Over the last few decades, Healthcare Sharing Plans have emerged as a legal, affordable, and flexible alternative to traditional insurance. On average, they come at a lower monthly cost than insurance, and are a lot easier to sign up for. In this article, you’ll learn all the details on how Healthcare Sharing plans compare to traditional health insurance.
But how do healthcare sharing plans compare with your old health insurance? Let’s take a look:
How Healthcare Sharing Plans Compare: Key Points
- Healthshare plans are not the same as health insurance. They are provided by Health Care Sharing Ministries, which are private organizations that aren’t subject to federal over-regulation.
- Healthshare plans use different terms and definitions than insurance, and knowing them is important.
- Health sharing plans are significantly more affordable per-month than unsubsidized insurance, but the protection is less comprehensive.
- Health sharing isn’t a good match for someone who has ongoing medical needs, or who is expecting to need a lot of coverage. There are some cases when traditional health insurance really is the best option.
What is a Healthcare Sharing Ministry?
Health Care Sharing Ministries, or HSCMs, are private organizations that make it possible to share the cost of medical expenses between a large member community. HSCMs are not subject to federal regulation, so they are able to offer health sharing plans at a fraction of the cost of “regular” insurance.
For many, switching to health sharing can create an immediate and significant reduction in monthly costs. They tend to be a good match for people who are generally healthy, or who don’t expect to use their plan much.
If you have large or ongoing medical needs, then a healthcare sharing plan might not be right for you. But there are other ways to bring down your monthly premiums; Your Personal Benefits Manager can help.
Comparisons: Health Insurance vs. Healthshare Plans
Health Insurance: Health insurance premiums are going up all the time. If you don’t qualify for a health insurance subsidy, then paying the monthly cost of health insurance can be nearly impossible.
Health Sharing: Healthshare programs ask their members for a monthly “Contribution” or “Share”. By design, these monthly shares are much less than unsubsidized health insurance premiums.
Out of Pocket Expenses
Health Insurance: Most insurance plans come with copy requirements for doctor visits and primary care. Many also require a coinsurance payment, which is an established percentage of an individual service or procedure.
Health Sharing: Health sharing plans are designed to cover large or unexpected medical bills. This means that there is more exposure for out-of-pocket costs if that person needs to visit the doctor or buy prescriptions. Using an HSA is a great way for healthshare members to mitigate these costs.
Amount to Pay Before the Plan Kicks in:
Health Insurance: The deductible is the amount that needs to be paid by the patient before coverage begins. Generally speaking, the higher your monthly premium, the lower your deductible, and vice-versa.
Health Sharing: The term can vary depending on the program, but healthshare plans also have a set amount that must be paid by the member before cost sharing kicks in. This is frequently known as the Initial Unshared Amount or the Annual Household Portion.
Level of Coverage:
Health Insurance: All marketplace health insurance plans are required to offer a list of baseline medical coverage that is required by the Affordable Care Act. These metal-tier plans come in different shapes and sizes and can be set up to be very comprehensive.
Health Sharing: While plan options are increasing every year, most healthshare plans are not as comprehensive as traditional insurance. They manage to be low cost by not including cost sharing for routine, preventive, or primary care. (However, healthshare members can easily fix this by pairing their sharing plan with a Direct Primary Care membership).
Compare Pricing on the Best Healthshare Plans Available
Best Health Sharing Plans: Comparison Checklist
Thinking about switching to a healthcare sharing program? There are a lot of different organizations to choose from, each with a number of options available.
Here are some things to keep in mind when comparing healthshare plans and programs:
- Is the organization faith-based? If so, you might need to sign a Statement of Faith. If the organization is non-religious, you may still have to agree to a list of member guidelines.
- Does this HCSM provide cost sharing for my pre-existing condition? Some HCSMs do not provide cost sharing programs for certain pre-existing conditions, and others have 1, 2, or 3-year waiting periods depending on the condition.
- Will you be able to meet my Annual Household Portion if you need medical care? This is the amount you will need to pay out-of-pocket if you need to make a cost sharing request. Like health insurance, the lower your monthly contribution, the higher your AHP will be.
- Does this healthshare plan have any preventive benefits? Healthshare plans are not required to meet the same preventive care rules as health insurance plans are. That means that you could be paying more for your checkups, screenings, or lab tests.
- Do I Need a Healthshare Plan that Can Work with an HSA? MPB Health offers a plan that can be paired with Minimum Essential Coverage. This allows healthshare members to continue funding their Health Savings Account.
Need Help with your Healthcare? We’re Here for You
Whether you’re sticking with traditional insurance or considering healthcare sharing, we’ve got your back. Your Personal Benefits Manager can help you understand your options, and get you into the plan that you need.
Call 800-913-0172 to get started, or click here to schedule a free consultation.
Hi! I’m Misty Berryman, and I’m one of your Personal Benefits Managers. I like working with HSA for America because we’re creating solutions to healthcare problems. Our focus on money-saving alternatives like HSA plans and health sharing programs, and the variety of health share programs we offer, are what set us apart. Read more about Misty on her Bio page.