Buyer Beware? Know the Facts

Post Date:August 07, 2017
Although some healthy people may find Christian Health Ministry Plans to be a solution for the high cost of an ACA Plan.  Here are some of the pluses and the minuses.  This neither endorses nor condemns these plans.  It is up to you to decide whether they are a fit for you and / or you and your family.

*  These plans are faith based.  Your monthly contribution goes to help pay for your and other peoples' health care expenditures
*  The plans cover you anywhere in the USA
*  Members pray for each other and often send each other notes of support and encouragement.
*  You are supposed to attend church regularly.
*  Premium can be as much as 75% less than ACA plans, and often times a higher level of reimbursement    can be purchased for a very reasonable added charge.
*  You are expected to live a good life style which includes no smoking or drinking.
*  Belonging to one of these plans makes you exempt from ACA "no insurance" penalties (the Individual Mandate)
*  Many of the plans will help you negotiate discounts for larger bills.
*  The plans generally have an initial cost share per occurrence (not per calendar year) that could be $500 or more. 
*  They are not insurance and are not regulated so do not look for any government agency to assist you if you are not reimbursed or reimbursed too little (some plans do have an internal appeals process).
*  You must agree to abstain from certain behaviors such as "sexual immorality" (could be a plus, but what does the definition encompass) and drug abuse (could also be a plus).
*  Preventive care such as mammograms, colonoscopies, and bone density tests are not covered, as well as routine exams.
*  Pre-existing conditions are often not covered at all or may have up to a three year or longer waiting period before reimbursement begins, and pre-existing conditions may have caps.
*  Many do not cover mental health services, prescriptions, addiction services, or birth control.
*  The plans may have dollar limit caps on the amount they will pay (outlawed by the ACA)
*   You will have to have cash to pay providers on a fee for service basis and wait for reimbursement (how many of us have the cash to pay for even a short hospital stay).
*  There is no insurance contract so these plans can be altered at any time, and there is no recourse.

Eventually most of us will face major medical claims.  At the cost of current health care not many of us have the liquidity to afford to pay up front for our medical care, especially when reimbursement may not equal expenditure.


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