What Is Faith-Based Health Insurance?

What Is Faith-Based Health InsuranceAt HealthGuys, we believe every life is unique, so we want to make sure you have a health insurance plan with benefits that reflect that uniqueness. If you practice a faith and are looking for a different health insurance option, you might want to look into faith-based plans.

Faith-based health insurance plans are not overseen or regulated by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and are usually offered through nonprofit religious-based charity organizations. In the formal sense, they are actually not insurance plans at all but rather “sharing” plans.

The idea behind faith-based plans is that the community of members in the network support each other by sharing the healthcare costs. Members pay a specific amount for a plan each month, which looks very similar to a traditional health insurance payment. However, this payment goes into the larger community bucket. If a member goes to the doctor or has an emergency medical procedure done, that person submits the bill for medical services, and the money in the community bucket is used toward paying that person’s bill.

Advantages of Faith-Based Health Insurance

Most faith-based health insurance programs highlight their sense of community. The community is based on sharing the burden of medical expenses through their commitment to their faith and to people who share that faith.

Many plan rates are also set with the idea that healthier members are able to contribute more to support those less fortunate in their health. The sense of giving back and helping those in need is a strong foundational mindset.

Some other advantages of a faith-based health insurance membership are as follows:

By feeling their expenses will be covered, members are more likely to actually go to the doctor, stay up to date with medical exams, and treat issues proactively.

  • The cost of medical bills is not as overwhelming to a member’s overall budget because the cost is shared (and not “lost” to the larger medical system).
  • Money contributed goes into a larger pool, so if an individual does not use anything for their own coverage, they appreciate being able to contribute to the larger community.
  • Because faith-based plans are not regulated by the ACA, they are extremely flexible in structure and in setting monthly premiums.
  • Due to the community aspect, members support each other not only financially but also emotionally, spiritually, and even physically. Members often have forums, chat groups, and events throughout the year, and some members become lifelong friends.
  • Because they are not limited by coverage in network or out of network, individuals with faith-based health insurance plans can see any doctor they choose.

Are There Risks?

We know there is a lot that goes into choosing the right insurance plan for you, and faith-based health insurance providers are no different. With any health insurance, you need to make sure you understand what is covered and what is not depending on the plan you choose.

While people like us at HealthGuys are here to help you navigate the process of choosing the best plan for you and your budget, there are a few things to be aware of with faith-based plans:

  • Since faith-based plans are not governed by the rules of the ACA, coverage can be declined in certain situations after medical treatment has already been provided (for example, members should make sure to understand the organization’s response to injuries caused by “immoral” reasons).
  • In addition to certain coverage being declined, other coverage might not be included in the first place, especially if it contradicts any religious beliefs the organization might hold (for example, cosmetic surgery, fertility treatment, dental, or vision treatments).
  • Plans are not required to follow the ACA’s 10 Essential Benefits.
  • Many faith-based health plans have very strong beliefs around pregnancy and family planning that might not align with an individual’s personal beliefs or situation.
  • Some organizations require “commitment to the faith” and “proof of faith,” while others are more than happy to have members outside the faith participate.
  • Depending on the state in which you live, your state may or may not have safe-harbor laws instituted. Safe-harbor laws allow for flexibility between faith-based coverage vs. ACA-regulated health insurance coverage.
  • Individuals do not have any control over who is awarded parts of the pool of money.
  • Faith-based health insurance cannot utilize Health Savings Accounts (HSAs).

We Can Help

At HealthGuys, one of our areas of insurance specialty is selling faith-based insurance plans. More than one million people across the United States are enrolled in faith-based health insurance options, and the practice is continuing to grow. Plans can cover everything from injury and illness to maternity costs and physical therapy.

We offer faith-based plans with well-known providers such as OneShare Health and Altrua HealthShare, so give us a call today!