December 24, 2019
Dawn McNemar is one of many Louisiana residents who saw the cost of her health insurance soar over the past few years.
A monthly premium of around $750 in 2015 jumped to $2,100 by 2018. McNemar did the math: With a family deductible of $15,000 per year, she could have been paying over $40,000 yearly — about half of their family income.
“Even if something happened, how could we afford it? It’d be forcing us into bankruptcy,” said McNemar, who lives in Lafayette.
McNemar, a social worker and therapist, and her husband, a welding inspector, do not have employer-provided insurance. But they also didn’t qualify for subsidies on Louisiana’s health insurance marketplace that would help make premiums and deductibles more affordable. That led them to seek out an alternative to insurance that’s built around their faith.
A friend told them about a health care “cost-sharing ministry,” a faith-based organization that pools money from members and then disburses it based on the bills members submit.
The McNemars now pay around $630 per month for their family of four, with a $5,000 total family deductible through a plan with Medi-Share, a company based in Florida. They pay for preventive care out of pocket, and a test of the cost-sharing model came this year, when McNemar’s husband had unexpected surgery and her son broke his elbow.