Frequently Asked Questions
How do Health Care Sharing Ministries work?
Health Care Sharing Ministries allow faith-centered people to come together as a community to share each other’s medical expenses. Every month, members contribute a set amount that is shared between the other members to pay their medical bills. Each ministry does this differently, some have an online sharing technology system to approve the sharing of funds, others send individual checks to members. When members go to the doctor, hospital, or incur a medical cost, they submit the bill to their community, through their ministry. Expenses that meet the ministry’s guidelines are shared by the community and payment is made to the family or directly to the doctor.
How is Health Care Sharing Ministries different than insurance?
Health Care Sharing Ministries are not insurance. Health Care Sharing Ministries are non-profits that run on a completely different model from insurance. Health Care Sharing Ministries are a way for families with the same religious beliefs to come together and manage their health care expenses as a community. Health Care Sharing Ministries are non-profit, 501(c)(3) values-based organizations, through which people come together and agree on what health expenses they will share.
HOW DO I IDENTIFY A TRUSTED HEALTH CARE SHARING MINISTRY?
Trusted health care sharing ministries are independent 501(c)(3) nonprofits g that are rooted in authentic Judeo-Christian or other religious values and that exercise sound management practices, including a record of faithfully sharing eligible medical expenses. Along these lines, the Affordable Care Act imposes a number of requirements for a health care sharing ministry to be recognized under federal law. There are at least nine large ministries that the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicare Services (CMS) has recognized as meeting these requirements. These include Altrua HealthShare, Christian Healthcare Ministries, Christian Mutual Med-Aid, Liberty HealthShare, Medi-Share (Christian Care Ministry), OneShare Health, Samaritan Ministries, Solidarity HealthShare and United Refuah HealthShare.
At least 8 states have taken legal action, and there have been class action lawsuits filed in four states, against Aliera, a for-profit company. Some of these actions allege that Trinity Healthshare, which Aliera markets as a health care sharing ministry, is actually unlicensed insurance. Consistent with findings from a state court in Georgia, some of these actions also allege that the leaders of Aliera formed Trinity in 2018 and that Aliera manages certain operations of Trinity.
Do Health Care Sharing Ministries “cover” pre-existing conditions?
Health Care Sharing Ministries have a history of sharing 100% of eligible medical expenses. Each ministry is different, but they are all transparent about which medical bills can be shared immediately, and which ones may have a waiting period before being shared with their community. People with pre-existing conditions join Health Care Sharing Ministries every day and work with their individual ministry to determine how to best handle their medical costs.
Do Health Care Sharing Ministries “cover” prescription medication?
Health Care Sharing Ministries are all different, but they are all transparent about which prescription medication costs are eligible to be shared with the community. Many prescriptions are eligible for sharing, and some ministries offer prescription discount options.
Can I trust Health Care Sharing Ministries with my medical bills?
Since the 1980’s Health Care Sharing Ministries have shared 100% of eligible medical expenses for their members. The community of each Health Care Sharing Ministry faithfully comes together to share the eligible costs as described by each Ministry’s sharing guidelines. Health Care Sharing Ministries facilitate faith-based communities in deciding which health care costs they share—not the government, not corporate employers, and not insurance company executives. Each ministry is transparent about what services are shared among members, and this information is made available to the public, including prospective members before enrollment.
Why do so many Americans choose a Health Care Sharing Ministry?
Health Care Sharing Ministries are a practical option for many Americans, and more than 1.5 million people have chosen Health Care Sharing Ministries as their health care solution. They offer principled, high-quality care at a price often more affordable than what is offered by Big Insurance or the hyper-regulated federal exchange. Health Care Sharing Ministries share more than health expenses, they offer spiritual support with prayer over the phone, encouraging notes, and community prayer requests for members.
Is anyone able to join?
Health Care Sharing Ministries welcome any like-minded individuals who wants to join a community that shares Judeo-Christian values and health care expenses. Each Health Care Sharing Ministry has a statement of beliefs that everyone in the community agrees to uphold. That statement of beliefs ensures that the community, and the ministry it operates, maintains its identity rooted in shared faith and values.
Who is in the Alliance for Health Care Sharing Ministries?
The Alliance of Health Care Sharing Ministries is a nonprofit trade organization representing the common interests of members of true Health Care Sharing Ministries across the country. We work with 7 of the 9 HCSMs that have large, nationwide and open membership and who have been certified by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services as meeting the federal definition of Health Care Sharing Ministries in the Affordable Care Act.
To interview a representative from The Alliance of Health Care Sharing Ministries, contact Media@HamiltonStrategies.com, Beth Harrison, 610.584.1096, ext. 105, or Deborah Hamilton, ext. 102.