Healthcare in the US is a lot of things… And cheap ain’t one of ’em.
Without diving into the subject of WHY healthcare is so expensive in our country, this post focusses on an affordable alternative that may fit your needs: It’s called AlieraCare.
Plans offered by Healthcare Sharing Ministries have gained considerable momentum since the ACA was first launched in 2014. According to The Alliance of Healthcare Sharing Ministries, in fact, over 1 million members are currently enrolled in these alternative options to traditional healthcare coverage.
For the purpose of this article, we’ll focus on an offering called AlieraCare by Aliera Healthcare. After researching several options, Aliera Healthcare has a proven track record and they offer plans that act just like traditional health insurance in many ways.
Here are 8 things you should know before considering AlieraCare:
As premium costs continue to skyrocket, AlieraCare provides an alternative option, costing roughly half of traditional health insurance.
Pro tip: For those willing to do so, transitioning to an affordable plan through Aliera is a great chance to put some money in savings in the event of a medical emergency. We recommend opening a separate savings account for this purpose. Example: Previous medical plan monthly cost: $1000… Aliera plan cost: $500… Split the difference, and have a monthly auto-deposit put $250 in your new health savings account at your bank or credit union. Over a 1 year period, you’ll have $3000 saved in the event of an emergency.
You’ll Avoid “Individual Mandate” Penalties
When the Affordable Care Act was passed, penalties for not maintainig consistent health insurance coverage were included in the law. Although 2018 penalty amounts are being calculated at the time of this writing, 2017 was no joke: For an individual, you’ll pay 2.5% of your yearly income, or $695… Whichever is higher!
For more: https://www.healthcare.gov/fees/fee-for-not-being-covered/
Enrolling in a healthcare sharing ministry health plan through Aliera qualifies you for an exemption through the ACA. This means you won’t be charged a penalty, even though it’s not technically insurance. To accomplish this, Aliera seamlessly integrates IRS form 8965 into the 15-minute application process.
You Can Enroll Anytime
Considering Aliera isn’t insurance, you can enroll anytime.
One of the most popular times to enroll, in fact, is right after open enrollment. The three most typical reasons for this timing are:
- You missed open enrollment
- You’re fed up with the high increases
- You simply want to avoid the ACA penalty at the lowest cost possible
No Renewal Necessary
Traditional health insurance plans are offered in a year-over-year basis… At the end of a given calendar year, the plans will undergo various changes, including higher rates and various benefits changes like higher deductibles and new pharmaceutical restrictions.
Not so with Aliera.
Though the rates will increase slightly with member age, coverage does not need to be renewed. Just pay your bill, and you’re good to go.
Aliera uses the well known, nationwide, PHCS MultiPlan. Click here to search doctors and hospitals near you.
Telemedicine is free
Telemedicine is taking healthcare by storm right now, and AlieraCare uses one of the largest vendors in the US: Teladoc.
If you haven’t tried telemedicine (doctor visits through your phone or computer), you might be surprised at their effectiveness. Though statistics vary, roughly 70% of all doctor and urgent care visits can be remedied by a quick telemedicine visit. This process, which takes roughly 15 minutes start to finish, often results in a diagnosis, and a prescription is written for pickup at your favorite local pharmacy when necessary.
There is a statement of belief requirement
Aliera is the most “open” of all healthcare sharing ministries. Having said this, their product is able to exist as a “healthcare sharing ministry”.
As such, applicants to Aliera must state that they believe in a god.
With this in mind, Aliera has the most liberal and wide-reaching statement of faith that exists in the healthcare sharing ministry space, but it’s a requirement nonetheless.
Some limitations exist:
It’s not insurance
While this is self-explanatory, it needs to be said. While Aliera may look, and act, a lot like insurance (taking in premium money and paying out claims) it is not technically health insurance. Insurance is highly regulated, by none other than the department of insurance (DOI). This means that a member who believes they are being treated unfairly by a health insurance carrier can make an appeal to the department of insurance. After a process of review, DOI has the authority to require the insurance carrier to remedy the situation, which could mean that you, the consumer, are made “whole”. Considering Healthcare Sharing Ministry plans, like Aliera, are not insurance, you don’t have this layer of protection, should you need it.
Preexisting conditions have a 2-year waiting period
Unlike traditional insurance, which covers all pre-existing conditions from day-one, Aliera requires a waiting period before covering.
While this is the official rule on preexisting conditions, Aliera does allow members to make extra contributions towards other member’s medical needs. This frequently results in non-covered issues being taken care of financially. Just don’t rely on this.
For more on restrictions, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
There are plan limits
Aliera caps coverage at various “per-incident” and lifetime limits. While the lifetime limit is 1 million dollars across all plans, the per-incident amount varies depending on which tier you select.
AlieraCare is not available in the following states:
AK, HI, ME, MD, PR, WY
Updated on 10-29-2018
For questions on AlieraCare, and other healthcare sharing ministries, please feel free to contact us.