The sudden outbreak of COVID-19 sent shockwaves through every level of the healthcare industry, forcing patients, providers, and insurers alike to re-think the way health treatment is provided and paid for. Healthcare Sharing Ministries (HSCMs) were not immune, and as a result, most of the major healthshare plans have been changed in 2021 and 2022 due to COVID-19.
This article provides an in-depth examination of healthshare plans and COVID-19. It will include a breakdown of the six major HCSMs, including Altrua, OneShare Health, Liberty, MediShare, and MPB Health / Zion.
What is Healthcare Sharing?
Healthcare cost sharing is an alternative form of healthcare. They’re not insurance plans, but rather low-cost membership programs that can pay your unexpected or emergency medical bills. Because they’re not over-regulated like insurance companies, healthshare organizations can provide a more affordable form of protection.
How Healthshare Plans are Handling COVID-19 [Major HCSMs Reviewed]
Here’s a look at how each of the major healthcare companies are handling COVID-19, including testing, vaccines, emergency treatment, and more.
MediShare / Christian Care Ministries
Since the beginning of the pandemic, Christian Care Ministries (the folks behind Medi-Share) have been providing regular updates about COVID-19. MediShare’s medical director has overseen the release of dozens of guides, FAQs, and press releases to keep their members updated on the virus and how to stay healthy.
|Does MediShare cover COVID testing:||YES|
|Does MediShare cover COVID treatment:||YES|
|What to do if you have MediShare and you get sick:||Utilize the free MDLive telehealth service. They’ll help you determine the next steps based on your situation, and tell you how to access a MediShare Covid Test if needed.|
OneShare Health’s COVID-19 Updates Page is packed with resources relating to COVID-19, vaccines, COVID testing, and a lot more. OneShare also has a number of helpful bonuses that are great for families. For example, they have a free sewing pattern where kids can make their own masks, and suggestions for activities you can do with the family while stuck at home.
OneShare Health is also home to Bella, a mental health chatbot that specializes in anxiety and depression.
|Does OneShare cover COVID testing:||YES, but not eligible with the Catastrophic program|
|Does MediShare cover COVID treatment:||YES|
|What to do if you have OneShare and you get sick:||Call the Clever Health Smart Virtual Care number that is listed on the back of your ID card. The number should also be in your OneShare benefits guide.|
Zion / MPB Health
The Zion health sharing community has been confident since the beginning that they have the strength and resources to continue providing health plans throughout the pandemic. Zion also operated a discount membership offer during the first year of the pandemic, giving new members 50% off for 3 months for anyone who was affected by the pandemic (This discount has now expired).
|Does Zion cover COVID testing:||YES, but not eligible with the Catastrophic program|
|Does Zion cover COVID treatment:||YES|
|What to do if you have Zion or MPB Health and you get sick:||Call your plans Telehealth provider, or log into the Zion Member Portal.|
Sedera Health was one of the first health sharing companies to respond to COVID-19, by partnering with 2ndMD to provide all members access to a COVID-specific help line. But since the vaccines were released, the company has been relatively quiet regarding COVID-19. If a member contracts COVID, any necessary treatment could be qualified for cost-sharing, like any other acute illness or injury.
While Sedera does not offer a 24/7 nurse line, their plans can be configured to work with Direct Primary Care (DPC) memberships. DPC programs usually include telehealth services without a copay.
Sedera also has an impressive online chat function that connects you with real people, unlike the chat-bots that are used on most healthshare pages.
|Does Sedera cover COVID testing:||NO|
|Does Sedera cover COVID treatment:||YES|
|What to do if you have Sedera and you get sick:||Call your DPC provider if you have one, or reach out to member services.|
Altrua Health Share hasn’t had as big of a public-facing response to COVID as some of the other healthshares. Their website was quickly updated with information on how to fight COVID, and how to track for symptoms.
Altrua gives all their members unlimited access to telemedicine through the Altrua HealthShare App. Altrua members who need to seek COVID treatment should begin by scheduling a telemedicine appointment.
|Does Altrua cover COVID testing:||NO|
|Does Altrua cover COVID treatment:||YES|
|What to do if you have Altrua and you get sick:||Use the Altrua HealthShare App to schedule a telemedicine appointment.|
Liberty Healthshare started offering cost-sharing for COVID testing and treatment almost immediately after the pandemic began. Eligible COVID-related expenses include testing, labs, emergency room fees, hospital bills, etc.
Today, much of their COVID-related resources and information have been removed from the website. However, Liberty members still have access to cost-sharing for both testing and treatment.
|Does Liberty cover COVID testing:||YES|
|Does Liberty cover COVID treatment:||YES|
|What to do if you have Liberty and you get sick:||Use your Liberty telehealth benefits to contact a doctor. (Liberty charges a $40 Initial Unshared Amount for primary care services).|
Compare Pricing on the Best Healthshare Plans Available
Healthshare Plans and COVID: Frequently Asked Questions [FAQ]
Q: Do healthshare plans cover the covid test?
A: Not all healthshare plans cover all forms of COVID testing. Consult your member hotline or help desk for information on whether or not covid tests are eligible for sharing.
Q: Do healthshare plans cover COVID treatment?
A: Most, if not all healthshare plans consider treatment for an acute illness like COVID-19 an eligible sharing expense. The only exception might be if you are hospitalized with COVID before joining the healthshare program, as it might then fall under previously existing conditions.
Q: Do healthshare plans cover the vaccine?
A: COVID vaccines are available free of charge to anyone that wants one. If you’re enrolled in a health sharing plan and want to get a vaccine, simply tell the clinic that you don’t have health insurance and it will all be taken care of.
Are You in the Right Healthshare Plan?
If you’re enrolled in a healthshare plan and you have questions about COVID-19, the best place to start is your member hotline or online chat service. Your plan’s telehealth services can also connect you with a medical professional for advice, without even having to leave the home.
If you think you might be in the wrong health sharing plan, then consider scheduling a free consultation with one of our in-house experts. If you don’t already have a Personal Benefits Manager through HSA for America, we’ll pair you with one, and provide you all the assistance you need for as long as you have your plan. Even better, our services are 100% free-to-you.