Healthcare Sharing Ministries In Texas
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: Just because your doctor writes you a prescription doesn't mean you can fill it. Expensive medications for treatment of certain cancers, diabetes, liver disease, and a host of other maladies can cost patients tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars if the insurer does not cover the drugs. But even if the drugs are covered, insurers have been known to try to stall, just to see if the patient will come up with the money to pay for the drugs rather than wait on the insurer's approval. What can we say? It happens.
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 Texas region
will be used to pay for medical costs that arise within the very same Texas 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 Texas, 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.
Good to know: Shop Generic Drugs. If you're looking to reduce your medical bills and reduce out of control medical spending, you can start by shopping generically. Consumers tend to think of generic options as less effective or even as harmful. This is not the case, however, when it comes to generic prescription drugs. Though these alternatives may not be as flashy as the name-brand drugs advertised on commercials, they treat patient illnesses just as effectively for only a fraction of the cost. You can increase your drug savings even more by shopping in preferred pharmacies or online at vendors such as GoodRx. These options allow you access to a wide range of generic and name brand drugs at lower costs. Preferred pharmacies take the extra step of reducing dispensing fees, saving you even more money on your next drug purchase.
For this reason, it's worth seeing if a preferred pharmacy network is included in your healthcare plan. If not, you may want to review your options and see if adding such a plan would benefit you.
Explaining the Growth of HealthCare Sharing Plans.
5 Strategies For Reducing Medical Bills.