I hate paying for health insurance and I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels that way. Recently, I have been on a search for cheaper coverage.
Being that I’m young, healthy and I have my own individual health plan because my employer doesn’t offer any coverage, I was a bit optimistic about the Obamacare Healthcare Law that was going into effect in January of 2014. Although I liked the idea of helping those in need of insurance being able to get coverage I was worried about the change in insurance landscape.
My worries came to fruition once I saw the premiums and coverage my new plan would be offering. Besides the 50 percent increase in premiums, my deductible increased 40 percent, leaving me with worse coverage for more cost!
So I thought, what about the subsidy? The assistance is for those who earn 400 percent below the poverty level depending on household size. It just so happens that I make too much to qualify for a subsidy Off course, right? (Check if you qualify here)
It’s safe to say I am over this Obamacare, not that I was a fan to begin with.
So where else could I look for coverage?
With the new enrollment period coming up, I decided to check my options to see how they compare with coverage through the Health Care Exchange: $6,350 deductible, and a $155 in monthly premium. Not great.
Let me introduce you to what I am considering—Medi-share plans. Health sharing ministries, as they are called, are programs that share the cost of insurance with others.
First, a healthcare sharing ministry is technically not insurance, though it basically is. The representative with whom I spoke over the phone made sure I understood that, and I mean he stressed it many times. I didn’t mind, because it still qualifies to avoid any penalties under the Affordable Care Act laws.
What a health care ministry does is use the members as the insurers. So over time with enough people paying the premiums and not using coverage, there becomes enough money for those with claims to get that pooled money. The concept is the same as insurance, it just technically isn’t, which is why it’s called a “sharing ministry.” Think AIG but no bailout if something of that nature happened because members most likely couldn’t support a bailout.
The initial advantage that stood out to me was the cost of coverage. The coverage was much cheaper than any Exchange Plan. Plus, there is a discount for being healthy—about ten percent discount.
The cost is listed as $105 a month for a $5,000 deductible. Plus there is an upfront fee of $120, and $50 for the application (talk about nickel and diming, geez).
Though this health insurance alternative offers some cost-saving advantages, there are some clear disadvantages.
Medi-Share doesn’t cover preventative care—things like physicals, mammograms and colonoscopies.
Prescriptions are only covered for up to six months. Medi-Share is meant for new illnesses so they don’t cover anything longer than that amount of time. Plus, if you have any pre-existing conditions they will not be covered under this program.
If you are still curious, the full guidelines can be found here.
Although cheaper, some of those things make me fret, enough that the cost savings may not be justified. The unknown of how this program would work in the case of something happening also scares me. I know how typical insurance works and this adds a little bit of ambiguity. It is not something I am familiar with.
If you want to learn more, just keep in mind that there are some qualifications that you must meet to be approved. Be sure to read all the details for coverage.
Even with the downside, I see the potential cost savings using such an alternative as a major advantage. After weighing the pros and cons I have a pretty good idea on what I am going to go with.
Question: What do you think Nick should do? Have you looked into Medi-share plans? Should you? We want to know.