It’s no mystery that healthcare costs are rising in the United States. In fact, healthcare costs now make up nearly 18 percent of the country’s gross domestic product. For comparison, in 1960, it made up just 5 percent.
If you’ve tried to sign up for health insurance recently, you have firsthand experience with these rising prices.
You might also be feeling stressed trying to figure out how you’re going to pay for healthcare while staying top on all of your other bills.
Have you ever considered a healthshare plan? Never heard of one before?
Read on to learn more about healthshare plans and how they can benefit you if you’re having a hard time paying for healthcare.
What are Healthshare Plans?
First, let’s clarify what a healthshare plan is.
A healthshare plan, which is sometimes referred to as a healthshare ministry, is a cooperative. These cooperatives are usually faith-based. Members of a particular church or faith may start them up to help each other pay for healthcare costs.
If you are part of a healthshare plan, you and the other members will agree to cover a portion of each other’s medical costs. Each member pays a certain amount of money per month, and that money is pooled to cover members’ various medical bills.
What do Healthshares Cover?
Because they are faith-based, healthshares often have limits on what they will and will not cover.
For example, many healthshares will not cover the cost of birth control pills. They might also not cover the cost of preventative care, dental care, or vision care.
Who Can Join a Healthshare?
In order to join a healthshare, you will likely need to be affiliated with a particular church or religion. Every healthshare has specific membership rules. Some common rules include:
- Regular group worship attendance
- No abuse of drugs, alcohol, or tobacco
- Agreeing to refrain from sex outside of a traditional Christian marriage
Some healthshares may have stricter or more relaxed rules. You’ll need to read through them carefully and agree to them before you can join.
Benefits of Healthshare Plans
There are lots of reasons to consider a healthshare plan instead of a traditional insurance plan. Some of the benefits of healthshare plans include:
Lower Monthly Payments
This is one of the greatest benefits of joining a healthshare plan. These plans are often much more affordable than traditional insurance premiums, so they’re a great option for those who cannot afford high monthly or yearly payments.
No Penalties or Taxes
There’s no penalty if you choose not to join a healthshare plan. If you join a healthshare, you are also exempt from the healthcare mandates and tax penalties associated with other plans.
No Either/Or Scenario
It’s important to note, too, that you can be a part of a healthshare and have regular health insurance. If you have a high deductible plan, for instance, you can join a healthshare in addition to your regular plan to help cover your out-of-pocket costs.
There’s no enrollment period for healthshares, either. You can sign up whenever you want.
Affordable Coverage for the Self-Employed
This is a great option for self-employed individuals who may have a hard time paying for or qualifying for traditional health insurance.
Join a Plan that Aligns with Your Values
Healthshares are also great for people who want to make sure their religious beliefs and values are being honored.
When you’re part of a healthshare, you won’t have to help fund the cost of treatments with which you might not agree.
How to Choose a Healthshare Plan
Okay, you’re interested in signing up for a healthshare plan. How do you choose the right one, though? What should you be looking for?
Here are some guidelines that will help you find the right healthshare plan for your needs:
Decide Whether You are a Good Candidate
First, it’s important to note that not everyone is a good candidate for a healthshare plan. The following people are typically considered to be good candidates:
- Those who are young and relatively healthy
- Those who do not have any pre-existing conditions
- Those who live a healthy lifestyle and do not abuse drugs or alcohol
- Those who cannot afford regular health insurance premiums
- Those who already belong to a particular religion
- Those whose beliefs are already in line with Christian ideology
Of course, you also have to be comfortable with a non-insurance solution. It’s important to remember that, if you take this approach, traditional insurance rules and policies might not necessarily reply.
Every healthshare has their own way of paying bills and deciding what gets covered, and you’ll have to be okay with those unique terms.
Ask for Recommendations
If you think you’re a good healthshare candidate, it’s time to start looking for the right plan.
If you have friends or family members who are part of a healthshare, start by asking them if they recommend you join theirs.
You can also talk to members of your church to find out if there’s a healthshare program already in place.
Read the Terms
Whichever plan you’re considering joining, it’s important to read the terms and participation regulations carefully. Make sure you understand and agree to all of these terms before you sign up for any healthshare plan.
Work with a Professional
If you’re still having a hard time finding the right healthshare for you, you might want to consider working with a professional.
Reach out to an agency like Indy Health Agent to see if they can help you in your search. They may also be able to help you find a more affordable traditional insurance plan if that’s more your style.
Learn Other Ways to Save Money on Healthcare
As you can see, there are lots of reasons to consider healthshare plans if you’re looking to save money on healthcare.
Healthshare plans are not the only option for saving money, though.
Are you interested in learning about other ways to lower your healthcare costs? What about lowering your expenses altogether? Either way, we’ve got you covered.
Check out the Money Saving section of our website today for all kinds of helpful articles on how to get your finances in order.