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The Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) was enacted in 2010. The law was designed to provide Americans with healthcare options regardless of their previous health status. It also eliminated caps on coverage during the insured’s lifetime, preventing one from getting thrown off of their plan.
These plans were intended to provide cost savings and offer dependable quality health coverage. We all remember Obama announcing a savings of at least $2,500 on our annual premiums. There was also a negative incentive to make sure the insurance “pool” was adequately supplied with premium paying participants – the ACA included a fine for not participating. While the savings didn’t materialize for everyone it did help families with lower incomes and pre-existing conditions.
One aspect of healthcare that has seen increasing popularity is that of healthcare sharing ministries. Although they have been around for quite a while, interest and participation has grown quite a lot in the wake of Obamacare.
Healthcare Sharing is NOT “health insurance” but it DOES provide similar financial protection against healthcare expenses by reducing everyone’s out-of-pocket costs. Individuals or families pay a monthly “share amount” (think health insurance Premium) and depending on the program, healthcare costs are reimbursed in a fashion similar to traditional health coverage plans.
The bottom line is plans can be significantly cheaper than traditional health insurance plans – even HALF the cost in many cases. Deductibles are typically lower also. And here’s the big BONUS for members of health sharing ministries – they avoid fines for not having ACA-approved health coverage.
Here are some important DISCLAIMERS regarding healthcare sharing. Many plans do not accept people with pre-existing conditions. Also, people engaging in “unhealthy” lifestyles (smokers, obesity, etc) may have trouble qualifying for a healthcare sharing plan. And since these plans have a religious orientation, some forms of “healthcare” are not deemed necessary and won’t be covered (birth control for example). As far as religious orientation, these plans merely ask you to agree to a generic statement of faith when you sign up.
From preventive services to basic medical needs to coverage for a catastrophic care event, Healthcare Sharing Ministries can nearly duplicate healthcare that is otherwise available in the marketplace. But if you do consider healthcare sharing you should weigh the pros and cons before you sign up. There are also a few states where your selection of health sharing may not be available.
The best way to find the right plan is to carefully evaluate your unique situation and select a plan that meets your specific needs.
Consider a Healthcare Sharing Plan if…
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