Health Share Plans: Great Coverage & Prices, Enroll Any Time
Find Out Why Many Are Switching from Traditional Health Insurance to Health Share Plans
Health Share Plans offer better benefits, more options and more affordable rates for many Americans. Thus many have found that these are a viable alternative to ACA/Obamacare and traditional health insurance plans. Over 1,000,000 new members enrolled in these plans in the last two years.
The following are the top six reasons why people are switching to Health Share Plans:
- Lower Prices: It’s possible to cut your monthly costs in half compared to Obamacare coverage with a Health Share Plan. The savings are even greater if you were purchasing insurance on the open market.
- Great Benefits: Plans are available that offer the same benefits as “traditional” health insurance (hospitalization, doctor visits, prescription drugs, etc.).
- More Options: You’ll have the flexibility to choose the coverage that meets you and your family’s unique healthcare needs and fits your budget.
- Guaranteed Issue: You’re assured of receiving coverage if you meet the plan’s eligibility requirements (adhering to the organization’s belief system and values, no pre-existing conditions, etc.).
- No Penalty: Health Share Plans are generally exempt from the Obamacare tax penalty. (Note: the penalty no longer applies as of 2019.).
- Enroll Any Time: You’re not limited to a tight enrollment timeframe — you can obtain coverage throughout the year.
What is a Health Share Plan?
Health Share Health Care Plans, also known as Health Care Share Ministries (HCSM’s), are 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations that group people for the purpose of sharing the costs of health care and providing affordable rates on medical benefits. Those enrolled on most Health Share Plans are exempt from the Obamacare penalty restrictions of the Affordable Care Act and do not have to pay a fine. Members receive health care benefits at rates usually much lower than traditional health insurance.
The Health Share companies facilitate the coming together of a group of people who have common ethical, moral, religious or spiritual beliefs. Some of these companies, like Medi-Share, Altrua, Christian Healthcare Ministries, Liberty HealthShare and Samaritan Ministries, are Christian and require adherence to strict moral and biblical guidelines. Other companies, like Aliera Health Care, are more inclusive and welcome people with varying spiritual beliefs and varying sexual orientations.
These plans operate very similarly to health insurance plans. You enroll in a plan and you pay a monthly premium. That purchases you membership and coverage for medical-related expenses such as doctor visits, prescription drugs, surgery and hospitalization.
Why Health Share Plans are Better
Traditional health insurance prices have gone through the roof, and Health Share Plans often offer comparable coverage at around 50% of the cost.
PPO coverage is harder to get these days through the state run exchanges like Covered California, but Health Share Plans offer national PPO coverage through some of America’s largest PPO Networks like PHCS.
Also, you don’t have to wait for an Open Enrollment Period in order to sign up. You can apply any time during the year. For more information as to why Health Share Plans are better, click here.
Types of Plans
Health Share Plans use different terminology than traditional health insurance, but they offer the same types of benefits. The four main types of plans are:
- Full Coverage
- Basic Care
- Major Medical
- Short Term
You can enroll in Full Coverage Health Share Plans that are comparable to the Covered California Metallic Plans (Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum). These plans offer discount payments for doctor visits, prescription drugs, specialty care, surgery, hospitalization, etc.
Perhaps you have a “major medical” insurance plan through your employer that covers you if you experience a sudden, serious illness or injury that requires an extended hospital stay. Or maybe you’re only concerned about covering “smaller” medical expenses. Basic Care plans include doctor visits, prescription drugs and preventative care, and they are extremely affordable because they do not include coverage for hospitalization. They’re an excellent choice for health-conscious individuals who want to keep themselves healthy and hope to avoid significant medical costs down the road.
However, Basic Care plans are not exempt from the Obamacare Penalty. While this fact may have been a drawback in previous years, it will no longer be a concern in 2019 due to the elimination of the penalty.
Major Medical, also known as Health Share Catastrophic Plans, on the other hand, save you money by only including coverage for emergency, hospitalization and surgery. They might be your best option if you’re relatively healthy but concerned about an unexpected serious illness or injury. You won’t have coverage for doctor visits — if you go to the doctor frequently or take several prescriptions drugs, these plans probably won’t be cost-effective for you. These Major Medical plans are very affordable, and they are exempt from the penalty.
Full-Coverage Health Share Plans are the best choice if you want the most comprehensive healthcare coverage for you and your family. As mentioned, many of these plans offer benefits that are comparable to those found in Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum Obamacare programs. You’ll have coverage for hospitalization, surgeries, doctor visits, preventative care, prescription drugs and more. Because of their more extensive benefits, these plans are typically the most expensive types of Health Share Plans. However, they’re much more affordable than their ACA counterparts.
Situations may arise when you need to obtain health coverage on a temporary basis. A typical example is if you’re between jobs and don’t have access to an employer-sponsored health insurance plan. Short Term Health Share plans offer better benefits and comparable rates to traditional short term health insurance. They can include first dollar benefits like doctor visits, telemedicine, preventative care and prescription drugs.
Also, keep in mind that as of 2019, short-term health insurance is not available in six states (Rhode Island, California, Vermont, New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts). If you live in one of these states, Short Term Health Share Plans are likely your best temporary coverage option.
Contact Us to Learn More About the Benefits of Health Share Plans
Health of California can help you explore all your health insurance options so you can pick the best plan for your needs and budget. We can provide more information regarding the advantages of Health Share Plan. Feel free to contact us to learn more today.
For drawbacks to Health Share Plans / HCSMs, click here.