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Friday, April 11, 2014

The Horrendous Healthcare Hunt Begins!

The Horrendous Healthcare Hunt Begins
Ok. Healthcare. Whether or not we want it, it is being forced upon us, in one form or another. I suppose if our imaginary kiddos are ever going to become real we're going to need insurance, or some kind of alternative, because life without it just isn't feasible, or wise.

Where to begin? Now that we're done shaking our fist at the government, it's time to stop fooling around and figure something out, which requires a lot of research, time, and effort. Moreover, we finally have our budget where we want it, and adding healthcare to the mix means rebuilding it practically from the ground up. And who wants to go there? Definitely not the Free Spirit—AKA the hubby.

Initially, we thought the best option would be getting healthcare through our employer, but that's expensive and, because of ObamaCare, funds things we don't agree with—like abortion and the morning after pill.

So what are our alternatives? There's Medi-Share, which we hear about on the Christian radio station all the time. It seems to be a good program, but in some ways it acts as an insurance in that there is an Annual Household Portion that you have to pay prior to making any claims. They also have provider fees that you have to pay for each visit. Is this good? Bad? Hard to say at this point.

Then there's Samaritan's Ministries, which also appears to be a good program. They do not have an Annual Household Portion because they point out that you are responsible for your healthcare costs, not a portion, but all of it. They're not insurance. They're a sharing ministry, which can be hard to wrap your head around if you're new to the concept, but it's worked since 1994. However, the downside to this alternative is that there is a minimum of $300 in order to make a claim. Who knows how many visits we'll make to the doctor that are under $300—probably not many in today's healthcare world—but you never know.

What else is there? We could pay Obama's hefty fine, but we hate the thought of giving people money who don't deserve it. Then there's always the possibility of having my husband deliver our children here at our home, but he tells me that's not going to happen. Hey, it's an alternative. I didn't say it was a good one.

If we've learned anything about health insurance from Dave Ramsey it's that living without health insurance is like gambling with your financial future. All it would take is one accident to ruin everything we've fought so hard to achieve, and that's not a gamble we're willing to make.

So what is your experience with healthcare alternatives? Have you any advice on Medi-Share or Samaritan's Ministries or even another option? Let us know in the comments below.

Keep pinchin' :-)


  1. We have been with SAm for 16 years and it is wonderful. One thing on the $300 :"deductible" I want to clarify. You do pay the first $300 unless you are able to negotiate a discount greater than $300 and then you don't pay anything. In most situations we don't pay anything so that has been great.

    1. Thanks for the clarification. That is the kind of stuff we are wondering about, as neither of us have very much experience with real life costs, as we have either been healthy with no need to go or we had insurance and didn't pay attention to the costs.

  2. I was in healthcare for 10 years in the billing area so I've seen a lot over time. Be sure to read the fine print on the policies. A lot of times there is a maximum that they are willing to pay (this may have changed with Obamacare. I recently left healthcare so I'm not sure what the policies look like anymore). I have seen some really inexpensive plans only pay a small amount towards a visit which won't help you when insurance is really needed during a catastrophic event. I completely agree with Dave Ramsey that not having insurance is a huge gamble. If you are good savers and healthy, pay less for a premium and get a high deductible. Then, put money away tax free in a savings account like a Health Savings Account. That way you pay less in premiums and can save the money you would have spent on premiums and put it away for that high deductible. That Health Savings Account will carry over from year to year and gain a little bit of interest even. Good luck in your decision. Let me know if I can help.

  3. I have been with Medishare for over a year now. Before that (back in 2007), I actually worked as an insurance specialist for a doctor's office. My job was to call the different insurance providers and figure out the specifics of each and every plan they offered. Fun times.

    I went uninsured for four years and then was offered Medi-Share through my employer. After I was let go, I kept my Medi-Share policy because it was just that good. I went to the hospital twice while covered under MS and I am so thankful that I had the coverage!

    What is nice about them is that they operate on an insurance network. What that means is that when claims are sent to them, they are adjusted (discounted). So you have that protection. One of my bills from the hospital they adjusted completely from $300 down to zero. (In the insurance world this is called an 'allowed amount') Without that adjustment, I would have been out thousands of dollars, but, because I had the 500AHP, I only had to pay $500 and the hospital provider fee. Much more doable!

    They do not cover care for pre-existing conditions if you have any, and they don't 'share' standard health expenses, like yearly physicals. However, in my experience, you can still submit those bills to be adjusted, which means that instead of paying $150 out of pocket for a physical, you would only pay $75. It's still your responsibility; you just get a 'discount.'

    The AHP is just like a standard insurance deductible and the provider fees are just like co-pays. Most insurances have deductibles, co-pays, and co-insurances, so that is not really a disadvantage. Plans that have no out-of-pocket (co-pays, deductibles, co-insurances) are *very* expensive, if they even still exist. MS has a range of pricing for their plans, from high deductible low premium (known as catastrophic care) to low deductible and 'high' premium and any plan 1000AHP or greater has maternity benefits. Honestly, when I went to compare my current cost against actual insurance policies, mine was HALF the price. For someone who does not go to the doctor often, I would rather be saving that money. I just make sure that I factor my AHP into my savings fund.

    If you are interested, here is my affiliate link for them:

    1. Thanks for all the great info and taking the time to write it out for us! Much appreciated!