Sharing Ministries Offer Alternative to Health Insurance
Remember the saying “sharing is caring”? I do, but I don't recall it applying to healthcare insurance. Recently, I ran across an article about “sharing ministries” that would beg to differ. In sharing ministries, "members pay premiums as they would with a typical insurance plan, but the money goes directly to the health care bills of other members."
I just recently received a hospital bill for $16,057 for a one night hospital stay after undergoing surgery, and luckily I have healthcare insurance that will cover the majority of these costs. But after running across this article, it made me question how a sharing ministry works in comparison to insurance companies.
Of course it sounds like a bargain to have other people paying towards your health care bills, but is it really that simple? Based on Jason Roberson’s article posted on December 28th in The Dallas Morning News, it isn’t. They’re “not promising to pay anyone’s bill. It’s more of a step of faith. Trust in the Lord.” However, these medical-sharing systems stray from the harshness of insurance companies by offering a religious support system for their members. Similar to insurance companies, there is competition among sharing ministries because some are exclusive based on your health background, while others are more inclusive. Even though they make no promise to pay medical bills, they are recognized as an acceptable alternative to health insurance because they are exempt from the health insurance mandate.
Do you have experience with these sharing ministries? I'd like your thoughts on this unique approach to paying for health care bills.
Brooke Curtis is currently a sophomore attending DePauw University with an intended biology major. She is serving as an intern for NEHM in January 2011.