Christian Care Medi-Share:
Your Guide To This Popular Healthcare Sharing Ministry Option
Following a recent post on Aliera Healthcare and a few Youtube videos, our agency has become flooded with calls and emails on Healthcare Sharing Ministry plans.
It’s no wonder why Healthcare Sharing Ministry plans are gaining momentum, as folks seek creative ways to avoid the high cost of traditional health insurance. One of the top options in this category is Christian Care Medi-Share. This article was written as a guide: Enabling you to make a decision on whether or not Christian Care is the right fit for you.
If you’re tight on time – here are some helpful links on Medi-Share:
- Statement of faith: click here
- See prices + apply: click here
- Pre-existing condition limitations: click here
- Medi-Share guidelines: click here
- Provider search tool: click here
With that out of the way, let’s explore Christian Care Medi-Share, and what you can expect if you choose to apply: This article is divided into two big categories:
- Challenges – Why Christian Care’s non-insurance solution may be a bad fit for you
- Advantages – What makes Christian Care so good?
Note: The terms “Christian Care”, “Medi-Share” and CCM will be used interchangeably in this article, in reference to the Christian Care Medi-Share Healthcare Sharing Ministry offering.
Things that make you say “hmmm…”
1 – Medi-Share is NOT insurance (repeat this 10 times)
As a Healthcare Sharing Ministry, Christian Care’s Medi-Share program is NOT insurance. Rather, “Christian Care Ministry, Inc. (CCM) is a Florida not-for-profit corporation that is tax exempt as a 501(c)(3).”
Using this status, CCM simply facilitates the sharing of medical expenses… They help direct the money you “share” each month to other members who are experiencing a qualified, sharable medical need.
So… Is the fact that CCM is not traditional health insurance good, or bad? The rest of this post looks at the advantages, and the disadvantages, as it applies to you, the consumer.
2 – Religious requirements
Christian/Evangelical Belief System:
Enrolling in Christian Care Medi-Share requires that you subscribe to a belief system consistent with the CCM Statement of Faith. To sum it up, you must have a view of God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, consistent with traditional Christian/Evangelical views. Folks who identify as Christian, Catholic, Evangelical, Lutheran, Baptist, and many other Christian-based religions could meet these requirements.
The advantage for those who identify with these beliefs is that those who qualify for Christian Care Medi-Share can know (or have reason to believe) that they are joining with other like-minded folks, who share a common set of beliefs. With this, comes the privilege of paying into a system that does not support procedures that they disagree with, and does not subsidize a lifestyle that contradicts said beliefs. See the next section for what these
Quick editors note: The above statement is laden with nuance that this would take another article, twice this long to address… Having said this, we acknowledge that the CCM product is not for everyone, which is why we work with other Healthcare Sharing Ministry options that are much more open for people of different religious beliefs.
3 – Pre-Existing Conditions (and other limitations)
After the Affordable Care Act was passed, health insurance companies could no longer reject, or charge a premium when applicants were in poor health. Considering the CCM product is not insurance, they have their own guidelines on all of the above.
Examples of bills NOT eligible for sharing in this category:
3 year waiting period from the time of last sign, symptom or treatment before bills can be shared, or if you have reached 3 years as a member
Bills relating to “unbiblical lifestyles”, including:
drug and alcohol-related issues
Annual check-up visits for members over 6 years old
Mammograms and/or colonoscopies
Pregnancy – if conception occurred prior to enrolling in Medi-Share
Childbirth outside of marriage
Motorcycle-related bills over $100K (unless incurred while doing missionary-related work)
4 – Medication
CCM does not directly pay for pharmaceuticals. Instead, they offer a discount plan. This feature limits how attractive the plan is for some folks (particularly those who need regular, high-cost medication). Considering how expensive Rx benefits are (they are said to exceed the cost of outpatient hospitalization bills on traditional insurance plans), this is a key way that CCM keeps their plans affordable.
