Medishare Review – How I Saved $1116 a Month on Health Insurance
Are you tired of paying too much for health insurance? I was too & decided to do something about it. So in January, when our monthly bill (family of 4) jumped from $480/month to a whopping $1596/month, I knew a change was needed. I had heard that there were different options available and decided to do a little research and eventually signed up with Medi-Share. I’d like to give you my personal Medishare review and what’s involved in the sign-up process.
Below I’ll share both the advantages and disadvantages of signing up with Medi-Share along with my experience so you’ll know what to expect if you want to join. Enjoy.
What is Medi-Share?
Medi-Share is NOT health insurance. It’s a healthcare sharing ministry membership program in which Christians share their financial resources to help pay for other members’ medical expenses.
Think of your local neighborhood. If one of your neighbors was in the hospital and couldn’t mow their yard, more than likely some of the neighbors would pitch in and help out with their yard work. Medi-Share works in a similar fashion.
It is based on the biblical principles of Christians helping other Christians and applied to healthcare expenses.
Here’s a brief video:
Here is a breakdown from their site about how Medi-Share works:
Each month, your monthly share is matched with another’s eligible medical bills. Through a secure online portal, Christian Care Ministry publishes the bills eligible for sharing and coordinates the direct sharing of medical costs between members. You will know each month whose bills your share is helping pay, and when you have eligible bills and your annual household portion (AHP) has been met, your fellow believers will be sharing those bills and praying for you as well.
Who is Medi-Share for?
In order to be a member, you must by a follower of Christ and agree to their statement of faith.
Additionally, members must agree to live by the following Biblical standards:
- I do not engage in sex outside of traditional Biblical marriage, which is a union of one man and one woman. (Gen.2:22-24, Mat. 19:5, Eph. 5:22-32)
- I do not and will not use tobacco in any form or illegal drugs and have not for the last 12 months.
- I agree not to abuse legal drugs, including alcohol and have not abused them for the past 12 months.
- I understand that when any member of the family chooses not to live by these principles, I have a responsibility to notify Christian Care Ministry (CCM). I also realize the family member may no longer qualify to participate in Medi-Share and their membership will be cancelled and his or her bills will not be eligible for sharing.
How much does Medi-Share cost?
There are a few factors that go into play regarding what you’ll actually pay per month:
1. The first is the age of the oldest applicant.
2. The number of people that will be participating either one, two, or a family of three or more.
Once you input the two factors above, you next have to decide on:
A. The Annual Household Portion (AHP) is the dollar amount a household pays toward their eligible medical bills during a 12-month period before any eligible bill may be shared among members. Instead of having a set insurance deductible, each household chooses their Annual Household Portion.
Here’s an example for someone like myself (40ish) married with two kids:
Monthly Payment Options – Medi-Share’s system is sort of like choosing a health insurance deductible and monthly premium.
Annual Household Portion – in the first column above, the AHP ranges from as little as $500 for young singles to as much as $10,000 per year for families.
Similar to your insurance deductible, after you reach your Annual Household Portion through eligible medical costs that you pay, Medi-Share then publishes the remaining amount of your eligible medical bills on the platform so other members can share in the cost.
Standard Monthly Share – in the second column above. This is similar to a monthly insurance premium. Comparable to health insurance, the higher your annual deductible or annual household portion, the lower your monthly share cost.
If I choose the fourth line, I would first be responsible for $3,750 of my family’s healthcare expenses before I could use the money in the group pool. I would also be responsible for paying $509 a month into the pool (or $432 for a healthy discount).
Next, I’d submit each medical bill to Medi-Share as proof that my $3,750 out of pocket was reduced. Once I cross the threshold, I could submit my bills for payment.
Healthy Monthly Share – is located in the third column above. It’s the reduced monthly share amount (up to 20%) for households who meet the Health Incentive standards, which are determined based on:
- Waist measurement
- Body Mass Index (BMI)
- Blood pressure
You can apply and qualify for the Health Incentive during the application process, however, the health incentive cannot be applied until after your first month of sharing.
