Health sharing plans are an affordable alternative to health insurance plans, but are best used as catastrophic coverage. These plans are accepted as insurance by the ACA and will cover your health care once you meet their equivalent of a deductible, but these plans do not provide coverage for pre-existing conditions and may not fulfill all of your coverage needs. These plans are best for healthy individuals without pre-existing conditions who anticipate few medical expenses.
Health care sharing plans are a type of health insurance accepted by the ACA but are not technically insurance. These plans instead act as a low-cost form of cost sharing, helping to reimburse you for covered costs after you meet your deductible, which is called your annual unshared cost. All the while you are paying a shared amount each month as your monthly premium. This shared amount serves as the cost sharing. Everyone is paying into the plan, making it possible for the plan to pay for your coverage when you need it. The costs tend to be much lower under these plans.
When you visit a health care provider, you show them your health sharing plan card, which will act as insurance. If the provider does not accept your plan as payment, you will have to pay for the services in full and then will later be reimbursed by the plan. You can see any provider you would like, because these plans do not use a network of providers, unlike most major medical health insurance plans.
For a health care sharing plan, you will be paying a certain share amount each month as a monthly premium. You will also need to pay an annual unshared amount as your yearly deductible before the plan will begin to share in the costs of your health care expenses. This unshared amount will be around $300-500 for individuals, $1,000 for couples, and $900-$5,000 for families. Health care costs will be shared between the members of the organization through the monthly shared amount.
Health sharing plans do not generally cover the Essential Health Benefits that ACA-certified Qualifying Health Plans cover. These plans are also not required to cover your pre-existing conditions, meaning you may have difficulty paying for your treatment if you have a pre-existing condition and want to join one of these plans.
These plans are mostly religion-based, but you do not have to adhere to that religion to become a member of the health sharing plan. These plans prefer their members to live healthy lifestyles and encourage you to avoid smoking or abusing drugs or alcohol.
Health sharing plans can be beneficial to people who are in good health and who are on a budget. The annual unshared amount that you must pay before the plan begins to share in your health care costs is generally much lower than the deductible of a regular health insurance plan would be.