Are you looking for an affordable option to cover health expenses for you and your family? If so, you’re not alone.
There was a time when traditional health insurance premiums were reasonable, but now the prices are outrageous for many families.
I had High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP) at one point, which I loved because it allowed me to have a Health Savings Account (HSA).
An HSA cut down my taxable income while letting me save up for future medical expenses.
However, one day I got a letter in the mail that my plan was no longer available. In fact, HDHPs as a whole were no longer available in my state for a family not connected to an employer plan (I am self-employed).
Without an HDHP, I’m no longer qualified to have an HSA, either. This lead me to look for alternatives to traditional health insurance.
In doing so, I came across a health insurance alternative called Medi-Share which works differently from traditional health insurance and I will discuss this in depth in this review.
If you are looking for an affordable alternative to health insurance, Medishare is definitely worth considering. For our family of four, we pay a little over $300 per month. This is significantly cheaper than if we got traditional health insurance.
- Affordable insurance
- Health rewards
- Some medical restrictions
- Hearing aids not covered
- Dental not covered
What Is Medi-Share
Medi-Share is a Christian health sharing ministry. It has more than 400,000 members. Over $2.6 billion medical expenses have been shared and discounted through the program.
Members pay a monthly “share,” which is kind of like a traditional health insurance premium.
When another member has a medical bill, your share is transferred from your account to their account to pay the bill.
Medi-Share is self-regulated by a board of directors that ensures share amounts and medical bills are handled ethically.
In addition, members get to vote on major potential changes to the ministry guidelines.
One of the features of Medi-Share that’s attractive to me is the low monthly share amounts.
The share amount my family pays monthly through Medi-Share is less than we would pay through a traditional health insurance policy.
Here is an example of some of the plan options Medi-Share has, along with their monthly amounts.
Medi-Share is currently waiving the app fee and new member fee through the end of the year (Value of $170 in savings)! Find out more by clicking here.
Medi-Share Value Plan
The Medi-Share Value Program puts you in charge of your medical expenses. You choose your provider based on the services they offer and the prices they charge. On the Medi-Share Value Plan, you are a self-pay patient. You make the payments and then get reimbursed from your Share plan.
The Healthcare Blue Book and Notification process can help you choose the right providers based on what you can afford.
The difference with the Value Plan is that you don’t tell the medical provider to send your bills through your insurance. Instead, you pay everything upfront or work out a payment plan.
What Is Sharing?
Medical sharing is based on the biblical philosophy that we should help bear each other’s burdens. Therefore, each household on the plan has a sharing account. The monthly shares you pay (like premiums) go into your share account.
The funds in your account help other households cover their medical bills, and the same is done for you when you have medical bills. You’ll receive the funds in your account, which you can use to pay your bills.
What’s the Cost?
Medi-share members don’t have premiums. Instead, they have an Individual Member Responsibility per day or stay. The per-day responsibility is for any medical services received in a single day, and the per-stay limits are per inpatient stay if you cannot be discharged.
You choose between a $500 or $1,000 IMR. Any bills beyond that amount can be submitted for sharing with other members.
Medishare Plan Options with Deductibles
Each Medi-Share plan has an Annual Household Portion (AHP), a Standard Monthly Share and a Healthy Monthly Share.
An AHP is similar to an annual deductible. It’s the amount a member will pay out-of-pocket before medical costs can be covered.
The Standard Monthly Share amount is what a person pays into their health sharing account each month (analogous to a monthly premium).
Those who qualify pay a Healthy Monthly Share amount. This is a discounted share amount given to those meeting certain monthly requirements.
The AHP and monthly share amounts vary based on your family size and ages. You can check your projected price in the MediShare Share Calculator. Here are some examples.
Scenario 1: Family of Four or More
Let’s say you’re 43 years old, the oldest member of your family and have a spouse and two kids. Your AHP and monthly share portions would look like this:
The monthly share amount you pay is based on which AHP amount you choose. If you qualify for the Health Incentive Discount, you’ll pay the Healthy Monthly Share amount.
Otherwise, you’ll pay the Standard Monthly Share.
If you have a pre-existing condition, such as Type II Diabetes, you may be required to pay an additional $99 per month share.
Note that there is a $1,000 AHP available. This AHP amount is only available to members age 18-29 who are unmarried.
Scenario 2: Family of Two
Here is another example of what monthly share amounts would be for a couple, the oldest member being 33 years old.
As you can see, the monthly share amounts are lower. That’s because the family is smaller and the oldest applying adult is younger than in Scenario 1.
Now let’s take a look at what a single adult would pay.
Scenario 3: Single Adult
In this scenario, I entered an age of 50 for the adult into the Medishare Calculator.