- One-time $120 approval fee upon approval. This is added to your first monthly premium.
- A one-time $2 membership fee, also payable with your first monthly premium.
- $3 recurring monthly fee if you do not sign up for automated ACH payments each month. If you do sign up, there is no monthly fee.
Dental, Vision, and Free Doctor Video Chat (MD Live) Included
Being a Medi-Share member has additional benefits including coverage for:
- Telemedicine services – MD Live
MD Live is a free 24/7 on-demand access to US Board Certified doctors via video chat. How cool is that?
Comparable to health insurance providers, Medi-Share members receive ID cards which you can give to providers. You get hard copies in the mail, and you can also easily print these anytime from the website. I recommend that you download their app which allows you to show your cards to doctors from your phone’s screen.
Remember, they don’t technically call this insurance, but rather private healthcare and discounts. But insurance is essentially what it is.
Advantages of Medi-Share
Let’s explore some of the advantages of this sharing program.
Escape the current health insurance market. If you’re like me – self-employed and making a solid income – the implementation of Obamacare more than likely caused a major toll on you financially. For me, it took away my low-cost, high-deductible health insurance plan for my family.
I used to pay $480 a month for a $12,000 HSA deductible policy. Obamacare took that away and replaced it with a $1596.00 a month plan.
Medi-Share allows you to finally have a legitimate alternative. Words cannot express the gratitude I have of being able to leave the system and not having to face a penalty or high premiums for the rest of my life.
The biggest advantage of Medi-Share may be the cost savings that you and your family receive versus traditional healthcare insurance. Each family contributes a monthly specific dollar amount they choose based on program options.
Medi-Share is accountable. The program is based on biblical principles. It’s not about charity. There are other ways to give if that’s your aim. Instead, it is simply about sharing amongst believers. Additionally, there is a sense of community, which often includes prayer for the sick and medical expenses at a time you probably need it the most.
Affordable Care Act (ACA) exempt. Medi-Share members are exempt from the individual mandate clause of the Affordable Care Act, which means that members are not subject to the penalty associated with not carrying insurance.
No Termination. Medi-Share membership cannot be terminated for developing a medical condition.
No annual or lifetime limits. Medi-Share will never impose any annual or lifetime limits as long as you are a member.
Qualified adoption and funeral expenses are covered.
Disadvantages of Medi-Share
Here are a few disadvantages of the Medi-Share program that you need to be aware of if you are considering membership.
Medi-Share is not a health insurance company. It’s simply a way to help cover the cost of medical expenses.
Because many states do not consider Medi-Share an insurance company, consumers have little or no legal protection if:
- a claim is not paid
- coverage is denied
- the ministry goes bankrupt
There are certain restrictions and payment caps relating to pre-existing conditions. You can receive coverage for maternity expenses, but you have to be in the program before becoming pregnant. Also, like with most health insurance plans, there are restrictions for joining the program with certain preexisting medical conditions.
Certain pre-existing conditions, such as diabetes, require a member to pay an additional monthly amount along with standard membership fees.
Because Medi-Share is a faith-based organization, they have specific rules associated with membership. For example, members are required to:
- attend church regularly
- abstain from tobacco and illegal drugs
- attest to a specific statement of faith
Non Health Savings Account compatible. Medi-Share cannot be used with Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) or reimbursement plans, such as the new Small Business Health Reimbursement Arrangement.
Non-deductible. Likewise, there is no annual tax deduction for contributing to an HSA since Medi-Share doesn’t count as one.
Also, you cannot deduct your monthly share costs from your taxes. Your Medi-Share contributions are not tax-deductible. But, you can still deduct medical expenses if you itemize if you reach the proportion of your adjusted gross income.
Medi-Share provides those that are fed up with rising health insurance costs an alternative, but it does come with certain restrictions. If you are looking into Medi-Share or another health care sharing ministry, read through the rules carefully to make sure you comply.
For more information, visit Medi-Share today.