A Comprehensive Analysis
Medi-Share is a ministry that offers an affordable and reliable alternative to health insurance to members nationwide. Since 1993, every eligible medical bill has been shared by the community – that’s over $7 billion in medical costs! Members get peace of mind knowing that their needs will be cared for by a caring Christian community.
Health care is a complex and vital aspect of life, and finding the right fit for your family's needs can be a daunting task. For Christians looking for a faith-based health insurance alternative, Medi-Share, a health care sharing ministry, might be just the right option. But does Medi-Share really work? Is it an effective solution for managing medical bills? You're not alone in asking these questions.
In this detailed exploration, we strive to shed light on the effectiveness of Medi-Share, a community approach to sharing medical costs. Our assessment will not only dissect the workings of Medi-Share but will also highlight the potential financial savings and the sense of community that this model of health care provides to its members. If you're seeking a unique blend of faith and practicality in managing health expenses, this examination may hold significant value for you.
We understand that health care decisions are deeply personal and potentially life-altering. We invite you to join us as we navigate the intricacies of Medi-Share, equipping you with the knowledge to make informed decisions best suited to your circumstances.
At its core, Medi-Share operates on the premise of a cost-sharing program. This means that Medi-Share members contribute monthly shares, which are then used to pay for eligible medical expenses incurred by other members. The program is built on the biblical principle of sharing each other's burdens, making it a truly unique approach to managing health care costs.
Medi-Share is powered by Christian Care Ministry, a non-profit organization dedicated to exploring and implementing innovative ways for Christians to care for each other's health care needs. By fostering a community of believers ready to share in each other's medical expenses, they have cultivated an environment that not only addresses financial challenges but also bolsters the spiritual bond among members. If you're curious about some of the most common questions people have about Medi-Share, you can explore some of the most popular FAQs.
By understanding how Medi-Share’s sharing model works, you can gain insight into a system that seeks to make health care more approachable and manageable for you and your family, all while honoring Christian values.
How Does Medi-Share Work?
A key component of the Medi-Share program is the Annual Household Portion (AHP). The AHP is the annual amount a family is responsible for paying towards their medical bills before their medical costs become eligible for sharing. This concept is similar to an insurance plan’s deductible, but once the AHP is met, Medi-Share shares in all eligible medical bills.
The nature of medical expenses shared by Medi-Share is quite diverse, ranging from doctor visits, limited preventative care, and hospital stays to certain surgeries and prescription drugs. It's important to note, however, that Medi-Share's member-voted sharing guidelines, in accordance with biblical principles, do not include costs associated with behaviors that the member guidelines delineate as unbiblical, such as substance abuse treatments or injuries from reckless behavior.
The process of a monthly share amount could be compared to a monthly premium with an insurance company, but the application of this payment varies significantly. Instead of paying a premium to an insurance company, Medi-Share members deposit their shares into Household sharing accounts. These accounts are then used to send funds directly to other members' medical providers to pay for their eligible medical bills.
Medi-Share presents a distinctive approach to managing health care expenses, one that emphasizes community support and shared responsibility. Understanding these mechanics is an important step toward discerning whether Medi-Share could be a viable alternative for your family's health care needs.
Perks and Limitations of Medi-Share
Choosing to become part of a healthcare-sharing ministry like Medi-Share is a significant decision that should be taken after thorough consideration of your family's health care needs, financial situation, and lifestyle. Below is a list of some of Medi-Share’s standout perks to consider.
- Savings of up to 50% a monthly health care costs
- 24/7 access to telehealth and sharing in tele-behavioral counseling
- +1M nationwide provider network
- No annual caps or lifetime limits
- Dental, vision, and prescription discounts
- And more…
However, Medi-Share may not be the right fit for everyone. There are certain restrictions to keep in mind, especially concerning pre-existing conditions in new members. Here are some limitations that are worth evaluating.
- Pre-existing conditions, are only eligible for sharing as follows:
- Up to $100,000 per Member per year (based on effective date) once the member has been faithfully sharing for 36 consecutive months.
- Up to $500,000 per Member per year (based on effective date) once the Member has been sharing faithfully for 60 consecutive months.
- No sharing in prescriptions for pre-existing conditions and only sharing in the first six months of prescriptions for new conditions.
- Limited preventative care offerings
Learn more about what joining Medi-Share entails and if it’s right for you and your family.
Medi-Share vs. Health Insurance Plans
While there are similarities between Medi-Share and health insurance, such as the concept of sharing health care costs, there are also stark differences. A key difference lies in how the costs are shared. As previously mentioned, health insurance premiums are paid to an insurance company which then pays for your health care costs. With Medi-Share, your monthly share amounts go directly toward sharing in other members’ eligible medical needs.
It’s important to note that Medi-Share is not insurance. It is a health care sharing ministry run by a non-profit Christian organization. Its members share a common set of values or religious beliefs, and they voluntarily share each other's medical expenses in accordance with those beliefs.
