Faith Based Health Care Plans
In the face of rising health care costs and narrow networks, many consumers are turning to faith-based health care plans. These plans offer a more affordable alternative to health insurance with comparable benefits.
These plans are often referred to as medical sharing plans. A group of like-minded people come together to share health care costs under the banner of a faith-based organization.
Six Plans Approved by the ACA
The six plans approved by Obamacare are exempt from the penalty. They include the following organizations:
- Aliera Healthcare
- Christian Health Share
- Samaritan’s Ministries
There is a statement of beliefs for members to agree to. That is why they are called faith-based. Health insurance applications do not include such a statement of beliefs.
Five out of the six are overtly Christian and require strict adherence to biblical lifestyle choices. These agreements often include regular church attendance, sex only within the context of marriage, and limits on alcohol consumption.
However, Aliera Healthcare is a more inclusive alternative and operates very similarly to traditional medical insurance. Aliera requires a general commitment to maintaining health and a belief in some sort of a God. You do not have to attend church or spiritual meetings or adhere to any specific religion.
Better than Traditional Health Insurance
These faith-based medical plans are superior to regular health insurance because of their price. Individuals, families and those approaching Medicare can save a lot of money by choosing one of these health sharing options.
These health care plans are called Health Care Sharing Ministries (HCSM’s) and some of them operate more like medical insurance and some operate more like a church benevolence ministry.
Samaritan’s Ministries for example requires that members interact with each other. They pay their monthly contributions, not to the organization, but directly to members with health care needs. Often, members will send these contributions with personal notes of encouragement and their prayers.
Aliera Healthcare is a more secular, non-religious health sharing organization. It operates like health insurance. You pay a monthly bill, get a list of benefits and get certain coverage that can be used with doctors and providers in their national PPO network.
MediShare functions in a manner that is in between Aliera and Samaritan’s. With MediShare you deposit monthly contributions into a 3rd party account. From these member accounts, MediShare distributes funds to providers to cover medical expenses.
Then, MediShare lets members know who benefited from their contribution and gives the member an opportunity to contact those members conveniently through their phone app. No private medical information is shared by the organization, but members are free to share and request prayer from each other. Click here to get quotes or enroll in MediShare.
Some Key Differences from Medical Insurance
Faith based plans are not governed by the Department of Insurance and are not required to approve coverage for everyone. Also, they often include a $1,000,000 lifetime limit. This allows these faith based health care plans to offer lower prices.