Healthcare sharing plans stem from age-old American Christian ministry practices put in place by Mormons and Mennonites over a century ago. This healthcare solution allows members to get together and share the costs of their healthcare treatment. The concept is deceptively simple: Everyone contributes to a central fund on a regular basis. When one member gets sick, they can take what they need from this fund to cover their medical costs.
Today, health sharing plans have advanced significantly with the advent of new technology. Thanks to the internet, mobile apps, and crowdfunding platforms, it is now very easy for communities to share their health costs. In addition, this system has expanded far beyond the limitations of religious faith. Many new health sharing plans have nothing to do with religion and accept new members from all walks of life.
With all that said, it’s important to note that health sharing plans are not the same as health insurance. The underlying system might seem similar at first, but there are some key differences. Most health sharing plans require members to contribute monthly fees. In addition, you may also need to pay a certain amount of money before the crowdfunding process kicks in. These concepts are similar – but not identical – to premiums and deductibles.
There are many differences between health sharing plans and traditional health insurance policies. One of the most obvious differences is that most health insurance plans in the United States are regulated by the Affordable Care Act, while health sharing plans are not. ACA plans must follow several regulations to comply with federal law. Some of these regulations were intended to benefit policyholders, such as guaranteed coverage for the “ten essential health benefits.” However, some of the regulations that were created with the best of intentions have arguably caused more harm than good.
For example, ACA plans are required by law to accept individuals with pre-existing conditions. While this might seem like a highly ethical decision at first, it causes a knock-on effect that makes insurance more expensive for everyone else. In a truly free-market environment, these individuals would be considered too risky for insurance companies to cover, as their medical costs clearly outweigh any premiums or deductible costs they may pay.
In other words, chronically ill individuals represent a net drain on the entire “community” of policyholders. This means that healthy individuals who have been very careful to lead healthy lives and make responsible lifestyle decisions end up taking on the financial burden of individuals who would previously have been seen as “uninsurable.” In addition, more government regulation means less competition between insurers – which inevitably leads to higher prices for consumers due to the laws of supply and demand.
Another major difference between health sharing plans and traditional insurance policies is the existence of doctor networks. Many sharing plans have no doctor networks, allowing you to choose the providers that fit your unique needs and considerations. In contrast, various insurers will limit your choices, forcing you to abandon your first choices and settle for other providers instead. This can make switching providers or insurance policies highly tedious.
Finally, traditional health insurance plans can lead to higher costs when compared to health sharing plans. This is due to a combination of deductibles, premiums, and copayments. Not only do you need to pay higher deductibles and premiums with traditional health insurance plans, but you also need to worry about copayment costs. These are additional fees that you must pay every time you visit a doctor or a provider. While copayments may only cost $20 or $30 per visit, they represent yet another fee you need to worry about. This system of copay expenses disproportionately affects lower-income households and discourages them from getting the health care they so desperately need. There are no copayments with many health sharing plans.
Health sharing plans can be beneficial for a wide range of Americans looking for an alternative to traditional health insurance plans. Many people choose these sharing plans as a temporary solution to interrupted health insurance plans. For example, retirees may only need a year or two of coverage before they qualify for Medicare or Medicaid. People who have lost their employment health care benefits often consider health sharing plans as an alternative to COBRA. Others turn to health sharing plans when COBRA runs out. The same logic applies to young adults who have lost coverage under their parents’ plans after reaching a certain age.
That said, health sharing plans can be just as effective when used as long-term health care coverage solutions. This might be an especially attractive prospect for young, healthy Americans who are fed up with paying higher premiums to balance out the growing number of unhealthy patients covered under the Affordable Care Act. A young, healthy individual can expect much lower premiums when they choose a health care sharing plan. Coupled with a healthy lifestyle and preventative medicine, this can provide plenty of security for medical emergencies while lowering overall health costs.
In short, health sharing plans can be beneficial for individuals of all types – from seniors awaiting Medicare eligibility to younger, healthy Americans trying to save money each month on their health costs. While health sharing plans are not the same as an insurance policy, they can provide the same general benefits at a fraction of the cost. This option is becoming increasingly popular as premiums continue to rise with inflation and the cost of living skyrockets in the United States. Many Americans now view this as their only viable choice for health coverage.
One of the best options for health sharing is CrowdHealth. These plans use innovative crowdfunding technology to facilitate the payment of medical bills for its members. CrowdHealth offers premiums with pricing as low as $175 per month, and there are no deductibles or doctor networks.
All you need to do is pay your health bills before uploading your receipt to CrowdHealth’s platform. From there, this health sharing plan can facilitate crowdfunding from other members, covering the cost of your bills over the first $500. CrowdHealth can even negotiate with providers on your behalf, lowering your health bills before the crowdfunding process even kicks in.
Additional benefits include:
To learn more about CrowdHealth, feel free to reach out to one of our team members. We can explain how our innovative crowdfunding system works in much more detail, and you can ask as many questions as you like. Reach out today to learn more about health sharing plans and you might find the possibility of a change to a more affordable medical solution well worth it.