Of course, you probably have questions. What are these Christian Healthcare Ministry sharing plans? How do they compare with conventional insurance? What are the best options in Colorado?
I’ll delve into what you need to know to make an informed decision for your family’s health in our guide comparing Christian Healthcare Ministries in Colorado. There’s no need for you to pay hand over fist for healthcare – a healthsharing plan could be just what the doctor ordered in Colorado.
What Is a Christian Healthcare Ministries Plan?
Let’s start at the very beginning. What’s a ministry sharing plan? Technically called a health care sharing ministry, or HCSM, they’ve been around for over three decades at this point and have gained a lot of attention for their affordability.
Members contribute each month to a collective account, and that money is then used to pay for qualifying medical expenses of group members.
Many healthshare programs are faith-based. In fact, Colorado residents have access to quite a few options that align with their Christian values, including Altrua, netWell, OneShare, and Medi-share.
The benefits of joining a faith-based healthshare program include knowing the money you contribute each month will not go toward healthcare procedures that go against your faith.
However, healthshares are not right for everyone. It is not health insurance, there are often waiting periods or a lack of sharing for specific treatments, and you’ll need to choose the right healthshare for you and your family.
What Is the Difference between Healthshare and Insurance?
Healthshares and conventional insurance might sound the same, but they’re not. Healthshare programs were designed to work in tandem with health insurance, not replace it. It’s about making access to qualifying health treatments more affordable and building a sense of community.
There are other differences here, too. For instance, most healthshares are nonprofit organizations, in contrast to health insurance companies, which are definitely for-profit organizations. You’ll also find that each healthshare has its own requirements for members and strict stipulations, including:
- Birth control and preventative care may not be not shared
- Those with pre-existing conditions often must wait 24 months before their expenses are shared, but some won’t share for pre-existing conditions or won’t accept patients with pre-existing conditions.
- Many deny membership to smokers.
- Some require regular church attendance.
- They all require a statement of faith to join.
- Most won’t cover drug rehabilitation.
Which healthshares are available for Coloradans? Below, we’ll shed some light by comparing Christian ministry healthshare plans available in Colorado
Comparing Christian Healthcare Ministries Available in Colorado
Coloradans have access to quite a few healthshares, but they’re not the same. We’ve rounded up the top options and broken everything down so you can make an easy comparison.
Altrua is a nationwide health care sharing ministry and counts thousands of members. It’s also built a network of over 1 million providers and helped members to share over $100 million in medical costs in the 20 years it’s existed.
This healthshare offers four levels to choose from, including ruby at the lower end, sapphire as a step-up, emerald as the penultimate level, and diamond as the highest.
The most significant difference is the membership responsibility amounts (MRA) drop for each tier, going from $7,500 per person with the ruby plan to just $500 per person with the diamond account for the first MRA.
Ruby accounts are also limited to just $150,000 in sharing. Sapphire accounts are limited to $250,000, but emerald and diamond accounts have no annual maximum. Maternity and adoption-related costs are also not covered by the two lower-tier accounts.
netWell is a great option for anyone hoping for customization options. It also stands out from other plans for offering 24/7 telemedicine and preventative screenings unavailable with other plans.
netWell offers multiple ways to customize the different plans on offer, but two of the most popular plans are the Elite+ and Advantage (Catastrophic) plans.
The Advantage plan is designed for those who want protection in the event of a catastrophic situation and includes a $5,000/$10,000 member commitment portion (MCP), along with access to telemedicine, specialists, imaging and laboratory coverage, emergency room coverage, hospitalization, and in/outpatient surgery. It has a maximum annual limit of $250,000 and a lifetime sharing maximum of $500,000.
In contrast, the Elite+ plan includes telecounseling, preventative screenings, chronic maintenance, wellness visits, maternity care, and other options. It also comes with an MCP of $2,500/$5,000/$10,000, a maximum sharing limit of $1,000,000 per year, and a lifetime sharing maximum of $2,000,000.
OneShare is another option available to Coloradans. Formerly known as Kingdom Healthcare, it was established by healthcare professionals. You’ll find three membership options here: classic, complete, and catastrophic.
OneShare is one of the more affordable options available, too, with contributions starting at $125 for individuals. It’s $310 for families. Individuals plus one start at $210 per month. Note that there is a maximum lifetime sharing amount of $1,000,000 for all account types.
You’ll find plenty of sharing options here, too, from preventative care to urgent care and outpatient therapy. Medical supplies, diabetic supplies, annual exams, vision services, dental visits, and prescription discounts are also available.
Medi-Share is another rapidly growing healthshare available for Coloradans. It counts over 250,000 Christians as members and has shared or discounted over $1.7 billion in medical bills since it began.
Medi-Share offers two programs for everyday Americans – Medi-Share Complete and Medi-Share 65+ (for seniors). Complete is the company’s most comprehensive option and includes dental, vision and prescription discounts, as well as access to 24/7 telehealth, hospitalization and surgical discounts, and more. There are no lifetime or annual sharing limits, either.
Medi-Share 65+ is specially designed for seniors and includes 24/7 access to telehealth, discounts on many types of surgical procedures, including Lasik, and more.
One interesting aspect of Medi-Share is that members can vote on guidelines. That gives everyone who is a part of the group a voice and the ability to participate in the wider community.
Finally, we have Mpowering Benefits. Unlike the other options we’ve covered, Mpowering Benefits is not Christian-based – it is a secular healthshare and there is no statement of faith required. It’s well suited to those of many different walks of life and specific faiths who share common values and goals.
You have access to several different options with Mpowering Benefits, including Basic Healthcare Essentials, which includes telehealth, mental health coverage, hospital financial assistance, and pharmacy discounts. Individuals and families who want more coverage can choose the Care Plus level, which adds high-cost surgery sharing and counseling to the range of benefits.
Options also exist for small business owners and self-employed professionals, as well as direct primary care members.
What Is the Best Christian Healthcare Ministries in Colorado?
Health care is incredibly personal and there is no one-size-fits-all healthshare out there. However, netWell offers the widest range of sharing options, the most flexible terms, and the greatest ability to customize your healthsharing.
For many people, netWell’s Advantage plan will provide the flexibility required to supplement conventional health insurance and reduce costs in a worst-case scenario. However, it does not include preventative or primary care.
The organization’s Elite plan, on the other hand, does include preventative and primary care options, as well as maternity care, which is not something that most healthshares provide. It also offers lower member commitment portions, along with a higher annual sharing limit.
For those looking for a non-religious healthshare with no statement of faith or church attendance requirements, Mpowering Benefits might be the right fit.
This allows you to participate in a healthshare, share your healthcare costs and save money, while still being connected to a wider community. However, it doesn’t come with the sometimes-restrictive agreements that a Christian ministry sharing plan might.
Making Your Decision
In a day when healthcare is more out of reach than ever before and costs are only increasing, you deserve a way to save money without sacrificing your health or that of your family. Joining one of the many Christian healthshare plans available in Colorado may be the right option for your needs.
Of course, it’s natural to have questions here. Many Christian ministry plans have waiting periods for those with pre-existing conditions or don’t support sharing costs for treating pre-existing conditions. Navigating the healthshares available to you, as well as the many different plan options can be very daunting.
There is help, though. One of our Personal Benefits Managers would be happy to explore the options available to you, discuss your healthcare needs today and how you expect them to change in the future, and then make an informed decision.
Leslie Jablonski is a Personal Benefits Manager at ColoHealth. Her aim is to help you make smart and informed healthcare coverage decisions that will fit your needs and budget. Read more about Leslie on her Bio page.