Have you heard of an insurance plan with a $500 deductible, that will cover the rest of your illness/injury at 100%?
Crazy, right!? That never happens.
Well... actually it does. I've been using it for years and I. LOVE. IT.
Our family has been self-employed for years, and our monthly healthcare premiums have been pretty expensive because of it. When the Affordable Care Act came into being, our premiums were going to triple! We couldn't pay that! So we started looking around, and we found this--for us, it has been a HUGE blessing.
To be clear, it's not really insurance. (I know, I'm being totally confusing!) It's technically named a "health care sharing co-op". When you sign up for this, it meets U.S. healthcare guidelines and the coverage is sooo much better than traditional insurance.
All of the co-ops I am familiar with are run by Christian groups who try to live the Biblical admonition of sharing one another's burdens-- but there may be other groups that run co-ops as well. These Christian groups generally ask that you live by New Testament teachings and basic health guidelines. If you agree to do these things, you are in!
The company that I signed up with originally was Samaritian Ministries. They had a statement of faith they wanted me to sign. I was on board with most of it, but being LDS, there were a few differences in our beliefs. They said it was not a big deal, (and we loved it while we were with them) but after a while it started causing problems, so I changed to Christian Healthcare Ministries.
My sister uses them, my cousin uses them, and I have other family and friends that use this or similar companies. Both co-ops have been around for several decades. They have a good track record, transparent book keeping, and raving fans.
Here's How It Works
We have only needed use this system once (thank goodness!) and it was with Samaritan Ministries, but the same basic principles apply for Christian Healthcare Ministries and most co-ops.
I pay a monthly fee of $450 for my family of 7. This money goes to either the individual family, or to company headquarters and then they send that money to a family who had a medical need that month. Yay! They can pay their bills in full, after they pay the first $300-500. Isn't that amazing!?
But how does it work on the receiving end?
Let's say my son breaks his leg. (True story!) We get him the care he needs, telling the hospital that we are a cash pay client. They fix him up and a month later, we start getting a lot of bills. We ask for itemized bills, and negotiate them down as much as we can. (Insurance companies do the same thing-often getting 50% or more taken off, and we are MUCH easier to deal with and hospitals get paid much sooner--so it's a win/win.)
Then we send the bills to our co-op. They do their paperwork thing, people send in their monthly fee and then the group sends us a check so we can pay the doctors and hospitals IN CASH. It's amazing. My 2 year old's $16,000 broken femur ended up costing us $0 out of pocket!
It made me cry to realize that 32 families sent money to help our family.
Here are the pros:
I adore this healthcare. I actually feel good when I write the check every month. Instead of dreading it, I feel as though I am actually helping someone. This health care business model has been a life saver for us, so I for sure wanted to share it with you.
If you are interested, be sure to check them out here! And can I ask you a favor? If you decide to sign up with Christian Healthcare Ministries, could you please tell them I sent you? (My member # is 332697) They have a cool promotion that if someone you recommend signs up, then you get a free month. Even without the free month, though, I would still tell you to run and go sign up- it's THAT amazing.
I will never willingly use a different system. This is a common sense, affordable solution to our healthcare needs.
Have you used a similar healthcare plan? What did you think about it? Let me know in the comments!
P.S. My personal sign up code is 332697. I'd sure appreciate it if you give them my number if you call and ask more questions.
P.P.S. Don't forget: If you sign up and then bring a friend, you can get a free month, too!
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