Health Sharing Plans are reducing the cost of healthcare for millions of people, but there are only a few plans that we recommend to tobacco users.
Today, healthshare plans for smokers are readily available. This gives smokers equal access to low-cost medical sharing programs, sometimes with only a few stipulations and fees.
What follows is an examination of the best health sharing plans for smokers. But if you’re already prepared to make the switch, you can click here to run a free quote.
What is Health Sharing?
Healthcare Cost Sharing, or just “HealthShare”, is a low-cost alternative to health insurance. These programs are provided by private, non-profit organizations, and are not health insurance.
By sharing the cost of medical care amongst a group of like minded individuals, healthcare plans can be more than half the cost of unsubsidized insurance.
New to Healthcare Cost Sharing? Click here for a more detailed introduction. Or read our Healthshare plans comparison guide.
Are Healthshare Plans Available for Smokers?
Yes, people who use tobacco can still enroll in a health sharing plan. However, all health care sharing ministries (HCSMs) are different in how they handle smokers. Some programs require a higher monthly contribution if you’re a regular tobacco user.
Some HSCMs will not grant membership at all to people who smoke. In addition, even if smokers are allowed to join, there could be sharing limitations for certain things like heart disease and cancer.
If you smoke cigarettes and are thinking of switching to health sharing, it’s important to read the member guidelines first to see what the rules are.
Compare Pricing on the Best Healthshare Plans Available
netWell Health: The Best HealthShare Plan for Tobacco Users
netWell Is one of a handful of health sharing options that accepts smokers, though tobacco users must contribute an additional $40 per month compared to other non-smoking members in the same plan.
Smokers qualify for the same $1 million lifetime limit on health sharing benefits.
In contrast, other health share companies, including our runner-up for the Best Healthshare Option for Smokers category, limit their sharing to $50,000 for tobacco users age 50 and older.
Note: netWell is not available in Massachusetts, Maryland, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Utah, Vermont, and Washington.
Click here to run a quote on netWell Health.
MPB Health: Another Great Low-Cost Healthshare Option for Smokers
MPB Health is one of a handful of health sharing ministry organizations (HSMO) that accepts tobacco users. MPB requires all its tobacco-using members to contribute an additional $50 per month.
For members who use tobacco and are 50 years of age or more, there will be additional sharing restrictions. According to the member guidelines, smokers of this age will only qualify for $50,000 worth of sharing for the following conditions:
- Heart conditions
- Certain pulmonary diseases
For cost-sensitive smokers who are under 50, however, MPB Health may be a solid choice. MPB may also be a good choice for people in Massachusetts, Maryland, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Utah, Vermont, and Washington, where netWell isn’t available.
Click Here to run a quote on MPB Health.
These Health Sharing Plans do not Accept Smokers
A majority of health sharing plans will not accept regular tobacco users. All of the following healthshare organizations will deny membership to smokers:
- Christian Healthcare Ministries
- Freedom Healthshare
- OneShare Health
- Solidarity Healthshare
- Samaritan Ministries
Can HealthShare Members Use Vape Products or Chewing Tobacco?
Most health sharing programs have a similar definition of “tobacco use” presented in the member guidelines. They include cigarettes, chewing tobacco, pipe tobacco, and all manner of vape products.
Is HealthSharing the Best Type of Healthcare for Smokers?
There is no way around it: Using tobacco regularly increases your chances of both heart disease and cancer. If you’re really looking to save money on healthcare, then the best option is to quit smoking! Not only will you be able to save $40-$50/month or more on your healthshare membership, but you will be spending a lot less down the line by staying healthy.
Do You Need Help Quitting Tobacco?
Here are some resources to help you get started:
- Cancer.Gov’s free LiveHelp online chat support
- “How to Quit Smoking” by the American Lung Association
Have Questions About HealthShare Plans for Smokers?
For the most accurate and up-to-date information, consult your program’s member guidelines. These can be easily found on the organization’s website, and usually have a search field where you can enter “Smoking”.
If you have more general questions about healthshare plans, or if you’re ready to enroll, give us a call at 800-913-0172.
Here are some additional articles on health sharing programs: HealthShare Comparison Guide: Statement of Belief vs. Statement of Faith | The Best New Healthcare for Small Business: Healthshare Plans for Small Groups
Here are some additional pages related to this article: Answers to the Most Frequently asked Questions about Health Sharing Plans | How Smart Consumers are Opting Out of Obamacare and Slashing Their Costs by Joining Healthshare Programs Instead!
Leslie Jablonski is a Personal Benefits Manager at HSA for America. Her aim is to help you make smart and informed healthcare coverage decisions that will fit your needs and budget. Read more about Leslie on her Bio page.