Medi-Share.org Medical Sharing | Christian Health Insurance Substitute

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Update March 2012: I’ve written a post that talks about my Medi-Share experiences.  This has updated information on my thoughts regarding Medi-Share so I recommend you also read that post.

My mommy always taught me to share.

Now, I teach my kids to share.

The question is – am I willing to share my medical costs? How you answer that question significantly determines if you should consider Medi-Share.org.

If you’ve read this blog, you know I’ve been frustrated by the high cost of international health insurance.  In fact, I’ve compared the Canadian and American health systems (based on my own experiences), and I’ve never felt completely satisfied with all the hassles and costs associated with either system.

To be perfectly honest, our long term decision regarding our full-time home when we leave PNG (either Canada or the United States) will be significantly impacted by the health insurance question.  Since I plan to make my living blogging and freelance writing, I’ll be responsible for my own insurance costs.  If you’ve been sheltered from your actual medical expenses by an employer who provides everything, youMedi-Share should be thankful for the coverage you have.

Health insurance for self-employed individuals is very expensive.

For a lot of people, the cost of traditional health insurance is burdensome.  I’ve suggested people might try to consider increasing their deductibles, but today there is also another option people can consider.

Before I get there, let me be clear.  I started researching Medi-Share.org because they have an affiliate relationship.  I wanted to know if they were a company I’d feel comfortable using.  My comments in this post are my own reflections, but I will not make a specific recommendation because I have never used them.  Consider this post my fact finding mission and not a comprehensive analysis of all things Medi-Share.  I’d rather introduce you to the company and the concept, and then set you loose to find out all the exact details as they relate to your life.

Medi-Share.org : Medical Health Insurance Alternative Sharing for Christians

What is Medi-Share?

In order to answer that question, I need to first tell you what it is NOT.  Medi-Share is NOT MEDICAL INSURANCE.  They explain it this way on their website:

Health insurance comes with a contractual guarantee to pay your medical bills. For over 17 years our participants have been faithfully sharing medical bills on a non-guaranteed basis, trusting the Lord to provide in their time of need through the voluntary gifts of other like-minded Christians.

What does that mean?  It means when you have a medical expense, the group approves the expense.  I’ve scanned the comments on this post, and most of the comments by users tend to be very positive.  The consensus from employees at Medi-Share and current users is that if the claim is legitimate, it will be paid.

How does it work?

Here are the basics from the website:

Every  household has an individual account with our partner, America’s Christian Credit Union (ACCU), used for the sole purpose of sharing. The monthly shares are deposited in the individual ACCU account, bringing financial integrity and security to the sharing process. Each month, CCM matches up monthly share amounts with other participants’ eligible medical needs and transfers funds between accounts to facilitate sharing.

Instead of a deductible, when you select a plan you get an “Annual Household Portion”.  Either $500 (only for young single people), $1250, $2500, $3750, $5000, $7500, or $10,000.  Basically, you’ll pay that amount of your medical costs, and after you meet your Annual Household Portion, your treatments will be open for medical sharing.

When you go to the doctor, if your provider submits all the bills then everything will be processed and checked by Medi-Share.  If approved, the bill will either be applied towards your household portion or posted for sharing (approval).

How does the price of Medi-Share.org compare?

I checked my family rate for traditional health insurance using eHealthInsurance.com (assuming we were living in Cheyenne).  The rate I could get with a $1000 deductible is about double the rate I could get at Medi-Share with a $1250 deductible.  A 57% savings with Medi-Share definitely gets my attention!

Personally, I think insurance is biblical.  I don’t think there is anything in the Bible that requires the use of medical sharing nor is there anything that requires it.  As such, the decision to use medical sharing instead of traditional health insurance would be more of a financial choice than a biblical one.

Who is an ideal Medi-Share candidate?

  1. Someone who is healthy. Medi-Share does not cover pre-existing conditions.  They even have a health incentive (20% discount) for those who meet their strict health standards and pass certain medical tests.   If you are a family, both adults must be extra healthy to get the discount.
  2. Someone who is a Christian who has a conservative Christian lifestyle. Medi-Share has requirements like “Must not engage in sex outside of traditional Christian marriage” or “Cannot use tobacco or illegal drugs in any form, or abuse legal drugs or alcohol.”  In his post on the topic, Bob at ChristianPF shared that one individual was declined coverage because he was driving while drunk which caused an accident.
  3. People who do not currently have access to reasonable health insurance plans.
  4. US citizens, permanent residents, or possibly a missionary living overseas.

Who should avoid Medical Sharing?

Personally, if I had a full-time job that provided full benefits, I wouldn’t consider Medi-Share.  I think that it is an alternative for people who do not have full coverage provided.

