For the first time in our lives, we'll be without traditional health insurance. We've decided to join a healthcare sharing ministry instead. Here's why.

Why We’re Joining a Healthcare Sharing Ministry

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Starting January 1st, 2015, we’ll be without traditional health insurance for the first time in our lives.  As someone who has paid health insurance premiums faithfully for my entire adult life, it feels really, really weird saying that.  But the fact is, when we shopped around for health insurance this year, we discovered that healthcare sharing ministries simply offered the best value out there.  Let me explain how we reached that conclusion:

Shopping for Health Insurance

We’ve had the same Anthem plan for several years now, although the terms have changed over time.  When we started this particular plan, premiums were around $350 per month.  Now it costs $393 per month.  I was never happy about the fact that our premium climbed, but I could live with a $20 monthly increase.

Then last year, we found out that our health insurance plan was going to be cancelled since it didn’t meet requirements set forth by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), also known as Obamacare.  They ultimately extended our plan another year, but that extension would only last until December 2014.  So for 2015, we had to find something else.

The first thing I did was contact a broker that sold plans off the exchange.  Unfortunately, I didn’t find any exceptional value out there, and I didn’t find anything cheaper than the least expensive plans on the exchange on Healthcare.gov either.  So, for comparison’s sake, I’m going to use plans from Healthcare.gov to show what our costs would be for 2015 if we maxed out our deductible.  Let’s start with our current plan that is being cancelled at the end of this year:

Anthem Lumenos with HSA

  • Monthly Premium: $393
  • Annual Deductible: $11,000
  • Maximum Cost of Care per Calendar Year: $15,716

Price Differences Between 2014 and 2015

To illustrate the difference between my old plan and my new options, I created a table with my current plan and three new ones – one is the absolute cheapest plan I found on or off the exchange, another is the cheapest Anthem plan available, and the last one is the Anthem plan they are replacing my $393 per month plan with:

Plan Annual Family Deductible and Out-of-Pocket Max Monthly Premium Maximum Cost of Care per Calendar Year (Premiums Plus Out-of-Pocket Max)
Anthem Lumenos Plan for 2014 $11,000 $393 $15,716
CareSource Just4Me 2015 $13,200 $729 $21,948
Anthem Bronze Pathway 2015 $12,600 $822 $22,464
Anthem Bronze Plus HSA 2015 $12,000 $897 $22,764

 

First of all, I must concede that there are many, many more options both on and off the exchange this year compared to last.  In 2014, we only had a few options to choose from, and all of them were pretty bad.  This year, several new insurers began offering plans on the exchange, with overall costs that were somewhat lower.  Unfortunately, those lower costs came with $13,000+ deductibles, which is something I had been trying to avoid.

Have Questions about Liberty HealthShare? – Think Liberty HealthShare may be right for you? This FREE decision guide can help answer your questions. Get yours here.

Healthcare Sharing Ministries: A Cheaper Alternative?

Once I realized our plan was being cancelled and that the new plans were much more expensive, I started looking for other options.  And, lo and behold, I stumbled upon a few healthcare sharing ministries.  I wasn’t sure what to think at first, but I liked the idea.

Related: Liberty Healthshare Review 2018

We ultimately chose to join Liberty Healthshare.  For the sake of simplicity, I am only going to share how our costs will compare to the other pricey options mentioned above.  There are, however, several other healthcare sharing ministries out there, including Christian Medi-share and Samaritan Ministries.  Let’s start with the financial details.  I went ahead and added Liberty Healthshare to the bottom of the chart above so it would be easy to see the difference:

PlanAnnual Family Deductible and Out-of-Pocket MaxMonthly PremiumMaximum Cost of Care per Calendar Year (Premiums Plus Out-of-Pocket Max)
Anthem Lumenos Plan for 2014 (our cancelled plan)$11,000$393$15,716
CareSource Just4Me 2015$13,200$729$21,948
Anthem Bronze Pathway 2015$12,600$822$22,464
Anthem Bronze Plus HSA 2015$12,000$897$22,764
Liberty Healthshare 2015$1,500$449$6,888

The Benefits of Liberty Healthshare

First of all, people constantly tout the “free well care” that comes with the new health insurance plans.  What many people don’t know is that Liberty Healthshare also offers one free well visit per family member, per year.  In addition, they also cover a mammogram and pap smear every other year.  Although healthcare sharing ministries are not insurance, they work in a very similar fashion.  After we pay our monthly share amount (a.k.a. premium), the most we can be on the hook for is our $1,500 annual unshared amount, which works as our deductible.

