Looking for More Options During Open Enrollment? Here's a Solution!

Oct 30, 2020

Reading time: 3 Minutes

Looking for More Options During Open Enrollment

Finding and selecting the best healthcare option is one of the most important decisions families, individuals, and businesses make each year. But many Americans are finding they have limited options in the state-based, federally-run health care marketplaces. In 2020, about 10% of enrollees (living in 25% of counties) had access to just one insurer in the marketplace.

To purchase marketplace insurance in the United States, individuals and families must choose their healthcare insurance option between November 1 and December 15. For most states, open enrollment typically lasts 45 days although some states have extended their open enrollment period (Washington DC, Colorado, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Washington). However, there are alternatives, including Health Care Sharing Ministries, that allow for enrollment all year long.

What is driving this decline in competition?

Within each state are rating regions – geographic areas used to set insurance premiums. Consumers may only purchase plans offered within the rating region in which they reside. Certain regions with “lower-than-expected enrollment, a high-cost population, and troubled risk mitigation programs” have experienced the most significant decreases in insurer participation according to Dan Mendelson, president of Avalere Health, a healthcare research firm.

What that means is, in those states you have very few or even no choices at all. It also means the carrier in that region can charge whatever they want, and you are required by law to accept that carrier’s premiums, deductibles, and coverages.

An alternative health care solution is now more important than ever.

In 2020, an average of 4.5 insurance companies exist per state, but many insurers do not participate statewide. Insurer participation varies greatly among states, but rural areas tend to have fewer insurers. On average in 2020, metro-area counties have 2.6 insurers participating (up from 2.3 in 2019) compared to two insurers in non-metro counties (up from 1.8 in 2019). In 2019, 87% of enrollees lived in metro counties according to research provided by the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Discovering other options outside of the Exchange

Discovering other options outside of the exchange

So, are there other options outside of the Exchange? The answer is an emphatic "yes!" Even in those areas where the ACA has severely dwindled to just one or no carriers, Healthcare Sharing Ministries (HCSMs) are a viable and affordable alternative. 

Rising in popularity, the Alliance of Healthcare Sharing Ministries reports over 1.5 million combined members across the country.

In addition, HCSMs offer a simpler program with no enrollment periods and some with no lifetime maximums. Many also offer additional perks as part of membership such as network discounts, dental and vision programs, and even 24/7 access to medical help via telehealth programs.

Medi-Share, one such HCSM, has grown to more than 400,000 members since its founding in 1993. Additionally, its membership has shared and discounted over $2.6 billion. The need for alternatives like Medi-Share, give Christians in the United States an additional affordable choice when deciding on a health care solution. And you can join any time!


You don’t have to worry about shrinking choices or outrageous increases if you just take some time to explore all your options. Arm yourself with information now so you don’t regret it later.

Want to find out what Medi-Share pricing options are available for you or your family? Click the link below to find out today!



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Medi-Share is an innovative health care solution for Christians looking to save money without sacrificing on quality.