What is best health ministry for health insurance?

Non-investing personal finance issues including insurance, credit, real estate, taxes, employment and legal issues such as trusts and wills
Post Reply
Topic Author
the11diesel
Posts: 134
Joined: Wed Sep 05, 2007 10:18 pm

What is best health ministry for health insurance?

Post by the11diesel »

I know passions run deep in this forum regarding whether or not health ministries, as a concept, are a good idea. However, assuming one wants to go the health ministry route, what would be the best one to choose?

For some background on my specific situation, I am a single, self-employed, 34 year-old male in reasonably good health. I'm really just looking for a low-premium, high-deductible catastrophic-type plan. Currently, I'm considering http://www.chministries.org/

Thanks in advance for your comments.

-Ryan
richardglm
Posts: 276
Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2015 9:42 pm

Re: What is best health ministry for health insurance?

Post by richardglm »

the11diesel wrote:I'm really just looking for a low-premium, high-deductible catastrophic-type plan.
You do understand that health ministries are not that at all? Admittedly they are like low-premium, high-deductible insurance plans, where you pay smaller amounts monthly and are expected to cover routine and low cost care on your own. But they are not insurance and are under no obligation to pay, especially if you get very sick or injured and have very large bills. It is more like "pre-registering" for charity in case you need some extra money to pay medical bills (emphasis on "some").

I won't get into a debate of whether you should or should not do this, since you did not ask for that, but I felt obliged to point this out.
jjface
Posts: 3099
Joined: Thu Mar 19, 2015 6:18 pm

Re: What is best health ministry for health insurance?

Post by jjface »

Seems to be one of the cheapest. I would consider the my brother's keeper add on to cover catastrophes. Medishare is about $80 a month. I like the look of them better.

I've thought about health sharing minisities but the ACA is cheaper for me and with more certainty.

These do require some faith as no payment is guaranteed. Not something financially savvy people get along with so you won't find much support on here. The bigger ones seem well established.
Topic Author
the11diesel
Posts: 134
Joined: Wed Sep 05, 2007 10:18 pm

Re: What is best health ministry for health insurance?

Post by the11diesel »

Thank your comments. I understand health ministries are not equivalent to health insurance, but I think in my situation it makes sense. Medishare is definitely one I'm looking at. Any other comments/suggestions would be welcome.
Best, RJ
BruDude
Posts: 3518
Joined: Thu Dec 30, 2010 12:28 am
Location: Las Vegas

Re: What is best health ministry for health insurance?

Post by BruDude »

the11diesel wrote:I know passions run deep in this forum regarding whether or not health ministries, as a concept, are a good idea. However, assuming one wants to go the health ministry route, what would be the best one to choose?

For some background on my specific situation, I am a single, self-employed, 34 year-old male in reasonably good health. I'm really just looking for a low-premium, high-deductible catastrophic-type plan. Currently, I'm considering http://www.chministries.org/

Thanks in advance for your comments.

-Ryan
No prescription coverage, $125k cap on benefits, no guarantee of claims-paying ability....what's the plan if you wind up in the hospital with a $500k bill? How do you think these plans are so cheap regardless of age compared to health insurance that the insurance companies are losing millions on even at the high prices they are charging? I'm sure they can cover a lot of 64-year-olds for $45/month.
User avatar
nisiprius
Advisory Board
Posts: 42586
Joined: Thu Jul 26, 2007 9:33 am
Location: The terrestrial, globular, planetary hunk of matter, flattened at the poles, is my abode.--O. Henry

Re: What is best health ministry for health insurance?

Post by nisiprius »

the11diesel wrote:... I'm really just looking for a low-premium, high-deductible catastrophic-type plan. Currently, I'm considering http://www.chministries.org/...
Just to check off another item, were you planning to sign up for "CHM's Catastrophic Bills Program?
Image
I would strongly recommend that you opt for unlimited "cost support" (notice that they don't use the word "coverage,") rather than trying to guess at the likely upper limit of "catastrophes."
Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen and six, result happiness; Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery.
User avatar
nisiprius
Advisory Board
Posts: 42586
Joined: Thu Jul 26, 2007 9:33 am
Location: The terrestrial, globular, planetary hunk of matter, flattened at the poles, is my abode.--O. Henry

Re: What is best health ministry for health insurance?

Post by nisiprius »

And, I assume you have already decided that you have no problem attesting that
the participating adult members included herein are Christians living by biblical principles; attend group worship regularly (health permitting); follow scriptural teaching with regard to alcohol; and do not use tobacco or use drugs illegally.
Do you know what they mean by "living by biblical principles?" Could they deny payment if you contracted a disease they judged to be inconsistent with those principles? If you needed a large payment, would they attempt to verify that you have been "attending group worship (health permitting?)"
Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen and six, result happiness; Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery.
User avatar
dm200
Posts: 23148
Joined: Mon Feb 26, 2007 2:21 pm
Location: Washington DC area

Re: What is best health ministry for health insurance?