Obviously, the financial benefit is huge.  Even if we don’t spend a dollar on healthcare during the calendar year, we will save $3,360 in premiums alone.  If one of us gets sick, the difference between the annual costs of the cheapest plan available and Liberty Healthshare is over $15,000!  And remember, that’s just one year’s worth of savings.

family pictureBut the biggest benefit has nothing to do with money.  My nephew got hit by a car this summer and was immediately whisked away to Riley Children’s Hospital, one of the premier children’s hospitals in the country.  I visited him there, and was astonished at the excellent care he was receiving as well as the general environment he was placed in.  The hospital was beautiful and clean. The doctors and nurses were nothing but the absolute best and were trained to care specifically for children.  Even better, the entire building was geared to children.

If we go with Liberty Healthshare, I can see any doctor or go to any hospital of our choosing, provided they are willing accept payment from Liberty Healthshare.  On the other hand, none of the health insurance plans on the lower end of the price scale include any of the specialty hospitals near my house in their network.  So if we got cancer, we couldn’t go to IU Simon Cancer Center, even though it’s only 30 minutes from my house.  And if, heaven forbid, one of our kids got really sick, we couldn’t go to Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital or Riley Children’s Hospital.   I simply cannot fathom the thought of paying $729 and up for insurance that would never afford us the opportunity for world class care.  Meanwhile, Liberty Healthshare opens those options up to us, although I hope we never need them.

Related:

The Drawbacks of Joining a Healthcare Sharing Ministry

Obviously, it’s not all puppies and rainbows if we join a healthcare sharing ministry.  In fact, there are some notable disadvantages to doing so, including a few that are downright troubling.  First of all, since it is not traditional insurance, we cannot deduct our premiums on our taxes like we do now.  Since I have very few deductions as it is, that is definitely not ideal.  And second, we also cannot continue to contribute to a HSA, or Health Savings Account.  Fortunately, I have plenty of money in ours and we can continue to let it grow and use it as needed.

I estimate that we’ll pay about $2,500 more in taxes in 2015 since we will no longer have our health insurance tax write-off.  However, it’s easy to justify that change since we will be paying a whole lot less, especially if one of us gets sick.

There are other drawbacks too.  Unlike new ACA-compliant plans, our healthcare sharing ministry has a cap of $1 million dollars per illness.  That’s a lot, but it’s not unheard of to blow through $1 million quickly if you get brain cancer.  Furthermore, they don’t cover certain procedures that the group finds morally objectionable, with most of those having to do with birth control.  Then again, since Greg had the snip-snip, that is simply not an issue for us anymore.

Healthcare Sharing Ministries: An Imperfect Alternative

Honestly, I went back and forth over this issue several times.  What our decision boiled down to is that I could not, in good conscience, expose my family to the risk of spending more than $20,000 per year on health care if one of us got sick.  And the fact that none of the cheaper insurance options had any of the specialty hospitals in their network was enough to drive the nail in the coffin.  I can’t imagine paying that much for insurance only to find out that my daughters couldn’t be seen by specialists trained specifically to care for them.  If I’m going to pay that much money, I want to go wherever the hell I want.

Honestly, I feel as if we no longer have any good options.  We’re just choosing the best thing we can find out of what is left out there.  And if we don’t like it for some reason, we can always purchase an ACA-approved plan during the next open enrollment period.   And yes, joining a healthcare sharing ministry does exempt you from paying the 2% penalty for not having health insurance, so at least there’s that.

My plan isn’t perfect, but it’s all I got.

Have Questions about Liberty HealthShare? – Think Liberty HealthShare may be right for you? This FREE decision guide can help answer your questions. Get yours here.

Do you know anyone who has joined a healthcare sharing ministry?  What are your views on these programs?

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69 Comments

  1. I think you hit the nail on the head when you said you don’t have any good options at this point. It’s scary to think that there’s a million dollar cap on coverage through Liberty. But when the alternative is paying buckets of cash and not being able to be seen where you want to be seen, I can see how Liberty looks more attractive. Out of curiosity, I wonder how much the better plans that allow you to go wherever you want cost.

