Despite promises from lawmakers on Capitol Hill to repeal and replace ObamaCare, the Affordable Care Act is still the law. But consumers do have alternatives – one being to join a health sharing ministry.
“It is not insurance, but it is people who are members of the health sharing ministry sharing each other’s expenses,” explains Twila Brase, president and co-founder of Citizens’ Council for Health Freedom.
Health sharing ministries (several are available) demonstrate various arrangements, but essentially members of a plan contribute a monthly amount to the common fund, which is distributed according to members’ needs.
Christian Care Ministry, one health sharing group, operates Medi-Share and has hundreds of thousands of members across the United States. “We’ve been around since 1993 and in that time, [members] have shared more than $1 billion of one another’s medical bills.” says Michael Gardner, director of communications at CCM.
Another option is Samaritan Ministries International, which also has hundreds of thousands of members. “You can think of it almost as crowd-funding for health care, and members have been doing this since 1994,” says Anthony Hopp, Samaritan Ministries’ vice president of external relations.
Meanwhile, both Medi-Share and Samaritan Ministries International offer a telemedicine program. This allows someone to interact with a medical professional without having an in-house visit.
Anyone looking into this healthcare option should make sure that any group under consideration is a federally recognized health sharing ministry, a requirement for the exemption offered by the federal government. Both Medi-Share and Samaritan Ministries International are recognized.
Read more at Growing health sharing ministries remain an option.