Why Health Share Plans?
Half the cost. Great benefits. Enroll any time. And, avoid the Obamacare penalty.
If you are dissatisfied with your health care options, then you are not alone. Since the institution of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), otherwise known as Obamacare, rates are rising and plan options are decreasing. While the ACA does provide the opportunity for millions of uninsured individuals to obtain coverage, many have found that the plans are anything but affordable. The premium subsidy helps, but unfortunately, the rapidly increasing rates offset these savings for many Americans.
The Shrinking Enrollment Period Poses Additional Challenges
Another drawback of the Obamacare platform is the dwindling timeframe for purchasing coverage. Under the ACA, health insurance enrollment is limited to a 90-day (or less) Open Enrollment Period. If you’re in need of coverage for 2019, you had only a 45-day period (Nov. 1–Dec. 15, 2018) to choose a plan. So, if you missed the enrollment window, then you’re out of luck.
With high costs and few options, many are feeling trapped.
Rates Have Skyrocketed for Standard Health Insurance
In truth, too many Americans are finding that unless they have access to employer-sponsored coverage, health insurance is something they can no longer afford. For 2018, the national average rate increase is 17.54%. It was 44.7% in Florida and 54.2% in Georgia. Lower income individuals have saved a lot of money due to the Affordable Care Act, but the middle class has been hit hard by ever-increasing rates. Those who wish to obtain insurance often have to make significant financial sacrifices in other areas of their household budget.
Pre-existing Conditions Are Also Impacting Health Insurance Rates
Another issue with the ACA is that healthy individuals are footing the bill for those who have chosen riskier lifestyle choices. One of the most attractive Obamacare features is that coverage is available to people with pre-existing medical conditions such as obesity, cancer, diabetes and heart disease. Unfortunately, these individuals also incur higher healthcare costs that end up being subsidized by healthy enrollees. According to Forbes, 6% of enrollees account for 80% of the claims paid.
Health Share Plans Offer an Affordable Alternative to Traditional Health Insurance for Many Americans
However, Health Share Plans like Aliera Health Care offer a way for health-minded people to get coverage together and save a lot of money on their monthly premiums. They can also serve as a viable alternative to the Affordable Care Act for healthy individuals and families who are seeking ways to reduce costs.
Health Share Plans consist of a group of like-minded individuals who share compatible spiritual, ethical or moral beliefs. The members agree to assist each other in paying for medical expenses through monthly contributions (referred to as share amounts) that are similar to premiums. This setup helps the members plan for unexpected medical expenses. Because Health Share Plans are technically not health insurance, they’re exempt from the Obamacare tax penalties. These plans generally do not accept people with pre-existing conditions, which helps keep costs under control.
Examples of the Potential Savings Under a Health Share Plan
For a middle-of-the-road Health Share Plan which includes preventative care, physician visits, and hospitalization coverage, a 58-year-old male could pay as little as $219/month. For catastrophic coverage, the same 58-year-old male could pay as little as $130.44/month. In contrast, the same individual could easily pay twice as much for similar coverage under Obamacare, and quite a bit more when purchasing a plan on the open market.
Healthy Young People Still Aren’t Getting Insurance Coverage
Young people often do not feel the need to have health insurance, believing that they’re “bullet-proof” and won’t get sick. According to CNBC, only 30% of eligible “invincibles” (ages 18-34) are actually purchasing health insurance coverage. Of the 70% who remain uninsured, their top reason for not buying medical insurance is the cost — even with the lower premiums available under Obamacare. So, they choose just to pay the penalty, which saves them a considerable amount of money.
With the repeal of the Obamacare individual mandate starting in 2019, people who do not carry “minimum essential coverage” will no longer incur a financial penalty. Consequently, it’s likely that even more young Americans will forgo health insurance coverage, as they won’t have to worry about paying the penalty at tax time.
However, they are taking on a big risk, as 60% of bankruptcies across the US are related to unaffordable healthcare bills. Surprisingly, 75% of these people had health insurance when they got sick, but the coverage just wasn’t good enough for them to be able to pay their medical bills. Of course, people who elect to go without coverage are at even greater peril of financial ruin if they experience a catastrophic illness or injury.
On a Health Share Plan, someone in their twenties could get middle-of-the-road coverage for around $142/month and a major medical plan for about $104/month. Comparable Bronze and Silver ACA plans would cost approximately twice that much. These plans provide a cost-effective solution for young, healthy people who are less likely to get sick but still need to protect themselves against unforeseen medical emergencies.
Health Insurance Plan Options are Limited
Another problem with Obamacare is that the rising costs are forcing many insurers to pull out of the exchanges, leaving potential enrollees with fewer choices. Many are dissatisfied with their health care options. 40% of counties in the USA (1,200 counties) only have one option on the insurance exchange. And, 47 counties have zero options.
Also, PPO’s are disappearing. Blue Shield of California has decreased their PPO coverage. Anthem Blue Cross has dropped their PPO coverage on individual plans, opting for EPO coverage which includes no out-of-network benefits. In some areas, Health Net offers only EPO coverage as well.
Even if you get PPO coverage, you can only use it in the state where you live (unless it’s an emergency). However, the Health Share Plans include PPO coverage through some of the largest PPO networks in the country including PHCS. And, you can use your coverage when you go out-of-state.
To find out about the drawbacks of Health Share Plans, click here.