    Also, my state had a referendum on the ballot last month which says that patients can go wherever they want for care and insurance companies can’t refuse to pay for “out of network” providers. Voters passed it. Anything like that coming down the pike in IN?

    1. There are a lot of things that worry me, including the $1 million cap. However, we always have the option to join O-care during open enrollment. There are only 9 months out of the year when we could not.

      I haven’t heard of anything like that happening in our state. It would be nice, but that would probably just push costs up even more.

  2. Your decision on healthcare insurance seems to be good. As long as it fits your finance situation and needs, I know it’s gonna work Holly. Good luck! Health care sharing ministries are attractive alternatives to conventional health insurance because of their affordability. Because they are voluntary organizations, they aren’t regulated as insurance companies and Obamacare particularly.

  3. I think that you made a good decision because healthcare is usually one thing that others ignore all too easily..

    1. I have no choice- you have to have a plan or pay a fine! =)

      1. Colleen Carroll says:

        Nope. According to the IRS website under ACA. If your premiums are more than 8.05% of your adjusted gross income, you inusrance is considered unaffordable and the fine is waived. Of course, the keep that quiet. If havent had medical insurance going on 3 years and never have had to pay the fine. Our tax preparer didnt even know about this clause

  4. AWESOME!!! SO glad you guys chose this option, Holly. Dear friends of mine have used Christian medi-share for well over a decade and have been very, very happy with the benefits. When the wife had knee replacement surgery a couple of years back, she didn’t pay a dime out of her own pocket.

    1. We will have a $1,500 deductible, but I can live with that. Beats a $12,000 or $13,000 deductible!

  5. I have traditional healthcare and that’s unlikely to change. That said, I’m so grateful for this post because I learned so much about healthcare from a different perspective than my own. I really think this information will help a lot of other people, so thank you for sharing! (The more information that’s out there, the better.)

  6. What timing this is…we were going over our insurance options last night and my husband was getting angry about the costs for crappy insurance we rarely use.. Maybe I should tell him about this…

    1. You should! If you do, make sure to look at the other HSMs too. They all had good plans.

  7. As you know Holly, we’ve been struggling with the same decision ourselves. It does feel weird to consider giving up on traditional health insurance. I think if it were just my wife and I we would’ve cut and run earlier but haven’t pulled the trigger…yet. I hate losing the tax write-offs, as well as the HSA, but as you said there is also the huge risk of hanging around and continuing to pay the ridiculous premiums.

    In speaking with some friends they raised a concern that they’ve had that has held them back and that’s what happens if there is something that were to hit groups of people within a given HCSM and how the given HCSM would handle that from a financial aspect. I know it’s sort of far fetched, but wonder if others might feel that way.

    At any rate, I think you & Greg made the best choice out of a horribly imperfect system and one that my wife and I are likely going to make. Hopefully something will happen to change things – like adding the HSA component but I’m not too hopeful on that.

    1. Yeah, I don’t think there are any “good” decisions or “right” decisions. I am just doing what seems best for my family. I would really like to continue using an HSA and write my premiums off on my taxes, but I do not have a 12K-13K deductible and I don’t want to pay high premiums.

  8. Great post Holly. Really helped me understand the options that are out there for someone shopping for their own HC. I have tradition healthcare via my company. Based on what you reached it sounds like you made a good decision for the family.

    1. Enjoy your employer-provided healthcare. That’s one of the worst things about self-employment- no option for that. It’s frustrating.

  9. “This law will cut costs and make coverage more affordable for families and small businesses.” What a joke.

    1. Hey, it saved *someone* money out there…just not anyone I know personally.

  10. I actually had never heard of that before you mentioned it. I had to do the healthcare song and dance this year. I applied for Anthem (currently have Cigna) at the bronze level which will be 273/month, 5k deductible and 6300 OOP. My insurance will go up $8. I’m not thrilled, but it’s manageable.

    1. An $8 increase sounds heavenly. Just don’t get sick- that deductible is huge for one person!

  11. This is something we are still struggling with. We just found out (yes, I have been this stupid!) that the policy we have that has a monthly premium of $350 a month (the cheapest in our state) is ONLY good for certain medical facilities in Missouri. So even if we just went 4 hours south to Tennessee, we would be screwed and our deductible would increase to $39,400 per year. AHHH!!!

