Comparing Christian Health Share Ministries? Here’s Our Guide To Finding The Best Fit
Many families seek relief from an insurance marketplace that they see as overpriced and unsupportive of their Christian ethics. Healthcare sharing ministries provide an alternative to traditional insurance by allowing people of faith to share the costs of their medical care. Not only do healthcare sharing ministries allow Christians to follow their consciences, they often save members money.
Since healthcare sharing ministries became exempt from the coverage requirements of the Affordable Care Act, they have grown rapidly. Families and individuals looking to join a healthcare sharing ministry must carefully choose between options to find the best option for their needs and beliefs. It is essential to understand each organization’s eligibility requirements, what medical expenses are designated as eligible for sharing, how the sharing process works, and how the healthcare sharing organization prioritizes transparency. This information will help you make an informed decision about which to join.
First, it is important to understand whether a particular ministry is right for you. For example, Solidarity HealthShare members are committed to living by Christian ethics. This means members accept Christian ethical principles that are based on the Catholic Church’s teachings. While members are not required to practice the Catholic faith, their agreement on foundational beliefs ensures that Solidarity is composed of like-minded people who agree on critical ethical questions.
After determining whether a group aligns with your beliefs, it is vital to discover what expenses are eligible for sharing. Essential expenses include doctor visits, emergency room trips, ethical fertility treatments, maternity care, procedures and surgeries, mental health care, telehealth visits, prescription medications, therapy, and preventative treatments. Solidarity shares for all of these expenses, ensuring members can access comprehensive care.
Solidarity also offers additional support that some ministries do not provide. All generic prescriptions are fully sharable, and there is no network requirement, so members can visit any doctor they want.
Potential members should also consider what procedures a particular health sharing ministry does not include within its sharing package. Doing so will also help you understand the ministry’s ethical principles. For example, Solidarity won’t share for abortion, gender reassignment surgeries, and other procedures that violate the moral and social doctrines of the Catholic Church.
Interested parties should also consider the mechanics of the sharing process. Do members have to pay their bills and then send them to the ministry, or does the ministry accepts bills directly from the provider? In Solidarity’s case, providers can directly send medical bills to Solidarity, and the ministry will negotiate on behalf of the member and pay the bill. By advocating for Members in this way, Solidarity uses its resources to ensure that its members are treated fairly and pay the lowest price possible. If a provider doesn’t accept a member’s Solidarity card, the member can pay the bill and submit it electronically to Solidarity.
Additionally, Solidarity has no co-pays for doctor visits, outpatient care, mental health, telehealth, and ER care. The lack of co-pays distinguishes Solidarity from many other healthcare sharing ministries and is a key part of the Solidarity advantage.
After understanding how the sharing process works, those interested in healthcare sharing ministries should evaluate how different ministries prioritize transparency. A few key indicators include how much of a ministry’s overhead is used to cover administrative costs, the composition of the board of directors, and whether the sharing process is transparent. At Solidarity, for example, less than 25% of sharing dollars goes toward administrative costs, and Solidarity’s board of directors is independent.
Solidarity uses a peer-to-peer protocol to assure that dollars earmarked for sharing are used only for that purpose. Contributors receive a notification showing where their shared dollars go. This notification includes the member to which the money is sent, the total of the medical bill being shared, and how much is moved from the contributor’s account. All this information is also sent directly to members every month. This information ensures members know where their sharing dollars go while also building a sense of community.
With these thoughts in mind, you can confidently join a healthcare sharing ministry, knowing that you are choosing a ministry that provides ethical, affordable, and transparent access to care.