Keeping the Faith in Healthcare

Keeping the Faith in Healthcare -LeBlanc CommunicationsLike many small business owners, I have been faced with incredibly daunting increases in our family's medical insurance premiums. However, as the open enrollment clock ticks, there is a solution that might be of interest. 

As you know, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) stipulates penalties for folks who do not have insurance. This is intended to ensure that everyone, even those who are healthier, has insurance so that the system operates at a healthy, sustainable financial level.

One exception to typical insurance is a medical cost-sharing plan through one of the many religious groups that offer this. Because my family values its involvement in one of our town's churches, we learned more about this option and found a plan that seems to fit very well.

The current premium for our family of 6 is $1,562/month. If we choose to stay with this insurance for 2017, our new premium will be over $1,700/month, or $1,600 with an even higher deductible. This seems to be a common trend.

Instead, we have decided to go with an organization called Medi-Share,

"a healthcare sharing ministry where members share each other's medical expenses." Medi-Share comprises over 214,000 families and has been around since 1993 (the same year that our company was founded). It has shared over $1.4 billion in medical expenses since its founding, and the most significant benefit is a greatly reduced premium, which makes this healthcare sharing affordable. With this plan, using a similar $5,000 annual deductible, our family's monthly "premium" (contribution) will be only $387/month, or a savings of around $16,000 per year! This rate is for my family of 6 and I'm in my early 50s.  See the premium and monthly share chart below.  The Annual Household Portion is your deductible, followed by standard monthly share or the healthy monthly share which is determined on Health Incentive standards.

While this is not conventional insurance, it is important to consider the benefits and stipulations of such a model.

Some benefits:

  • Costs are incredibly low - participants contribute from their family's "share" and then they send your monthly amount to a family who needs it.
  • They use one of the country's largest doctor/hospital networks - PHCS. Click here to verify if your doctors are on their plan.
  • Members are encouraged to pray for those in need and even share the name and address of those having their bills paid by others in case you'd like to send a get well card!
  • You can visit with a doctor on-line by video call for free 24/7/365 and even get prescriptions if needed.
  • *There is a 20% discount for households who meet the Health Incentive standards, which are determined on waist measurement, BMI and blood pressure.

Some caveats/stipulations:

  • This is NOT regular insurance, so they can restrict pre-existing conditions.
  • Because this is not traditional medical insurance, the plans are not tax-deductible (but our savings over compensates for this).
  • You are joining a like-minded faith community and will have to agree to certain religious beliefs and practices.
  • Unlike most plans, healthy visits are paid out-of-pocket toward your deductible.
  • The plan is unregulated by the states as other insurance plans are.

If you think this insurance option may be appropriate and meaningful for you, I encourage you to learn more. Visit www.medi-share.org to research, see rates and/or sign-up or call me at (203) 938-3000 if you have any questions.

Wishing you and your family a very Happy Thanksgiving!