Primer: How Much do Most Health Sharing Programs Cost Per Month?
In general, health sharing plans are between 40% and 50% more affordable than unsubsidized health insurance. But your actual cost will depend on how many members you’re signing up, and which specific plan you’re enrolling in.
Health sharing ministries usually offer multiple options when it comes to cost sharing. Like insurance plans, these options differ in how much you’re paying per month, what percentage of a bill you need to cover on your own, and additional member features.
For individuals, the average health sharing plan is about $150 per month, but can be as high as $300 (or more) for upper-tier programs. Family healthshare costs can between $300 and $450, with some top-tier family healthshares costing as much as $700 or $800.At just $113 per month for an individual and $205 per month for a family of four, Altrua Ruby is the cheapest healthshare plan for most people.
Catastrophic Health Plans are Not for Everybody
Important: It can be tempting to just choose the health plan with the lowest monthly rate. But catastrophic health plans can have some significant gaps in coverage. If you do get in an accident, catastrophic plans will make it easier, but you’ll still have significant out of pocket costs (as much as 50%).
If you’re happy with your current health plan and you can afford it, it’s probably best to stay where you are.
But if there’s someone in your life who simply can’t afford any plan (or just refuses to sign up for Obamacare) then a catastrophic plan is much better than nothing.
Compare Pricing on the Best Healthshare Plans Available
Altrua Ruby: Anatomy of a Catastrophic Healthshare Plan
Altrua Ruby is what is commonly known as a “Catastrophic” plan. This means that it is designed to provide cost sharing for only large or unexpected health bills, with fewer member features and a more streamlined structure than other cost sharing programs.
Catastrophic plans usually require the member to pay more out-of-pocket in order to access cost sharing. This is why they are less expensive than even the average health sharing plan, and significantly less expensive than health insurance.
- Who it’s for: Anyone who is currently uninsured that needs a low-cost way to be protected against huge hospital bills in case of an emergency.
- Who it’s not for: People who already have a good health plan that they can afford.
The Cheapest Healthshare Plan: How does Altrua work?
Altrua Ruby, and healthshare plans in general, are not difficult to use:
- Enroll in the plan of your choice (There could be a one-time signup fee).
- Agree to the Altrua member Statement of Standards (see below for a rundown).
- Pay your monthly member contribution (similar to a health insurance premium).
- Identify a hospital or provider in your area that is a member of Altrua’s Established Provider Reimbursement System (You’ll save a lot of money this way).
- When you incur a large medical bill, have your provider send an official medical bill to Altrua, or send it in yourself. Some medical needs may require additional paperwork.
- You are responsible for meeting your Member Responsibility Amount (MRA 1; $7,500 for an individual).
- After you meet MRA 1, you can have 50% of your remaining medical bill shared, up to $10,000. After this 2nd MRA is met, the plan will reimburse 100% of qualified costs, up to the annual sharing limit of $150,000 or the lifetime limit of $1,000,000.
What is the Altrua Statement of Standards?
All members agree to live by an agreed Statement of Standards, which is a set of six principles. Like many healthcare sharing organizations, Altrua has based its member statement on the teachings of the Christian faith.
While church membership is not required to join Altrua, members must agree to live a healthy lifestyle, avoid drugs, tobacco, and excess alcohol consumption, and adhere to biblically inspired lifestyle choices when it comes to marriage, healthcare, and community.
What is the Altrua Ruby Monthly Premium?
Because healthshare companies are not the same as insurance, members do not pay a monthly premium. Instead, they receive a Monthly Contribution Request based on age and number of family members who are participating.
As long as the member continues to make the contribution, they will have access to the Altrua healthcare cost sharing network.
Member contributions for Altrua Ruby can be as low as $105 for an individual and $205 for a family of 4.
Does Altrua Cover Preexisting Conditions?
Altrua offers cost sharing for pre-existing conditions after a defined waiting period, but the actual length of this waiting period depends on the specific condition.
For example, conditions like calcium deficiency, cataracts, or hypertension would require a 2-year waiting period. More serious conditions like cancer, meningitis, and pancreatitis would require a 5-year waiting period.
Some conditions are lifetime limited, which means it might not be possible to get cost sharing for these conditions. If you have chronic or ongoing medical needs, it will save you more money in the long run to find a traditional health insurance plan using recently expanded subsidies.
Altrua Diamond and Emerald Memberships
The Ruby level membership is Altrua’s catastrophic plan, and requires the lowest monthly contribution. But the Diamond and Emerald level plans provide a much wider range of cost-sharing benefits, and have much lower Member Responsibility Amounts (MRAs).
For example, a Diamond healthshare member only has to cover a total of $2500 out of pocket (between MRA 1 and MRA 2). This is much lower than the Ruby plan, which can be as high as $12,500.
Are There Any Other Options for Me?
It’s true that traditional health insurance just isn’t a great option for everybody. But if you have significant medical needs, or a pre-existing condition, then a catastrophic plan could cost you a lot more in the long run.
When it comes to staying protected while still saving money, there is another good option on the table. That would be a health sharing plan / Direct Primary Care combination. This is a specialized form of health sharing designed to work with a low-cost DPC membership. It not only comes with pretty good emergency protection, but also a bunch of preventive and routine care services. Click here to learn more about ‘Healthshare + DPC.’
Need to get enrolled in something right away? Reach out to a Personal Benefits Manager for a no-cost consultation.Here are some additional articles on healthsharing programs: Complete Guide to Direct Primary Care (DPC) – HSA for America | Best Healthshare Plans Comparison Guide 2023
Here are some additional pages related to this article: Altrua Healthshare Plans, Reviews, & Instant Quotes | All You Need To Know About Healthshare Plans