Author Topic: Health Insurance Alternatives  (Read 17697 times)

Offline CandyGram4Mongo

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Re: Health Insurance Alternatives
« Reply #30 on: April 27, 2016, 08:05:05 PM »
Here's an excellent comparison site of 4 of the faith-based health sharing organizations.  Not sure how often it's updated; appears to be current as of April 2016:

http://samaritanministriesreview.com/samaritan-ministries-vs-liberty-healthshare/

Thanks all for starting & maintaining this thread.  I hope to update it some time later once I've selected & participated in one of these programs.

Offline CandyGram4Mongo

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Re: Health Insurance Alternatives
« Reply #31 on: April 29, 2016, 03:44:16 PM »
Here's a better link for all the comparisons:
http://samaritanministriesreview.com/compare-to-other-ministries/

I read the comparisons, especially the decision-making explanations at the bottom of each comparison page, and all the comments after that.  That site was extraordinarily useful, including tips on shaving expenses by leveraging discount prescription networks (such as http://www.goodrx.com) and other great tips for negotiating medical expenses regardless of coverage.

Christian Healthcare Ministries makes a distinction regarding pre-existing conditions in a "maintenance" state vs. active.  Pre-existing condition accommodation is a BIG DEAL for us, and CHM seemed to address that best, despite their lack of coverage for ambulance transport or flight-for-life.
One other thing that's quirky about CHM - they have specific provisions to be the 2ndary "insurance" in case of accidents.  In other words, we updated our auto insurance to add coverage for medical expenses associated w/car accidents so that my car insurance is primary medical insurance in case of an accident.

We went w/CHM Gold https://www.chministries.org/ after all this research & several phonecalls.

NOTE: if you're reading this thread and decide to commit to a ministry that another TSP'er has selected, please consider PM'ing them to use them as a "referral".  Most of the programs will offer some sort of incentive for referrals.  So, if you're selecting Samaritan, please consider PM'ing mr_freezer; if you're selecting Liberty please consider PM'ing Mental Arson.  If you're selecting CHM, please consider PM'ing me candygram4mongoe AT nym.hushmail.com.

Thanks again to mr_freezer for starting this thread, and to the TSP'ers who have contributed.  Also, hat-tip to John Pugliano of the Expert Council for stepping through the math and mentioning some compelling alternatives to Obamacare.

OT - Way back when I first started listening to Jack he said "the most likely catastrophe is losing your job - so don't prepare for Mad Max - prepare for a layoff".  Good advice.  Glad I listened.  I got laid off 2 weeks ago without COBRA and it has been a FREAKING NIGHTMARE trying to figure out how to get affordable coverage but we're in pretty good shape otherwise!
« Last Edit: April 29, 2016, 03:49:51 PM by CandyGram4Mongo »

Offline mountainmoma

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Re: Health Insurance Alternatives
« Reply #32 on: April 29, 2016, 09:52:32 PM »
I also signed up for CHM 2 weeks ago. I signed up for Bronze for now. I may change to silver  some point. I also signed up for Brothers Keeper.

I already have medicare, but the 20% copay would be impossibly large for me for a big accident or hospitalization. So, I chose the CHM bronze for catastrophic back up insurance. If I have over $5,000 in hospital bills, CHM considers the part medicare pays as paying for my deductable, and then CHM will pay the rest medicare doesnt cover.

I still will mostly have to pay all regular 20%, but this gives me piece of mind in case something bad could happen, for $45/month

Offline 1greenman

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Re: Health Insurance Alternatives
« Reply #33 on: April 30, 2016, 12:13:03 PM »
I wish that I had seen this sooner. But fortunately we survived this whole past year without any health insurance.

With children it's probably not the best option, but we couldn't find any alternatives. And on my taxes this year, they even gave me an option for low income stressed or something, that allowed me to not pay any penalty. I used TurboTax.

Thanks for all the info.

Offline Stwood

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Re: Health Insurance Alternatives
« Reply #34 on: May 02, 2016, 09:38:10 PM »
Good info here. I did without insurance for the first 4 months last year, and when I did my taxes, it fined me $176.00
So now, since we are both retired as of March, I have medicare, and my wife has nothing. She won't be eligible for medicare until August.
So.....do we wing it and pay a fine, or look around.  ??? :-\
 

Offline FrugalFannie

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Re: Health Insurance Alternatives
« Reply #35 on: May 04, 2016, 08:55:27 PM »
Good info here. I did without insurance for the first 4 months last year, and when I did my taxes, it fined me $176.00
So now, since we are both retired as of March, I have medicare, and my wife has nothing. She won't be eligible for medicare until August.
So.....do we wing it and pay a fine, or look around.  ??? :-\

If she has no income I believe she won't be fined. If her income is low enough, she also won't be fined.