As for the Affordable Care Act (ACA), it's also important to note that because Medi-Share is not health insurance, it doesn't function like traditional ACA-approved health insurance. However, membership in Medi-Share is exempt from certain states’ individual mandates that requires people to have health insurance or face penalties.
Medi-Share Cost and Membership Details
Understanding the financial aspects of Medi-Share, including the monthly share payment, the cost, and bills eligible for sharing, are all important considerations for making an informed health care decision.
Members pay a Monthly Share Amount, this amount varies depending on the Annual Household Portion (AHP) you select, the age of the oldest member in your household, the number of family members participating, and where you live. It's worth noting that Medi-Share operates on a tiered system, meaning that families with more members do not necessarily pay more.
As for the AHP, this is the amount that a family must pay in eligible medical expenses during a 12-month period before bills can be eligible for sharing. The AHP can range from $3,000 to $12,000, with a higher AHP resulting in a lower monthly share but more personal responsibility before sharing.
When it comes to medical bills, once your AHP is met, eligible bills are published for sharing.
As a Christian health care sharing ministry, Medi-Share’s eligibility requirements include adhering to a Christian lifestyle and agreeing to a statement of faith. It also encourages members to live healthily, and rewards those who meet certain health criteria by qualifying them for lower monthly share amounts.
It's important to be aware of how Medi-Share is viewed by health care providers. Since it's not insurance, some providers may be unfamiliar with how it works. However, Medi-Share has provider FAQs to help you explain the process to your health care providers. It may be beneficial to have this information handy when visiting a new doctor or medical facility.
As with any significant decision, understanding the financial commitment and membership process of joining Medi-Share is essential. It's a unique approach to health care costs, and, for many, it serves as an affordable, Bible-based alternative to health insurance.
What to Expect as a Member of Medi-Share
Now that we've explored the financial aspects and membership requirements, let's look at what being a Medi-Share member entails in everyday life, drawing from real member experiences.
Testimonials and reviews from Medi-Share members often praise the community aspect and the mutual support system. Members often highlight how their medical care has been met and how they have been able to support others through their monthly share contributions. It's also worth noting that many members appreciate the emphasis on Christian values and the supportive community that comes with a health care sharing ministry.
In terms of practicalities, Medi-Share shares in doctor’s office and emergency room visits as long as they are deemed eligible according to Medi-Share's member-voted guidelines. After an event, your provider submits your bills to Medi-Share. Once they are approved, and your Annual Household Portion is met, the bills are published for sharing and paid from other member sharing accounts.
When choosing a provider, it's important to know about the PHCS (Private Healthcare Systems) and First Health Networks, depending on your location, two of the largest national proprietary PPO (Preferred Provider Organization) networks in the United States. Medi-Share members have access to this provider network of doctors, hospitals, and other health care providers who have agreed to provide services at reduced costs to in-network patients.
This, however, doesn't mean that you are limited to your preferred provider network. You are free to see any provider of your choice. However, going out-of-network may lead to higher member responsibility or longer wait times for bill sharing. Medi-Share has partnered with Healthcare Bluebook to help support its members in finding in-network providers that offer the greatest quality of care at the best price, all available in the Medi-Share Member Center. Even if your providers are listed as in-network in the provider search tool, it’s still a best practice to call them ahead of seeking care to ensure they still participate in the network listed on the Member ID card.
Overall, being a member of Medi-Share involves a different approach to health care, one that is community-based and rooted in Christian values. While it requires a certain level of understanding and adaptability, many members have found that it provides an affordable and supportive alternative to health insurance.
Does Medi-Share Work for You?
The central question of our discussion, "does Medi-Share really work?" indeed warrants an answer. Based on the analysis of its model, member experiences, and the comprehensive comparison with traditional insurance, Medi-Share does work, but it's essential to understand that it serves a specific need and demographic.
Members who value the lower monthly share amount, the opportunity to support fellow members through their health care challenges, and the affirmation of their Christian values are often great candidates for this service. Medi-Share works well for families who have financial stability, can cover routine medical expenses out-of-pocket, and are looking for protection against large, unexpected medical bills. This is also potentially a great option for those who are self-employed and who do not receive health insurance options from an employer.
On the flip side, it's important to remember that Medi-Share isn't for everyone. It requires a commitment to a healthy lifestyle, and it doesn't share in costs for treatments that are outside its member-voted guidelines. It also does not guarantee that all medical expenses will be shared by the community.
All in all, the effectiveness of Medi-Share depends largely on your individual or family's health care needs, financial situation, and comfort with its Bible-based model. If these align with what Medi-Share offers, it can be a very effective alternative to health insurance.
To explore this alternative further and discern whether it is the right choice for you, visit Medi-Share's how-to-join page. This journey may just lead you to a health care solution that marries financial prudence, quality care, and a Christian community in a unique and effective way.