deem your case as unnecessary.
Joining a sharing ministry is a personal choice and if you can overcome the potential pitfalls and live up to their Christian lifestyle conditions, the savings and freedoms are a welcome exemption from the Obamacare individual mandate, that will continue limiting your choices and draining your bank account.
As a final note, the immense savings that one realizes through a sharing ministry can be applied to other free market health care services to provide even better access and quality. I have covered many of these ideas, like Direct Primary Care, Free Market Cash Pay Hospitals, and Medical Tourism.
“This article first appeared on Laissez Faire. Reproduced with permission”
We’re excited that more people are becoming aware that a practical and Biblical alternative to health insurance exists and has existed for over 20 years. I would like to offer a bit more color to the following statement:
“Although these sharing ministries function just like typical health insurance programs, they are not insurance and are by no means bound to pay your medical bill should they deem your case as unnecessary.”
Although your intentions may have been good, our ministry does
not function like a health insurance company. For instance, there’s no transfer of risk and no actuarial considerations. We are facilitating a process of direct sharing, and doing so to fulfill the Biblical mandate found in Galatians 6:2
From personal experience – as one who underwent thoracic surgery to have a tumor and a third of my right lung removed – I received hundreds of cards, notes, prayers, and Bible verses from believers all over the nation. That kind of community is being played out every month as over 36,000 households reach across this country to bear one another’s burdens, member to member. Not only are financial burdens being lifted, but the emotional and spiritual burdens are being lifted as well. When my wife and I were facing the dark times, with the “C-word” being tossed around, we were encouraged as we read through each and every card.
As to the second part of the statement, the sharing process with our ministry is set out plainly in our booklet: Guidelines for Health Care Sharing. We require all potential members to read the Guidelines prior to joining. These guidelines govern what is publishable and what is not publishable for sharing. Sections VI through IX focus on: Amounts that Members Share, Conditions Existing Before Membership, Needs Shared by Members, and Maternity Needs. In particular, VIII (A) clearly outlines “Physical Conditions for Which Medical Expenses are shared”, wherein everything from “back problems” to “weight reduction” is discussed. In VIII (D) we discuss Miscellaneous Items Not Shared”, which lists such things like: abortions, abuse of drugs or alcohol, etc. In other words, the implication of your phrasing “should they deem”, makes the process seem arbitrary, and that the member wouldn’t know if a medical need is publishable. In reality, we’ve
gone to great lengths to ensure that everything regarding health care sharing is clearly communicated to our members.
Finally, should there be a disagreement between a member and Samaritan Ministries as to what should be published, section XII (A) stipulates: “…if you believe we are misinterpreting the Guidelines or your circumstances, upon your written request the need may be submitted to a panel of seven to 13 randomly chosen members who will review the need to determine whether it is publishable.” I hope this clears up any confusion, and thank you again for facilitating a discussion about health care sharing ministries.