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Faith-Based Health Insurance In New York


Consumers are choosing faith based health plans over traditional insurance in growing numbers.  New York is no exception.  New York has seen more exponential growth in the volume of health care sharing plans than any other state in the country.

Man pondering insurance choice.
So, what is faith based insurance?

Faith-based health insurance refers to a method consumers from all walks of life are utilizing to handle the risk of unexpected medical bills.  And it's actually a misnomer.  in actuality, faith-based health insurance is not insurance at all - at least not in the legal sense of the word.  Faith-based health plans, (also known as health care sharing plans, alternative health plans, or health care sharing ministries), are actually health plans that are designed to meet the same needs as traditional health insurance.  The difference is, these plans are not governed by the ACA (Affordable Care Act) rules and regulations.  This distinction makes it possible for faith-based health plans to be structured in ways that are different than a traditional ACA plan.

There are several advantages (and a few disadvantages) that are inherent within this distinction.  This article will address both.

Want to see faith-based / healthcare sharing plans and rates now?  Click here.

Good to know:  When it comes to dealing with your medical insurance company, forget the touchy-feely commercials and go with your head.  Don't buy the advertising hype.  The primary function of multi-billion dollar insurance companies is to make more billions for themselves and their investors.  This means that when you deal with your insurer, you need to remain objective and check your emotions.
The advent of faith-based / health care sharing plans.

Health care sharing /faith based ministries have grown exponentially beyond what anyone could have possibly invisioned, when such ministries were exempted from the Affordable Care Act health plan requirements.  At the time, the exemption was a way to sooth objections from conservative leaning congressmen who had reservations on the passage of the ACA.  This exempted niche, is now a fast growing segment of the health plan industry.  From all appearances, this trend will continue well into the foreseeable future.  What was once a fringe idea, limited to devout Evangelicals and rural churches has found acceptance with a wide swath of the American populous.

How do faith-based plans work?

To put it simply, healthcare sharing is about like-minded people voluntarily coming together to share the burden of medical expenses.  Healthcare sharing plans are typically faith-based, meaning the core concepts are based upon religious beliefs.  However, in most cases, consumers do not need to be affiliated with any religious group, or be religious at all, in order to purchase a faith-based health plan.

Usually, funds to pay medical bills are dispersed within the same community that the members reside.  in other words, membership dues collected from plan members living in the New York region will be used to pay for medical costs that arise within the very same New York region.

Faith-based plans, (also known as health care sharing plans, alternative health plans, or health care sharing ministries), are designed to accomplish the same fundamental goals as traditional health insurance:
  • Help people maintain good health by offsetting the costs of health care access.
  • Assist people with the cost of medical bills.
  • Protect people from catastrophic financial loss due to major medical expenses.

The mechanics.

In New York, the workings of faith-based health plans offered by various entities are quite similar.  Each month all the members pay a set contribution or "share" amount.  This contribution is based on the health plan style they have purchased.  Other factors that may contribute to what the contribution will be are age, gender, and health history.  Contributions are placed into a pool and managed by the healthcare sharing company.  The funds are shared with members who have immediate medical bills, according to their chosen plan and company guidelines.

Good to know:  Ask for a discount.  You can potentially reduce the cost of your medical bills by asking for a discount upfront.  It may seem unconventional, but many hospitals and practitioners offer certain discounts for which you may be eligible.  For example, some hospitals are part of networks that will reduce your medical bills by a certain percentage if you pay over the phone.  More often than not, these discounts are only available to consumers who ask for them.  Depending on your economic status or the price of your procedure, some medical facilities offer additional discounts that can be paired with your medical insurance to substantially reduce the cost of your procedure.  For example, it's not uncommon for hospitals to offer discounts of up to thirty percent for qualifying customers.

Even if you don't find a discount related to your particular situation, your doctor or hospital may provide you with valuable information about discounts you can use in the future.

Advantages of Faith-Based Health Care Sharing Plans.

Because Faith based health plans do not fall under Affordable Care Act regulations, there is enormous flexibility in plan structure.  This is one of the factors that contribute to a lower monthly premium, when compared to a traditional health insurance plan with similar benefits.  Another contributing factor to lower premiums is the comparative lack of bureaucracy within entities that offer faith-based health plans.  Insurance companies in America have had over a century to build up a virtual mountain of bureaucracy.  This stifling excess is invariably passed on to the consumer, in the form of high plan premiums.

Also, the lack of bureaucracy, translates into your physician, medical facility, or hospital being paid much more quickly for services provided.  Consequently, medical providers generally like health care sharing plans.

Disadvantages

One big advantage of an ACA backed plan is you cannot be declined ACA coverage due to a health issue.  Health care sharing companies can choose to decline coverage to any individual due to medical issues or history.  Also, certain ACA plan benefits are mandated by law.  Some benefits, like maternity, for example, may be very important to you.  Your faith-based plan may not offer it.

For more information on Faith-Based / health care sharing ministries, please contact us directly.



Other articles:
Explaining the Growth of HealthCare Sharing Plans.
5 Strategies For Reducing Medical Bills.
Resources