Obamacare haters have a new way to avoid doing the responsible thing and buying health insurance. Fox News reports that a growing number of Christians are opting for “faith based” alternatives to purchasing health insurance through one of the government insurance exchanges.
Medi-Share is an example of a company that is like a cooperative, where members help pay each others’ medical expenses. The Fox report tells the story of a Georgia family, Lisa and Jonathan Adams, and their five children. They were unhappy with the cost of their health insurance, and the out of pocket costs, so they dropped their policy in favor of Medi-Share. When their seven-year-old daughter fell out of bed and broke her arm, not only did Medi-Share pay most of the expenses for her treatment, they even offered a prayer, which delighted Mr. and Mrs. Adams.
According to Fox News, Medi-Share currently has about 100,000 members. Belonging to a group such as this allows members to avoid having to pay the penalties required by the Affordable Care Act for not having health insurance.
Medi-Share or “Medi-Sham?”
According to the site Cost Helper, a broken arm that requires surgery could cost as much as $16,000. The Fox report says that Medi-Share paid “most” of the cost, but they didn’t specify how much the bill came to, or whether Medi-Share members get the same discounted rates from doctors and hospitals that insurance companies get.
A broken arm is a fairly inexpensive medical treatment, compared to treatments for more serious conditions. Groups such as Medi-Share can easily pay for a number of broken arms, or other broken bones. But, what happens when a Medi-Share member has a heart attack, and spends two weeks in a cardiac care unit? University Hospitals, in Ohio, lists their charge for the cardiac care unit at $5,950 a day. That’s just for the room. Or, what happens when a member, or several members, require an expensive cancer drug? Many cancer therapies can cost $25,000 and up, per treatment. If that were to happen, it seems that Medi-Share would soon run out of money.
The Medi-Share site explains how the program works. Each month, members pay a share, which is then matched with the medical bills of another member. There are annual maximum out of pocket costs, just like with insurance plans.
But here’s the catch. The Medi-Share site makes it clear that the program is not insurance. Pre-existing conditions are not covered. Prescription drugs are only covered for six months, per condition. And, as even the Fox report mentions, there is no guarantee of payment.
What do Medi-Share members get for their money, then? Well, they may or may not get coverage for their medical needs. But, they do get a certain peace of mind in knowing that all of those nasty people they look down upon will not benefit from receiving any of their money. In the program description, Medi-Share makes it clear that coverage for things that occur outside of the context of Christianity, such as abortion, treatment for drug addiction, mental health services, and so forth, are not covered. To become a Medi-Share member, you have to attest to a “personal relationship with Jesus Christ.” No sinners need apply.
Here’s the Fox News take on companies like Medi-Share:
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