Post by dm200 »

nisiprius wrote:And, I assume you have already decided that you have no problem attesting that
the participating adult members included herein are Christians living by biblical principles; attend group worship regularly (health permitting); follow scriptural teaching with regard to alcohol; and do not use tobacco or use drugs illegally.
Do you know what they mean by "living by biblical principles?" Could they deny payment if you contracted a disease they judged to be inconsistent with those principles? If you needed a large payment, would they attempt to verify that you have been "attending group worship (health permitting?)"
Just my 2 cents, but MY "Biblical Principles" are often VERY different than those of many groups.

No expert on these plans, but I think they can deny whatever they choose to.
curmudgeon
Posts: 2132
Joined: Thu Jun 20, 2013 11:00 pm

Re: What is best health ministry for health insurance?

Post by curmudgeon »

BruDude wrote: No prescription coverage, $125k cap on benefits, no guarantee of claims-paying ability....what's the plan if you wind up in the hospital with a $500k bill? How do you think these plans are so cheap regardless of age compared to health insurance that the insurance companies are losing millions on even at the high prices they are charging? I'm sure they can cover a lot of 64-year-olds for $45/month.
I have been keeping the health ministry options on my radar for a while now, but don't have direct experience. They aren't my first choice, but if the individual market continues to dissolve into chaos over the next several years, they may be the best remaining option.

A few thoughts:

1) They all say that they will help to negotiate medical bills. Those headline $500k bills rarely are paid at anywhere near face price, whether in insurance or private payment. That said, I might prefer to have a health ministry that has a pre-negotiated network model to reduce uncertainty; I think some do.

2) One factor that keeps ministry costs down is limitations on coverage. The extension of traditional medical insurance to increasingly cover mental health issues over the years has added a lot of cost to insurance; lots of people like to talk to their therapists. There are also pretty stringent limits on pre-existing conditions and generally no prescription coverage.

3) In my opinion, bigger is better for these; it makes the ministry better able to handle the big bills if they happen. I would also look into whether there is an option for higher limit coverage and how that works.
highercall
Posts: 56
Joined: Wed Jun 04, 2008 6:16 pm

Re: What is best health ministry for health insurance?

Post by highercall »

I have had Medishare for 17 years and am very pleased with them. I had been very healthy most of my life playing tennis and biking weekly. Four years ago I got very sick and after many tests was diagnosed with lyme disease. I went through extensive treatment and thankfully am much better. However I accumulated a lot of medical bills during the past four years . Medishare was very good with payment and even called me from time to time to check how I was doing. I have recommended them to several people. They do have certain requirements as being a christian based health sharing company. Their premise is that since at least 75% of all health problems are self induced by unhealthly lifestyles, they promote healthly diet, exercise and living to hopefully reduce medical costs.
iasw
Posts: 250
Joined: Mon Dec 05, 2016 2:02 pm

Re: What is best health ministry for health insurance?

Post by iasw »

We are members of Samaritan Ministries. Joined a few years ago when our private health insurance policy went away thanks to the ACA. I have no problem paying out of pocket for our well-visits, prescriptions and the sort. I can usually negotiate a decent cash rate.

We have had to submit one claim to the ministry for reimbursement. It was an ER trip for my son, who had a small cut on his face that needed repair. The reimbursement process went smoothly.

We participate in the "Save to Share" program which is an extra cost, but it removes the upper cap should we need it.

This month, my share went to a woman who was hit by a car while on her bike. Personally, I'm glad I have the opportunity to send her that portion and pray for her specifically.
User avatar
White Coat Investor
Posts: 15055
Joined: Fri Mar 02, 2007 9:11 pm
Location: Greatest Snow On Earth

Re: What is best health ministry for health insurance?

Post by White Coat Investor »

Every year I look at these and think about it. We've decided to continue with regular health insurance for the next year.

One factor is that our health insurance deductibles and all other health insurance costs are currently paid with pre-tax dollars. In the highest tax bracket, that is not insignificant. Health sharing payments are not pre-tax.
1) Invest you must 2) Time is your friend 3) Impulse is your enemy | 4) Basic arithmetic works 5) Stick to simplicity 6) Stay the course
User avatar
dm200
Posts: 23148
Joined: Mon Feb 26, 2007 2:21 pm
Location: Washington DC area

Re: What is best health ministry for health insurance?

