What is healthcare sharing and how does it impact my healthcare options?
In an incredibly complicated and confusing climate of healthcare in the United States, there’s a non-insurance alternative that’s taking our country by storm.
Healthcare sharing. What is it? What does it mean? Who can use it?
That’s what we’re here to discover. This impactful industry sometimes referred to as HCSM (Health Care Sharing Ministries) has grown extensively over the last decade. Industry leaders estimate healthcare sharing members to exceed well beyond 1.5 million, with total dollars exceeding $2 billion.
Is healthcare sharing insurance?
Refreshingly, healthcare sharing is not insurance. A Healthcare Sharing Organization is an organization whose members share a common set of ethical or religious beliefs and share medical expenses in accordance with those beliefs, even after a member develops a medical condition.
That description doesn’t just come from Healthcare Sharing Organizations, but straight from the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Healthcare sharing is accompanied by a statement of shared beliefs and ethics that you sign when you apply for membership to be a part of a healthcare sharing community.
With health insurance, your money goes into a pool that helps contribute to a large profit for the health insurance organization. Healthcare sharing puts your money directly toward the medical bills of other members. In a world where human connection is constantly decreasing, healthcare sharing works better and feels better than traditional, faceless services.
Healthcare sharing provides an opportunity to care for others in your community and make the process of covering medical expenses more human.
How has healthcare sharing grown into what it is now?
The idea of healthcare sharing, challenging the norms of covering healthcare costs, has been around since the 80s but today is a much more refined and efficient version of healthcare sharing. The original idea of gathering, sorting, submitting and managing the payment of your medical bills made it a logistical nightmare, which in turn made it challenging for people to trust a process that was inefficient and hard to keep accountable.
Today’s world of healthcare sharing is enabled by technology platform and innovation that make participation in a modern healthcare sharing organization easy and far more convenient. Modern HSOs have automated the process of bill submittals by enabling medical providers to electronically submit their invoices after services rendered. Bill processing, member-to-member sharing, and provider payments have been automated as well.
The most modern platforms implement virtual share exchanges and virtual ledgers to transfer funds electronically and enable full transparency and accountability. As in other industries, the process for creating and operating a successful healthcare sharing platform has been broken down to a science, streamlined, and made better by technology and innovation.
Aside from the valuable improvements to the backend of healthcare sharing, today’s HSOs integrate a social component to paying medical bills through healthcare sharing. Unlike an insurance product, healthcare sharing enables social interactions and meaningful connections, such as prayer and words of encouragement between members who have been matched for sharing. These types of social technologies and interactions make healthcare sharing unique. Not only is it a great way for paying your medical bills, it’s a great way to gain a sense of community.
What do you mean my bills are shared?
You might be wondering what is meant by “bills will be shared.” Well, each month, your monthly share is matched and allocated to another person’s eligible medical bills for payment. Through a secure online portal, Impact publishes the bills eligible for sharing and coordinates the direct sharing of medical costs between members. You will know every month whose bills you are paying. You will be notified when you have eligible bills that will be shared by other members, as well as the names of the members who are sharing (paying) your bills. You’ll even be able to connect with the members you help, as well as the members who help you.
What are my limits?
There are no lifetime limits when it comes to Impact Health Sharing. There is, however, a $500,000 annual sharing limit per household member, per year. The $500,000 annual limit resets every year on the Membership Anniversary Date. But it’s important to remember, that Impact will only share $50,000 of eligible medical bills in the first 60 days (excluding preexisting conditions) of your membership.