With health insurance premiums continuing to rise every year more and more consumers are questioning whether it’s even worthwhile to have health insurance at all. At the same time, though, rising health insurance premiums have also increased the popularity of alternatives to traditional health insurance, including medical or healthcare cost sharing programs.
Typically organized under ministries or other religious organizations, medical cost sharing programs operate outside of traditional health insurance, and in some cases may be more restrictive with their benefits, but they are also operating at a cost that is substantially less than traditional health insurance.
In this article, we’ll provide an overview of what medical cost sharing programs are and review the most popular plans and programs, talk about why healthcare sharing programs are not for everyone, and discuss the kinds of situations where they might be most beneficial.
Medical Cost Sharing Plan Comparison & Reviews
When considering your options for a solid healthcare savings plan, there are many plans to choose from and it can be overwhelming to sort through all the details. Fortunately, we’ve done the hard work for you. Read on to discover the benefits and drawbacks of the plans we reviewed to see if these are right for you.
Despite the similarities to the rest of the health shares – the monthly share you’re responsible for paying out of pocket before medical bills can be shared – it stands out for three things: Direct Primary Care memberships, unlimited sharing, and how affordable it is.
Zion Health still shows some flaws, such as the lack of a member portal, however, Zion’s team has informed me that they are working on one.
Another plus of Zion is the different types of memberships. Zion Health has a plan for you as an individual with or without family and a plan for worksites. Moreover, there’s a membership plan that includes Direct Primary Care, which is a Zion Health exclusive, as mentioned above.
Signing up to Zion Health is also pretty easy – when you sign up online, you actually sign up. There’s no need to wait for someone to reach out because everyone is accepted. A digital ID card is sent to you by email, as well as a welcome letter.
The feedback is very impressive: most members are extremely satisfied with Zion Health and highly recommend it to others!
One Share Health
OneShare Health is a faith-based medical cost-sharing program. This health sharing plan is a ministry for people with similar core beliefs. OneShare’s members agree to a statement of beliefs based on Biblical scriptures.
OneShare offers several different plans in a variety of price ranges while allowing its members to choose their contribution and coverage types. They have plans merely for emergencies, plans for more frequent medical needs, and plans for the whole family.
This health sharing program tends to be expensive: ISA tiers are $5,000, $7,500, and $10,000 per year.
You can sign up at any time through social media, phone or e-mail.
A few people have complained about getting incorrect information from the healthshare.
In Samaritan Ministries, you give the money directly to members and not through a monthly share to Samaritan. The monthly share to be paid concerns administrative costs, not medical needs.
Membership types are broken down into 4 different memberships: one person, two-person family, three or more person family, widowed or divorced with children.
From a member’s perspective, the initial unshared amount of $300 is a plus because it’s a low price and there’s the freedom to see any doctor without the concerns you’d have with insurance. Moreover, Samaritan Ministries is a quite transparent healthshare and members get to participate by voting.
Some downsides are the cost of routine visits that cannot be shared and several restrictions on pre-existing conditions. Samaritan also requires you to attend a Christian church regularly and even have your church leader sign off on it, which may be upsetting at times.
Most complaints regard the lack of information at the beginning about what procedures are covered and not.
Altrua’s website is pleasant and they provide you with a chart that explains in detail every step within Altrua’s healthshare. However, social media engagement is very weak.
Altrua has three membership types; Gold, Silver, and Bronze. Altrua works with an MRA – Member Responsibility Amount – which is the amount to be paid out of pocket. There are two MRAs to pay: the first is the amount to pay before the membership shares in eligible needs and the second is the percentage the members are responsible for after the first MRA and before the membership shares in eligible needs.
Signing up to Altrua is quite simple and can be done online.
Some users have mentioned coverage issues, delayed reimbursements, and difficulty in contacting the staff.
Christian Healthcare Ministries
Christian Healthcare Ministries claim to be the nation’s first and longest-serving Christian health cost sharing ministry. It is simply Christian members working together to take control of healthcare costs.
As a member, you will send preset monthly financial gifts to ministry, and those gifts are used to share eligible medical bills sent in by yourself or fellow members.
CHM comes with three benefits: firstly, the program costs don’t change based on your health history; secondly, you have the chance to negotiate the cost of your treatment; and thirdly, you do not need treatment approvals before receiving medical care.
CHM provides you with 3 programs: Gold, Silver, and Bronze. There is an additional program for extraordinary high expenses – the Brother’s Keeper. The payments are monthly and can be drafted from your account and sent to CHM rather than individual members.
Signing up for Christian Healthcare Ministries is a fairly process done via their website.
The worst complaints refer to prolonged delays in reimbursements.
Solidarity Healthshare is a healthshare for Catholics. It offers three plans: Solidarity First, Solidarity Extend, and Solidarity Whole. Additionally, there’s the Annual Unshared Amount.
The issues reported by people who enrolled seem to be the difficulty in contacting the staff and serious delays in reimbursements.
Medi-Share is a big ministry, with a lot of members.
It works a lot like other healthshares; its working processes are explained on the website. The pricing information is provided through an easy-to-use cost calculator. It’s relevant to mention that Medi-Share puts a lot of emphasis on healthy individuals, giving them more benefits.
Users’ most prominent complaints regard the complicated and delayed reimbursement process.
Liberty Healthshare offers three membership plans: Liberty Share, Liberty Plus, and Liberty Complete. While the pricing is considered moderate, the truth is that Liberty’s plans are cheaper than most healthshares’ plans out there.
Submitting medical bills is super easy and varied at Liberty Healthshare. Enrolling is also extremely simple: there’s an enrollment form you can fill out. If you have any questions regarding the healthshare, the sales staff is impeccable and very helpful!
Sedera’s website is pragmatic but has some outdated information.
Sedera Health is much like the other healthshares: there’s Initial Unshared Amount to which is added monthly fees according to age and number of family members. Sedera tends to be expensive, however, it isn’t the most expensive healthshare plan out there. Like in Zion Health, there are membership plans for individuals and worksites.
Signing up to Sedera is fairly easy since you can just do it on their website. In case you have any doubts, there are many ways to get in touch with someone from Sedera’s team.
Trinity Healthshare’s website is great because it has the information we’re looking for right at the beginning: pricing and contact. It is an affordable alternative to insurance with different types of membership plans at different costs.
Trinity HealthShare doesn’t decline people based on health but there will be waiting periods for pre-existing conditions.
Enrolling can be done on the website, as usual, through an application.