Health Share Programs

The members of these organizations help each other by sharing in the cost associated with eligible medical expenses.

What Are Health Share Programs?

Health Share Programs, sometimes called Christian Healthcare Programs or Health Sharing Ministries, offer financial help to those who are looking to keep their out-of-pocket medical costs low by sharing the cost of each other’s healthcare. Members of these organizations share the cost of eligible medical expenses and have access to these funds when their need to pay for medical services arises.

Health sharing ministries offer financial help to those who are looking to keep their out-of-pocket medical costs low by sharing their health care expenses with other households.


How Do Health Sharing Programs Work?

Christian Health Share Programs are relatively straightforward in the way they work.

Here’s a top-level look at what happens:

  1. One must apply to be a member of the Christian Health Share Program and meet certain eligibility requirements.
  2. Once accepted, members choose the Share Program level that best meets their unique medical and financial needs.
  3. Members then make a monthly contribution to the program, the amount of which is based on the program level and type chosen.
  4. When a member has an eligible medical need, he or she simply requests that the program help with the medical costs incurred.
  5. Eligible medical needs are handled by the program in accordance with specific program guidelines.

Those who wish to be a part of a Health Sharing Program must meet certain criteria to be eligible for membership. For example, in faith-based Health Share Programs, interested parties must maintain a healthy lifestyle and understand that they will be a part of a community of like-minded people of faith.

When members of the program require healthcare, their benefits are applied, and they are able to access funds if they incur medical costs that fall under the category of Eligible Medical Needs.


Are Health Share Programs Different From Insurance?

Some use the terms “health sharing” and “health insurance” interchangeably, but they are not the same. Here are a few ways that Health Sharing Programs are different from health insurance.

  • Health sharing entities are non-profit, charitable organizations that are designed to help members pay for medical expenses by utilizing funds from other members. Health Insurance Plans are for-profit organizations.
  • Health insurance plans must comply with the Affordable Care Act. This means that insurance plans must accept all people with all types of medical issues. This can drive up the total cost of insurance plans and put comprehensive plans out of the financial reach for many Americans.
  • Health Share Plans are not bound by ACA requirements and therefore can be more selective in their approval of members, which can ultimately result in cost savings for the entire membership.


What Are The Benefits of a Health Share Programs?

Some benefits that come with being a part of a Health Sharing Program are:

  • Low monthly costs: Monthly contributions are voluntary and are based on the specific program chosen by the member to fit his or her budget. Many program members save up to 50 percent when compared to health insurance.
  • Negotiated rates for medical and pharmacy services: Quality Health Sharing Programs contract with established provider networks and negotiate fair, reasonable and affordable rates for everyday care like a doctor’s office visit or a 30-day supply of generic formulary medication.
  • Programs tailored to specific needs: Health Share Programs offer a range of program levels with benefits to accommodate budget and medical needs — some with only medical services and benefits and some with more comprehensive programs that include prescription benefits.
  • Exclusivity: Rather than being required to pool resources in an insurance pool, Health Share Programs give members the freedom and ability to choose to share costs with other like-minded families.
  • Freedom to choose: With Health Share Programs, there are no limits on the type of doctor or specialist that members can see; however, they must be part of the Program’s contracted provider network.
  • Opportunity to be part of a community: As a member of a faith-based healthcare sharing program, your monthly contribution will be used in the service of like-minded people.

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