One of the downfalls of Jason’s new job is that they don’t directly provide us with health insurance. Instead they give us a stipend and we have to find our own insurance. After a bit of looking around and Comparing Christian Health Insurances we found one that fits us.
Before I share what I discovered from comparing christian health insurances, I want to share what we had from his earlier company.
Our old insurance was a high deductible plan paired with a HSA.
We had to pay a $2500 deductible per person, up to $5000 per family (in network, out of network was much higher) and then insurance paid the rest. A high deductible plan offers lower premiums with a higher deductible. It wasn’t the greatest, especially for maternity and then pediatrician visits, but we made it work and since we paid for it through work, it was certainly affordable.
I sought to replace our work provided insurance with self pay insurance through the same company. Here is just a look at what I found. We did qualify for government subsidy to help with our premiums, but it really didn’t do much for us.
Self Pay High Deductible Health Ins. averages:
- Premiums were over $700 monthly
- Some preventive care covered 100%
- Deductible a minimum of $2500 per family (in network)
- Once deductible is met, pay 10%
- Chiropractor is covered
- Dental is not covered
Those were the most affordable plans, and knowing what some hospitalizations can cost; having to pay 10% AFTER meeting our deductible, wasn’t going to work for us. Between you and me, I’m pretty sure this is NOT affordable health care!
After getting off the phone with our
current old insurance company I was completely discouraged. Even with what we had paid through Jason’s old company, what his new company would give us for insurance AND the government subsidy, we would still be paying way too much out-of-pocket for our premiums, and the benefits would be less. :'(
That’s when I put a call out on Facebook asking my friends what they had. There were two Christian Share Plan names that came up and then everyone else chimed in saying they had one or the other of the two and loved them.
So I started comparing Christian Health Insurances.
What I learned was more encouraging, and suitable for our family AND budget. One thing I would like to point out is both of the companies I mention are not typical insurance companies, they are sharing plans. They are both considered eligible insurances under the affordable care act though, so you won’t have to worry about that.
Neither of these are true insurance companies. Instead, they are a bit better. You pay a monthly “share” and that share helps cover the medical needs of others. If you have a need, then you will pay a personal responsibility and then other members will help pay your needs.
People in both groups say it can take a bit for the money to come through, but most doctors are totally understanding with it. Even though these share plans cover you under the (not so) affordable care act, you are still considered self pay; which means you will likely get self pay discounts on your bills.
I called this company first and talked to them for a bit, asking basic questions. The information I put below is what I was told on the phone.
- One time membership fee of $200
- A single share is $180, couple is $360, family is $405
- Months 1-3, your share is sent to the office for administrative use. Then on the anniversary of you joining, that share also goes to the office.
- The rest of the time you will send your share directly to a member with a need. This allows you to pray specifically for a member as well.
- If you have a need, you pay $300 and the rest is paid by other member’s shares. They send you the needed funds and pray for you.
- A need covers a single incident and all the bills. For instance, prenatal, and maternity care is considered a single incident or need.
- No network restrictions.
- Does cover midwifery.
- Do not cover dental or chiropractic.
- No prescription medicine coverage.
I truly loved the idea of praying for the families our monthly share would go to. A $300 “deductible” also had a nice sound to it.
Christian Health Ministries
- No membership fee
- Single coverage is 1 unit. Couple coverage is 2 units. Family coverage is 3 units
- They offer 3 different levels of coverage.
- Bronze is $45 monthly per unit. Your personal responsibility per unit is $5000 per incident, then covered up to $125,000.
- Silver is $85 monthly per unit. Your personal responsibility per unit is $1000 per incident, then covered up to $125,000.
- Gold is $150 monthly per unit. Your personal responsibility on bills over $500 is $500 yearly. If your bills are under $500 you pay them, but for any bills over $500 you need only pay your $500 personal responsibility once a year.
- You can choose gold for one family member, silver for another, or bronze. You do not have to choose the same level for all.
- Many members get discounts and any discounts you get will count towards your personal responsibility.
- Also offers Brother’s Keeper which is a very low-cost program to help you with catastrophic bills.
- Prenatal and maternity care is covered according to your coverage level.
- Free-to-members ask a doctor program.
- No network restrictions.
- Doesn’t cover chiropractic.
- Only covers incident prescribed medication on Gold Level.
Christian Health Ministries holds appeal for several reasons. It is considerably cheaper per month than Samaritan Ministries, and even though the member responsibility is higher per incident; for a healthy family like us who rarely have incidents, it is something to consider.
A side by side comparison is this: For a single person: SM asks $180 monthly, CHM asks $150 on the Gold level.
- If your need in SM is over $300, you pay your $300 responsibility and members pay you the rest. Every time you have a $300+ need throughout the year, you pay your personal responsibility before member sharing kicks in.
- If your need in CHM is over $500, you pay your $500 responsibility and CHM helps you with the rest. After you’ve paid your $500 personal responsibility for the year, CHM will cover any further needs over $500 through the rest of the year.
Adding the Brother’s Keeper program to your coverage is a very small quarterly fee ($25) and insures you for another $100,000. Each year you renew your Brother’s keeper membership, another $100,000 is added to your coverage. This continues until you reach 1 million. On the Gold level your coverage with Brother’s Keeper is unlimited.
Clearly both ministries are offer great benefits, but we decided to go with CHM.
For our whole family to be on the silver level, it would be $255 plus the Brother’s Keeper, monthly. It’s right within our budget, and $1000 isn’t too horrible for personal responsibility, especially if we can get self pay discounts to cover it (this is very common).
Another reason for choosing CHM silver, is that we will need to pay our own chiropractor bills. They aren’t huge by any means, but they are monthly and worth taking into consideration as an extra cost.
I will likely switch to the Gold level before we get pregnant again because the maternity coverage is great, and the share cost isn’t that much more. But right now, silver works fine for us.
I truly love the idea of Christians helping Christians in this way. It is biblical and what Christ would have us to do. I did like the idea of sending my money directly to a member and having a name to pray for, but CHM will suit our needs better.
If you are needing coverage to obey the law this is a great way to go. If you have few doctor bills and really need it for emergencies or maternity care, this is also a great way to go. 🙂 In fact, the only reason I could see traditional insurance being better, would be if you had horrendously high-priced prescription drugs you took monthly. Although I was reading about some discount drug programs on the SM site and the members said they helped a lot.
What Qualifies You to Join a Christian Share Plan?
If you are a Christian living by biblical principles; attend group worship regularly (health permitting); follow scriptural teaching with regard to alcohol; and do not use tobacco or drugs illegally, then you are eligible for these sharing plans. I did not ask about previous conditions as they don’t apply to us, and I didn’t think about it.
If you are looking for insurance, I hope my comparing Christian health insurances can help you.
~~~If it does help you and you choose to go with Christian Health Ministries like we did, I would love it if you put my name and member number (Kendra Stamy ~ 215075) down as the person who referred you. 🙂 Seriously, it would make my day, and pay my month!~~~
And here is a link for Samaritan Ministries.
Feel free to ask me any questions about Christian Health Ministries and I will try to explain further if needed.
***Update November ’16
Are you wondering how it works when you have a need? I shared our recent childbirth experience here!