A New Way of Looking at Affordable Health Insurance Plans in Texas

Crowdfunding with CrowdHealth: Affordable Health Insurance Plans in Texas That Aren’t Health Insurance

Health insurance is complicated in Texas. Most people turn to their employer for health insurance coverage, frequently being pressured into choosing a plan shortly after being hired. Once they have that plan, they pay high monthly premiums and are limited to a small network of healthcare providers. High deductibles also prevent many consumers from taking full advantage of their health insurance plans. 

Medicare and Medicaid are government-sponsored health insurance options, but many of the same problems exist. Consumers are given tons of health plans to choose from and relatively short enrollment periods to do research, frequently paying too much for Texas health insurance or finding out they don’t have enough coverage when it’s too late to do anything about it. Patients are often encouraged to purchase a Medicare Part C Advantage Plan as well, again limiting them to a small network of health care providers. 

If you’re tired of costly plans, high deductibles, and limited provider networks, a company called CrowdHealth is looking to flip the health insurance paradigm on its head. Whereas traditional insurance companies put profits before people, CrowdHealth isn’t insurance. Plans are designed to help the public access essential care without breaking the bank. Please continue reading to learn more about how CrowdHealth is disrupting the health insurance industry.

How expensive are health insurance plans in Texas?

Since CrowdHealth was created to help consumers avoid runaway health insurance inflation, it makes sense to look at how bad the problem has become in Texas. The average Texas resident can expect to pay $424 per month in monthly premiums, a cost of $5,088 per year.

However, premiums alone don’t capture the full cost of insurance. The average plan includes a deductible of about $4,500 nationwide, meaning that patients have to pay $4,500 out of pocket before their insurance does anything for them. The average American can’t afford that, explaining why so many are forced into bankruptcy by healthcare costs.

How does alternative health coverage in Texas work?

CrowdHealth doesn’t have the monthly premiums, networks, or deductibles that define the broader health insurance industry, and we aren’t even an insurance company. Instead, our mission is to help each Member crowdfund whenever they need care in excess of $500, spreading the bill across multiple Members. We do so in four simple steps:

First, new Members sign up for CrowdHealth and agree to make a regular monthly contribution to our platform. The standard cost for most people (ages 6-54) is $175 per month, of which $30 goes to CrowdHealth to help cover administrative costs. The rest is placed in your crowdfund account where you can use it to help with your healthcare expenses or assist other Members with their costs to improve your “generosity score”. 

Since we want to make coverage as transparent as possible, we’ll share the other rates right now: Families of 4-8 eligible members can all enroll together for $695 per month. Again, none of these prices are premiums because the vast majority of the money collected is placed in your crowdfunding account. 

The next step is seeing a health care provider and asking for the cash price. If the total is $500 or less, the patient is responsible for the entire bill. However, totals in excess of $500 require patients to make a down payment of $500 and submit a funding request to CrowdHealth for the rest. We encourage Members to tell us they plan to receive costly care beforehand so we can negotiate a better price with their provider than a traditional insurance company would. 

You might be wondering why a care provider would have any incentive to negotiate with us. The answer is simple: Doctors like being paid in cash because they don’t have to shell out for the administrative costs of filing an insurance claim, fight over prior authorizations, or wait 90-120 days to be compensated for their services. All told, we save our Members an average of 60% on emergency room visits and 30-50% on other costs otherwise negotiated by insurance companies. 

The third step is submitting your bill, which is as easy as downloading our mobile app, snapping a picture, and clicking submit. The final step consists of CrowdHealth facilitating your funding request, ensuring that bills are paid quickly and smoothly. Funds are transferred directly from other Member accounts to yours for maximal convenience. It’s really that easy!

What kinds of care can I receive with an affordable health insurance plan in Texas?

CrowdHealth plans have no deductibles or networks, so you can see any provider you like at any time you like. For example, let’s say that you were billed $500,000 for a cardiac arrest and associated hospital stay. The expert negotiators at CrowdHealth can get your principal balance down to as low as $240,000. We can then create a long-term payment plan so that 5,000 Community Members are only paying about $2 per month over 24 months. Voila! A huge bill is paid without ruining anyone’s finances. 