Post by dm200 »

They do have certain requirements as being a christian based health sharing company. Their premise is that since at least 75% of all health problems are self induced by unhealthly lifestyles, they promote healthly diet, exercise and living to hopefully reduce medical costs.
While I cannot cite any percentage, I do agree that a significant portion of health/medical costs are related to an unhealthy lifestyle.

However, I believe the healthful lifestyles that reduce such costs are spread over many different religions, denominations and those who who hold beliefs/lifestyles not dependent on a religion.
User avatar
nedsaid
Posts: 14216
Joined: Fri Nov 23, 2012 12:33 pm

Re: What is best health ministry for health insurance?

Post by nedsaid »

White Coat Investor wrote:Every year I look at these and think about it. We've decided to continue with regular health insurance for the next year.

One factor is that our health insurance deductibles and all other health insurance costs are currently paid with pre-tax dollars. In the highest tax bracket, that is not insignificant. Health sharing payments are not pre-tax.
Thank you for your comments. I have looked at Medishare but I have no experience with health sharing ministries. I was aghast at the 41% price increase in my premiums for the Silver plan on the exchange and the Bronze plan deductibles are so high that the insurance is expensive catastrophic insurance. Useless unless I have big expenses which I don't. Fewer choices, higher prices, higher deductibles. I was pretty steamed. I still haven't decided what to do.
A fool and his money are good for business.
iasw
Posts: 250
Joined: Mon Dec 05, 2016 2:02 pm

Re: What is best health ministry for health insurance?

Post by iasw »

White Coat Investor wrote:Every year I look at these and think about it. We've decided to continue with regular health insurance for the next year.

One factor is that our health insurance deductibles and all other health insurance costs are currently paid with pre-tax dollars. In the highest tax bracket, that is not insignificant. Health sharing payments are not pre-tax.
I agree --it is a disadvantage to not have the costs coming out of pretax dollars, but also not having access to a HSA.

For me though, less than $500/m for my family of 5 (even counting what we'd pay for well-visits) is far cheaper than what we could find on the private market. Those policies were around $1200/m with $12k annual deductibles. And, it would still be a private policy for me, so no pre-tax benefit.
straws46
Posts: 229
Joined: Fri Jul 03, 2015 11:12 am

Re: What is best health ministry for health insurance?

Post by straws46 »

Wife just joined Medishare when her ACA premium went from $367 to $800 for a bronze plan with a $6500 deductible. We also added a high deductible short-term health insurance plan through Blue Cross. The Blue Cross plan is not ACA compliant but the Medishare program keeps us in compliance with the ACA. For the sharing program and the insurance combined we are paying about what we did last year and less than half what the only remaining ACA insurers would charge in our state. This only makes sense for us because she has no preexisting conditions and takes no prescription drugs. Be well!
User avatar
Uncle Pennybags
Posts: 1836
Joined: Tue Oct 28, 2014 2:05 am

Re: What is best health ministry for health insurance?

Post by Uncle Pennybags »

They have some nebulous fine print, I quote "...follow scriptural teaching with regard to alcohol..."

Scripture teaches.
Proverbs 31:6
Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto those that be of heavy hearts.

I hope one is covered for more than a bottle of Jack.

OP, if you are just looking for an inexpensive way of avoiding a penalty for not being insured go for it. If you are looking for real insurance buy it.
jlawrence01
Posts: 1686
Joined: Mon Feb 25, 2013 1:34 am
Location: Southern AZ

Re: What is best health ministry for health insurance?

Post by jlawrence01 »

Similar plans have been around with groups who have a moral opposition to social insurance schemes including the Amish and Mennonite communities. The elders in such communities generally negotiate favorable rates with medical providers in their areas.
User avatar
LadyGeek
Site Admin
Posts: 68701
Joined: Sat Dec 20, 2008 5:34 pm
Location: Philadelphia
Contact:

Re: What is best health ministry for health insurance?

Post by LadyGeek »

I removed an off-topic post and one reply. (The removed posts are not related to the following comments.)

Health ministries are indeed discussed in this forum.

Religion is a highly contentious topic, much more so than politics (both are off-topic in this forum). Religious comments and quotations should be relevant to the health ministry policy. Please be sensitive to readers who may have a different religious background.
Wiki To some, the glass is half full. To others, the glass is half empty. To an engineer, it's twice the size it needs to be.
Willy
Posts: 80
Joined: Mon Jul 09, 2007 8:14 pm

Re: What is best health ministry for health insurance?