What concerns and questions do I have?

Like anything, it is absolutely essential that you understand what you are getting with your money.  I do plan to pursue Medi-share as a personal option in the future, but not until I’ve done some more through research.  My wife and I would probably write down our 546,343 questions, and I’d call and have a long conversation to be sure I understand everything and to be sure the plan works well for our family.

Things I’d specifically like to know:

  1. Financial health of the organization.  Is there a reasonable balance to cover claims?
  2. Turn around time.  How quickly do you process claims?
  3. What types of claims have not been processed and covered?

When I do move to the States in a year and a half, I will consider Medi-Share.  We’ve recently renewed our international heath insurance, and I have no energy to mess with changes right now.

I’d really like to know your thoughts and reactions if you’ve had any dealings with Medi-Share.  Are you a member?  Were you a member?  How was/is your experience? I’d love to hear more medical sharing stories.

Updated: October 2011.  I decided to become a Medi-Share member.  If you want me to refer you please send an email to mhforc at gmail dot com.  I do get compensated for the referral, but that’s one way I can help keep the material on this website free.

Comments

  1. Kevin Poston says

    Hey Craig,

    I live in Columbia,SC and noticed that you are a missionary in New Guinea. Wow thats Great. We have a friend whos name is Chuck Turner who was a missionary their I believe in the 60′s and 70′s wow he is a man of God and he to my recolection took the singa singa language put it in to a written language and translate the bible into their language and i got to see him this year and he just revised it agian wow, how amazing our GOD Is

    • says

      @Kevin
      Glad to meet you. My parents were in PNG in the late 70′s. Like so many countries PNG has changed a lot. I really appreciate and respect people who give so much time to do Bible translations.

  2. Sarah says

    Are you back in the States? Did you end up using Medi-Share? If so, can you share your experiences? If not, why did you decide not to use Medi-Share?

    • says

      @Sarah
      Good question. No I won’t be moving back for some time, so I’ve yet to look more closely at Medi-share. However, when I do I’ll post about it.

  3. Dale says

    You should also consider Samaritan Ministries, a similar cost sharing medical ministry. My wife and I have been members of SM for a couple years and the monthly share amounts are very reasonable. Check them out at samaritanministries.org

  4. says

    I am also a member of Samaritan Ministries. It seems like the share amounts are resaonable enough. I would be interested in knowing the difference between them and medi-share. Has anyone used both?

    • says

      Michael,
      It would be interesting to hear from someone who is involved in both programs. I’m with Medi Share, but have no experience with Samaritan Ministries.

  5. Liz says

    My husband has been self employed all year, we have two children and it was a difficult decision to go with Medi-Share but we decided to take a leap of faith and give them a try.

    We became members in February of 2011 and shortly after I came down with a strange abdominal pain. I went to several doctors and no one was able to figure out what was wrong. Medi-share decided (due to one doctors comments of a possible cause) that the condition was pre-existing so they didn’t cover it. This has continued all year–they even refused to cover a sinus infection saying it was pre-existing because I had one a year prior.

    They have not covered a single bill since we took them out. (They did however apply a PPO discount to every bill of about $60 which caused us to not be considered for self pay…. Meaning a $4,000 medical bill was reduced $60 instead of about 50% for a self pay discount)

    A few months ago, my husband and I decided to expand our family and when we finally got pregnant I contacted medi-share and made sure they would cover the pregnancy and they agreed. However I just got a call today from my doctors office saying that medi-share contacted them and claimed my pregnancy was pre-existing and they would not cover it.

    We are now $16,000 in debt with medical bills and are out our monthly payments to medishare for the past 10 months.

    We also had a savings account through them which my husband just tried to get the money out of since we are canceling medi-share and they said it was not our money. (That’s illegal right?)

    Be very wary of this organization–they will do everything in their power to steal from you. They are thieves and liars.

  6. says

    PDATE ON MEDI-SHARE:
    Medi-share is indeed a unique program for providing assistance with medical care, but unlike health insurance programs this route uses blatant discrimination to prevent certain individuals from benefiting from its service. Mychristiancare.org specifically points out that only those engaging in sexual intercourse within a “Christian” marriage are allowed to join. This immediately eliminates gay, lesbian, and transgender individuals from enrolling in Medi-share. The program also places limits on services it covers based upon religious beliefs and states specifically that abortions will not be covered under any circumstance.

  7. Yibing says

    My employer is providing some funding to allow employee to purchase our own insurance coverage. I was introduced by one of our church member and I would like to see if anybody else has any comments on the two program: Medi-Share and SM?

    Many thanks.

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