So, What Is Faith-Based Health Insurance?
Faith-based health insurance refers to a method by which consumers from all walks of life are utilizing to handle the risk of unexpected medical bills. And
in actuality, it's not insurance at all - at least not in the legal sense of the word. Faith-based plans are actually health plans that are designed to meet the same needs
as traditional health insurance. The difference is, faith-based health 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 a manner that is uniquely 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.
The advent of faith-based plans.
Health care sharing ministries have grown exponentially beyond what anyone could have possibly imagined, 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.
Faith-based plans (also known as healthcare sharing plans) 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.
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.
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.
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.
First and foremost, you cannot be declined ACA coverage due to a health issue. This is a major difference as faith-based health plan 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 plans, please contact us directly.
Other articles: Explaining the Growth of HealthCare Sharing Plans.
Finding Short-Term Health Insurance.
Explaining the Growth of Healthcare Sharing Plans.
5 Strategies For Reducing Medical Bills.