Medi-Share member and volunteer Brenda Schweitzer has come to a powerful realization over the past decade. “Medi-Share is a ministry,” she says. “It’s the body of Christ. It’s different, and it’s worth fighting for.”
Becoming a Member
Brenda has worked in the healthcare industry for most of her life, so she’s become well-versed in the insurance industry as well. When she began working for a small doctor’s office in the early 2000s, her boss let her choose her own health insurance benefits. She signed up with a familiar, traditional insurance company and was quite satisfied…
That is, until she got the dreaded letter in the mail: the insurance company was dropping her policy. Suddenly, Brenda found herself scrambling for new options at a time when many insurance companies were facing uncertainties about their future.
It was that forced search that led her to Medi-Share, where a family friend was employed. “I never would’ve looked for or considered it had I not had a need,” Brenda says. “What I had was taken away.”
At first, Brenda was hesitant to join, simply because the concept of healthcare bill sharing was unfamiliar to her. She called her Medi-Share contact, who kindly talked through her concerns friend-to-friend. “She helped alleviate my fears,” Brenda says. “It was all new to me.” After that phone call, she was confident that Medi-Share was the best choice for her.
Becoming a Volunteer
A year or two later, Brenda opened her email and was surprised to find an invitation to join the Medi-Share Steering Committee. She didn’t know much about the type of commitment the committee might entail, but after an interview with the chairman and the medical director at the time, she accepted the challenge.
The Medi-Share Steering Committee is a group of non-paid members who meet regularly to discuss guidelines and procedures, as well as review unusual sharing cases. The committee was designed to represent the voices of members, and the team is strategically chosen across a spectrum of backgrounds, professions, and geographical locations in order to ensure diverse perspectives.
Brenda says, “We had accountants, a veterinarian, medical people, salespeople, a housewife. Across demographics, people volunteered to help serve.”
Because of their cross-country locations, Steering Committee members mostly met via conference calls. Brenda recalls that a good portion of their meetings would include due diligence regarding specific sharing scenarios. After hearing both sides, the Steering Committee would cast a vote and make a decision. Through that process, she was struck by the stewardship of resources and care for members that she saw demonstrated by Medi-Share.
“I came to appreciate the whole ministry in ways I never would have otherwise,” she says. “It was absolutely wonderful.”
Each Steering Committee member has a limited term of service. Brenda fulfilled her term in 2021, which meant that her final years were served during the Covid crisis. While navigating through those unprecedented waters, she was once again impressed by both the communal and ministerial aspects of Medi-Share. Within the issues that were brought to the committee, she witnessed a heart for both the individuals who were struggling as well as the larger body of Medi-Share members as a whole.
Brenda says, “How kind of God, that I was able to serve our ministry behind the scenes in a way that I wouldn’t have been able to do if it was a normal health insurance company. God is very much at work and using our ministry. I feel so blessed that I’ve been able to serve in this quiet way.”
Becoming an Advocate
Recently, Brenda was called on again to help the Medi-Share community, particularly in her home state of Maryland. Lobbyists and legislators in Maryland were pushing to disallow Medi-Share and other bill sharing ministries statewide. There was a very real chance that Medi-Share members in Maryland would be forced out of the program.
Brenda didn’t have any experience with political dealings. But when Medi-Share’s legal team reached out to her asking for help, she considered it her “Esther moment.” After working with the team, she gave a testimony to the State board.
“I told them, ‘Please don’t shut us down. This is a very viable option.’”
She was able to speak about the blessing that Medi-Share has been in her life. For example, at one point, she participated in the Health Partnership Program, which helped her not only lose weight but also make healthier lifestyle choices over time. “They really care about you,” she says. “They take a loving interest in you.”
Thankfully, in July 2023, the ruling came in: Medi-Share could continue to operate in Maryland! Brenda was overjoyed, considering it an honor to be a part of the process. “You never know until you step out in faith. I’m grateful to God that I can continue [with Medi-Share.]”
Overall, Brenda’s story serves as a great reminder of how Medi-Share is truly a ministry first. With community care at our core and Biblical stewardship as our focus, we pray that God will continue to use Medi-Share as a ministry for decades to come.