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With thousands of members across Colorado, Altrua HealthShare Ministries is one of the oldest and largest healthsharing ministry organizations in the United States.
Over the past 20 years, they’ve facilitated the sharing of over $100 million in health care costs nationwide. They also have a network of more than 1 million healthcare providers, including thousands in Colorado.
All Altrua Memberships include counseling services, free telemedicine, and discounts on dental, vision, and hearing services.
Altrua is much more than a medical cost-sharing ministry. They are also an active 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable organization which has donated millions to charities and disaster relief efforts in Colorado and across the country.
Member donations have gone to support women’s and children’s shelters, food shelters, Ronald McDonald House, and Autism Smiles.
While Altrua is a faith-based organization, there is no specific requirement to attend religious services or be a member of any specific religious organization to join. Membership is open to anyone who commits to a responsible and healthy lifestyle, and who adheres to the Altrua Statement of Standards, which is at the bottom of this page.
Colorado Healthsharing vs. Insurance
Healthsharing and insurance are two different things. Like other healthcare sharing ministry organizations (HCSMs), Altrua is not an insurance company, and healthsharing plans are not insurance policies.
Healthsharing is instead a more affordable, cost-effective alternative to traditional insurance policies. Health sharing organizations are organized as not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organizations. They facilitate the sharing of medical expenses among like-minded members.
Their memberships tend to be healthier than average, and follow healthier lifestyles.
Altrua membership is much less expensive than buying comparable protection from a traditional health insurance company. As of 2022, the average unsubsidized monthly premium for an Affordable Care Act-qualified “silver” plan, with a 30% coinsurance requirement over the Connect for Health Colorado Marketplace, was more than 1200 per month.
Premiums are even higher in the more sparsely-populated Western Slopes counties of Colorado.
In contrast, you can join an Altrua healthsharing plan protecting your whole family for between $275 and $780 per month.
Plans are available for individuals with monthly contributions ranging from $100 to $420.
How Altrua Healthshare Membership Works in Colorado
Members contribute a set amount of money per month, based on their age and the plan they select. Altrua holds their contributions in escrow. Each month, they take a small amount for operations and to pay staff. The remainder is held to help share members’ eligible medical bills.
Members with a qualified medical need submit their bills to Altrua for sharing.
If you or a covered family member receives medical treatment, you present your Altrua membership card, and tell the provider you’re a self-pay patient and ask for a cash payer discount.
Providers may contact Altrua to verify eligibility of any non-emergency treatment for cost sharing.
Your doctor or provider will send your bill directly to Altrua. Altrua then uses escrowed members’ funds to pay eligible medical expenses, less the annual Member Responsibility Amount (MRA) you select.
Your Altrua Healthshare Member Responsibility Amount (MRA)
Your Altrua Healthshare Member Responsibility Amount (MRA) is the amount you must pay out of pocket each year before your medical bills become eligible for sharing. It functions similarly to a deductible in the health insurance world.
Colorado residents can choose from among several MRA levels, ranging from $500 to $7,500 per year. The higher the MRA you select, the lower your monthly contribution amount, all other things being equal.
Most Altrua plans have two MRAs. For all plans except “Ruby,” which is a limited-benefit “catastrophic” plan, the 2nd MRA is $2,500 per member, per calendar year.
Altrua Healthshare Membership Options in Colorado (MRA)
Altrua offers Colorado residents several membership tiers to choose from: Diamond, Emerald, Sapphire, and Ruby.
Diamond is Altrua’s flagship plan and the highest level of membership, with the broadest range of benefits.
- The 1st MRA is $500 per person, per year. >
- The 2nd MRA is $2,500 to the licensed medical professional or facility ($5,000 if the professional or facility is non-affiliated.
- A $5,000 MRA applies per pregnancy (see maternity benefits, below, for more details).
- A $5,000 MRA applies per adoption event
- No annual maximum
- Lifetime sharing limit of $2,000,000 per member.
- The MRA for Emerald plans is $1,000 per person per year.
- The 2nd MRA is $2,500 to the licensed medical professional/facility (maximum of $5,000 if the medical professional/facility is non-affiliated).
- $5,000 MRA per pregnancy
- $5,000 MRA per adoption event
- No annual maximum
- Lifetime limit of $1,000,000 per member.
Essentially, the Ruby plan functions as an affordable “catastrophic” plan.
There’s no “age banding:” Pricing is the same for members of all ages up through 64 – the maximum eligible age for Altrua healthsharing.
