Everyone deserves the safety and security that comes from a quality health insurance program. Yet for most people, the idea of coverage is little more than a dream.
According to Marketwatch, one in four people don’t have access to healthcare. Some 40 million people can’t go to a doctor, fill their prescriptions, or get an annual checkup.
But these millions of individuals aren’t skipping healthcare by choice. Instead, they’re foregoing healthcare because they simply can’t afford it.
Sadly, the situation isn’t going to get better anytime soon. Health care premiums are expected to rise by up to 15% in the coming year, forcing more people to skip basic coverage.
However, those looking to save money and enjoy quality care have a solid option they may not have heard of.
Read on for a quick and honest Medi-Share review and see what this Christian faith-based healthcare alternative is all about.
What is Medi-Share?
Perhaps this is the first time you’ve heard of Medi-Share and you’re unclear on what the program is. Or maybe you remember our previous article and need a quick refresher.
Right off the bat, it’s important to note that Medi-Share isn’t an insurance program. At least, not in a traditional sense.
Instead, Medi-Share touts itself as a healthcare sharing ministry. The program provides quality care for Christian individuals and families through an affordable means and aims to put people above profit, as written in the Book of Acts.
And make no mistake, the program’s suffix should be taken quite seriously. The program is all about sharing and helping those who need it the most.
Each monthly share goes toward another participant’s medical bills. In turn, the contributions of others will then go to your household’s bills.
The result is a great program predicated on community and loving your neighbor, just as God intended.
How Does Medi-Share Work?
Anyone with healthcare via the Marketplace knows that the sign-up and use of their healthcare can be more of a chore than a benefit.
Medi-Share makes the entire process quite simple.
Here’s everything you’ll need to know about how to sign up and how the program actually works.
Filling Out an Application
Before getting great faith-based care, those interested must first fill out an online application. While filling out an application on the Marketplace can be intrusive and burdensome, applying for Medi-Share is quite easy.
First, applicants will fill out an initial page of basic information. This includes their name, address, birthday, and marital status.
Speaking of marital statuses: A divorce doesn’t disqualify one from finding coverage Medi-Share.
The second page of the application provides more information on the six tiers of care the program provides, as well as the number of applicants.
Why the number of applicants? Because Medi-Share works on a household by household basis, not on an individual basis. That means that a household — up to 16 individuals — needs only a single application.
Next, applicants pay an application fee of $50 and wait to hear back. Often, Medi-Share will get back to individuals within an hour.
An easy application process is well and good, but most may wonder how Medi-Share works in practice.
In theory, using Medi-Share is quite simple. Once participants receive their notice of approval, they can hop onto the program’s healthcare locator and find the nearest available care.
When it comes time to schedule an appointment or make a visit to the emergency room, payment is as simple as it gets.
There are no expensive or confusing fees. Households can expect to pay a flat rate of $35 for each doctor or hospital visit and $200 for an ER visit.
There’s no deductible, making it a great choice for those who need frequent medical care.
What Does Medi-Share Offer That Other Healthcare Services Don’t?
As noted, Medi-Share health insurance is quite different than traditional care.
Here are a few of the biggest factors differentiating this Christ-based program from the Marketplace competition.
Year-Round Open Enrollment
The differences begin with the very nature of Medi-Share’s sign-up process. Not only is the application process far simpler than applying on the Marketplace, but there’s no deadline for applying.
Those who wish to get their healthcare from the Marketplace only have about five weeks to do so.
This wouldn’t be a huge problem if there were any advertisements telling people that the sign-up deadline is fast approaching. However, there’s been virtually no discussion about the upcoming deadline.
Those who miss the application deadline on the Marketplace put themselves at a huge risk. It’s tough, if not almost impossible, to qualify for a special enrollment period.
So those who miss the deadline may not be able to receive healthcare coverage until the enrollment period in the following year.
Medi-Share’s lack of a deadline gives it a distinct advantage from the get-go.
No Insurance Premium
Having access to a healthcare provider is great. But paying a monthly premium doesn’t mean you’re exempt from paying some pretty hefty fees.
The average deductible as of this writing sits at around $4,000. That’s thousands of dollars in out of pocket pay before the insurance you’re already paying for kicks in!
Again, Medi-Share has a major advantage in this aspect, as participants don’t pay a deductible in a traditional sense.
Instead, each household applies for an Annual Household Portion they must pay before their bills are eligible for a share. Though similar to a deduction, its function ultimately benefits the community, not corporations.
Tiers range from $1,000 (for individuals 18-29) in coverage to $10,500, so there’s an affordable level of care for all.
It Pays To Be Healthy
Medi-Share offers a unique benefit known as Health Incentives. These bonuses offer additional savings that can help participants save up to 20% off of their monthly share.
And since the Health Incentives program works on an annual basis, a one-time application can grant users year-round savings!
While it sounds pretty good, it does come with some drawbacks.