Offline Stwood

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Re: Health Insurance Alternatives
« Reply #36 on: May 04, 2016, 10:11:23 PM »
Just her SS

Offline 1greenman

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Re: Health Insurance Alternatives
« Reply #37 on: May 12, 2016, 10:50:43 PM »
So did you decide to opt out?

Offline mr_freezer

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Re: Health Insurance Alternatives
« Reply #38 on: May 25, 2016, 01:00:00 PM »
Never2L8, 
Sorry for not getting back sooner. It's farming season! We weren't in a marketplace but it was simple to drop insurance. These religious based options are legal alternatives to standard insurance. We walked in to the insurance company and told them we were cancelling our insurance. They were not only understanding, they were considering doing this themselves... You should be able to walk away from the marketplace too. Insurance situations change all the time for different reasons. They can't object to you joining a Christian cost sharing group. I filled our taxes and had no problems with that either. Hope that helps. Take care.

Offline mr_freezer

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Re: Health Insurance Alternatives
« Reply #39 on: November 15, 2016, 09:16:29 AM »
Another update:

Samaritan had their first increase in three years.  Our family now pays $495 per month plus a few bucks here and there because we are in the Save to Share program which takes care of us for needs above $250k.  We are also expecting a child now.  This is one of the things that you can submit for a prepay for the expenses.  We went shopping for a hospital and discovered that there is a huge difference in cost between where we had gone and where we will go now.  Our previous hospital wanted over $25k for a standard pregnancy and delivery package.  they also didn't give much of a cash discount, I think it was around 10% or less.  We are going to go with a smaller hospital that is closer, no worries because they are affiliated with a larger hospital for complications.  These guys give a 30% discount for cash and the total price for a standard package is under $8k.  Anything that goes over the prepay pricing, Samaritan will pay later.  So, here's how it worked.  We get the bid from the hospital.  Because they have a 30% discount and it fits under a price threshold, Samaritan approved it without their needing to negotiate with the provider on our behalf.  This saves the group money and we still get good care.  We have been paying a small amount to the hospital to keep them happy while we wait for the checks to come from other Samaritan members.  Two months is the standard time from submission to when you receive member shares.  We are getting those shares now and it is really awesome to see this working.  This baby is going to cost us $300 out of pocket...  Beat that insurance companies. 

One thing that we have discovered that is not insignificant is that this has helped our family's faith.  We discovered that our beliefs are more in line with the Evangelicals than the Lutherans where we were raised because we have been actively working on our faith.  This has led us to a new church that we really enjoy going to, new friends who we have a lot in common with and it has been a real blessing for us.  We didn't expect this going in but we are blessed and happy with everything that has happened because of our joining Samaritan Ministries. 

Offline Smurf Hunter

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Re: Health Insurance Alternatives
« Reply #40 on: November 15, 2016, 11:30:12 AM »
Another update:

Samaritan had their first increase in three years.  Our family now pays $495 per month plus a few bucks here and there because we are in the Save to Share program which takes care of us for needs above $250k.  We are also expecting a child now.  This is one of the things that you can submit for a prepay for the expenses.  We went shopping for a hospital and discovered that there is a huge difference in cost between where we had gone and where we will go now.  Our previous hospital wanted over $25k for a standard pregnancy and delivery package.  they also didn't give much of a cash discount, I think it was around 10% or less.  We are going to go with a smaller hospital that is closer, no worries because they are affiliated with a larger hospital for complications.  These guys give a 30% discount for cash and the total price for a standard package is under $8k.  Anything that goes over the prepay pricing, Samaritan will pay later.  So, here's how it worked.  We get the bid from the hospital.  Because they have a 30% discount and it fits under a price threshold, Samaritan approved it without their needing to negotiate with the provider on our behalf.  This saves the group money and we still get good care.  We have been paying a small amount to the hospital to keep them happy while we wait for the checks to come from other Samaritan members.  Two months is the standard time from submission to when you receive member shares.  We are getting those shares now and it is really awesome to see this working.  This baby is going to cost us $300 out of pocket...  Beat that insurance companies. 

