Faith-Based Plans

Faith-based plans help people from all walks of life manage the risk of unexpected medical bills. How? Read more for further details.

What is Faith-Based Plan?

Faith-based healthcare is offered through non-profit organizations with a religiously-oriented purpose and serves as an alternative to health insurance. These plans are also known as “health sharing ministries” or “healthcare sharing ministries.”  

How does Faith-Based Healthcare work?

Faith-based plans, unlike traditional health insurance, do not insure individuals but rather share healthcare costs among a large group of people. Members contribute to the system, and when they receive a bill from their doctor, other plan members contribute to help with the bills.

faith-based plans

Faith-based health plans are nonprofit, membership-driven organizations, much like credit unions. Let’s say Jay is a member of a religious health plan. When compared to a standard insurance premium, Jay’s monthly payment will be significantly less. If Jay becomes ill, the other participants in his faith-based healthcare system will cover a portion of his medical expenses.

Depending on which faith-based health plan you select, there may be a religious requirement. These programs often require its participants to sign a statement of faith, and some ask your local church for confirmation.

Are essential health benefits covered by Faith-Based Plans?

Faith-based healthcare is not ACA-compliant and does not have to cover the essential health benefits mandated by the Affordable Care Act (ACA). These plans are exempt from the mandates of the ACA. 

Further, ACA does set certain requirements for faith-based health plans:

  • Members must share a common set of specific ethical or religious beliefs;
  • Plans cannot be different for people based on where they work or live;
  • Plans must share medical costs among members, no matter what state they live in;
  • Members cannot lose their membership even if they develop a medical condition – although, members who don’t pay their share of costs can be disenrolled; and
  • The plans must be audited once a year, and the results must be made public upon request.

These four plans met the ACA requirements:

Are there premiums or deductibles?

Faith-based health plans do carry monthly premiums and deductibles; however, under different names.

Monthly Sharing Amounts

Premiums are referred to as “monthly sharing amounts” and usually range from around $100 to $500, depending on your plan and size of your family.

Sharing Responsibilities

Deductibles and other out-of-pocket costs are called “sharing responsibilities” and can be as low as $500 to as much as $10,000, depending on your plan.

Also, in addition to monthly sharing amounts, most plans require a small enrollment fee. In most scenarios, these total costs remain far lower than traditional insurance costs.

What are the advantages of Faith-Based Health Plans?

There are several important advantages of using faith-based healthcare as an alternative to traditional health insurance.

  • Affordability: These plans are typically less expensive than traditional health insurance, particularly in the volatile Obamacare market. Donations received from other members are also considered “gifts” and are tax-free.
  • Belief-Driven Healthcare: If you are a religious person, this plan allows you to donate money to an organization whose beliefs you share without having to worry about funding care such as abortions, gender reassignment, or morning-after pills.
  • Community: These faith-based plans have a sense of community that traditional health insurance companies do not have. If you are diagnosed with a serious medical condition, you can expect your health-sharing ministry to care for you not only financially, but also physically and emotionally.

What are the risks?

There are important risks to be aware of when considering faith-based healthcare:

  • Essential health benefits are not required: Because these plans are not ACA-compliant, they are not required to cover essential health benefits such as preventative care or mental health care.
  • Denied coverage: You may be denied coverage because of pre-existing conditions or religious beliefs.
  • Belief-driven healthcare: Your faith-based health plan may not cover injuries resulting from an accident caused by immoral behavior, such as drinking alcohol or using illegal drugs.
  • No guaranteed coverage: These plans “share” costs and do not insure members. Technically, they can run out of funds, declare bankruptcy, and refuse to contribute to your costs. However, this is a remote possibility.
  • No legal protections: Because you do not sign a contract, most disputes are resolved through an appeals process overseen by the ministry. Government agencies have no legal authority.

Where and how can I enroll for Faith-Based Healthcare?

At Simple Choice Insurance Brokerage, you can enroll with us online. Call (832) 626-7791 or email laquentin@simplechoiceib.com. You can enroll at any time you want – there is no open enrollment period for faith-based health plans.