Scenario 4: Single Person
If you were a single person who fell into the 18-29 age range and qualified for the $1,000 AHP, your rates would look like this:
As you can see, the monthly share amounts are much more affordable than many traditional insurance plans. Here is what I chose for my family’s Medi-Share plan.
The Medi-Share Plan I Chose
I chose the highest AHP for our family. Although the plan I chose has a high deductible ($10,500), once that deductible is met, we are 100% covered for up to $1 million in health expenses.
This is okay with us because we view insurance as a catastrophic option. That is, we don’t need it to cover regular doctor visits.
We just want to have it in case something major happens.
We’re able to afford this option because we have over $10,000 in our emergency fund, which will cover our deductible amount. Medi-Share will cover our medical bills after that.
Here are a couple of the unique features of being a Medi-share member.
Get Rewarded for Being Healthy
Medi-Share will give you a discount called a Health Incentive Discount if you are healthier.
The Healthy Monthly Share discount is based on your blood pressure, waist measurement and Body Mass Index (BMI).
If you meet Medi-Share’s criteria for being healthy, you will pay less every month than those who are not as healthy. This is another way it pays to work out and to take care of yourself.
Talk to a Doctor Over the Phone for Free
Another feature of Medi-Share that’s been great for our family is their MDLIVE app. The MDLIVE app has come in handy several times for our family.
For instance, one time one of my kids had a rash. I opened the app and said I wanted to have a phone consultation with a doctor. Then I uploaded a picture of the rash.
When I talked to the doctor over the phone, he prescribed a cream to pick up at our local pharmacy. We were able to do all of this without having to leave our home.
The MDLIVE feature is free for Medi-Share members. This feature alone makes the program worth it for us.
Medi-Share is Not Health Insurance
When considering a health sharing ministry, there are things you need to be aware of. A health sharing ministry is not insurance.
This means many health care providers do not understand it and it can be frustrating when trying to run it through at a doctor’s office.
Often, if a bill is less than $100, I will just tell them that we will pay cash so that we can bypass the hassle.
The one good thing about being a cash-pay patient is that many doctors give you a significant discount.
Also, there are no surprise bills that come in the mail. You square everything away right at the doctor’s office.
In addition, there are providers on the Medishare site that are “in-network” so to speak. I definitely recommend checking for in-network providers before you book an appointment.
Because Medi-Share is not insurance, well visits, routine care and preventive care visits are not covered. The service is only meant for unexpected health care costs.
The premise behind this rule is that well visits and preventive care are expected costs. Therefore, they should be planned for in your monthly or annual budget.
The one exception to this rule is that well child care is covered for children age five and younger.
The coverage applies to checkups and associated lab work. Vaccinations and immunizations are not covered through Medi-Share.
In addition, Medi-Share does not qualify for federally mandated insurance requirements. Instead, it qualifies under an exemption allowance to federally mandated insurance requirements.
There is a Religious Component to Medi-Share
Medishare is a Christian health sharing program. In order to join, you need to sign a statement of faith.
Read it carefully since signing it means you agree to abide by the biblical standards in Medi-Share’s terms and conditions.
Also, because it is a religious organization, there are things they don’t cover like medical expenses from a DUI, pregnancy outside of marriage, birth control expenses, etc.
Who is Eligible for Medi-Share
Adults 18 to 64 years of age can apply for Medi-Share. Spouses and children of adult applicants who meet the other member criteria are also eligible.
People 65 and older can qualify for Senior Assist, a health sharing ministry designed to work with Medicare.
Also, adult children of members can be covered up until age 23 in certain circumstances.
What Types of Medical Expenses Are Covered Through Medi-Share?
There is a long list of medical expenses that are covered through Medi-Share. See the Medi-Share Guidelines for more information.
Because the list of covered expenses is so long, it might be easier to talk about what’s not covered through Medi-Share.
As mentioned before, expenses related to alcohol and drug use such as a DUI are not covered.
Expenses relating to pregnancy outside of marriage, birth control or abortion are not covered.
The following medical procedures are not covered through Medi-Share:
- Counseling and psychiatric care (in some cases)
- Cosmetic procedures
- Dental services
- Infertility treatments
- Non-prescription drugs
- Hearing aids
And others. Refer to the guidelines link above for complete information on what is and is not covered through Medi-Share.
If you are looking for an affordable alternative to health insurance, Medishare is worth considering.
For our family of four, we pay a little over $300 per month. This is significantly cheaper than if we got traditional health insurance.
The last time I checked, it was over $800 per month in our area for a health insurance plan with a higher deductible than we have with Medi-share.
A health sharing ministry plan may not be for everyone. However, it may be the perfect insurance alternative for you.
I encourage you to check it out if you’re unhappy with your current insurance situation.