MediShare vs. Aliera Healthcare
Compare these Health Sharing Organizations on Cost, Providers and Plan Benefits
MediShare and Aliera Healthcare offer more affordable alternatives to traditional health insurance and the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Also, they both are exempt from the Obamacare penalty.
The Cost: 50% Less than Traditional Health Insurance
MediShare and Aliera are priced very well. You can expect to pay around half the cost of traditional health insurance. However, if you qualify for a government subsidy, you might save more money by enrolling through Covered California or one of the other state exchanges.
Reliability of the Companies
Both organizations are non-profits, have been around for over 24 years, and rank as some of America’s top health sharing organizations.
MediShare’s parent company, Christian Care Ministry, Inc. has been around since 1993. They have a three star rating on Glass Door and 53% say they would recommend MediShare to a friend. The organization also has an A rating with the Better Business Bureau, with 6 positive reviews and 11 negative reviews at the time of writing this article.
MediShare does not pool member payments, but instead uses a third party, America’s Christian Credit Union (ACCU), to disburse member contributions directly to other members who have health needs. Members are not guaranteed that their medical bills will be covered; however, the company boasts that in over 20 years all medical needs have been met through member sharing.
On Glass Door, Aliera Healthcare has 3.9 stars and 78% say they would recommend Aliera to a friend. The organization’s parent company, The Mennonite Sharing Ministries, has been around for over 50 years. They are also connected with Unity Health Share.
Unlike MediShare, Aliera Healthcare has a very important safety net. Aliera pools 20% of member funds into a reserve account to protect their members and make sure that monies are available for medical expenses.
The Plan Benefits
Both plans offer telemedicine. Members can do an unlimited amount of phone or video consultations with a doctor at no charge from the comfort of their home. For what would be the equivalent of a deductible in the health insurance world, both of these medical cost sharing organizations have varying options going up to $10,000.
Click here for more information about health sharing terminology and vocabulary.
MediShare offers major medical healthcare coverage. They do cover doctor visits at $35 each, emergency room coverage at $135 per visit and discounts on prescription drugs. There is well-child coverage up to 6 years old, but there is no coverage for vaccinations and immunizations. And, you are on your own for routine checkups and general wellness.
Aliera Healthcare gives you multiple options. You can choose full coverage or save more money by going with a major medical plan or basic coverage. Their full coverage and catastrophic plans are both exempt from the ACA penalty.
The basic coverage plans, called PrimaCare, are very low cost, cover just the small stuff like doctor visits, x-rays, labs, prescription drugs, etc. Be aware though that the basic plans are not exempt from the penalty.
Aliera has a lifetime limit of $1,000,000 and per incident limits that can be set between $150,000 and $500,000. If limits are reached in any given year, a member could switch over to traditional health insurance during the Open Enrollment Period.
On the AlieraCare Premium Plans, doctor consult fees are $20 each (may be higher in some cities, up to 5 per year). Specialty visits are $75 each. Emergency room visits require a $300 consult fee. Labs, x-rays, Rx discounts, surgery, hospitalization, immunizations and vaccinations are all included. Unlike MediShare, preventive services are covered 100% with Aliera.
The Provider Network
Both Aliera Healthcare and MediShare use the national PHCS Multiplan PPO Provider Network. This means easy access to a large amount of doctors across the country, and it means that you are able to use your coverage outside of your home state.
Pre-Existing Conditions and Limitations
All Health Care Sharing Ministries (HCSM’s) have wait times or exclusions for pre-existing conditions.
MediShare will not pay out on pre-existing conditions until after 36 months. And, they will only pay up to $100,000 per year after the member has been without signs or symptoms for the entire 3 years. If the member has been without signs or symptoms for over 5 years, then they will pay up to $500,000 per member per calendar year.
Aliera Healthcare has a 24 month waiting period for pre-existing conditions. However, that does not apply to smaller issues, which would only require doctor visits or urgent care visits. In those cases, the standard consult fee would apply.
MediShare will deny coverage to smokers, homosexuals/LGBT, non-Christians, those who abuse alcohol or drugs, and anyone who has sex outside of a monogamous heterosexual marriage.
Interaction Between Members
With Aliera Healthcare, there is no personal interaction between members. Your monthly payments go to Aliera and the HCSM deals directly with the providers.
On the other extreme is Samaritan Ministries where members send payments directly to other members. You never know where you will be sending your check from month to month. Also, there is the added pressure of writing thoughtful letters (not required) to go with the checks you send.
MediShare has found a nice middle ground. Members deposit payments into an account with America’s Christian Credit Union. Then, money is dispersed from this account to providers to pay for the medical needs of specific individuals.
As a member, you are notified each month who the other member(s) are who benefitted from your contribution. MediShare uses technology and a phone app to make it easy to connect with and encourage those who benefit from your monthly payment.
MediShare does not share any information about personal health issues and respects privacy laws. However, often members will share about their health challenges and ask each other for prayer.
Statement of Beliefs
MediShare and Aliera differ greatly on their statement of beliefs. Aliera is more ecumenical and has a statement of beliefs that almost anyone could agree to.
MediShare requires new members to share their Christian testimony over the phone or in writing. Also, all members must pledge to live according to certain Biblical principles including keeping alcohol consumption within certain limits and only having sex within the confines a biblically defined, monogamous, heterosexual Christian marriage.
When a child in a family turns 18, that adult child must submit their Christian testimony and agree to the MediShare statement of faith within six months. If they do, they can remain on their parents’ plan until age 23, at which time they will need to get their own separate plan.
|Statement of Beliefs|
5.We believe it is our fundamental right of conscience to direct our own healthcare, in consultation with physicians, family or other valued advisors.
5.I believe man was created in the image of God, but because of sin was alienated from God. Alienation can be removed by accepting God’s gift of salvation by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8-10) which was made possible by Christ’s death and resurrection. This faith will be evidenced by the works that we do (James 2:17, 26).