- The 1st MRA is $7,500 per person per year.
- The 2nd MRA is 50% of the next $10,000 in shareable healthcare expenses per member (maximum of $5,000 if the medical professional/facility is non-affiliated.
- Ruby does not include maternity or adoption benefits.
- Annual limit: $150,000
- Lifetime limit: $1,000,000 per member
The advantage is that this plan is very budget-friendly for those with significant savings they can use to cover the higher MRA amounts.
The chief disadvantage of the Ruby membership tier is the low annual limit would not provide full protection against the cost of serious medical events requiring extended hospitalization or major surgery.
Altrua for Colorado Small Businesses
Altrua is friendly towards small businesses, and its healthsharing plans can be an excellent, cost-effective employee benefit.
Costs are typically much lower than a traditional group health insurance plan. Healthsharing also allows Colorado small businesses much more flexibility in how they split costs with employees compared to group health insurance plans.
Altrua supports list billing, to make administration easy for employers.
You can upload your company census here to request a small group quote.
Mental Health/Counseling Benefits
Altrua members and their immediate family members are eligible for free and confidential help from trained advisors for stressors such as family problems, marital concerns, financial and legal matters, stress, and depression.
Care Networks – Can I See Any Doctor With Altrua Healthshare?
Unlike HMOs offered on the Colorado Connect for Health website, Altrua does not restrict members to any narrow care networks of contracted “lowest bidder” providers.
Instead, Altrua uses the Established Provider Reimbursement Solution (ERS). This allows Members to go to any provider or facility they choose regardless
of the provider’s “network” affiliation.
Altrua defines “pre-existing conditions “an illness or medical condition for which you have received medical advice or treatment at any time during the 10-year look back period preceding your membership effective date.”
This is among the longest “lookback” periods of all healthsharing organizations active in Colorado.
Expenses to treat some pre-existing conditions, such as multiple sclerosis and type I diabetes, are ineligible for sharing for life. However, if you develop them while a member, they are eligible for sharing, since they aren’t pre-existing conditions.
Emergency Room Visits
Don’t go to the ER for a case of the sniffles.
Note: When assessing ER costs for shareability, Altrua’s focus is on symptoms, rather than on the final diagnosis. So you won’t be penalized for a visit to the ER for heart attack symptoms that turn out to be heartburn!
Access is subject to a $500 annual MRA, and an initial 90-day waiting period, except when required as part of a wellness or preventative care visit.
Subject to a $1,000 maximum sharing limit for Diamond memberships and $500 for Emerald memberships per member per calendar year.
Does Altrua Healthshare Cover Specialist Care in Colorado?
Diamond and Emerald members submit a $35 MRA to the specialist, which is not applied to your 1st or 2nd MRA. Altrua will share up to $300 in costs per eligible specialist visit.
Sapphire members submit the full or discounted charges of the eligible
medical need to the licensed medical professional, and the Membership will allow up to
$300 per visit to be applied to the 1st MRA, then to the 2nd MRA.
Ruby Membership Members submit the full or discounted charges of the eligible medical need to the licensed medical professional, and the Membership will allow up to $300 per visit to be applied to the 1st MRA.
Child-Only Altrua Healthshare Memberships
Most healthshare organizations and virtually all health insurance carriers will not issue a child-only plan or policy. They all require children to be on the same plan as parents.
This isn’t always practical or affordable. For example, some parents may have access to a company group health insurance plan that covers workers but does not extend coverage to family members. A child-only Altrua membership may be a great, affordable way to solve this problem.
How Altrua Shares for Prescription Drugs
Altrua Colorado members receive discounts to hundreds of prescription drugs via Magellan RX. Just present your prescription card along with your prescription to any of Magellan RX’s 68,000+ network retail pharmacies every time you fill your prescription.
Magellan Rx’s online pricing includes free home delivery.
It’s a discount program, rather than an insurance program. Out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs are separate from your Altrua plan and don’t count towards your MRA.
Again, this is a discount program, and the out-of-pocket member costs are not applied towards the Member’s MRA.
Note: Some medications, including certain mental health and birth control medications, are not eligible for Magellan Rx’s discounts.
How Altrua Shares for Cancer Expenses
Expenses to treat cancer are shareable, though subject to a 90-day waiting period (for Diamond and Emerald plans), or a 12-months waiting period (for Sapphire and Ruby plans).
