The cost that you pay for healthcare keeps rising each year, members and insurance premiums and a lot of consumers are now thinking about how will they fit health care into their budget as new enrollments costs on insurance increase and become a primary source of stress for families and individuals. The tax credit is an advantage you receive for having insurance, but those who don't have any healthcare coverage are forced to pay a hefty sum as a tax penalty to the government.
However, a majority of people aren't aware of the existence of another alternative to health insurance which is called health care sharing. Health care sharing plans can be used to save you and your family tons of money on healthcare; these are also known as medical cost-sharing.
How Health Care Sharing Works
Organizations provide health care sharing plans where the members of the organization share the medical costs. When you become a part of the health care sharing plan, you need to pay a certain amount each month. As well as an annual amount for your own expenditure that your medical expenses must cross before the money collected through the plan can be used to help you. This amount could range from $300 for an individual to $5000 for families. If you are searching for the best health share plan online, you will know that the cost you have to pay varies per plan. The cost for a month can range anywhere between $65-$600 depending on the details of the plan and its coverage.
Other than the costs mentioned above, all other medical expenses are shared among the members of the health care sharing plan. These plans are ideal for people who:
- Don't receive a tax credit, which is based on income.
- They generally remain healthy
- Are not eligible for insurance through a government program or an employer.
- Only require catastrophic coverage
- Can't afford premiums for health insurance.
Organizations that offer the health sharing plans are primarily based on religion; this doesn't necessarily mean that you have to convert to another religion to join or participate. But, some medical cost-sharing groups are rigid, as eligibility for admission in these groups may require you to agree to live a healthy and moral lifestyle that prohibits the use of tobacco, non-prescription drugs, and alcohol.
Differences Between Health Insurance and Health Care Sharing
Health care sharing is by no means insurance, but joining such plans counts as insurance under the ACA (Affordable Care Act). This allows you to enjoy health care benefits and avoid a tax penalty for not having health insurance. The monthly payments you make in a health care sharing plan are much lower when compared to insurance premiums, and even the annual payment is lesser than deductibles on catastrophic insurance or lower-premium plans.
There are also no strict policies when it comes to selecting the provider and no network requirements. You provide a health sharing card as coverage for your health care expenses. If your plan is not accepted and you have to pay money from your pocket, the health sharing plans will reimburse your expense. However, there are certain requirements that you must fulfill before you join a health share plan; these criteria for eligibility can vary and are usually points such as You shouldn't have a pre-existing condition like diabetes, cancer, or other lifestyle-related conditions like drinking and smoking, as health sharing plans don't cover such conditions.
Direct Primary Care in Health Care Sharing
Direct Primary Care (DPC) is greatly complemented by health care sharing programs. DPC ensures more than 90% of an individual's needs for primary health care are covered for a low monthly payment without worrying about deductibles. DPD may include high-quality lab and clinical services, medications, and consultations with specialists. Plus, you don't have to wait for your turn, and you get direct access to your doctor. Additional services and medical needs for catastrophic situations are not included with DPC. You might have to pay higher fees to get coverage for extras, meaning you have to pay out of pocket, and that is not suitable for you.
This is where health sharing plans help, as some organizations offer various discounts to people with DPC membership. Health care cost-sharing plans can help fill the cracks in the services offered through DPC and vise-versa, making them an affordable option to cover healthcare needs.
Members of a health share plan create their own rules about what is covered and what is not under the health care sharing plan. Health care plans might seem appealing because they cost less, but make sure to read the fine print before committing to any plan or abandoning the benefits offered by your insurance plan.