A healthcare sharing ministry is an organization that facilitates sharing of health care costs among individual members, in the United States, who have common ethical or religious beliefs.
THIS IS NOT INSURANCE
In our opinions, these plans by themselves are not a replacement for insurance. They are excellent add on plans to Short Term Major Medical, MEC plans and even Defined Benefits Plans but NOT a replacement for health insurance unless all insurance options are unaffordable.
COST SHARING POOL
These plans are cost sharing pools. Each family contributes to the pool each month in the form of a premium. If there is enough money in the "pot" when you have a claim, the company will pay. If not, they are not contractually obligated to pay claims.
NO RECOURSE IF THE COMPANY DOESN'T PAY
Since these plans are not defined as insurance, the state Department of Insurance cannot get involved if a claim is not paid. The only recourse would be to file a lawsuit against the company directly.
STATEMENT OF FAITH
Almost all of the sharing programs do require some type of statement of faith. Most of these are Christian based but there are a few that will except all clients that believe in something that is a higher power.
SOMETHING IS BETTER THAN NOTHING
If all the products defined as health insurance are out of reach financially then this is the product consumers should look at closely. Something is always better than nothing.