One thing that we have discovered that is not insignificant is that this has helped our family's faith.  We discovered that our beliefs are more in line with the Evangelicals than the Lutherans where we were raised because we have been actively working on our faith.  This has led us to a new church that we really enjoy going to, new friends who we have a lot in common with and it has been a real blessing for us.  We didn't expect this going in but we are blessed and happy with everything that has happened because of our joining Samaritan Ministries.

I've skimmed through most of this thread and learned a lot.

Although I work for a large(ish) global corporation with some social/political views I don't really agree with - they do have excellent benefits.  For my family of 4, the premium PPO plan is under $6K annually.  So that means $15 co-pays for almost anything.  Doesn't matter if I hurt my knee or want to talk to a christian mental health counselor - it's all $15.  They also match donations to charity (must be 501(c)).
While that doesn't include tithing, I can give to things to World Vision and similar international human welfare causes and my money is doubled.

I'm at an odd cross roads, where part of me feels it's time to move onto the next gig, but my family has some rather costly recurring medical expenses, and my annual out of pocket could easily double if I leave this company.  Apologies if I hijacked your thread, I just thought this was a reasonably good place to share my thoughts.

Offline mr_freezer

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Re: Health Insurance Alternatives
« Reply #41 on: November 15, 2016, 09:03:49 PM »
Thank you to CandyGram for your contributions.  We aren't well to do so it would be much appreciated to have anyone who joins Samaritan remember us as a referral.  I'm really encouraged to see that this has helped people regardless of which they join. 

Offline Mental Arson

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Re: Health Insurance Alternatives
« Reply #42 on: December 12, 2016, 02:05:44 PM »
Our experience with LibertyHealthShare.org has been positive so far. (5/1/16 - 12/1/16)
It's hands-off and insurance-like. Simple.
My wife pays $199/month for their top plan.
http://libertyhealthshare.org/3-program-options

She got some lab work done at a Naturopathic physician and it was submitted to LHS for us.
$1505 inflated retail price.
$435.28 repriced to negotiated real rates.
Haven't hit her $500 "deductible" yet and probably won't this year, but would be covered 100% over $500.
If my employer medical goes away I will join her plan for an additional $100/mo.

This is not a sales pitch, and I don't presume to know what is best for other people.
However, if you do decide to go with Liberty, please PM me or email netstepinc at gmail.com.
If my wife refers you, she gets $100.
It's better than no one getting paid to refer you.

I'll update this thread if we smell anything fishy at Liberty Health Share, but I'm cautiously optimistic.

Offline CandyGram4Mongo

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Re: Health Insurance Alternatives
« Reply #43 on: August 18, 2017, 04:52:42 PM »
John Pugliano weighs in on today's expert council Q&A Episode 2068):
http://www.thesurvivalpodcast.com/council-8-18-17

Starts at about the 48-minute mark.  Touches on the decision-making process that made him decide to transition to healthshare from traditional health insurance, and discusses his experience with Liberty.  He's been a Liberty member for ~4 years (Liberty Complete), has used it with no problems, and has NOT had an increase in rates while he's been a member.
John also mentions that his married entrepreneurial daughter is on her own plan and will be covering for her impending maternity healhcare.

Offline CandyGram4Mongo

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Re: Health Insurance Alternatives
« Reply #44 on: February 11, 2018, 09:12:43 AM »
Interesting article on alternatives to health insurance published by Sharyl Attkisson of Full Measure:
http://fullmeasure.news/news/cover-story/health-insurance-hacks

Faith-based is mentioned, as are some innovative approaches by some doctors who have bypassed the entire insurance racket.

Offline minijas

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Re: Health Insurance Alternatives
« Reply #45 on: June 20, 2018, 04:15:44 PM »
High deductible + HSA is a good way to go in my opinion. Whenever possible, get discounted medications at places like Costco or using a prescription drug card. These days, most doctors will see you if you offer to pay cash and the prices are often very good. You can also get diagnostic testing for cash prices which are often cheaper than copays.

Offline CandyGram4Mongo

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Re: Health Insurance Alternatives
« Reply #46 on: June 20, 2018, 05:01:06 PM »
High deductible + HSA is a good way to go in my opinion.

Great post @minijas - Have you got any resources you recommend regarding getting educated about HSAs and starting them?