    We have been thinking about Liberty Healthshare, but I’m not sure if it would work well once we decide to have children. Wes’s siblings have a long list of medical problems (heart defects, diabetes, Celiac disease, etc.). It is something I will have to research when the time comes though.

    1. I know nothing of health plans in Missouri, but I’m sorry to hear that.

      Whatever you decide, just remember that you can sign up for Obamacare or change plans during each open enrollment. That’s basically our plan at this point. We’re going to do Liberty Healthshare for now. Each year, we will reassess.

  12. So here is my question Holly, I don’t come from a religious background and I do not attend any church, would I qualify for a plan like this? My wife and I are health conscious, we exercise, & eat right (mostly), so I think we are good risks for health insurance. Is your family regular attendees at a church, and is that how you found out about this plan? I only found out about it because I read your blog posts.

    1. Hi Eric!

      Some of the healthcare sharing ministries require a letter from your pastor. Liberty Healthshare does not. They only require you to agree with their principles. Here is the page that describes them:
      http://www.libertyhealthshare.org/do-i-qualify

      I found out about these plans because I wrote several articles about them for different websites. From what you’re saying here, it sounds like you would qualify. Let me know if you have any other specific questions. Also feel free to email me through my contact page if you would rather not have your questions on blast =)

  13. I’m so curious to see how this works out for you!! Honestly I could probably do this since I only go to the doctor once a year, but I’m too scared to attempt it because in my mind I think about the what ifs.

    1. Yes, I definitely think about the “what ifs” too. But the alternative (paying a huge amount of money) is equally scary.

  14. Our old Anthem plan was not cancelled because it’s considered “grandfathered.” It did go up again. For myself and our 7 year old, it’s $365 a month for an $11K deductible, so pretty crappy, but at least we get the HSA and the write off. I’m sure it will be cancelled at some point and we’ll be in the same boat with you. How do you know if a hospital will bill for your type plan? I almost bet no one has heard of those here and probably would not bill for them. I hope I don’t have to find out.

    1. You might be surprised- I called our local hospital’s billing department (the one we would use if one of the kids broke an arm, for example) and they said they have dealt with HSMs on more than one occasion and it is fine. We have health cards similar to health insurance cards. HSMs are more popular than people realize. I certainly did not realize how many people used them. They are pretty popular in Indiana, probably because we have a large religious population and shitty health insurance options.

  15. Tara @ Streets Ahead Living says:

    The funny thing about these Health Share Ministries as unfortunately, none created after 1999 are exempt from the ACA tax. It would be nice if the US Government ended this exemption so Ministries that are more open-faith based could qualify as an ACA tax-exempt plan. (although technically, Liberty Healthshare does say they accept people of all faiths even though they are Christian based)

    It seems you’re doing the best thing you can for the money. I have friend who is a recent mom, who after working for a few months, is looking to maybe quitting or working part-time but she’s worried about insurance since she’s the one getting it for her and her family. I forwarded their website onto her as I feel this is better than the ACA plan in her state.

    1. I agree- Christianity is not the only religion in the U.S., people! I’m actually surprised that no one has sued for their right to start a faith-based sharing ministry for their religion. Someone probably will at some point.

      I do like Liberty Healthshare for that reason, though. From my understanding, they do not discriminate against same sex couples either (as they shouldn’t).

  16. I’ve heard quite a bit about this and I think it’s a valuable alternative to other plans. Yes, there are drawbacks, but nothing is perfect. Congrats on finding a valuable alternative.

  17. You’re the only person I know who is using a health care sharing ministry, so it’s been interesting to learn more about it. It’s really depressing that there isn’t a better solution for so many families.

  18. I have never heard about a healthcare sharing ministry and it isn’t perfect, but thankfully it is out there as an alternative for you guys. It just kills me that families need to pay $700+ in monthly insurance payments for crappy coverage. Thankfully, we are on my hubby’s plan through work but I am always fearful of them changing the coverage to only include him. If that ever comes to fruition, I will be looking into something like this.