The sharing of cancer-related medical costs are subject to a five-year “lookback” period for pre-existing conditions.
Cancer Benefit Limits
Sharing for cancer treatment expenses for the first year is limited to $10,000. The member’s MRA for these expenses for the first year is $4,000.
After the first year, your MRA for cancer-related expenses drops to $3,000.
After year 2, your MRA for cancer-related expenses drops to $2,000.
Cancer Screening Requirements
Female members aged 40 and older, and male members ages 50 and older, must participate in cancer screening for later cancer treatments to be shareable.
Altrua Shares for Alternative Medicine Expenses
Acupuncture, homeopathic treatments, holistic treatments, naturopathic
treatments, biofeedback, and neurofeedback are shareable after a 12-month waiting period.
Altrua will share expenses for up to twelve visits per member per year. 1st and 2nd MRAs apply.
Cataracts and Glaucoma
Testing and surgery are shareable after a 12 month waiting period.
Chiropractic Services Shared by Altrua Healthshare
Chiropractic services are shareable after your first year of membership. After that, Altrua will share up to 12 visits per year per member.
1st and 2nd MRAs apply.
To be shareable, chiropractic services must be associated with an eligible accidental injury (not workers comp) or an eligible surgery. Routine visits for general wellness purposes are not shareable.
Outpatient Therapy Visits
Shareable after a 90-day wait period. Limited to 20 visits per member per calendar year.
Foreign Travel Benefits
You can use your Altrua plan to help share medical costs incurred while traveling outside the U.S. Medical records and billing correspondence must be provided in English.
Expenses to treat Type 1 diabetes are not shareable. It’s among the conditions that have a lifetime exclusion.
Expenses to treat Type 2 diabetes are shareable, subject to a 2-year waiting period.
Mammograms and Pap Smears/Pelvic Exams
Required every 2 years for women aged 40 and up for later breast, cervical, endometrial, or ovarian cancer treatment costs to be shareable.
After your first year of membership, Altrua will share up to $500 on a mammogram or breast ultrasound for fulfillment of the screening requirement for women within 1 year of 40th birthday.
Members are allowed one additional office visit for up to $500, eligible for sharing.
“Pooling” Office Visits
One unusual feature Altrua offers is pooled office visits. With this feature, family members can share each others’ allotted office visits allowed within the plan.
This way, if one family member needs to use more than the allotted six annual office visits, he or she can dip into other family members’ allocations as well. The family’s total office visit allocations under the plan can be used by any of the family members as necessary.
For example, with each member of a family allotted six shareable office visits per year, a family of four would have up to 24 office visits total.
If one family had more medical needs than others, that family member could use up to 24 office visits, all shareable under the plan.
Altrua requires male members aged 50 and over undergo prostate-specific antigen testing every two years. Otherwise prostate cancer treatment costs would not be eligible for sharing.
- Altrua has an annual renewal fee of $100.
- A $25 additional “donation” is required upon joining an Altrua plan. In subsequent years, the $25 donation is voluntary.
Altrua Healthshare’s Statement of Standards
All members must agree to adhere to Altrua’s Statement of Standards, below:
- We care for one another.
- We keep our bodies clean and healthy with proper nutrition.
- We believe the use of any form of tobacco, illicit drugs and excessive alcohol consumption is harmful to the body and soul.
- We believe sexual relations outside the bond of marriage is contrary to the teachings of the Bible and that marriage should be held in honor.
- We believe abortion is wrong, except in a life-threatening situation to the mother.
- We care for our families and physical, mental or emotional abuse of any kind to a family member or anyone else is morally wrong.
Altrua Healthshare FAQ’s
Does Altrua Healthshare accept smokers in Colorado?
No. Altrua does not accept users of tobacco in any form at this time. However, there are several other great healthshare organizations in Colorado that do take on smokers and other tobacco users, generally for a surcharge.
Does Altrua Healthshare include long-term care?
Costs from temporary, short-term nursing home or rehab facility stays are generally shareable, provided the purpose is for improvement of or recovery from a specific injury, illness, or procedure. (i.e., for acute conditions).
Altrua does not share costs for long-term custodial care.
What do I say to doctors/providers when I need care?
When you need care, tell your provider that you are a member of a recognized healthsharing ministry called Altrua. Present your membership card, which will provide everything your provider needs to send the bill to the healthsharing ministry. Tell them to send the bills either electronically or by mail to the address on the back of your card.
