The average American family spends a minimum of eight hundred dollars a month on health insurance premiums and has a family deductible of eight thousand dollars. With almost eighty percent of American workers reporting that they live paycheck to paycheck, it's easy to see how one medical emergency can cause financial hardship. I don't know about you, but every dollar counts in our family. We want to be good stewards of what we have been given, and use our resources wisely. So a few years ago we looked at the tens of thousands of dollars we were spending annually on healthcare and realized we weren't really utilizing what we were paying for.
We began the search for an alternative, from going out on our own for privitized insurance to medi-share co-op's. We found the latter to be in the best interest for our family, both in quality of care and in financial terms. Medi-share plans, or health payment co-op's require members to send in a monthly share (this is like a health insurance premium) that is then used to pay other member's medical expenses. If our family has a medical expense we collect the bill from the provider, submit it to our co-op electronically via an app and then wait for checks from other member's to arrive to pay our bill. It's simple and cost effective and has saved us LITERALLY thousands of dollars over the past year.
Pros of a Medi-share plan:
- Monthly expenses are less (we pay around $500 for our family)
- Discounts are offered for cash pay patients
- Less out of pocket expenses for deductibles. For each medical need we have (my sprained ankle for example) we submit every single bill from doctors
- , urgent care, therapy, follow up appointments, and for supplies like crutches and braces. For the entire need our personal "deductible" is $300 BUT the medi-share company we use counts any discounts from medical facilities or doctors towards that deductible. So the discount the urgent care offers me for being cash pay will likely cover that $300, meaning I have received excellent medical care for an injury, at the facility of my choice, and I have no out of pocket expense.
- Freedom to choose any provider in or out of country, and potentially have travel expenses reimbursed (this is particular to our plan and varies by medi-share company)
- Some supplements are covered. If your doctor suggests a particular supplement it can be covered by Medi-share since it is part of your treatment plan. As someone who values preventative care and supplements, this is a huge benefit for me.
Cons of a Medi-share plan:
- Pre-existing conditions are not covered/covered in a limited fashion (varies by company)
- Prescriptions for pre-existing conditions are not covered, but access to discounted prescriptions is available
- The work of submitting bills and following up with payment is on you as a participant. I personally don't see this as a con, more as a trade off. Many times with traditional insurance I would be on the phone negotiating charges and payment, so this is no different.
- Preventative care is not covered. For our family, the trade off of paying for a yearly well check is well worth the thousands of dollars of savings.
I was so anxious about leaving traditional insurance because I had always had it. Now, I can't see going back. We have weathered everything from strep throat to kidney stones to a sprained ankle using our co-op (Samaritan Ministries) and it has saved us thousands of dollars. If you are wanting to make a change in your health coverage here are some things you can do:
1. Add up how much your insurance costs you per year - from premiums, to co pays to your deductible. How much would it cost your family if someone had to max your out of pocket expenses?
2. Research medi-share companies. A simple Google search will highlight a number of options, and for us Samaritan Ministries was the best. Read through their policies and procedures and call with specific questions.
3. Chat with a friend who uses medi-share. Hearing my friend Betsy's medi-share experience was what really made me feel like I could make it work for our family.
Feel free to contact me with questions and I will happily share more of our experience!