How a Christian Ministry can Dramatically Reduce Health Costs

FILE - This Friday Aug. 14, 2009 file photo shows a sign outside one of London's National Health Service hospitals. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant, File)

By Dr. Chadwick Constantine Prodromos

Health insurance premiums have risen past the point of reasonable affordability for most Americans since the enactment of Obamacare.Nowa Christian ministry that uses a system of non-insurance health sharinginspired by biblical teaching that pays the medical bills of its members for a fraction of the cost of health insurance, is providing the answer for a rapidly growing number of ChristiansIt is called Medi-Share, and its nearly 300,000members routinely save 30 to 50 percent or more compared to what they were formerly paying to their health insurance carrier.

Does that sound too good to be true?I researched it extensively, as did my initially skeptical insurance broker, and we both concluded that it does indeed appear to offer excellent, reliable coverage at much lower prices: and to be true to its principles.

Here’s how it works.Every member pays a monthly “share” and if their health expenses exceed their share then the excess bills are paid from the shares of other members, with thetransfers being facilitated by Medi-Share.

How are member expenses so dramatically reduced compared to health insurance?First,Medi-Share is not insurance, but rather a Christian Ministry, and as such it is exempt from Obamacare mandates and state insurance laws.This allows Medi-Share to pay only for coverage that its members want, while not forcingpayment for unwanted services as Obamacare does.Members may also elect low or high household “portions,” the amount that is paid by the member before Medi-Share begins paying.Electing a high “portion” also keeps cost lower, as is seen in high deductible health insurance plans.

Medi-Share is limited to Christians who attest to: 1) their firm Christian religious faith; 2) their forbearance from the use of tobacco or illegal drugs or the abuse of alcohol or legal drugs; and 3) their belief in sex only within traditional marriage. Medi-Share also gives a substantial discount for the non-obese, i.e., those with a BMI below 30.

While Medi-Share will not pay for the treatment of health expenses not consistent with a Christian lifestyle, such as a Sexually Transmitted Disease contracted from an extra-marital affair, or a drunk driving accident, they otherwise payall health expenses.They have a contract with a Private HealthCare Systems(PHCS) that allows free choice of providers, with in network discounts, and they have a pharmaceutical benefit.

In summary, their cost savings come from allowing patients to pay for only the coverage they need, by limiting themselves to a Christian population that lives more healthfully than the general population,”by not paying for health expenses such as abortion that are inconsistent with biblical teachings, and by rewarding healthful lifestyles with reduced “shares” paid each month.

They have been in operation for more than 20 years and have paid out more than $1.7 billion.I searched online for reported problems but found a general lack of negative comments in my research. Philip Taylor from ptmoney.com, in an online review this year about Medi-Share, wrote: “They have a proven track record with their customer base and major complaints are either non-existent or few and far between.”

As an Orthopedic Surgeonand an Orthodox Christian, I deeply believe in their commitment to reward healthful living and have been impressed with everyone atMedi-Share with whom I have come in contact.

After completing my research on their program I not only enrolled our family of four and dropped out of our prior commercial insurance plan, butoffered to voluntarily reach out to the Orthodox Christian community aboutMedi-Share so thatother Orthodox Christians who are so inclined could benefit from it.

The Medi-Share representatives with whom I spokeembraced this opportunity to share their concept, which builds on the beliefs which unite all Christians.

Information about Medi-Share can be found at mychristiancare.org.

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