In 2010, President Obama signed legislation that requires Americans to purchase government-regulated health insurance by the year 2014. As I mentioned last week, there are a few exceptions – those who are legally exempt from the requirements; but the overwhelming majority of us don’t qualify for the exemptions.
Of course, you can choose to purchase a plan outside of the exchange/marketplace, which has numerous advantages, and which I recommend; however, the cost for such plans is steep, and will only increase. Conservative estimates are that private health insurance premiums will rise by 40% over the next couple of years, but many experts agree the number could be more like 400%.
Most of us are fed up with both the insurance industry and the legal/political mandates now prevailing upon that industry, but we feel powerless and completely stuck.
Amazingly, there is a way of escape
There’s truly a way out. It’s legal, practical, affordable and proven, and while it’s not for everyone, far too many people don’t even know it exists.
A “Healthcare sharing ministry” (I’ll call it HSM in this post) is the only “organized healthcare concept” to receive special exemption from the taxes, penalties and regulations that are part of Obamacare. Because HSMs have a special provision in the law, members are exempt from the requirement that all Americans purchase insurance or face penalties.
Did you get that? As a member of an HSM, you are exempt. Members are fully compliant with all legal requirements and not subject to any financial penalties.
So what are healthcare sharing ministries?
Firstly, HSMs are not insurance. Instead, they are nonprofit, voluntary cost-sharing networks through which participants meet each other’s medical bills.
No Network Limitation
As a member, you can go to the provider of your choice, because you are considered a self-pay patient.
After your visit to the doctor or urgent care facility, send a copy of your bill along with a simple form to the membership administrator.
Members “Share” Your Expenses
Once you have paid a nominal “personal responsibility” amount (similar to a copay), your bill is eligible for sharing, which means the administrator will pay the provider directly, based on the level of membership in which you are participating.
Is it right for you?
An HSM isn’t for everyone. First and foremost, these nonprofits are faith-based, and require members to sign a statement of faith. Secondly, it’s probably not best for those who are used to visiting the doctor semi-frequently, or whenever they are sick. Also, some providers require payment up front, so if you’re uncomfortable with that possibility, this may not be the best solution for you.
On the other hand, many experts are predicting a growing trend toward cash-only service among healthcare providers now that Obamacare is the law. An HSM would be a natural fit in such a climate.
Best of all, HSMs are affordable, with family plans averaging about $400 per month.
Want More Info?
There is a small handful of HSMs from which to choose, most of which have been in operation for decades. I have personal, first-hand experience with several, and have come to my own conclusions about which sharing ministry is best. My recommended ministry has a family plan starting as low as $135/mo and topping out at $450/mo. If you’re interested in seeing my recommendation and learning more, click here.