An estimated three to six million taxpayers will get a nasty surprise when they fill out their federal income returns this year. They will be subject to the ObamaCare tax penalty, or as it is expressed in governmentese, a “shared responsibility payment.”Just calculating one’s “shared responsibility payment” can be quite a chore. (There is an online worksheet posted here).
But, if you’re a Christian, there is another method that could cut your health insurance costs by half — maybe more. You can stay out of ObamaCare’s clutches; plus, it is all legal because these programs got onto the “need not comply” list in 2010 and it’s the law; a done deal.
They are called “health care sharing ministry(s)” and they are organizations that facilitate sharing of health care costs between individual members who have common ethical or religious beliefs in the United States. Unlike normal insurance companies, health care sharing ministry’s do not use actuaries, accept risk, or make guarantees. Nor do they purchase reinsurance polices on behalf of its members. This means that they are NOT insurance agencies.
What Is Healthcare Sharing?
As explained by the Alliance of Health Care Sharing Ministries:
“A health care sharing ministry (HCSM) provides a health care cost sharing arrangement among persons of similar and sincerely held beliefs. HCSMs are operated by not-for-profit religious organizations acting as a clearinghouse for those who have medical expenses and those who desire to share the burden of those medical expenses.
- HCSMs receive no funding or grants from government sources.
- HCSMs are not insurance companies. HCSM do not assume any risk or guarantee the payment of any medical bill. Twenty-eight states have explicitly recognized this and specifically exempt HCSMs from their insurance codes.
- HCSMs serve more than 350,000 people, with participating households in all fifty states.
- HCSMs’ participants share more than $300 million per year for one another’s health care costs.
- HCSMs strive to be accessible to participants regardless of their income, because traditionally shares are a fraction of the cost of insurance rates.”
Fearless Parent.org stated in their article “Buy-bye, Obamacare! Hello, Health Care Sharing” why they are in favor of HCSM’s:
- I will no longer participate in a system that incentivizes me to use health care I do not want.
- I will no longer subsidize health care that conflicts so fundamentally with my values and beliefs.
- I will no longer support a hidebound industry with zero innovation, bad customer service, and obscenely high executive compensation.
- I no longer feel safe with traditional health insurance coverage. The dynamic has become adversarial. I want more control.
- I refuse to pay one more dime into a dysfunctional, overpriced, abusive, unethical, damaging, and totally broken system for insurance coverage that I stand on my head to avoid at all costs.
And, a recent New York Times article, which gives an overview and history of HCSM’s, asks the very interesting question; “Could this model scale up?”:
“…membership in the ministries has been growing, particularly since the act granted them an exemption as one of the only ways to avoid the law’s mandate to buy insurance without paying a fine.
But the debate over consumer protections may disguise a more interesting question: Could this model scale up? These ministries seem to achieve a remarkable level of member satisfaction, even if they sometimes must portion out reimbursements when the bills outstrip monthly contributions.
The ministries’ appeal lies partly in their low fees, but also in their ideological boundaries. “This isn’t something that’s for everyone,” said Tony Meggs, the C.E.O. of the Florida-based Christian Care Ministry, which runs a health care sharing program called Medi-Share.”
“Christian cost-sharing ministries have been around for about 30 years. They claim that their true origins lie in the Book of Acts, the biblical account of how the first Christians “had everything in common” and “gave to anyone as he had need.” The ministries “show the world something that works, and works well, and is a reflection of the commandments of Christ,” Mr. Meggs said.”
“Today, Medi-Share requires members to “live by biblical standards:” no tobacco or illegal drugs and no sex “outside of traditional Christian marriage.” Samaritan Ministries, with headquarters in Peoria, Ill., requires a pastor’s approval of medical expenses (and refuses to cover treatment for S.T.D.s unless “contracted innocently”). Liberty HealthShare, based in Independence, Ohio, is the only Affordable Care Act-exempt ministry open to people of many faiths. It asks them to affirm that “it is my spiritual duty to God and my ethical duty to others to maintain a healthy lifestyle.”
So, if you are theologically eligible, and you want out of ObamaCare’s high-premium health care options, click here.
And, If you know someone else who may be eligible, email a link to this article. It may save that person a bundle of money.