Post by Willy »

10-year Medishare members. Very pleased overall. We have fairly high deductible "plan" now and rarely submit claims. Six years ago, though, my wife had very expensive treatment for serious cancer. Medishare was a bit slow in paying providers sometimes, but did ultimately pay for all costs above our then $1,000 deductible.

I know it isn't actually insurance and there is no legal grounds for forcing Medishare to pay claims. Still, in the real world, they do pay. Haven't compared Medishare to ACA plans, but, with that caveat, I am a big fan of Medishare.
iasw
Posts: 250
Joined: Mon Dec 05, 2016 2:02 pm

Re: What is best health ministry for health insurance?

Post by iasw »

Another thing I like about Samaritan Ministries -- for the last 2 months, the needs have been less than the monthly share price. My portion was reduced by 5% for both of those months.

Now, the flipside has been there have been a few months where needs had to be pro-rated. Say, a person with a need only received 90%. The potential for catch-up is there, and it is possible those were all paid in full by later donations and contributions.

If you want insurance, get insurance. If you want to be a part of a Christian cost-sharing ministry, it is a really neat model. Not for everyone.
User avatar
dm200
Posts: 23148
Joined: Mon Feb 26, 2007 2:21 pm
Location: Washington DC area

Re: What is best health ministry for health insurance?

Post by dm200 »

iasw wrote:Another thing I like about Samaritan Ministries -- for the last 2 months, the needs have been less than the monthly share price. My portion was reduced by 5% for both of those months.
Now, the flipside has been there have been a few months where needs had to be pro-rated. Say, a person with a need only received 90%. The potential for catch-up is there, and it is possible those were all paid in full by later donations and contributions.
If you want insurance, get insurance. If you want to be a part of a Christian cost-sharing ministry, it is a really neat model. Not for everyone.
Are there any such "ministries" not tied to "Christianity" (or perhpas better classified as only certain 'flavors' of "Christianity" - either other "faiths" or "beliefs", or perhaps "Interfaith" or "Ecumenical"??
User avatar
nedsaid
Posts: 14216
Joined: Fri Nov 23, 2012 12:33 pm

Re: What is best health ministry for health insurance?

Post by nedsaid »

Thank you everyone who responded. People's actual experience with cost sharing ministries sounds like it has been good. Haven't made a decision yet, I will probably bite the bullet and just pay the higher premiums for my Silver plan.
A fool and his money are good for business.
curmudgeon
Posts: 2132
Joined: Thu Jun 20, 2013 11:00 pm

Re: What is best health ministry for health insurance?

Post by curmudgeon »

dm200 wrote:
iasw wrote:Another thing I like about Samaritan Ministries -- for the last 2 months, the needs have been less than the monthly share price. My portion was reduced by 5% for both of those months.
Now, the flipside has been there have been a few months where needs had to be pro-rated. Say, a person with a need only received 90%. The potential for catch-up is there, and it is possible those were all paid in full by later donations and contributions.
If you want insurance, get insurance. If you want to be a part of a Christian cost-sharing ministry, it is a really neat model. Not for everyone.
Are there any such "ministries" not tied to "Christianity" (or perhpas better classified as only certain 'flavors' of "Christianity" - either other "faiths" or "beliefs", or perhaps "Interfaith" or "Ecumenical"??
Liberty Healthshare would seem to be one with relatively broad categorization for membership not focused on church attendance. It is still focused on Christian principles and has restrictions such as no tobacco use. I think they (and others) have some special program requirements (and costs) for people who are significantly overweight as well.
staybalanced
Posts: 321
Joined: Wed Jan 14, 2015 7:36 am

Re: What is best health ministry for health insurance?

Post by staybalanced »

I know 2 different couples who have used medi-share for a couple of years and have been very pleased. I considered it, but stayed with blue cross (self employed me and wife no subsidy, high earners). I just didn't feel it was worth the risks, my premiums are high, but financial ruin could be higher if one of those things blew up and you had cancer or something.
craiggsean
Posts: 157
Joined: Wed Nov 27, 2013 5:47 pm

Re: What is best health ministry for health insurance?

Post by craiggsean »

Does anyone have a calculator to estimate the cost of ACA+HSA vs Healthshare?
I know WCI did a few articles but everyone's situation is different so a calculator would be good.

For example:

1. ACA-HSA eligible HDHP plan is $1,800 x 12 = $21,600,
contributes HSA $6,900 (and deductible is $5,000 Out of pocket is $10K for a 48% marginal tax bracket)
but self-employed so can write of premiums too.

or

2. Samarintan: $500 x 12 = $6,000 and 400/yr so total of $6,400

Sure it's not apples to oranges but
can someone suggest a way to do a POST-TAX cost analysis?
Post Reply