Health Share programs aren’t new. In fact, they’ve been around for nearly fourty years. However, it wasn’t until after the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as “ObamaCare,” when these ObamaCare alternatives began to become popular.
The objective of ObamaCare was an ambitious goal. The heart of what was trying to be done was good. The idea was to increase the number of insured and reduce the health insurance premiums.
Enrollment numbers for health insurance has swelled significantly, so in worked in part. However, the promise of lower premiums hasn’t come to pass. In fact, the opposite has happened.
The ObamaCare act has established “10 Essential Health Benefits” that a plan has to cover. If you look at the list, you’d probably agree that most – if not all – of them are essential.
Each requirement made previously optional services available to more individuals. These essential services are now the minimum of what each health policy has to cover.
However, the list didn’t stop there. Also a part of these mandates are additional requirements. Such as the “Individual Mandate.” That’s the law that requires all Americans to have coverage or face severe tax penalties.
Also a well known aspect of ObamaCare is the Advanced Premium Tax Credit. Also known as “Premium Assistance.” This uses federal tax dollars to subsidize the premium that a family has to pay. It also pays the insurance carriers to enhance the benefits of the plan for some individuals.
Again, the intention of this plan (in my opinion) is noble. Giving low-income families a way to afford protection from catastrophic medical bills? That is definitely something I’d love to see in the Health Insurance Market. I’d feel most people would believe that, deep down.
However, in effect it had did the reverse for many families.
The Advanced Premium Tax Credit has reduced the net cost of insurance for a lot of families living at 400% or below of the Federal Poverty Level. And that’s great for them. I don’t want to minimize that or even complain, really.
The problem that it caused is that it allowed carriers to increase the rates even higher. Since a lot of families could afford to pay for better insurance once Uncle Sam was footing part of the bill. Insurance companies can’t pick-and-choose who they’re going to charge more for their services. That means everyone got higher insurance rates, even those that did not qualify for help.
This year, I’ve seen my clients’ rates increase from 10%-25%. That’s just this year. It caused an unfair increase to families not under the 400% Poverty Level. Most of those families aren’t increasing their wages anywhere near that, either. Health Shares are ObamaCare alternatives do not offer tax subsidized. However, due to their affordable nature, they are often are still competitive even without them.
This is why Health Shares are Becoming More Popular
These ObamaCare alternatives are sharing – not insurance.
Increase rates increasing over that last few years didn’t come as a surprise to most. That’s where Health Share Ministries began to shine. They have an exemption from the Affordable Care Act, they are now poised to offer the perfect ObamaCare alternative.
Instead of premiums, members of a health share pay a “share” to a general fund. The fund is used to pay for eligible expenses after meeting their obligations. These obligations are like a deductible.
The savings that they receive from member’s bills over health insurance is phenomenal. Health Shares often have to pay over 40% less than health insurance plans do. This is one of the reasons that explain why Health Shares are so much more affordable and able to offer a truly affordable ObamaCare alternative.
Membership is a Health Share also makes you exempt from the Individual Mandate. That means you won’t experience a tax penalty for not being covered.
Another reason why a Health Share is more affordable is because they can underwrite your health coverage. Members who live unhealthy life styles may be charged slightly more to compensate for their higher medical risk.
They can also exempt pre-existing conditions like health insurance companies used to do. So it’s good to check the coverage if you have a pre-existing condition before you enroll.
In short, they want you to live a clean and healthy lifestyle. Abstaining from or limiting the use of tobacco and alcohol, for example. Members with healthy lifestyles reduces medical risk. That means lower costs for everyone!
Determining whether these programs are right for you is a financial and medical choice. As it is with Health Insurance. On average, I have helped 9 out of 10 families save significant money on their health care costs. So these ObamaCare alternatives do make sense for a lot of individuals and families.
That being said, these plans are not for everyone. Finding out whether a Health Share program is the right choice is complicated. If you need any assistance determining whether this type of program is right for you, contact me for a free consultation.