1. Money

Alternative Health Care Insurance Choices: Medical Sharing

How Medical Sharing Networks and Societies Have Become a Popular Solution

By

America's Battle with High Health Care Costs

There is no doubt most Americans agree that health care costs are way out of line and it is next to impossible to find a low cost alternative health insurance choice. The reasons for this are numerous and, just like the price of gas, we just have to deal with the premiums. This result has lead thousands of Americans to take a look at alternative ways to pay for health care premiums and one choice many have been choosing is to share their medical bills.

You Can Share and Save!

What? Share medical bills? At first it may sound a little too personal for some, but for years is has been a great way for many to afford health care. The concept is not new and has been available from many organizations for 10+ years. Sometimes referred to as a medical sharing society or a medical cost-sharing organization, these medical sharing networks are not insurance companies. However, they do function similar to a health insurance company but the premiums are much cheaper. So, how do they provide coverage similar to traditional insurance companies but with lower premiums? It mainly boils down to the participants lifestyles.

Are You Tired of Paying for the Unhealthy Lifestyles of Others?

Think about how a typical health insurance plan works: There are a large number of people insured and their health and lifestyle choices vary greatly. Some are very healthy and never smoke, drink, or engage in risky sexual behavior, some don't take care of their health at all and lead very risky lifestyles and there is everyone in between. But, they all have the same health care plan and so they all "share" medical costs. But, think if you were part of a health care plan where everyone made a pledge to not make unhealthy lifestyle choices?

It is Common Sense: If We Choose a Healthy Lifestyle then We Will for the Most Part Have Less Health Care Costs

If we all could be lucky enough to be in a health care plan where everyone agreed to not smoke, drink, do drugs, and not engage in risky lifestyle choices then of course, our health insurance would be much cheaper. It does happen, even successfully, in a medical sharing society. How? Currently, all the medical sharing societies are religious based and this is how they can offer health care coverage similar to traditional health insurance at a cheaper cost because the participants, due to their religious convictions, agree to not engage in activities that they feel conflicts with their faith. You may wonder if this model can trley be successful... does everyone really follow the rules?

Sharing the Medical Bills Can Work!

So far, medical sharing societies have been very successful, which leads to the conclusion that overall the people enrolled have been keeping up with their end of the deal. This may be the answer for Americans who are ready for a different, and for some, a better way to pay for their medical costs. But, would this model work outside of a religious framework?

The Key is How to Keep Everyone Honest

It may be not be a concept that will materialize in the near future, but there is no reason to believe that other organizations could not reproduce a similar medical sharing model. Labor unions and faternatial organizations would be good candidates for a similar model. Since it seems as though the current religious medical sharing societies function so successfully because of their religious convictions, the key for a successful non-religious medical society would be to figure out a way to keep the members of the medical sharing society agreeing to live a healthy lifestyle.

Medical Sharing Society Links

If you are interested in learning more about medical sharing societies, below are the links to a few of the larger organizations:

Christian Health Care Ministries

Samaritan Ministries

Christian Care Medi-Share

  1. About.com
  2. Money
  3. Personal Insurance
  4. Health Insurance
  5. Medical Sharing Societies and Medical Sharing Networks - Alternative Health Insurance Choices

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.