  19. Despite working full-time in health care, I have never looked into health ministries. I had meant to look into them about 5-6 years ago when I read “Jesus for President” (a really interesting perspective on politics from an ‘extreme’ pacifist…but I digress). The author had mentioned a health care ministry and I really should have checked it out then and there. This was when I was nearing the end of college and I was very concerned about losing health insurance and with my asthma and other health issues I was worried about not getting coverage if I did not secure a job immediately after graduation. Anyway, it’s ironic how the lack of the ACA made these ministries a great option and now with the ACA it seems more people are checking them out. The penalty for not having an ACA-compliant health insurance plan is low this year but I believe it eventually goes up to something like 3% of your income? I’m assuming you and Greg make over 100k (no need to confirm or deny, just an assumption). Will the additional $3k+ fine in a couple years still make it worth going with a healthcare ministry?

    I also would really like to look at the healthcare ministry’s financials. I’m curious how they keep costs down compared to ‘traditional’ health insurance plans.

    1. Healthcare sharing ministries exempt you from paying the penalty. I will not have to pay it for 2015 or after. That is one of the biggest benefits of the HSMs- they protect you from paying the penalty.

  20. When I first started writing about wanting to stay home, I had a friend contact me who gave me a rundown on her healthcare ministry. She said our former preacher has been using them for 20 years with no issues, so at least you know they aren’t a fly by night place. However, my husband would be staying employed (of course) and he would get insurance through work. The cost of the ministry was slightly higher and when I weighed in the HSA and tax write off, I realized the option wasn’t for us. But, I have kept it in mind because you never know what will happen down the road and it seems like a decent choice.

  21. I always enjoy reading your heatlhcare posts. I think this new law has had a lot of positives and negatives, and I continue to hear both sides of the story. I’m curious to see how it will continue to play out

  22. I had talked to you about a month ago. We have decided to go with Medi-Share. I was worried about the potential tax break we would be losing by going with a sharing program considering the fact that the sharing program costs less that half ($592 – Healthcare.gove – $258 medi-share) is probably about the same as the tax break I probably would be getting any way.

    You can also still claim any medical cost you have on your taxes anyways (anything above 7% of your AGI)…

    1. I know several people who have been on Medi-share for a long time. I hope it works out for you!

      In addition to the premium savings, your deductible is probably a whole lot lower too. What is the difference there?

      1. We opted for the $7500 deductible. The plan is to save the difference in our now ‘defunct’ HSA. We already have that amount in our existing HSA and hopefully we won’t have to use it. Previously we have $500 deducible for the kids and $2500/5000 for ourselves.

        What I did to decide was to take a year that we had a ton of medical bills (2012). I took each plan ACA, Medi-Share, Samaritan and compared my out of pockets expenses (monthly premium, insurance discount, amount you still have to pay beyond the deductible (good ole health insurance trick there)) for every bill we had. Added it up and compared the plans total cost.

        It turns out Medi-Share that would have cost me less. The ACA plan with a 6000+ deductible is about the same a buying a Medi-Share’s $7500 except Medi-Share cost less because the premium is lower. And I believe the ACA plan still nickel-and-dimes you even after you met the deductible — that extra 20% AFTER the deductible. It all adds up.

        If it turns out the $7500 deductible is too much for us, we can always change it next year. I probably prefer $5000 or less.

        Also keep in mind if you end up not liking it you can always sign up for an ACA plan next year.

  23. Thank you so much for posting this Holly! I’ve been thinking about health sharing lately and I really think I might do it. My job would only cover 35% of my premium right now and I know I can find a better plan since thankfully my family rarely ever gets sick or injured. Just today my coworker sent me the link to Liberty HealthShare to check it out. After reading this I definitely have a better understanding of what they offer and how it works. I really don’t mind not being able to deduct a premium on my taxes and I love that you can choose your hospital. I still have a few days to decide but the clock is ticking.

    1. Great! Make sure to check out the other HSMs too. I thought they all looked good. It was hard to pick one.

  24. You and Greg obviously did your homework and this looks the best option for you right now. I hate how high not only the premiums are but also the deductibles. Most people, between the premium and deductible, don’t spend that much on healthcare yearly, so it’s basically as though they are uninsured and paying full cost, which is insane. I will definitely be interested to see what your experience is like with them as I know you’ll keep us posted.

