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Health Care vs Sick Care

Are you frustrated and stressed out by the rising cost of traditional PPO or HMO health insurance?  And then you pay these high costs only to find that it often takes weeks to get the care that you need, you often can not pick the doctor that you want to see, and your care is rushed and often impersonal.  The focus of medical care under a traditional insurance plan is about treating illnesses and not about getting to the root of the issue and assisting you in getting and staying healthy.  It is reactive, not proactive.  

If you are among the many people who realize that our health insurance system is broken, it is time to put yourself back into the drivers seat of your health and wellness care.  The best way to do this is of course to live a healthy lifestyle–eat a well balanced diet, exercise regularly, get adequate rest and sleep, create a health minded mindset, take the supplements your body needs, have your hormones balanced properly, and detoxify your life.  

Taking Care Of Yourself Matters

The best defense is offense!  When you take care of yourself, then you lower the chance that you even need to use any insurance for health care needs.  However, things can happen that are out of your control and it is for that reason that insurance was created.  But, the way we look at health insurance needs to change.  What if we looked at health care coverage like we look at car insurance??

When it comes to our cars, we pay for the oil changes, brakes, and basic preventive maintenance in the hope that we don’t have a major breakdown.  Then, if a major catastrophe happens, such as a car accident, then we look to insurance.   That is what insurance is supposed to be–a safety net to protect us from major financial drains.   We do everything in our power to prevent issues and if they occur despite our best efforts, the insurance is there to help us. 

For those that understand this concept and want to be back in the drivers seat of their health and wellness care, there is an alternative to traditional health insurance–health care sharing plans.  Health care sharing plans are provided by organizations who are made up of members who “share” medical costs.  As a member, you pay a certain share amount each month (similar to an insurance premium) as well as an annual unshared amount for your medical expenses (similar to a deductible).  

Lower Your Monthly Health Costs

Monthly costs vary among the different organizations anywhere from roughly $75 – $650, depending on the details of your specific plan.  The annual unshared amount typically varies from $300-$500 for an individual, $500-$1500 for couples, and $1000-$5000 for families.  You get to pick the plan details that works best for you.  The costs for these plans are usually much less expensive than private plans (PPO’s and HMO’s).  You can put the money that you save into a separate bank account that you get to keep for your needs instead of giving that money to a health insurance plan.

Health sharing organizations tend to be religious based but that does not always mean that you have to declare your faith to any particular religion to join a particular plan.  These organizations are non profit organizations whose focus is on helping you to stay healthy, not on reaping the most profit that they can.  They are based on positive principles such as integrity, fellowship, and focus on a moral and healthy lifestyle.  

The benefits of a health sharing plan are:  a lower monthly cost than traditional health insurance, no network of physicians that you are forced to choose from–you can pick whichever doctor you like, and a lower annual “deductible”.   There are typically prescription discounts and most people find that they save money with these plans even if they are on medications.

These plans are great for the person who is wellness minded and is in generally good health.  These plans are not required to cover pre-existing conditions so there is typically a wait period to cover any pre-existing illness that you may have.  I personally love these plans and am in one myself.  I also have numerous patients who participate in a health sharing plan and I have seen them have medical concerns such as appendicitis, fractures, etc be covered without any issue (and the patients went to the doctors and hospitals that they wanted without waiting an excess amount of time for approval!)

Health Sharing Plans

There are several health sharing plans to choose from and the biggest difference between them are their guidelines for member acceptance and their costs.

The main plans are: 

The first one is the one that I chose to join and the second one is the one that I used to be a part of.  Both of those I have personal experience with and can recommend them both.  The last two plans I have heard of and heard positive feedback from other people.  See what each plan has to offer and pick the one that works best for you.   

I understand that to make this switch it takes a paradigm shift from looking at insurance as something you rely on for everything, to looking at insurance as your backup for emergencies.  This takes a mindset of wellness where you want to focus on staying healthy and well, and you realize that the health share plan is there in case something happens that is unplanned.  This not only saves you money, but it helps you to focus on true wellness vs focusing on disease.  You can spend your time and money on getting and staying as healthy and vital as possible, instead of spending it feeling sick and fighting disease.   The extra money you save on health insurance, you can put into paying for wellness services that enhance your health.  It goes towards your benefits instead of in the pockets of the health insurance companies.

If you want to put the freedom of choice and the control of your health and wellness back in your hands, be open minded and look at the health sharing plans.  If they are right for you, pick the one that you feel is best for you.

Dr. Laurie Blanscet

Posted In - General