Not only has health insurance in America gotten so incredibly expensive, and getting more and more expensive every year, the number of options available, and how each one works can make for a frustratingly complex process.
Taking care of your health shouldn’t be that difficult, or frankly, that confusing. What’s even more terrifying, is that if your health insurance isn’t sufficient, or doesn’t cover you properly from a catastrophic perspective, then that can leave you either without proper care or, even bankrupt.
Then, and to potentially make it even worse, filing a health insurance claim can be even more confusing.
This article isn’t going to address all of the above (for that I would need to write a book), but, what I will address specifically is Medi-Share, what it is, how it works, the pros and cons, the pricing, and a review.
Before you continue reading, the video below is a definite worthwhile video to watch, and does an excellent job of summarizing the Medi-Share medical sharing plan:
What Is Medi-Share? Advantages and Disadvantages
Medi-Share is a unique, non-profit, health care sharing membership program founded on the belief that there is a biblical and Christian way of taking care of health care. All said, there are over 300,000 members, so, they do have a fairly large base.
Through this program, Christians share money and help pay the medical expenses of other members going through financial difficulties.
Medi-Share is based on the biblical principle of Christians helping one another. The concept is now applied to health care expenses. The focus at Medi-Share is never on profit but always on people.
- Medi-Share is not-for-profit and considering the health insurance companies make anywhere from 3% to 10.5% profit, those fees are essentially removed from the health care equation. Those savings are presumably passed along to you, so, you save money.
- For those who believe in living the Christian life, Medi-Share will be in alignment with your religious beliefs.
- Medi-Share encourages its members to live a healthy lifestyle, and to promote healthy living, Medi-Share offers a health coach to assist when and where required.
- For things like medical refills, there’s no need to run to the doctor. Medi-Share offers the option of online video conferencing where required and you can speak with a doctor online. This is especially helpful if you’re remote, and getting to your doctor in person is problematic.
- You might not be eligible for expensive surgical procedures or care because Medi-Share is technically NOT insurance. Many health care institutions and hospitals might not treat you, especially for the more costly procedures if Medi-Share is your only health insurance policy. It’s not uncommon to be refused treatment.
- Medi-Share is NOT insurance. Yes, you read that right, and as a result, they may choose to deny pre-existing conditions (pre-existing is considered something that you knew about, had symptoms for, tests done … in advance of joining Medishare). Medishare lists several requirements on its website regarding pre-existing conditions. It’s important you’re aware of them in advance, and definitely not once it’s too late. You can read about them here.
- Many hospitals won’t deal with Medi-Share, even if the hospitals are in your network, and as a result, you will need to pay out of pocket yourself.
- The paperwork with Medi-Share can be daunting, and getting reimbursed for your out of pocket costs can be tedious. Not only that, but because Medishare is not insurance, it puts them in a somewhat grey area forcing you to battle between Medishare, and your state laws regarding insurance and ACA coverage. The consumer protections just aren’t the same as they are with an insurance company. “If you go to them and they don’t want to cover something, you just don’t have the same recourse under the law to make them pay that you do with an insurer,” said Glenn Cohen.
Having gone through some of the pros and cons of Medi-Share, let’s move into who the company is, and what they stand for, but, before we do, you might be interested in this Dave Ramsey video and review:
Medi-Share Guidelines, Goals, Costs and Other Benefits
Goal of Medi-Share
The goal of Medi-Share is the promotion of biblical wholeness. This is achieved through different programs of excellence, resources, and leadership. It is aimed to inspire, guide, educate, and enable people to completely invest their energy, talent, time, and finances in building the Kingdom of God.
Why Is Health Important?
- 90% of deaths are caused due to cancer, diabetes, and heart disease
- Most affected people are aged between 55 to 75
- A large section of America is overweight
- Many Americans have chronic conditions and take medicine for them
- There is a 90% chance of developing high blood pressure
What Medi-Share Offers
- Prevention through various online sources
- Care management through one point of contact for all members facing a medical crisis
- Telephone health coaching through various health partnerships
How Medi-Share Works
Medi-Share’s online platform is quite secure. It publishes bills eligible for sharing. Every year, members’ monthly share is matched with eligible medical bills of other members. The medical cost-sharing between members is directly coordinated. Thus, members are aware of whose bills they are paying. When a member has their own bill to be paid, fellow members will share the costs and also pray for each other. Medi-Share providers consider all factors, including the validity of the bills, before the payment is completed.
If you’re visiting the doctor and making a claim, it’s quite possible that the staff have not heard of the Medi-Share network, and if that happens, you should know that Medi-Share uses the “Multiplan PHCS network”. Just let them know the doctor’s office know that the healthcare is PHCS Medishare.
If you have a large medical need and require a doctor’s visit, Medi-Share can help in the following ways:
- Finding Medi-Share providers within the network
- Providing your membership card
- Paying the necessary provider fee
- Getting the care needed at the moment
The doctor needs to send your bill for approval to Medi-Share.
Medi-Share uses a unique PPO network. The network encourages members to use providers within the network. Thus, members can reduce their out-of-pocket expenses and keep their costs as low as possible. If members desire, they may get help from other doctors after paying additional fees.
Who Is Eligible?