Meanwhile, many providers in Colorado and around the country offer a self-pay discount. You should ask your provider to give you any self-pay discounts that apply. This saves money for both you and for your Plan.
Are drug or alcohol-related illnesses or injuries shareable?
Generally not. Treatment costs related to tobacco, nicotine, or illicit drug use are not generally shareable. If Altrua HealthShare believes any of these substances may be a factor in any given illness or injury, Altrua may require a drug screening or nicotine test.
For treatment cost to be shareable, you must have the test administered within 48 hours of being notified of the requirement. Failure to comply, or a positive test may result in your membership being revoked.
Does Altrua Healthshare exclude costs related to any lifestyle-linked conditions?
Yes: Altrua does not share costs related to:
- Abortion or abortion counseling (exceptions apply in the case of rape or threat to the mother’s life, supported by medical documention);
- Vaping or smoking;
- Sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV, unless the HIV was contracted via a blood transfusion or a work-related needle stick.
- Birth control consultation, as well as any birth control measures to prevent conception (e.g., IUDs, injectables, patches);
- Maternity arising from sexual relations outside marriage;
- Illness or injury due to engagement in illegal activities;
- Intentional overdoses;
- Intentional self-harm or suicide attempts;
- Diseases caused by tattoos, body piercing, or lifestyle choices.
All Altrua Healthshare Memberships Include counseling services, telemedicine, and discounts on dental, vision, and hearing. After the 1st and 2nd MRAs are met, 100% of eligible medical needs are eligible for sharing for the remainder of the year.
How To Use Your Altrua Healthshare Membership in Colorado
- When you visit your provider, show your Altrua HealthShare Membership ID Card from the Altrua HealthShare
HealthShare app you have downloaded.
- Your provider will send a copy of your medical needs to Altrua HealthShare.
- Altura will send you and your provider an explanation of sharing, which breaks down the costs and services.
- Altrua HealthShare Members then share in the cost of the eligible medical directly to the provider..
- When you visit your provider, show your Altrua HealthShare Membership ID Card from the Altrua HealthShare
In addition to their medical cost-sharing, Altrua HealthShare Ministries is a 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable organization. Since 2000, Altrua HealthShare has donated money to countless charities, including disaster relief efforts, women and children’s shelters, Ronald McDonald House, food shelters, and Autism Smiles.
Ready to Sign Up?
If you’d like to sign up for an Altrua HealthShare Membership, you can sign up online, or you can talk to your Personal Medical Cost Navigator and they can help you with the process.
DISCLAIMER: Altrua HealthShare Ministries (dba Altrua HealthShare HealthShare) is NOT an insurance company nor is the membership offered through an insurance company. Members are self-pay patients. Altrua HealthShare Ministries is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation.
Altrua Healthshare Reviews
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WAY BETTER THAN INSURANCE COMPANIES!!
Altrua Healthshare’s been an awesome experience. Healthsharing in general is a great alternative to traditional health insurance, and I’ve saved a lot of money by switching over from Blue Cross a few years ago.
When I had a serious medical incident last year, they really came through for me. I paid my member portion, as agreed, and they paid everything else. And I can choose my own doctor – something I couldn’t do with Friday Health. I had to use their provider network. Altrua doesn’t care… as long as the pricing is reasonable, which makes sense
I like the community aspect of the plan, as well. – it feels like you’re part of a supportive network of people who are all working together to stay healthy and happy.
Good coverage, but a bit complicated
Overall, I’m pretty happy with the coverage I’ve gotten from Altrua Healthshare. It’s definitely saved me some money compared to traditional insurance. Especially since I only qualify for a small Obamacare premium subsidy. Not enough to make me consider switching back to a regular health insurance company!
That being said, the system can be a bit complicated to navigate. Healthsharing takes some getting used to. And there are a lot of rules and restrictions that you need to keep in mind…. Especially if you have pre-existing conditions.
My recommendation is to engage with the concierge team early and often, because they can help a lot finding you good doctors who don’t murder you with pricing!
Mixed experience with customer service
Definitely much mnore affordable than a regular health plan. I was paying $1300 per month to cover my family of four until three years ago. Then we switched to Altrua and now I’m paying less than $700 per month!
On the downslide, I’ve had a bit of a mixed experience with Altrua Healthshare’s customer service team. When I can get the rght person on the phone they’ve been great! But sometimes I get the runaround or they have to get back to me.
Overall, Altrua’s been good. They need to upgrade their member experience to be great!