No one plans to get sick, but it happens.

How Health Sharing Protects People from Big Catastrophic Medical Bills

And when it does, the cost of medical care can be overwhelming. A major illness or injury can quickly wipe out a family’s savings, leaving them with nothing to pay for their other expenses.

In all too many cases, the economic impact of high healthcare costs results in severe economic hardship, eviction, foreclosure, bankruptcy or divorce.

This is why it is so important to have some sort of health plan in place.

Traditional health insurance plans are a realistic option for some, provided they get a significant subsidy under the Affordable Care Act.

Absent the subsidy, however, traditional health insurance products have become unaffordable for many American families.

That’s why thousands of Americans are turning to lower-priced health sharing ministries as a more realistic, affordable alternative to health insurance products.

These arrangements and organizations offer an alternative to traditional insurance, often organized around common ethical or religious beliefs.

Compare Pricing on the Best Insurance Plans Available

The Catastrophic Cost of Health Care for Critical Illnesses

Health sharing plans can provide a critical safety net in the event you or a family member is diagnosed with a critical illness or has a serious accident.

Consider: On average, a cancer diagnosis costs more than $42,000 in medical treatment and prescription drug costs in the first year alone.

Some cancer treatments cost more than $1 million.

And the American Heart Association estimates the average cost of a single heart attack to exceed $20,000.

The median cost of hospital care following a heart attack was about $53,384 for uninsured patients. Add the rising costs of medical care and inflation to the mix, and that number is likely even higher in 2024.

If surgery is needed, such as angioplasty or bypass surgery, costs can rise to $100,000 or more.

The average cost of an aortic valve replacement, for example, is more than $135,000, according to research from the University of Southern California.

These expenses place a significant financial burden on individuals and their families.

Can you afford that if you had a heart attack tomorrow?

So knowing these medical costs, and that it could happen even to you, so now what?

How can you help reduce your health insurance costs so that you can seek medical care and try to prevent or at least catch these major health obstacles before it becomes a huge problem for you and an even larger financial burden for you and your family?

The Basics of Health Share Plans and Healthcare Sharing Ministries

Health share plans are a way for people to come together and share the cost of their medical expenses.

Health share plans differ from traditional health insurance, which involves a contract between an individual and an insurance company. Instead, these plans are usually based on shared ethical or religious values. Members contribute a monthly amount that is pooled to cover the eligible medical expenses of fellow members.

Health sharing plans are typically organized around common ethical or religious beliefs. Members of these plans agree to share their resources with each other, and they often have a shared set of values. Health insurance companies, on the other hand, are not typically associated with any particular religious or ethical beliefs.

Health Sharing Plans vs. Health Insurance

Health sharing and health insurance can both help individuals and families pay large and catastrophic medical bills.

Health sharing plans typically have much lower monthly costs compared to health insurance plans without a subsidy. This is because health sharing plans are not subject to the same regulations as health insurance plans.

But there are some other key differences between the two that you should be aware of, as well:

First, health sharing plans are not insurance. Instead, they are non-profit, voluntary associations that provide a way for like-minded people to come together and share the cost of their medical expenses among themselves.

Members of a health sharing community each contribute a monthly amount. The health sharing organization or ministry then facilitates collection and distribution of these monthly contributions to pay for the eligible medical expenses of other members.

Another key difference between health sharing and health insurance is that

Pros of Health Share Plans and Healthcare Sharing Ministries

  • Connection to Community. Members often report a sense of belonging and purpose, as they are directly contributing to the well-being of others in their community.
  • Potential Cost Savings. With lower overhead compared to traditional insurers, these plans can routinely save up to 50% compared to the unsubsidized cost of an ACA-qualified Marketplace-type health insurance policy.
  • Flexibility and Control. Members enjoy greater autonomy in their healthcare decisions, often with the ability to choose their providers and negotiate healthcare costs directly.

What To Be Aware Of

It is important to be aware of some of the limitations of health sharing plans, especially if you have any pre-existing conditions.

Health sharing plans typically impose a waiting period before costs related to treating pre-existing conditions become shareable.  The length of the waiting period can vary depending on the plan and on the specific condition.

Health Sharing Pros and Cons

Health Sharing Plan ProsHealth Sharing Plan Cons
Lower monthly costsMay not cover all medical costs
Community connectionNo guarantee of coverage
Flexibility and controlLifestyle restrictions
Potential cost savingsLack of traditional protections

Overall, health sharing plans can be a good option for people who are looking for an alternative to traditional health insurance.

They can offer a number of benefits, including lower monthly costs, potential cost savings, flexibility and control, and a sense of community. However, it is important to be aware of the limitations of health sharing plans before you sign up.

Deciding whether a health share plan or healthcare sharing ministry is suitable for you depends on a variety of factors, including your health status, financial situation, personal values, and religious beliefs.

Compare Pricing on the Best HealthShare Plans Available


Don’t go it alone: Instead, make an appointment for a free consultation with an HSA for America Personal Benefits Manager.

Our PBMs are experts on both health sharing and traditional health insurance plans available in your area. We can help you go over your options, whether you will likely qualify for a subsidy under the ACA, get quotes, and help you sign up.

Further Reading: Best Healthshare Plans Comparison Guide 2024 | Unraveling Healthcare Sharing Ministries: Faith-Based and Secular HealthShare Options | The Media’s Misguided Portrayal of Health Sharing Plans | What is a Superbill? (And How to Get it Reimbursed!)