Christians who are tired of paying their costly health care or those who need help in meeting their health care expenses are eligible. Many refer to the program as Christian care Medi-Share health insurance. However, members need to comply with the rules, which means there will be no payment for procedures that are completely against Christian beliefs.
It is the perfect health care solution, offering affordable options for families, individuals, and seniors (through their senior assist program). There is also a special group program for Christian employers and churches.
Lifestyle and Reasons for Medi-Share Cancelation
Medi-Share guidelines need to be followed by members to be eligible for Medi-Share insurance. The members are required to follow the Statement of Faith. Members who are above the age of 18 years and do not follow the Christian lifestyle might even get their membership canceled. Below are some of the actions that can lead to the cancellation of membership:
- Tobacco used in any way
- Illegal drugs
- Drug abuse in the form of alcohol, over-the-counter medicines, or even prescription drugs
- Sexual relations outside Christian marriage
- Participation or involvement in activities against personal safety
If a member gains weight abnormally, the member needs to participate as a health partner.
Individuals & Families
Medi-Share is the perfect solution for a family of any size. You might be a young married couple, single, or maybe you have a family – this program is right for you!
Members pay their Medi-Share annual household portion (AHP) toward the medical bills during a 12-month period. This is before the eligible bills are published for sharing purposes. The share calculator can be used for calculating your monthly share.
How Much Does Medi-Share Cost Per Month?
One of the many benefits is the Medi-Share cost – which is quite affordable. As per this program, members share their medical costs. The Medi-Share premium is generally based on the number of people who are participating in the program – this can be either one, two, or three or more members in a family. The Christian Medi-Share insurance amount also depends on the age of the oldest applicant.
Once the member fills in the necessary information, the monthly share amounts can be seen. Members need to select a Medi-Share annual household portion, which offers the best fit for the family and budget.
On a somewhat related note, I did a review of Christian Healthcare Ministries. You can read that here: Christian Healthcare Ministries Review and Deep Dive – What’s CHM All About?
With Medi-Share, you can get out of the costly health insurance market. This is one of the main reasons why it is referred to as Medi- Share affordable biblical healthcare. Cost-savings is one of the biggest advantages of Medi-Share and one of the main reasons for the increasing popularity of the program over traditional health care insurance. If you have already paid for those high-deductible health insurance plans, you will be aware how costly they can be.
Medi-Share is an accountable program. The members vote on the different guidelines that govern what the program covers and how well it runs. Though the program is totally based on biblical principles, it is not a charitable program. Believers have a sense of community, which includes their prayers for the sick and needy. It includes medical expenses when you need it the most.
Here are some more Medi-Share benefits for members:
Lab Test Discounts
Lab work is an essential part of the wellness routine of many individuals. With discounted lab test services, members can save between 20% and 70%. Through this option, lab test services are available nationwide and in more than 2,500 locations. (However, testing facilities are not available in RI, NY, NJ, or HI.)
Health Incentive Discounts
The health incentive discount is a way to save 20% on the monthly share. Members become eligible for this by leading a healthy lifestyle. Both the head of household and their spouse need to meet the criteria within 30 days of one another. The application is online.
The image below shows the qualifications for the health incentive.
However, as in the case of all insurance programs, there are some limitations associated with Medi-Share as well.
Members need to know about the numerous Medi-Share limits so they are well aware of the entire process.
Members need to understand that America’s Christian credit union Medi-Share is not a health insurance company. Members are not able to participate in HSAs, health savings accounts, as they usually require an individual to have a deductible insurance plan for joining, which this program is not.
Also, Medi-Share contributions are not tax deductible, as Medi-Share is not a health insurance program. Members are not able to deduct the share cost or amount paid from taxes.
In addition, there are a few restrictions for joining such a program. Members with certain existing conditions cannot participate in the program.
How to Join Medi-Share Insurance
Members need to apply online or call the Medi-Share provider phone number. The call will be received by a representative, who will assist you and receive your application over the phone. However, members need to read as well as understand all Medi-Share guidelines, Medi-Share limits, and Medi-Share premium calculations.
As soon as a member applies for Medi-Share insurance, an e-mail is received. This e-mail requires filing of additional information, including a health history questionnaire. In the online form center, members are also required to fill out a testimony and commitment form. This includes lifestyle commitments and a Statement of Faith. Full privacy is assured for members, as the information remains only with the Christian Care Ministry.
Application Approval Process
Members often ask about the approval process and whether the approval process is quite lengthy. The processing time is generally dependent on how soon the information needed by the Medi-Share providers is made available to them. Once all submissions are approved, members are required to pay a new member fee, along with the payment of the first month’s Medi-Share insurance amount.
Is Medi-Share the perfect solution for you and your family?
Well, it is never easy to understand health insurance, as there is a lot to consider about costs and the availability of help at the right time. Health insurance costs have been continuously rising over the years and are expected to rise in the future too. Therefore, Christian health care ministries are playing a pivotal role by sharing costs of medical expenses. Without any indication of things in the insurance world changing anytime soon, it is recommended that you consider all your health insurance options and share the costs of medical expenses.
Medi-Share is a unique program that aims to reduce the burden of increasing medical costs. Though there are several benefits as well as drawbacks of this program, it is certainly worth giving them consideration.
Here, members are required to follow Christian principles, and they are ensured to actually help others. It is more about contributing to a cause and being with likeminded people.