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Medical Sharing Plans: A risky alternative to Health Insurance

Whether you are in Cincinnati, Columbus or Cleveland, many Ohioans share negative feelings toward health insurance carriers.  After all, the carriers do accept and decline individuals at will, raise premiums consistently and remain profitable–regardless of the economic climate.  Over the last decade many have sought out alternative health care options.  One alternative, which has become increasingly popular, is the concept of the medical sharing plan.

A medical sharing plan is not to be confused as a form of health insurance.  Medical sharing plans offer flat monthly rates for individuals and families to share in the cost of health care among a large group of people.  In other words, you pay premiums to help others meet their health care expenses (i.e. office visits, hospitalization, prescriptions, etc.) and vice versa.  While this might be a noble idea, the concept has its flaws.

For one, medical sharing plans, such as Samaritan Ministries International, provide health care assistance based on the cost of the service.  For example, if you have an expense under $300, you are responsible for paying that out of pocket.  As well, if you have an expense that exceeds $250,000, you are responsible for paying the balance.  Under typical health insurance plans, you are offered copays or discounts, which helps alleviate the burden of expensive office visits and prescriptions.  Also, standard health insurance policies usually have lifetime maximums that far exceed the $250,000 offered by medical sharing plans.  And, as a result of President Obama’s recent health care reform bill, lifetime maximums will eventually be a limitation of the past. 

Medical sharing plans require others to pay for your medical expenses and there’s no guarantee you will receive the money to cover those expenses.  Samaritan Ministries International requires that you submit a petition for needs over $300, which is posted in their newsletter, stating your condition and the amount of assistance you are needing.  Essentially, this system relies on others to meet medical expenses with absolutely no assurance that the amount of need will be met.  Under a typical health insurance plan, on the other hand, you would not have to face such uncertainty with regard to covering claims. 

If you would like to read more about medical sharing plans check out the following site:  For questions regarding health insurance plans available to individuals, families and self employed persons, feel free to contact a licensed health insurance agent of Chaser Insurance Group at 1-877-775-4321.

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