Participants must fit within a pretty rigid set of guidelines to become eligible for the savings. These guidelines include restrictions on a participant’s waistline, their BMI, and blood pressure.
With that said, it’s understandable that this isn’t a big deal for some. In fact, it can be seen as a fun challenge to encourage people to get into shape.
Still, it doesn’t help those who don’t meet the requirements right away and may be frustrating.
Access to Wider Care
Anyone who’s ever needed a trip to the ER knows that accidents can happen at any time in any location.
While other insurers limit a patient’s area of care, often to a city or state level, Medi-Share grants access to healthcare wherever and whenever participants need it.
As long as there’s a qualifying healthcare professional in the area, you can use your Medi-Share card. The peace of mind alone may be worth it.
Access to MDLive
Of course, not everyone has time to schedule a visit to their local physician.
Working households can’t always get the time off needed to seek medical care, yet they still deserve great care.
This is where one of Medi-Share’s coolest, most high-tech features comes into play.
MDLive is a teleconferencing platform that lets participants get professional advice from real doctors on a 24/7 basis — even on holidays.
Participants can get a diagnosis of anything from seasonal allergies to bug bites to the flu and common cold. Doctors can even send a prescription to your local pharmacy right away!
Perhaps the best thing about MDLive is that the cost is rolled into Medi-Share coverage. As long as you’re covered, you can use MDLive at no additional cost.
Fantastic Maternity Care
Since Medi-Share is a family-focused program, it makes sense that the company would want to encourage growing families.
As of July 2018, Medi-Share opted to give each family access to $125,000 in maternal care. That extra money can be a huge help since a household’s share doesn’t apply to pregnancies.
This additional care can be a huge blessing for those looking to start or add to their family, as ordained by Genesis 1:28.
There’s so much more to health than what we can see and feel. Our spiritual health matters just as much, if not more.
Again, this is where Medi-Share shines. The program promises that participants aren’t only getting medical assistance, but access to a whole community of prayer warriors.
What Are The Drawbacks of Medi-Share?
As wonderful as Medi-Share is, it isn’t without its downsides, too. Before you fill out that application, make sure you’re aware of these Medi-Share problems.
It May Not Be a Great Fit For Those With Preexisting Conditions
Preexisting conditions can make or break someone’s coverage. In fact, it can prevent them from finding coverage, entirely.
This is one major area where Medi-Share falters.
Those with a pre-existing condition — designated as any condition with a sign of symptom shown 36 months prior to coverage — may not find the coverage they’re looking for.
In fact, some conditions may not be covered under Medi-Share’s care at all.
But there is a silver lining of sorts. After 36 months of participation, those with qualifying conditions are eligible for $100,000 in coverage. Once participants have been with Medi-Share for five years, that line extends to $500,000.
The Program Features Steep Fees For Some Health Conditions
Earlier we discussed Medi-Share’s Health Incentives program. While it’s a fantastic incentive to stay in shape, it doesn’t help those who aren’t already in shape.
In fact, those who struggle with obesity or high blood pressure may have to pay an additional monthly fee of $99.
This is intended to encourage a healthier lifestyle, and in their defense, Medi-Share grants users of its Health Partners program access to some great resources such as health coaching and educational tools.
However, that doesn’t help anyone in the meantime. As a result, you may end up paying an extra $99 per month just to access a healthier life. As a result, the “people first” focus begins to feel a bit disingenuous in some ways.
Extra Costs Can Add Up
Unlike traditional health insurance, there aren’t any options for add-on care like vision and dental.
That doesn’t mean that users can’t still use these services, though. In fact, the program offers discounts.
But participants can expect to pay out of pocket for these services. As a result, it may be more costly to start a Medi-Share membership than sign on with a traditional healthcare provider.
Still, it seems like a penalty for those who suffer from poor eyesight or even those with diabetes, both of which aren’t always preventable.
Should You Get Medi-Share?
All of this information leaves us to answer one question: Is Medi-Share health insurance worth it?
For some, absolutely. Medi-Share can be a life-changer.
Those of the Christian faith looking to add on to their family, in particular. People who wish to save on their monthly premiums while accessing a large community of like-minded faith-oriented individuals may benefit, as well.
But some Medi-Share problems may have others taking a second glance.
The cost of extra care, for example. Or the mandatory $99 fee for those who struggle with certain conditions, which seems far too high of a penalty.
Yet at the end of the day, Medi-Share’s pros seem to outweigh its cons. It’s affordable medical health, telemedicine implementation, and open enrollment make it a great choice.
Medi-Share Review: Our Final Thoughts
The Bible calls us to care for one another. Sadly, not every healthcare provider is out to help their fellow man.
But to summarize our Medi-Share review, this is a great program that puts people first.
Users can get access to fantastic, world-class healthcare wherever they are for a low monthly cost, making it an easy recommendation.