More Families Turning to Religion to Help With Healthcare Costs

An interesting trend is developing across the country where families are eschewing health insurance and instead joining what are called health care sharing ministries, where people join together to pay for each other’s medical care.

Frustrated over the growing cost of health insurance, more families appear to be signing up for the ministries, which offer lower costs and keep families compliant with the Affordable Care Act. The ministries, however, often require members to proscribe to certain belief systems and choose not to pay for services that do not align with those beliefs. The ministries also often limit coverage for pre-existing conditions and preventative care.

Experts take pains to point out that the ministries are not the same as health insurance.

“They’re not insurance,” said Karen Pollitz, a senior fellow with the Kaiser Family Foundation. “There’s no contract. This is just a group of people who say God wants us to pay for each other’s medical bills, and then they either will or won’t send money.”

The published report profiles one family of five who pay about $500 for their ministry. The ministry tells the family where to send their checks every month. The family chooses to pay out-of-pocket for anything less than $300 and preventative care is not covered under the ministry. The family estimates they are saving “thousands” of dollars every year by not having health insurance.


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