Health Sharing Plans Are a Low-Cost Alternative to Expensive Health Insurance in Colorado
As health insurance rates have continued to explode, millions of people have switched to a lower-cost alternative. Called healthshare programs, these are membership organizations that share medical costs among their members. Monthly costs are usually significantly lower than an unsubsidized insurance plan.
Health Care Sharing Programs Are NOT Insurance.
Healthshare programs are typically offered by health care sharing ministries (HCSMs), not insurance companies. Health care sharing ministries have been around for the last thirty years and have gained the spotlight recently because of their affordability and flexibility as more and more people are becoming increasingly frustrated with insurance costs and hoop-jumping.
Currently, there are more than one million members enrolled in these medical cost sharing plans.
Instead of premiums, members pay a monthly contribution that goes into a collective account, and that money is then used to pay qualifying medical expenses of members.
In some programs members know who their money is going toward and are able to contribute more if they’d like; this, along with other factors, creates a sense of community full of like-minded and caring individuals.
Significantly More Affordable
Monthly contributions for healthshare programs are significantly lower than traditional insurance due to a few reasons.
First , pre-existing conditions usually have a 24-month waiting period before the expenses are shared (more on this in the next section).
Second, preventive care and birth control are often not covered, where as ACA-compliant insurance plans are required to cover both as essential benefits.
Overall, members of healthshare programs also tend to be healthier, which helps keep costs low for the collective.
Most, but not all, Healthshare programs are faith-based, hence the “ministry” in health care sharing ministries, so they often have conditions insurance doesn’t. Some require regular church attendance; some deny membership to smokers (but not all); and most won’t cover drug rehabilitation.
You may have to sign a statement of faith. The majority are Christian-based, but there are non-denominational ones (like MPowering Benefits), and there’s even a Jewish-based health share program now.
Healthshare programs can refuse to cover pre-existing conditions or turn members away who have pre-existing conditions. Usually, there is a 24-month waiting period, at least, before pre-existing conditions are eligible for sharing, if they are covered at all.
In addition, cancer typically isn’t covered for the first year of some plans. Most plans have a lifetime cost sharing limit of $1,000,000. That means, once you’ve shared $1,000,000 worth of medical bills, you won’t be eligible for sharing anymore.
You should read the fine print on any plan so you understand what they will and won’t cover as each program and plan varies.
COLORADO HEALTH INSURANCE INFORMATION
- Plans approved and authorized under the Affordable Care Act
- Covers Pre-Existing conditions
- Low cost subsidized plans available to those earning
< 400% of the federal poverty level
- Unlimited lifetime benefits
- Available during open enrollment (November 1 – January 15), or if you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period
COLORADO HEALTH COST-SHARING INFORMATION
- Not health insurance, but a way for like-minded individuals to share medical expenses
- Waiting periods on pre-existing conditions
- May exclude sharing for certain conditions or activities
- Enroll any time
- Much lower monthly cost than unsubsidized health insurance