  25. Looks like you definitely did your homework and this does look like the best option right now.

    Man so glad that we don’t have to deal with health care insurance here in Canada. 🙂

  26. Good for you! Excited to hear how it works out … well I hope!

  27. Thanks for sharing this alternative, Holly. I agree with your analysis, too: I’d make the same choice given those figures and options.

  28. Now you have me curious- if the health share plan “only” covers you to $1 million, is it possible to get some kind of disability insurance that would kick in if God forbid you pass the $1 million covered by the health share? Or is that just wishful thinking on my part?

    1. I honestly don’t know. However, I do know that if (heaven forbid) someone did blow through the $1 million, they could always join Obamacare during open enrollment. That is obviously a terrible plan since it would be really awful to switch insurance and maybe even doctors while you had cancer or some other terrible illness, but it would work. There is really only a 9 month period where people cannot join Obamacare each year. It would take a lot to blow though $1 million in 9 months.

  29. Great post Holly! I was talking with my dad yesterday about what could happen with my health care/insurance if/when I quit my FT job to do freelancing full time. Now I can present this idea for consideration too. Thanks for laying all your research out there for us to benefit from!

  30. I know the $1M max might make you nervous, but in 2010 in California, there were 3000 bills that totaled greater than $1M (in a population of 38M). 20% were related to babies prematurely. Thus, your risk is probably close to .006% of having a bill equal to or greater than $1M.

    The biggest driver of high bills is long stays in the ICU which would be caused by a traumatic accident rather than an illness. An organ transplant for cancer or another illness is still under the $1M mark.

    Playing the odds isn’t comforting, but I would be right there with you taking the 8K to the bank every year (to the tune of 150K over ten years) for a .006% chance of going bankrupt.

    1. Hannah,

      I wasn’t aware of those statistics, but you basically summed up why I made the choice I did. They’re asking people like me to pay A LOT of money for the tiny chance that we might run up a bill that huge. And, worst case scenario, we could always opt into an ACA plan if we started running up huge bills. We would just have to wait for open enrollment, which is 3 months out of the year.

  31. THANK YOU for doing this work and writing this article! I have been so stressed over health insurance! I am from MA and Obamacare was modeled after our Health Care system. It is set up similarly, but the MA plans were truly affordable. I used to pay $320ish per month, had no deductible or out of pocket costs besides reasonable copays. The new plans basically assume affordable means a person can pay premiums PLUS $500+ per month for medical costs to get to the $6k OOP max/deductible and still afford rent. I don’t see the sense in paying for health insurance and still having to pay for everything.

    1. I hear ya! Hope you can join a HSM and find some savings.

  32. You pretty much just have to do what you have to do for your family. In the US, your health care is nasty expensive, and even if this is an imperfect alternative, it is an alternative at least.

  33. Good post. We joined Samaritan Ministries a year ago and really love it. These ministries are a wonderful alternative for a lot of people. As you pointed out there are several to choose from and they all operate a little differently. Samaritan Ministries, CHM, Medi-share and Liberty are the top four. Samaritan doesn’t have a cap to worry about if you join their Save to Share program, but they don’t have the annual checkup coverage that Liberty has. I did a review of Samaritan here: http://www.samaritanministriesreview.com I encourage everyone to research all the ministries to see which one fits them best, because ACA insurance plans are not the only choice anymore.

  34. Cyndi Gaved says:

    Be prepared to get lambasted for joining anything Christian or anything with a Christian name. We live in a socialistic, communistic country. For example, yahoo will find any story that is against Christianity or being Jewish, and lambast Christians for being stupid. It is popular to be either islamic or an atheist. Boy are the atheists going to be surprised when ISIS either rapes any women they know, or cuts off the heads of the atheists for refusing to become muslim. I expect to be raped, tortured, and beheaded. I won’t give up Jesus Christ and him crucified. Christians, grab your faith and hold on to it. Turn on SBN and listen to the message of the cross. Jesus Christ is coming back. Don’t listen to the word of fake or false doctrine. Read the book of Romans.

  35. A Health Share Ministry was our best choice, at this time. We have not used medical care much in 35 years together, beyond the costs for the children. Our insurance premium under ACA doubled, an $8,000 annual increase, without additional benefit to us. Other market alternatives will be become available over time.

