What to Know About Health Share Plans – Ramsey Solutions

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With inflation making everything more expensive, right now is a great time to save money on health care—or just about anything! If you’re trying to find ways to tighten up your health care budget, take a look at health share plans.
Health share plans are nonprofit ministries. That means members get to combine health care coverage with a way to serve others as an expression of faith. And these plans are getting more popular all the time. That’s not surprising when you realize how much money they can save you compared to traditional health insurance plans.
Let’s see what health share plans are all about.
A health share plan is a type of health care coverage that lets you:
What’s not to love?
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Plus, many people don’t like the idea of paying for medical services that conflict with their religious beliefs. So if that’s something you can relate to, imagine a health care plan that leaves those services out and charges way less for the package. That’s what health share plans give you!
Health share plans have been up and running for many years, but it’s only been since the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was passed in 2010 that they’ve really taken off. Back when the ACA became law, the cost of health insurance went way up—and the premiums just kept on rising.
Because of skyrocketing premiums, many people—including some employers and even insurance companies—found that health insurance was becoming unaffordable. In response to the growing need for truly affordable health care, existing health share plans grew and new ones were born. And today, millions of Americans use health share plans to cover their health care needs.
Just to be clear: Health share plans aren’t technically a form of insurance. Basically, that just means employers can’t use a health share plan to comply with the government requirements to provide health insurance for employees. But because there are fewer requirements for these plans, they tend to be much more affordable.
If you understand the basics of traditional health insurance plans, you’re already well on your way to understanding how health share plans work. The fact is, the two models have a lot in common.
Remember the monthly premiums you pay for your health insurance coverage? Health share plans have those too. And how about deductibles? Yep, health share plans usually set a minimum amount you have to pay annually before cost sharing kicks in.
Health share plans also have that handy list of preferred providers. And just like with health insurance, health share plans give you discounts when you get your services done in the network. On the other hand, going outside the network will mean paying more (or maybe all) of the bill for that service out of pocket.
Your premiums will be determined by the level of participation you sign up for, based on your own budget. Again, this part is exactly like health insurance: If you’re willing to pay a higher monthly premium, your plan can cover additional people in your family.
Here’s yet another similarity. As with health insurance, the premiums in your health share plan go into a pool of funds to pay for the ongoing needs of other patients in the plan.
Basically, your money is kept in an account for you by the health share plan committee. Then, when someone in the plan has a medical need, they can submit a request for payment to cover their services—anything from prescriptions to maternity expenses. Once the need has been approved by the committee, that member’s bills are paid by the health share plan using funds from other members’ accounts.
This is all sounding pretty similar—so what are the differences between health insurance and health share plans. Great question!
What about the differences between health share plans and traditional health insurance? Well, there are a lot—and we’ve already touched on a few of them. Here are some other differences:
Like with any product, health share plans have plenty of pros and cons. But weighing them up, we think the scale tips strongly in favor of using health share plans. Let’s walk through the good and the bad.
Even if there are cons, a health share plan might be the best option for you and your family. And if you look over those two lists, we think you’ll agree the pros easily outweigh the cons.
We’re so glad you asked! If you’re ready to combine great health care coverage with the opportunity to help others in a time of need, our trusted partner Christian Healthcare Ministries (CHM) can help you figure out your options.
Thousands of people in all 50 states use CHM to cover their health care needs. Plus, they’re a RamseyTrusted partner, so you know they’ll cover the medical bills they’re supposed to and honor your coverage.
Ready to get excellent health care coverage? Connect with CHM today.
About the author
Ramsey Solutions
Ramsey Solutions has been committed to helping people regain control of their money, build wealth, grow their leadership skills, and enhance their lives through personal development since 1992. Millions of people have used our financial advice through 22 books (including 12 national bestsellers) published by Ramsey Press, as well as two syndicated radio shows and 10 podcasts, which have over 17 million weekly listeners. Learn More.
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