Some consumers opted for this choice under Obamacare — so where do they go from here?
You might not be familiar with cost-sharing health care ministries, in which Christians voluntarily share each other’s medical expenses. But with health care such a hot topic across the nation right now, it’s time to look at this alternative health care option.
“Health care sharing — inspired by the biblical call to ‘bear one another’s burdens’ and the example of the Acts 2 church that ‘had everything in common’ — has been around for decades,” noted Christianity Today in a piece this month. “But these nonprofits are gaining prominence in today’s sharing economy, led by industry disrupters Uber and Airbnb.”
The Christian news magazine also reported in 2000 that “Christians are drawn to cost-sharing programs for two primary reasons: They are otherwise unable to get insurance or they join from a sense of Christian commitment.”
Although health care ministries have been around a while, under Obamacare, enrollment in these organizations greatly expanded. As Doughroller.net wrote, “This is likely due to political and moral opposition to the law, as well as generally lower costs for those that qualify.”
Unlike a traditional health care coverage plan, health care sharing ministries facilitate the cost of health care expenses among members.
Typically, “everyone pays for small out-of-pocket costs on their own,” noted the Obamacarefacts.com website. It also said that “when a bigger claim is needed to be paid, you write the ministry, they contact the members, and you get prayers and monetary gifts to help you pay for your claim.”
The Affordable Care Act offered exemptions for people who took this alternative route. Health care cost-sharing ministries that met the exemption guidelines under Obamacare included Samaritan Ministries, Christian Healthcare Ministries, Christian Care Ministries, and Liberty HealthShare.
To be part of these faith-based ministries, members must adhere to certain values and beliefs the organization holds. For example, members of Christian Healthcare Ministries must follow biblical principle on the usage of alcohol; they must also attend regular worship service if the individual’s health allows.
It’s unclear exactly how policies in President Donald Trump’s administration will affect this alternative health care coverage option. House Republicans have proposed a replacement for the health care law and a vote will occur this week.
“Obamacare has proven to be a disaster with fewer options, inferior care and skyrocketing costs that are crushing small business and families across America,” noted White House press secretary Sean Spicer this month.
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