Every CrowdHealth plan also includes additional benefits beyond negotiating more favorable rates. You’ll enjoy unlimited access to virtual health and talk therapy sessions with licensed professionals who can write you a prescription without having to leave home. We also provide personal care advocacy and outstanding customer service that makes you feel like a human, not a number. 

Our pharmacy partner will find you deep discounts on prescription drugs as well, saving up to 60% versus traditional health insurance in Texas. Your medications might not be eligible for crowdfunding, but you can always pay these discounted prices.

Will I have to leave Texas to receive treatment?

CrowdHealth gets Members more affordable health care by shopping around and comparing rates, and that sometimes means asking Texas residents to leave the state for the care they need. However, we only do that when it makes financial sense. If a procedure is $10,000 in Texas and $9,895 in New York, the savings wouldn’t justify the cross-country trip and we wouldn’t ask you to make it. However, if your local provider quotes you $80,000 and we can find equivalent or better care in another state for $30,000, the savings justify the trip.

Does a crowdfunding plan count as health insurance in Texas?

No, the health coverage provided by CrowdHealth does not qualify as “health insurance” because we make no guarantee that medical bills will be paid. That might sound bad, but we think it’s good. There are two major reasons why. 

First, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) created a limit on how much profit an insurance company can make from monthly premiums. We know it sounds good in theory, but in practice, it means that health insurance is steadily becoming less affordable. If your plan has a monthly premium of $1000, your insurer isn’t allowed to make any more than $150 per month on that. If they increase your premium to $1,100, they can now make $165. Therefore, the current system incentivizes your health insurance company to raise prices as often as possible. 

Second, most health insurance plans have to add as many providers to their networks as possible to make them attractive to employers and their employees. Nobody wants a plan they cannot use, right? Unfortunately, needing to keep as many providers as possible limits each insurer’s ability to negotiate prices. Inevitably, providers ask for more money and insurance companies are happy to oblige, knowing they can use the increase to raise premiums and earn higher profits. It’s a vicious cycle that makes coverage far more expensive than it needs to be. 

CrowdHealth is a different kind of company in that the only ways we can increase our revenues are to enroll more Members and negotiate better prices for existing ones. Our interests are aligned in a way that they simply aren’t with traditional health insurance, allowing us to provide low-cost health coverage through an innovative business model. 

We also object to the “guarantee” that traditional insurance always approves payment for covered services. A 2019 study by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that 19% of in-network medical claims were denied that year even though all of the plans in the study were ACA-compliant and purchased on the HealthCare.gov marketplace. If there’s a 1-in-5 chance that a covered claim goes unpaid, the insurance industry isn’t guaranteeing much at all.

Crowdfunded health insurance in Texas sounds too good to be true. What types of care am I compromising on?

While CrowdHealth is interested in providing affordable coverage to as many people as possible, there are a few things we cannot cover at this time. Alternative therapies, cosmetic procedures, long-term prescriptions (defined as longer than 120 days), fertility treatments, vision, and dental coverage are not currently eligible for crowdfunding.

Similarly, we are not currently looking to enroll Members who use tobacco, are 65 years of age or older, or exceed certain weight limitations since such Members present too much risk to our Community. Our enrollment efforts are available to people with pre-existing medical conditions, but any care associated with those conditions will not be eligible for crowdfunding in the first year and will be subject to strict maximums thereafter. 

If you have an HSA account, you will not be able to use it to pay your monthly contributions to a CrowdHealth plan. However, you will be able to use it to pay your $500 per-event payments. Altogether, these restrictions pale in comparison to the limitations of the classic health insurance plan.

Is crowdfunding a better alternative to traditional health insurance in Texas?

Finding affordable health insurance coverage is essential, but that doesn’t have to mean signing up for an insurance plan. CrowdHealth leverages crowdfunding to provide an affordable health insurance alternative to anything you could find from an employer or on a government marketplace. We want to do everything we can to promote your health and that starts by doing our part to ensure you can afford the care you and your family need. 

Of course, we don’t expect you to take our word for it. Instead, contact us to learn more about the coverage we can provide and how it might interact with any other insurance you might be carrying!

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CrowdHealth vs "Affordable" Insurance

CrowdHealth is not insurance. We are a completely new and innovative solution to paying for healthcare. We value community and transparency over profit. Can your insurance company make that claim?

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