HealthShares are a low-cost alternative to health insurance. (structured similar to the popular pre-ACA insurance products termed "major medical".) A collective group of people (members) who have agreed to help with each other’s medical costs through monthly contributions which are then distributed to people who need help paying medical bills. (similar to paying an insurance company monthly premiums however with a much lower cost.)
There are two types of HealthShares, "non religious and religious".
- Non religious or secular HealthShare will have a "set of principles of membership". These plans were somewhat non-existent until the repeal of the ACA individual mandate that took effect 01/01/2019 and are now exploding in growth.
- Faith-centered HealthShare will have a "statement of belief". These HealthShare Ministries have been around since the 1980's.
With any HealthShare group you join there will be a standards of conduct. Members must agree to these standards in order to join.
HealthShares collectively have membership that had exceeded a million members by 2019 and are exploding in growth since the repeal of the ACA individual mandate effective 01/01/2019. (think: - large employer self-insured group insurance with 1,000's, 10's of thousands or even 100,000's of thousands of employees participating.)
Members of HealthShare communities across the country share one another’s medical expenses through their monthly contribution. This system has proven to be an effective alternative to traditional—increasingly complex and costly—health insurance. Members enjoy the freedom, flexibility, and stability of community medical cost sharing while keeping more money in their own pockets.
Modern-day medical cost sharing communities began in the 1980s when a beloved pastor in Ohio was involved in a terrible automobile accident. His congregation came together to pay his medical bills—in full, in just forty-five days. This same community decided to continue following the biblical mandate to “bear one another’s burdens” by sharing healthcare costs in a simple yet practical way.
Similar to an insurance deductible, HealthShare programs generally have an unshared amount that an individual is responsible for paying before sharing begins and while insurance companies usually pay a percentage of medical costs after the deductible yet some HealthShares will share up to 100% of medical expenses after the initial member responsibility amount is paid.
The maximum shareable amount varies between health-sharing ministries, but many have high or even unlimited sharing programs.
Health insurance fees have risen astronomically over the last decade and as people continually adjust their finances for housing, utilities, education, and food some families must decide which ball to drop—usually, health insurance. This choice is understandable; if everything goes perfectly, insurance isn’t needed. But most people know that life doesn’t go perfectly, and they want to plan for that without spending half their salary on health insurance.