  36. Hello! I hope you are still around and give an update how your first year with Liberty went. I am most likely joining them sometime this week….just need to see that real unbiased review of them. Some of their “Sharing Guidelines” make me nervous when I think of specific things we might need medical care for. Thank you!

    1. Frogrump, I joined Medi-Share last year and it was not bad.

      Te negatives are:

      1) Most offices act like they don’t understand what the heck to do with it (all they have to do is just submit the bill to medi-share/phcs just like anyone else), but since it is not a big name provider they just don’t get it but they can and they do.

      2) Preventative visits are not covered for medishare (maybe other plans), BUT you will receive whatever discount PHCS allows so that is helpful.

      3) I won’t get to claim the insurance costs on my taxes and I don’t get to use my HSA because it does not qualify, BUT the savings I am seeing pretty much makes it an even trade or actually maybe even better.

      4) Pre-existing conditions would not be good for a plan like this BUT every month medi-share shares those costs with the members and divides out the cost it would cost per member to help those members cover their bills.

      Usually it is like $0.80-$1.50 (or less) and most of the time I contribute the extra money to help these people out 🙂 At least these people are not forgotten like they are on traditional plans.

      The good part is, the savings if you are a healthy family. I just totaled up my costs for comparison.
      In 2014, for Commercial individual insurance, we paid out $7056 in premiums ($5000 deductible), and then co-pays and medical costs after that.

      This year, I am paying out $3507 in premiums (7500 deductible), plus the 3-4 doctor office visits we had…which did not cost me anywhere close to 3500…

      If I would have went with Obamacare last year, I think my premiums were going to be $7788 with a $12000 deductible…

  37. For those of you who worry about the $1 million limit per incident, you can try to find another real insurance policy with a catastrophic massive high deductible like $10,000-$50,000 or even more that can be bought very cheaply to cover up to $5 million. If anyone knows of some products like that please post them.

  38. Thankfully I live in a country with socialised medicine, which is awesome. (I should know, I’m from the US originally. I pay fewer taxes here and get some kick-ass benefits.) But, I often wonder how much of the cost of insurance in the US is because of things that really aren’t necessary. Case in point – I used to work for a hospital. One day my boss asked me to drive to a town 30 minutes away to pick up an oxygen cylinder from the courier, who couldn’t be bothered bringing it the rest of the way. I should point out that I’m not a nurse or GP. About a week after this happened, a coworker’s friend’s mother was medi-evacuated from the US. She’d got altitude sickness in Colorado and her travel insurance paid for her to fly business class back to Australia. So far it’s all fairly standard. This is where it gets weird: She had to be on oxygen, and the US medical supply company refused to trust her with the oxygen tank. They insisted on sending an RN on the flight with her, to make sure the oxygen tank was brought back. Never mind that the oxygen tank was pretty much idiot-proof. Never mind that the RN didn’t need to do a thing with it other than bring it back. Never mind that it’s infinitely cheaper to send an oxygen tank back as cargo – or even write off the cost of the oxygen tank altogether! – than to pay for an RN to go round-trip business class to and from Australia just so they don’t lose the tank . Her travel insurance had to pay for that, too. So here’s the difference – “We need an oxygen tank, can you run in and pick it up?” Total cost, my time plus fuel – maybe $75. “We need to you to fly to Australia and back business class to make sure we get this oxygen tank back.” Total cost, probably close to $10,000. How many stupid, useless things like that is your insurance paying for?

    1. I agree with your overall point, but travel insurance is not the same as health insurance. This does, however, speak to the larger issue of all insurances being the biggest racket out there.

  39. What other healthcare ministries did you look at before settling on Liberty, and why did you decide on Liberty? There are some less expensive ones out there with similar benefits. One that I am looking at, Christian Healthcare Ministries is less expensive, but I notice that the insurance bill does not go to them, but to you, and then you have to send it in for reimbursement. This probably saves CHM some money in administration, but makes me nervous, since the implication is that that the doctor will be hounding me for the bill if it’s not paid…

  40. How often do you need to call and speak to Liberty? When you do, is it easy to reach an intelligent/helpful person? How is their customer service in general?

    1. We’ve rarely had to call and speak with them. Like maybe twice total, and that was just for a question. In my experience, they have been very helpful.

  41. Scottie Hudson says:

    I was wondering if you’d mind updating us on your experience, since it’s been a few years. Thanks!

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