Products that reflect someone’s faith have been popular for many years in the United States. For example, Family Christian Bookstore was founded in 1932 to help families find resources that reflected their beliefs. Moody Radio was founded in 1925 and represents 71 Christian-focused stations. And Billboard reported that nearly $9 billion was spent on Christian music in 2018.
When it comes to healthcare, people are just as passionate about finding products that share in their faith and values.
Healthcare is one of the highest expenses in an individual’s personal budget. Harvard’s school of public health reports the U.S. has the highest cost of healthcare in the world. If there’s a way to find an option that is both faith-friendly and financially-friendly, it would be an incredible blessing to many people.
Before we get started, it is imperative to understand that the Affordable Care Act regulates all health insurance. And this isn’t just for “Obamacare plans” that are on the Marketplace. Both individual and group health insurance are actually regulated by Obamacare (officially called the Affordable Care Act). This is extremely important to remember whenever evaluating your options.
If you’ve been asking the question, “How can I buy Christian health insurance?”, check out the following overview of the top 3 options for faith-friendly health benefits:
If you Google the question “How can I buy Christian health insurance?”, you’ll find a large selection of something called Healthcare Sharing Ministries. This is ironic, since these are not actually insurance, but rather organized communities of people who share the cost of their medical bills.
Today, sharing ministries are very popular, with around 1.5 million people in these communities. They initially grew in popularity between 2016 and 2018 under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 when the “penalty” for being “uninsured” was up to $2,085 per family.
Because sharing ministries are not classified as insurance, they have remarkable freedom to choose what is shared and what is not shared. While this is an advantage in many ways, always be sure to read the member agreements to identify what will be shared and what will not be shared.
Medi-Share is the both the largest and the national leader in healthcare sharing. Their innovative approach includes features such as a national PPO network and 24/7 telehealth. If you’re looking for an affordable Christian health insurance option, Medi-Share is a great place to start!
Now that we have talked through sharing ministries, let’s take a look at a product that is actually defined and regulated as insurance. Guidestone, a financial service company, provides products ranging from retirement investment to Christian health insurance for both individuals and groups.
These healthcare products are considered fully-funded, traditional health insurance. As with Medi-Share, it’s always advised to do your own research on what’s included with Guidestone and what’s not — especially when it comes to their Rx formulary.
Because Guidestone is classified as insurance, it does fall under the jurisdiction of state laws and must follow standard ACA regulations. This means there is much less freedom for plan design compared to sharing ministries.
Insurance is defined as “the transfer of risk” from one party to another. Generally, insurance involves several parties determining the amount of risk they are willing to absorb. In certain situations, groups can use an alternative option called “self-funded” plans. For the most part, though, these plans don’t work unless the group is large.
Self-funded plans involve an agreement the employer makes to pay the actual expenses incurred by their insured employees. Since they are paying the bills, employers do get some say in what they pay for (or not). Generally, self-funded plans are instituted to save the organization money. However, recent studies show they do not save on costs in the long haul. It does, however, provide increased freedom to design the plan itself, since there are less regulations and requirements.
In July of 2020, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of religious exemptions for self-funded plans regarding the Affordable Care Act‘s requirement to provide free contraceptives to employees. While there is not complete freedom in coverages, self-funded insurance has fewer regulations than fully-insured plans.
For those researching Christian health insurance options, it’s important to evaluate all your options in order to find the plan that meets the needs of your people while still upholding your organization’s faith and values.
Evaluate All Your Options with Remodel Health
When it comes to finding Christian health insurance, there are more options than you may think! Our expert team of benefits consultants at Remodel Health can help evaluate your healthcare from a faith-friendly and mission-focused mindset. Remodel Health has been serving Christian organizations for 6 years and has helped them save $23 million on their healthcare to put back toward their mission. Get connected with us today for your free analysis!
Important Notice: Remodel Health does not intend to provide specific insurance, legal, or tax advice. Remodel Health always recommends to consult with your own professional representation to properly evaluate the information presented and its appropriate application to your particular situation.