Healthcare Sharing Ministries In North Carolina
Consumers are choosing faith based, healthcare sharing plans over traditional insurance in ever-increasing numbers. Why? In most cases, it boils down to flexibility, transparency and price.
So, what are healthcare sharing ministries?
Healthcare sharing ministries are non-insurance company entities that consumers from all walks of life are utilizing to manage the risk of unexpected medical bills. The plans offered by these companies are designed to work
very much like a traditional health insurance plan. 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 distinctly different than traditional ACA plans.
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: Each insurance provider has a formulary or list of medicines covered by the plan. If a medicine is not on the formulary it may not be covered and you may have to endure a potential nightmare attempting to find an alternative medication. The list of covered medicines is also often divided into tiers, which determines how much of a copay or coinsurance you may have to pay. Make a list of your current medicines and compare it to the plan's formulary to make sure your medicines are covered and you understand the out-of-pocket costs that may be associated with them.
The advent of faith-based / healthcare sharing ministries.
Healthcare 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 healthcare sharing ministries work?
To put it simply, healthcare sharing ministries are about like-minded people voluntarily coming together to share the burden of medical expenses. These entities are typically faith-based -
meaning the core concepts are based upon religious beliefs. What most are unaware of however, is that 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 North Carolina region
will be used to pay for medical costs that arise within the very same North Carolina region.
Healthcare sharing 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.
In North Carolina, the workings of healthcare sharing 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 amount 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: Check medical bills for errors. Medical billing errors happen a lot more than you would think. Oddly, these errors almost always benefit the hospital or medical facility. Make sure that you receive an itemized bill in the mail. These bills delineate in detail the charges you incurred for each of your medical procedures. In this regard, they contain greater utility than the explanation of benefits (EOB) you generally receive in the mail. If your medical bill omits key information regarding charges incurred, contact your healthcare facility and ask for an itemized bill.
Once you have received this bill, review it carefully. Did you actually receive every procedure listed? If so, is the cost what you were promised beforehand? Additionally, look out for billing errors when it comes to pharmaceuticals. Often, healthcare billers make the mistake of charging individuals for name-brand drugs instead of generic drugs.
Advantages of Faith-Based / Healthcare 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 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 healthcare sharing plans.
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.
Interesting Fact: Americans see their physicians less frequently than patients in most other countries. On average, citizens in the U.S. go to the doctor just four times a year, compared to the 12.9 times per year Japanese patients see their doctors on average, according to MLive Media Group. Only Switzerland, New Zealand and Sweden have a lower average number of doctor appointments than the United States.
Explaining the Growth of HealthCare Sharing Plans.
5 Strategies For Reducing Medical Bills.