Access to healthcare is a fundamental human right, but the major challenge is that some people cannot afford health insurance policies. Individuals belonging to this income bracket are often deprived of their fundamental human rights. However, other options like healthcare sharing programs can offer relief to many people who cannot afford health insurance. Read on to learn what you should know about healthcare sharing programs before joining one.
Health-Share Plans Are Not Health Insurance
First and foremost, it is essential to know that health sharing programs are not health insurance but faith-based cooperatives. Members of the group agree to cover a specific portion of each individual’s medical costs. Still, many states have laws that exempt health-share plans from regulations and rules governing the health insurance sector. Insurance laws are primarily designed to protect the interests of the clients. Unfortunately, health-share programs have different processes they use when distributing the money to members who may file claims.
How Health Care Sharing Programs Work
Health care sharing ministries or plans consist of people who share the same religious beliefs and pull financial resources that help the members share medical costs to cover their health needs. Before you join a health care sharing program, it is essential to understand how it works to know the benefits you can get. Members are responsible for paying monthly premiums together with an “annual unshared amount” for your expenses that are around $300 to $500 for individuals and about $900 -$5,000 for families.
Health care sharing programs are ideal for people who belong to the following categories:
- Generally, enjoy good health.
- Not eligible for income-based credit tax.
- People who cannot get health insurance through their employer or government.
- Only need catastrophic treatment.
In most cases, the health sharing organizations are religious-based, and they compel the members to live by specific moral codes and healthy lifestyles.
Benefits Healthcare Sharing Ministry
If you want inexpensive health care provisions, a healthcare share can be a better option if you fit the criteria used for a membership plan. You need to agree to specific behavioral terms and beliefs before signing for this kind of health care provision. If you are comfortable with the lifestyle, then a health sharing ministry can save you some money.
Healthcare sharing programs constitute members who share similar interests and are responsible for enacting the rules that will govern their operations. Therefore, if you share the belief systems just like the rest of the other people in the group, you can also contribute to the decision making process. These share programs are community-owned, so they usually do not come with stringent rules as long as you subscribe to the same religion.
Disadvantages Of Healthcare Sharing Programs
The ministries may not accept membership based on religion, sexual orientation, and other factors against their religious beliefs. Therefore, you must choose a share plan wisely to avoid inconveniences. Other healthcare sharing plans are against practices like gay marriages and abortions, meaning that they may not be a perfect match if you subscribe to these ideals.
Healthcare Sharing Plans Do Not Cover Special Conditions
Another important aspect that you should know about healthcare sharing programs is that they do not cover members with special conditions. For instance, if you have diabetes or you suffer from a specific chronic condition that requires constant attention by a professional doctor, the share plan may not be a good choice.
Limited Legal Protection
If you want to join a healthcare sharing program, you must know that it is different from insurance to have fewer limited protections. There are no set guidelines about what should be covered or not since the members’ contributions are widely treated as gifts.
Alternatives To Health-sharing Programs
If you feel that the health sharing program is not your best fit and cannot afford a medical health plan, you can still try other available alternatives. For instance, you can consider a catastrophic health insurance policy, which is relatively cheaper than a medical insurance plan. It is vital to research different options so that you can compare the advantages and disadvantages of each before you make a final decision.
While conventional health policies aim to make health provision accessible to all policyholders, the major problem is that some people cannot afford to pay the premiums. This is when healthcare sharing programs come in handy for people concerned about their wellbeing from limited budgets. The healthcare share scheme is different from a health insurance policy, but it can go a long way in providing primary health needs if you do not have special conditions. All the same, there are downsides of these healthcare share programs that you should know.