5 – Sharing Not Guaranteed
As a non-insurance product, CCM reserves the right to not pay a “need” at anytime. For what it’s worth, our agency has seen CCM stand behind the terms of their product very well: Paying for needs that are sharable, and offering more than adequate explanation for anything that is not. Considering the growth of CCM since their inception in 1993, we have reason to believe this is a typical experience. Having said this, the terms state that they can refuse to pay, at their discretion.
6 – Sign-up Process
Once you submit your initial application, there is a bit more of a process with CCM than a traditional health insurance plan. Most of this 15-20 business-day process has to do with setting up a new credit union account at America’s Christian Credit Union. Why they require the account: Unlike traditional health insurance (I know… phrase of the day), CCM does not “hold” your money… Rather, they become a joint custodian, of sorts. This allows them to access the money that is drafted into your account each month, and direct it towards other members experiencing a need.
If you delay in filling out any required paperwork or e-files during this process, the length of time will, of course, be extended.
7 – Additional Fees
When you submit your initial 5-minute application, at the time of this article, there is a $50 application fee.
Once the CCM team reviews your application, and if you’re approved, you will be charged an additional $120 setup charge. This covers getting your account up and running, your credit union account working, etc…
After that, you will pay one of two small additional monthly fees: $2/mo if you elect electronic billing, or $3/mo if you elect paper billing.
Things that make you say “Yehaw!!!”
1 – Low Cost
Typical savings range between 40 – 60%, compared with a similar, traditional health insurance plan. Click here to see pricing.
If, for example, a household is saving substantial money each month, you will likely (statistically) come out ahead. For example, a household saving just $300/mo, compared to traditional health insurance is saving $3,600 per year, before medical expenses! This could be applied towards doctors visits, Rx needs, etc… with money left over.
2 – Unlimited Sharing
Unlike other Healthcare Sharing Ministry options, Christian Care Medi-Share has no limit on sharing for most in-network, qualified medical expenses. One exception is maternity, which places a limit of $125,000 per childbirth, provided the member is enrolled in a qualified plan, and conception occurs after the member is enrolled in Medi-Share, within the context of marriage.
3 – Sign Up Anytime
Traditional health insurance requires a Qualifying Life Event to enroll anytime outside of annual open enrollment. Medi-Share, on the other hand, can be enrolled in year-round, with no need to prove that you lost health insurance to qualify.
4 – Solid Network
Medi-Share uses the proven, PHCS Multiplan Network. This is a large, national network.
Navigating the PHCS Multiplan network as a CCM member essentially “feels” like you’re on a PPO plan… More specifically, it could be compared to an EPO or “Exclusive Provider Network” plan, as there are not out-of-network benefits like PPO plans allow.
Before enrolling, it is advisable to contact your providers and ask them if they accept PHCS Multiplan. Avoid asking them if they accept Christian Care Medi-Share, as providers and billing departments are much more likely to be familiar with PHCS Multiplan.
5 – Just One Annual Household Max
Unlike traditional insurance plans which typically double the individual deductible and out of pocket max when you have 2 or more people in your household, Christian Care sets one “Annual Household Portion” for your family… Once you reach this limit, any additional qualified share requests in your household are immediately eligible for sharing.
6 – Free Telemedicine
CCM offers no-cost , 24/7 access to doctors through your phone or computer with their “MD Live” program. Using MD Live, the designated CCM Telemedicine service, you can talk with a doctor in minutes. They can diagnose your issue, write prescriptions, and most likely help you resolve your medical issue without setting foot in a doctors office, Urgent Care, or Emergancy Room. An estimated 70% of medical issues can be resolved with this service. This is a great deal, and I’ve personally used telemedicine numerous times with excellent results. (It’s particularly great when traveling)
7 – Available in all 50 states
While traditional health insurance varies state to state, Medi-Share is the same, regardless of where you live.
8 – Health Incentives Available
CCM offers up to 20% off your monthly share amount if you can prove you’re in reasonably good health.
9 – Adoption Costs Are Eligible
Yes, you read that right. CCM offers adoption assistance credit. Certain restrictions apply. If this is something that interests you, please reach out, and we’ll explain how it works.