Christian Health Insurance Alternatives

by Josh Champagne on May 22, 2012

Unless you can afford the ever rising cost of medical care here in the US, health insurance is a necessity. But how much do you need? And are there any good Christian health insurance alternatives? Be sure to share your advice and opinions in the comments after you read the article.

Before you consider any form of medical insurance, you should be already taking good care of your health. There’s a book written by a friend of mine called, Be Your Own Doctor. It has 5 out of 5 stars on Amazon currently, and I recommend it highly as a resource to keep near your home medicine cabinet. It’ll save on expensive doctor’s visits at least a couple of times a year if you have a growing family. That being said, continue reading to find out about several alternatives to Christian Health Insurance.

ER Visit Sparks Question About Possible Christian Health Insurance Alternatives

Last Friday, these thoughts were running through my head as I lay on a cot in the local ER waiting for  a doctor to figure out why I was having severe chest pains, shortness of breath and chills. I’m thankful to report that I have excellent health care insurance provided by my current employer. However, there is no way I would personally spend as much as my employer spends each month for my insurance premiums. If, for example, I was entirely self employed, what would my options be?

Oh, right, back to my experience in the ER. Once the doctor gave me a clean bill of health and a good night’s sleep ended the symptoms, I decided to do a little research. Several friends of mine are self-employed or don’t have access to medical insurance through their employer. Most spend several hundred dollars a month to reduce the risk of wiping out their life’s savings with an unforeseen medical emergency.  Listed below are the options they have available to them.

Three Standard Health Insurance Options

Everyone in the US has basically three medical insurance options to pick from:

  1. Health insurance through their employer
  2. Self purchased medical insurance
  3. Goverment sponsored health insurance (low income or over 65)

Just a note for those of you visiting this page looking for health insurance options in the US. There is an excellent government website HealthCare.gov that covers almost everything you’d need to know about the three healthcare options listed above.

Three Christian Health Insurance Alternatives

Something you don’t read about in mainstream media coverage of health care and medical insurance is the medical sharing plan. There are several Christian medical sharing ministries that offer this unique alternative to standard medical insurance.

1.  Samaritan Ministries

Samaritan Ministries has been recommended to me by trusted friends, pastors and other Christians. It is first in the list for this reason. Here’s a quick break-down of how medical sharing works with Samaritan:

  • Cost: $150/month for individuals,  $300/month for couples,  $215/month for single-parent families,  and $355/month for two parent families (Cheaper by the Dozen anyone?)
  • Deductibles: Since Samaritan Ministries isn’t an insurance company there aren’t deductibles. Instead, anything between $300 and $250,000 is ‘shared’ among the 18,000 members through the monthly newsletter.
  • Maximum Payout: $250,000. In the event your expenses were to go over this limit, there is a secondary fund set up called Save to Share that would help cover additional costs.

 

2.  Medi-Share

Medi-share has been around for years, however I don’t know anyone personally who has experience with them. Maybe someone else with more experience with them could share details in the comments below. As I was writing this article, I noticed that Bob Lotich from Christian Personal Finance wrote an article reviewing Medi-Share a few years ago.

3.  Christian Health Care Ministries

Again, Christian Health Care Ministries is another medical sharing program which has existed for a long time. However, I don’t have personal experience with them and don’t know anyone in my circle of friends who has Christian Health Care Ministries

 

Other than the Amazon book link, I don’t receive anything in return for mentioning the Christian medical insurance alternatives found in this article. If you’ve found this article helpful, please share it with friends.

 

What is your approach to medical insurance? Feel free to share in the comments below.

 

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Lucy May 22, 2012 at 5:13 pm

thanks Josh for this info! I have a pamphlet here from Samaritan Ministries that I’ve been needing to read..(and act upon!)

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ken lyn May 23, 2012 at 9:26 am

Medi-share is indeed a unique program for providing assistance with medical care, but unlike health insurance programs this route uses blatant discrimination to prevent certain individuals from benefiting from its service. Mychristiancare.org specifically points out that only those engaging in sexual intercourse within a “Christian” marriage are allowed to join. This immediately eliminates gay, lesbian, and transgender individuals from enrolling in Medi-share. The program also places limits on services it covers based upon religious beliefs and states specifically that abortions will not be covered under any circumstance.
To be clear, Medi-share is not an insurance program. Medi-share operates as a non-profit group and while members pay into a group fund each month, the money is never Medi-share’s money. Furthermore, Medi-share is not required to pay any bill, nor keep cash reserves on hand. Ref:http://www.newsonhealthcare.com/the-ins-and-outs-of-medi-share/

Reply

Josh May 23, 2012 at 10:20 am

Ken, you are right about each of these Christian medical sharing programs being discriminatory. However, they are operating within the legal parameters here in the US and have full disclosures on their websites. A medical sharing program is inherently riskier than traditional health insurance, so the cost is lower. I know of some very conservative Christian groups that provide their members with “in-house” auto insurance and no one has medical insurance because if there is a medical need, it is shared by all members of the denomination. It is unusual and only seems to work in a close Christian community. The secular version of this would be socialism or communism which we all know tends to fail sooner or later.

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Tony May 31, 2012 at 9:53 pm

Socialism or Communism is when a government pays the bill for all. Christian sharing ministries are individuals paying for individuals. The Bible says WE are to bear one anothers burdens – not GOVERNMENT. :=)

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Josh Champagne June 1, 2012 at 7:00 am

Quite true Tony. However, most non-Christians can’t understand this and see Christian sharing ministries as dangerous from a pure statistical and risk point of view.

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Dustin October 31, 2012 at 12:18 pm

Medishare is great. However my wife just lost it because it is apparently “unconstitutional” (in my own words) in the state of Kentucky. Department of insurance say they “need” to regulate medishare to “protect” the consumer… So now my wife is 6 months pregnant and no insurance, thanks to the communist big gov.

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Josh @ Live Well Simply November 1, 2012 at 9:22 am

Sorry to hear that Dustin. Unfortunately many areas of government seems to be infiltrated by big business conflicts of interest. Whether it is the FDA with close ties to pharmaceutical companies making billions or the medical insurance regulators getting kickbacks and ‘help’ from insurance companies, our government isn’t exactly totally transparent. I do hope and pray that you find an alternative solution to help pay for your medical costs.

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