The individuals who had previously been uninsurable due to poor health or pre-existing conditions received a gift in the name of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in 2010. It brought with it a new era of healthcare for many Americans.

The law proposed a new structure of subsidies intended to help make healthcare more affordable, which presented an opportunity for many to get comprehensive health insurance coverage via their state health insurance portal or its federal counterpart.

The introduction of the ACA health insurance plans eliminated lifetime caps on coverage, meaning you could never get kicked off your plan for getting sick or “run out” of coverage and gave several Americans a chance to finally buy healthcare regardless of their health, employment situation, or income.

While ACA health plans kept made and kept several families happy, another healthcare solution has been gaining popularity over the years – healthcare sharing plans or healthcare sharing ministries. While they aren’t considered “health insurance,” healthcare sharing ministries can be used to reduce the out-of-pocket cost by families who want to share their healthcare expenses with other like-minded families.

Individuals and families who choose healthcare sharing ministries pay a monthly “sharing amount” (read premium) and depending on the program they choose, they can enjoy many of the same perks of traditional health insurance – like discounts on healthcare, limited out-of-pocket limits, and predictable monthly payments.

ACA Plans vs. Healthcare Sharing Ministries: What you should know

Like choosing any insurance, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons before you sign up. We have laid out the pros and cons of both the plans for you to help you make a decision.

Benefits: ACA plans

As already mentioned the most attractive feature of ACA health insurance plans is that there are no lifetime limits or caps. You can buy coverage regardless of your health and subsidies available for those who earn less than 400% of FPL.

Drawbacks: ACA plans

ACA plans are quite expensive and the plans may run on narrow networks. Also, the availability of plans depends on your state of residence.

Benefits: Healthcare sharing ministries

The most appealing feature of healthcare sharing plans is its cost. They’re less expensive and are more cost-efficient than ACA plans. The annual costs and deductibles are low and Families can share their costs with other like-minded families. Also, with this plan, you can avoid the penalty for not having health insurance.

Drawbacks: Healthcare sharing ministries

You need good health to qualify for this plan. It has a lifetime or annual caps on coverage and you cannot use a health savings account.

At the end of the day, the best way to find the right plan for yourself or your family is to look at your unique situation and determine which plan might offer better protection without costing too much or sacrificing your quality of care. After all, it’s your life!

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