Medi-Share is a healthcare cost-sharing ministry that provides an alternative to traditional health insurance for individuals and families. It operates on the principle of shared financial responsibility, where members contribute monthly "shares" to cover each other's medical expenses. Medi-Share is not an insurance company, but rather a community of like-minded individuals who agree to support one another's healthcare costs based on a set of shared beliefs and guidelines.
Members of Medi-Share must adhere to specific lifestyle and moral standards, and the program does not cover certain medical expenses, such as pre-existing conditions and elective procedures. However, it offers a more affordable option for those seeking a faith-based healthcare cost-sharing solution.
It's important to note that Medi-Share is not regulated as health insurance and may not provide the same level of coverage or guarantees as traditional insurance plans. As with any healthcare decision, individuals should carefully review the program's terms and limitations to determine if it aligns with their healthcare needs and beliefs.
Medi-Share acts similar to a health insurance PPO (Preferred Provider Organization), however Medi-Share is not insurance and is not regulated by the state insurance commissioner.
Medi-Share in Florida, uses the Health First provider network like traditional health insurance plans. It operates as a healthcare cost-sharing ministry, where members agree to share the burden of each other's medical expenses. As a result, members are free to choose their own healthcare providers, including doctors, specialists, hospitals, and other medical facilities. If the provider is "In-network", similar to insurance coverage, the provider has contractually agreed to abide by a schedule of fees.
When a member needs medical care, they can seek treatment from any healthcare provider of their choice. After receiving the medical services, the member submits the medical bills to Medi-Share for sharing among the community of members. Each member's monthly share amount is used to cover the eligible medical expenses of other members in need.
It's important to understand that while Medi-Share allows members the freedom to choose their healthcare providers, there are specific guidelines and restrictions on the types of medical expenses that are eligible for sharing. Pre-existing conditions, certain elective procedures, and other expenses may not be covered under the program.
Because Medi-Share is not an insurance company and may not have contracts with specific healthcare providers, members may be responsible for negotiating the cost of medical services directly with their chosen providers. Some providers may be familiar with the Medi-Share sharing process, while others may require additional explanation and cooperation from the member.
Before becoming a member of Medi-Share, it's essential for individuals to carefully review the program's guidelines, coverage limitations, and sharing process to ensure it aligns with their healthcare needs and preferences. Additionally, members should be prepared to manage their healthcare expenses independently and navigate the process of sharing medical bills within the Medi-Share community.
Why Consider Medi-Share?
As a member of Medi-Share, individuals may experience several benefits, including:
- Affordability: Medi-Share is often more affordable than traditional health insurance, as members pay a monthly "share" amount, which may be lower than insurance premiums.
- Healthcare Cost Sharing: Members participate in a community of like-minded individuals who share each other's eligible medical expenses. This can help distribute the financial burden of healthcare costs among the community.
- Choice of Providers: Medi-Share does not have a restrictive provider network, giving members the freedom to choose their own healthcare providers, including doctors, hospitals, and specialists.
- Faith-Based Community: Medi-Share is a Christian healthcare cost-sharing ministry, and members are part of a community that shares similar beliefs and values.
- Prayer Support: Members have the option to request prayer and spiritual support from the Medi-Share community during times of health challenges.
- Telehealth Services: Medi-Share offers telehealth services, allowing members to consult with healthcare providers remotely for non-emergency medical issues.
- Prescription Discounts: Medi-Share members have access to a prescription discount program that may help reduce the cost of medications.
- Wellness Programs: Medi-Share provides access to various wellness resources and programs to help members maintain a healthy lifestyle.
- Eligible Medical Expenses: Medi-Share typically covers a wide range of eligible medical expenses, including hospitalizations, surgeries, doctor visits, and some preventive care.
It's important to note that Medi-Share is not traditional health insurance and may have limitations and exclusions on coverage. Pre-existing conditions and certain elective procedures may not be eligible for sharing. Members should carefully review the guidelines and terms of the program to understand the scope of coverage and their financial responsibilities.
Medi-Share can be a beneficial option for individuals who share the program's beliefs and lifestyle requirements and are comfortable with the cost-sharing model. However, as with any healthcare decision, individuals should carefully consider their healthcare needs and preferences before enrolling in Medi-Share or any other healthcare cost-sharing ministry.
Medi-Share - Questions you may be asking yourself.
While Medi-Share can offer several benefits, there are also some items that members may need to be aware of:
- Limited Coverage for Certain Conditions: Medi-Share may not cover pre-existing conditions, certain elective procedures, or specific treatments. This can be a concern for members who require ongoing treatment for existing health conditions.
- Not "Affordable Care Act" ("ACA") coverage: Because Medi-Share is not ACA coverage, Wellness visits may only be covered after meeting the Annual Household Portion. Most members will elect to cover Wellness Visits with a unique inexpensive insurance product.
- Negotiating with Providers: Since Medi-Share does not have its own network of contracted providers, but uses networks that insurance companies would typically use. In Florida, Medi-Share is currently using the Health First provider network.
- Out-of-Pocket Costs: Members may have to pay for medical expenses out of pocket first and then submit the bills for sharing.
- Eligibility and Lifestyle Requirements: Medi-Share has specific eligibility requirements, including adherence to certain lifestyle and moral standards. Some individuals may not qualify for membership based on these criteria.
- Sharing Limits: There may be sharing limits for certain medical expenses or conditions, which means that not all medical costs may be fully covered by the community.
- Financial Risk: Medi-Share operates on a cost-sharing model, and there is no guarantee that all eligible medical expenses will be shared. If the community faces a significant amount of medical expenses, there is a risk that sharing may be limited.
- Understanding Guidelines: Members must fully understand the guidelines and rules of Medi-Share to ensure they follow the sharing process correctly and avoid any issues with reimbursement.
- State Regulations: Medi-Share is not insurance, and it may not be subject to the same regulations and consumer protections as traditional health insurance plans. This can be a concern for some individuals who prefer the regulatory oversight of insurance.
- Limited Telehealth Coverage: While Medi-Share offers telehealth services, the coverage may be limited compared to comprehensive health insurance plans.
- Not Accepted by All Providers: Medi-Share allows members to use any provider, however, some healthcare providers may not be familiar with or accept Medi-Share, which can limit the choice of healthcare facilities and specialists. For providers that are not in-network, members may be required to prepay provider and wait for reimbursement.
- Tobacco Use & Illegal Drugs: Applicants need to have abstained from the use of tobacco or Illegal Drugs for at least the 12 months prior to application in order to be eligible for membership. Applicants attest that they have not abused legal drugs, such as prescriptions or over-the-counter medication, or alcohol for at least the 12 months prior to application in order to be eligible for membership.
- Health Partners: Christian Care Ministry cares deeply about the health and well-being of all Members. For this reason, some Applicants may be required to become a Health Partner. Health Partners are Members who may be at higher risk for disease. CCM believes certain conditions are likely to be reversed through a healthy lifestyle. By reversing and/or preventing certain diseases, people are able to live healthier and fuller lives, ultimately being able to do more work for the Kingdom of God. CCM’s goal is to help all Members reach their individual health goals so they can live more enriched lives.
It's essential for individuals considering Medi-Share to carefully review the program's guidelines, limitations, and costs to determine if it aligns with their healthcare needs and preferences. Additionally, individuals should be prepared to manage their healthcare expenses independently and understand the cost-sharing process within the Medi-Share community. Consulting with a licensed healthcare professional or insurance expert can provide valuable guidance in making an informed decision.